Belle Mare is a collaboration between songwriters Amelia Bushell and Thomas Servidone. The duo met at an open mic in Brooklyn during the winter of 2012, and recorded an EP that was released the following year.
With the addition of Tara Rook (Keyboards), Rob Walbourne (Drums) and Gary Atturio (Bass), Belle Mare performed a live video session at Manhattan’s Electric Lady Studio, at which they caught the attention of Grammy-winner Tom Elmhirst and Ben Baptie.
Elmhirst offered the band his studio at Electric Lady to record an EP with Baptie at the helm as producer. The band entered the studio shortly thereafter, beginning with two songs recorded in the course of a weekend. Eventually, they would go on to record a full-length album, with sessions dispersed months apart, spanning the better part of two years. Though each of these songs began as a bedroom demo by Bushell and Servidone, they evolved into more expressive, dynamic arrangements, with Baptie and the band adding their respective talents to the material.
While preserving the foundations of their songwriting and maintaining the stark minimalism of their previous work, Belle Mare’s first full-length album is new territory for the band. Compositionally diverse arrangements, and instrumentation more in line with their live performances, resulted in a far more expansive sound. This was not happenstance, as Baptie insisted they record each song together in the live room of Studio C with minimal overdubs. Although the results are dramatically different, the sincerity and fragility of Bushell’s voice resonates distinctly throughout the album, as do the themes of longing and the passage of time.
Prior to recording at Electric Lady, Belle Mare released the aforementioned EP, The Boat of the Fragile Mind in April of 2013. A collection of eight songs described as “spaciously eerie” by Spin, the EP was written and recorded by the duo in just four months in the modest confines of Servidone’s Brooklyn apartment. It is a strikingly different experience from the Electric Lady recordings, conjuring “a sense of timeless unbeholden to a specific time” (Eric Danton, Listen Dammit). Hoping to fill out the lineup for their shows, the duo quickly sought out a backing band to supplement the production on the EP and reimagine the songs for a live audience. The first addition was songwriter Tara Rook on keyboards. Quickly following that, Rob Walbourne (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) joined as drummer, and Gary Atturio (Savoir Adore) came on as bassist.
The band are set to self-release their first single, “Cicada,” in February, with the full album to be released in the fall of 2015. The song bears all the hallmarks of the EP, and both highlights Bushell’s heartfelt voice and showcases the band’s newly-evolved sound.
Belle Mare currently perform in Manhattan and Brooklyn.