Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten‘s been a bit of a vagabond recently. Consider it an occupational hazard: She toured constantly on the strength of her 2010 album Epic and crashed with friends whenever she made it back to New York. Lots of musicians say they feel at home in the studio, but for Van Etten, the place where she recorded her latest album, Tramp, really was her only sanctuary. (It also helps that the cozy studio sits in the backyard of her producer Aaron Dressner, who’s also the co-founder of the National). Van Etten’s wandering spirit heavily informed the songwriting on her new album. “I was nervous the songs weren’t cohesive,” Van Etten says of Tramp. “[But] it ended up being a strength of the record. Each song felt like a new world.”
For Van Etten’s First Take, she chose to explore the world within “Serpents,” the emotionally charged first single from Tramp. Plus, watch a full-length bonus song, “Magic Chords” (on the Grizzly Bear-approved Omnichord) and check out an interview where she explains the meaning behind her “mourning” tattoos.
Flip through the gallery below for behind-the-scenes portraits of the session.
Tramp is out now via Jagjaguwar.