By Zach Collier
Tonight, Provo songstress Stephanie Mabey will be releasing her highly anticipated EP, I Still Taste Fire. This is her first album since her 2012 LP, Wake Up Dreaming. The EP will still feature Mabey’s alluring vocal style, signature chromatic chord progressions, and key modulations, while exploring the darker side of her music. The album was produced by Scott Wiley of June Audio.
“Scott Wiley and I had a lot of fun producing the tracks and we had some really amazing people contribute to the arrangements,” Mabey told Reach Provo. “Stuart Wheeler did some incredible horn and string arrangements and my friend Taylor Hartley/t.Harts created really beautiful beats.”
Mabey has always had a penchant for exploring the relative minor in, albeit in cutesy, humorous, or tongue in cheek ways (“The Zombie Song” – we’re looking at you). I Still Taste Fire is much grittier, vindictive, and real. Swirly, atmospheric synthesizers and organic string arrangements have replaced several of the textures found on her last album, namely banjo and ukulele.
I Still Taste Fire is a deeply personal work – one that has helped her work through things she felt were holding her back on her last album. For Mabey, crafting songs is a lot like building a tiny, self sustaining robots that help her through life. “The reason I write songs is to rewrite patterns that have kept me stuck. If I didn’t have songwriting, I would be living in a loop. I like to think of my songs as little machines that help me get unstuck and I really like the idea of them being able to do that for other people.” Then, with a laugh, she adds, “I think if someone likes what we made enough to listen again, it gives the robots a better chance of fulfilling their life’s purpose.”
Everything related to this album has been carefully planned and crafted, with a close attention to detail. The music video for the EP’s title track was directed by Kyle Gibby and Nick Rush of Paradox Digital and features Abigail Steele’s incredible commitment to hair, makeup, and set design. “Heart-Shaped Hologram” was released with a lyric video and a music video that share important, key images. Both were directed by Kristine Knight.
The EP release show is no different. Mabey tried to design the entire concert experience from the perspective of an audience member. Having a good experience required killer visuals and a fantastic concert space. That’s why she decided to host her concert at Ember in Salt Lake City.
“The thing that was the most magnetic about the venue for me was the layout,” Mabey says. “It has a long side entrance that is normally gated off, so it kind of makes you feel like you shouldn’t be there – which might sound like a strange selling point, but I was really hoping I could find a location that would evoke that feeling without having, you know, murder vibes. Walking through it, and then through the first room that opens up into the main room, I could immediately picture the different experiences I could create for people in each of the spaces using light. I’ve been playing a lot with a material called neon flex for the past few weeks, and it’s a little otherworldly.” Visuals for the show will be provided by Paradox Digital’s Kyle Gibby.
While the design of the show at Ember may not directly reflect the album art or the music videos released for the EP’s singles, it is still very much a part of Mabey’s vision as an artist. “I think the reason I was drawn to Ember has less to do with the aesthetic of the EP and more to do with a shift in focus that I’ve been going through as an artist. Nothing is more exciting to me right now than figuring out a way to design shows that feel like they’re breaking the hypnosis of every day life a little bit. This release show is the first exercise in that.”
The I Still Taste Fire EP Release Show is happening tonight at Ember in Salt Lake City. Doors open at 7:30PM. Tickets are $17.50 for general admission, with a $15 group rate. Two $35 VIP tickets are still available for Mabey’s Loft Preshow. In addition to Mabey, the show will also feature Goldmyth and t.Harts. Tickets are available online here.
Make sure to like Stephanie Mabey on Facebook, and watch the music video for “I Still Taste Fire” below!