While attending middle school and high school in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, Sacha Sacket routinely was labeled “faggot.” In fact, it happened practically every day. Sacket was branded “the gay kid.”
At home, playing the piano represented Sacket’s therapy, his escape from the harshness of those verbally abusive classmates. The piano was his only outlet for self-expression.
“Growing up with a big secret and growing up with something you’re taught to be ashamed of, I didn’t have anywhere to express myself and I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I was very alone, actually,” Sacket says.
Now, the 31-year-old Sacket is openly gay and still uses music to express himself—so much so that he believes he wouldn’t be a singer-songwriter if he weren’t gay. Sacket says the songs he writes “tell” him how he feels.
Sacket’s new EP, Hermitage, tells him—and anyone who listens to it—how he felt about the hectic couple of show-biz years leading up to this recording. Hermitage is his fourth studio album.
“It was really important for me to do Hermitage to figure out again why I was doing music,” Sacket says.
To gain that introspection, Sacket left his L.A. home for several weeks and sequestered himself in a friend’s secluded cabin near Idyllwild, a town nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains southwest of Palm Springs. He was isolated—no Internet, no phone. He interacted little with the townspeople of Idyllwild.
“I just wanted to shut everything off and see what that would do to the music,” Sacket says.
“In a strange way, the record is a lot about the world I left behind. It’s not necessarily an album about being in the wild and being alone as much as it is about reflecting on the past two years and having the space to figure out how I felt about things that had happened and where I stood. … I had to force myself to confront myself.”
In confronting himself, Sacket wrote five quiet, reflective songs for an EP that he says exhibits spooky and haunting qualities. Those qualities contrast with the raw, animalistic, aggressive nature of the full-length album he’s currently recording for release in February or March.
Whether he’s being introspective or edgy, the “acoustic alternative” musician draws upon a wide spectrum of musical influences, including Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Hole, Soundgarden, the Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Tori Amos and Björk. Sacket says he admires musicians who take risks.
“I do feel like I have a lot of different styles in me,” Sacket says. “It really is a mish-mash.”
It’s a mish-mash that gives the once-closeted “gay kid” a grand platform for expressing himself to the world.
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