Portraits With | Scott Schweiger

If you've been to Pike Place Market, you know that it is iconic for all the right reasons - crowded and bustling, it is a most pleasant overload of the senses. If not, imagine this:

The smells of Piroshky Piroshky dance through the air carried by a salt water breeze. The sun glimmers on the water in the West. Vendors sell hand-crafted leathers and pottery, prints and posters. Musicians perform for tips and the produce stands are a colorful array where you'll get to sample Asian pears and more. If you don't have a cup of coffee or a bouquet of tulips in hand, it is likely a camera. The place is magical.

It was here just a few days ago that local musician Scott Schweiger and I found an empty market - one of shuttered shops and cleaning crews. The floor tiles that read the names of Pike Place Market Foundation supporters were hosed down, cleaned up for a new day of thousands of tourists and flying fish. In this moment, the only accompaniment to Scott's acoustic guitar and vocals was a gorgeous amber sunset, reflecting off of brilliant new windows and worn vendor stands.

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I couldn't believe it. I was getting dozens of portraits of Scott in one of the most consistently occupied areas of the PNW - without others in frame.

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Scott and I originally worked together earlier this year, capturing images for his recent recordings. We were graciously welcomed into the Central District's Cortona Cafe for photos and really hit it off. I was thrilled to work together again to support Scott's latest album. Once I began editing these images, I asked Scott to tell us a bit about himself and the new album.

Get a feel for what was going on that night by turning on the album, browsing the images, and reading Scott's interview. Save for fresh cut flowers and pastry shop aromas, you'll feel like you were there with us.

For the record, not one of these sun-flares are altered or faked - this is what we were seeing with our own eyes, right there in the Market. We consider this spontaneous moment the reason we caught such magic.

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Hey, Scott! What should we know about you?

I moved to Seattle in 2005 after finishing college in Eastern Washington (where I was raised) and quickly worked my way into the music scene. I met producer and engineer David Loy and interned with him at David Loy Productions.

My first full-length solo album was recorded with him in the studio we built during my internship. My second studio record was self-recorded / produced and was mixed by Jordan Borders.

I moved to Seattle to surround myself with artists and innovators, to be inspired by their constant drive for improvement and their contagious passion. I am also continually inspired by the raw beauty of the ocean, lakes, and mountains that engulf Seattle.

Speaking of Seattle, tell me what you love about Pike Place Market (other than the lighting we caught on this shoot)!

The thing I love about Pike Place is that it was nearly torn down several decades ago, but has since become a national heritage. I love that sometimes the things we are about to discard turn out to be the things most important and valuable to us in the end.

Who inspires you, musically?

I started in music in the church in a small town at age 14. I spent many many hours playing with the band at church for 4 years before moving to Seattle. Those years were absolutely fundamental to my musical development. In Seattle, I was exposed to so much amazing music. I had never heard Eric Clapton, Miles Davis or Bob Dylan records before I spent so many years catching up on classic albums that have deeply influenced me.

I started singing and writing in the late 90s, so the music of that era has always had a big impact on me: Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms. Lately I've been inspired by blues and soul artists such as Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding.

Tell us about the new album!

The new album is called 'Fool's Journey' and it was recorded with Conrad Uno. You'll know him as the producer behind the Presidents of the United States of America and Young Fresh Fellows. We recorded at Egg Studios between May and July of this year.

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Why "Fool's Journey"?

The fool's journey is the 0 (zero) card in tarot, representing the beginning, or return to the beginning. The journey itself is the path that we all take in life, the ups and downs of family, love, career, loss, joy and all the things that we encounter along the way.

The tarot card image depicts a fool stepping off the edge of a cliff. An unrealized fool will surely plummet to the bottom of the cliff, but a fool that knows him/herself will step forward into the unknown with an open heart, guided by intuition and ascend to a higher plane of understanding.

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Scott and I made it down to Metsker's Maps, where the staff was exceptionally welcoming to our photo adventure. I asked Scott if he liked the idea of a map store. Having listened to Coming Home Again, I had this feeling, the focus on the journey rather than the destination, and wanted to explore that idea a bit when we got together.

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For more of Scott, visit his website here and find his music on Spotify.