Tim Mosenfelder, Getty Images After traveling from all parts of the world,…
- Posted on Aug 17th 2011 2:00PM by Garin Pirnia
Despite defiantly singing, "F--- California" in the opening line of her song 'California,' the onetime L.A and West Oakland resident -- she currently lives in Portland, Ore. -- doesn't loathe the Golden State. What Anderson does enjoy is tinkering with genres and fidelities as heard on her seven-minute LP-opener 'Grey Ship' and her 16-minute cover of Robert Johnson's 'Kind Hearted Woman Blues,' something few artists could do successfully.
The lo-fi album and its pop inclinations have garnered Anderson quite a bit of buzz with coveted slots at this year's SXSW and Pitchfork Music Festival. Spinner caught up with Anderson to discuss why all music journalists should go on tour, the misconceptions about her album and the possibilities of her directing films.
Do you like to tour?
It's pretty hard. I do like to do it, but for someone who's never done it, I can't explain what a draining experience it can be. People who have done it know what I'm talking about. But I think everyone that writes at a blog or magazine should have to go on a tour once with somebody, at least a two-week tour somewhere: Load the van up, do the work, sleep on the floor, do it night after night. That should be a requirement for people who want to write about music.
How would you describe your live shows?
It's a lot of energy. It's kind of like a loud rock experience. There's also a lot of varied tones and textures. There's not really samples or playback, but I have electronics with me. I have two string players right now, people doing processed stuff. There will be some low drones, a lot of dynamics, which can be good or bad. There's quiet and loud.
How would you classify your music?
If I had to give a real short answer, I feel like it's a digital Velvet Underground. I do a lot of digital recording but I'll use tape. I'm definitely not an analog purist. I really enjoy working with digital but I like using analog as part of palate. Having all sorts of fidelities and things in your palate making music is ideal.
How did you learn music?
I listened to pop radio forever. As far as playing, I guess I'm kind of a good guitar player. I don't play scales. I think I learned music because I had to have some sort of outlet and that seemed like the most effective one.
Did you like living in California?
It was cool. It definitely gave me permission to do a lot of things that had been in my head, like things that I didn't even know. It made me realize I had all of these ideas: "I can't be a musician, I can't be an artist, I can't move out to California." Now you're a musician. I was like, "No, I can't do that." So, yeah, it was good. I actually really like parts of L.A. a lot and Oakland, too. It seems like a good thing to have experienced.
Are you surprised how well-received the album has been?
Yeah, maybe I don't have as much of a concept of it. I don't let myself think about it. I don't know why. I don't let myself think about it too much. I might be like, "Whoa, what the f--- is happening?" It feels good to work and be busy. I'll probably figure out what my limits are real quick here. It's inspiring to make me want to do more s--- on the level. Get my ideas out there, start producing things. All right, yeah, I want to do more tracks. I want to do this.
Are you able to write on tour?
I don't know about that. That does seem hard trying to figure out how to do both those things at once. The record just came out and everybody's already like, "What's the next record going to be like?" I'm like, "Jesus, give me a second here." I have a lot of diverse ideas once again. I just want to keep it going. I would like to keep experimenting with genre and just do everything. I'll probably fail. There will probably be something on the record that people will be like, "OMG, she probably shouldn't have tried that."
Is there any chance of a Gowns reunion?
I wouldn't count it out forever, but it's not in the foreseeable future.
Do you prefer to play solo or in a band?
I like playing with others. I've done both. I like to do a performance alone. I've done weird things. I could try doing some more stuff alone but with record this would be hard. When I was in Oakland, I was doing a bunch of weird-one off things. I did this performance that was like a substitute-teacher-inspired exorcism involving paper airplanes in a Santeria basement. That was pretty fun. I've done spoken-word nights. I do like doing stuff like that. I probably won't have time.
Is there anyone you'd like to collaborate with?
I mean, it'd be cool to collaborate with whatever Swedish people made that Britney Spears record [Miike Snow], that or a hip-hop producer. John Fogerty or Meredith Monk would probably be my people that I would like to try and do something with. And John Frusciante would be pretty sweet as well.
What's been inspiring you lately?
I like spending time alone to write and I need those meaningful experiences whatever they may be. That's one thing that I'm a little intimidated about. A) If you're on the road all the time you don't have a lot of time alone, and B), I don't want to make a record about making a record. Musically, I want to make music about music, but I don't really wanna write a record about making a record.
What's next for you?
What I would like to do is I would like to do music for a bit but I'd also would like to kind of branch out into other things or be able to pursue a lot of my interests like writing, installations, film -- different types of performance. I'd love to curate things, so it'd be cool to curate some festivals, curate some shows and do different sorts of art in there as well. I don't know exactly what that will mean, but I want to keep that avenue open for myself.
Would you like to score films?
I'd rather direct or edit the movie or act in it. Music is cool but it's just one avenue for telling stories and performing. That's my motivation. Yeah, I love music, but I don't know if I'm a musician. I'm like a conduit of ideas. I just sit around and come up with ideas all day and I'd like to put some of them into practice.
Do you keep notebooks?
I've got them. All sorts of crazy stuff in there. I also like working with kids.
Is there anything else you want to get off your mind?
I just want to let people know that even if the record somehow seems dark, I have a self-awareness and sense of humor about these things. I don't know if it comes across. Everyone's like, "It's doom and gloom," and I'm like, "What do you mean? It's catchy. I'm coming from a noise background. What do you mean? There's hooks there."