The artist's new single 'Save Room' explores the existential melancholia of being single in NYC
Hello. Steve Kraft here.
In my brief run as a music journalist, I’ve come across few artists who I’ve resonated with more than (Brooklyn) Steele. Although his catalogue is limited to date, I know the songs intimately. Many people claim that they can see a lot of themselves in an artist or their songs. I firmly feel that kinship with (Brooklyn) Steele. I hear what he is saying, it resonates, it’s as if he experiences the same thoughts and feelings as I do.
I managed to get a hold of him to chat and pick his brain about his most recent track, “Save Room,” an upbeat and driving observation on modern city romance.
Steve Kraft: Hello! The world is ending. How has your life been?
Steele Kratt: Life is OK! Given the state of civilization and health, I’m doing well. I’m currently situated in the Catskills. My girlfriend and I were in the city for the first three months of quarantine, and then as things opened up, by chance found ourselves living upstate. We’ve been back to the city for brief moments, but for the most part, are assimilated as mountain folk. It’s the longest I’ve ever been out of New York City for, and I’m reinventing myself.
Steeve: I know that you are a huge fan of sports. How were you coping without televised sports?
Steele: I built a basketball hoop—a bucket taped to a large cardboard structure—in my backyard in Bushwick, and also borrowed a heavy bag from my close friend and live band member Laurence. The yard became my own rec center, up until neighbors complained about the repeated grunting and the shaking fire escape. When I relocated upstate, I built an even better basketball hoop—with wood and nails!—and hung my heavy bag from a garage door bracket. It was all very official. Now that sports are back, I’ve weaned off of my playtime, but have become way more into distance running.
Steve: What about playing sports?
Steele: I miss it so badly. Usually, I play soccer three to four times a week on various teams with my friends, so I’m really suffering. I go to the local fields a few times a week and work on shooting and passing, but I am so deprived of competition. I’ve been close to offering my girlfriend and her band money to scrimmage with me. I have also been close to renting an Airbnb to get my teammates up here to sport together for a week straight. I’ve found that I’m much more emotional as a result of my sports deficit. I need ‘em back.
Steve: I’ve seen that you have a new dog in your life. Who is she?
Steele: Joy! My girlfriend and I adopted a senior poodle recently. She’s 13 years old and was rescued from death row. Her owner, in Kentucky, passed away and Joy was brought to a local pound. Because she was so old and had no family to claim her, she was going to be put down. When I learned that, it was a wrap. She is so full of life and love. She is gentle, calm, quiet, and so precious. I bought her a pearl necklace, and she has a special rubber ducky raincoat, with a bonnet that I’ve fashioned out of a bandana, that she wears on walks in the rain. We love her so dearly. She is loved and happy again.
Steve: Tell me about ‘Save Room.’ The song is about romance and New York City. What are your experiences with that like?
Steele: I was single for the first 25 years of my life. I was closed off, afraid, and out of touch with romance. I didn’t think that true love was real, and that belief was furthered by more than just my own personal experiences. Romance in New York is a strange beast and made even more evident by the endless TV shows and movies about all of its confusion and miscommunications. The subway is an amazing place to watch couples interact, as are food take out lines, or even waiting to be seated at a restaurant.
I’ve always been fascinated by songs that are observational of society, so I wanted to try my hand at writing my own. ‘Save Room’ is a reflection on how people treat each other in love and in longing and in courtship, and all of the stock memories and locations associated with a city romance. I thought that I could blend some of my personal experiences in with my field research. I was so sour for so long about love. I wrote this song before I fell in love for the first time, and I think that they’ll be the last lyrics of that ilk. I’ve found my diamond in the rough, and I think the bridge of the song kind of evokes my first discovery of those feelings. It was hard for me to learn how to accept love and understand that pain doesn’t have to follow it.
Steve: That’s a long-winded answer. Calm down, bro. This is a lot of information to digest, so I’ll just ask one last question—what’s next for you?
Steele: I’m currently recording my first full-length EP with producer Drew Vandenberg and engineer Jacob Faber of Sunflower Bean. We just finished week one of tracking, and I think it’s going to be unreal. It’s my first time really taking the time to consider the importance of each and every tone and note, and it’s been very eye-opening. I’m really feeling the effects of playing every single instrument, far more than I ever did while demoing at home alone. It feels like I’m making a real statement, pushing myself, and learning tons. I can’t wait for everyone to hear!
Steve: Thanks for taking the time! Below is a playlist you made for us—
Steele: Yes! These are all songs written from the third person, that I feel helped inspire ‘Save Room.’ Vibe out!