Gino DePinto, AOL Marketa Irglova first wowed the world in 2006, when she…
- Posted on Oct 12th 2011 4:00PM by Cameron Matthews
"I was living in Ireland in this house by the sea in the middle of nowhere. It was really good for me because I was really busy with the Swell Season and being on tour and I was always surrounded by people," Irglova tells Spinner. "When I came home, being alone was exactly what I needed. Then there came a time when I knew that the Swell Season wasn't going to tour for a while, and I felt that I didn't want to stop making music."
Irglova began making demo tapes at home but craved a solid backing band, something she wasn't going to find in a small village by the ocean. "I thought of all the cities that I liked and where I would be comfortable moving and New York just seemed to be the answer to that question. I woke up one morning in my house and was like 'I need to move to New York.'"
With one suitcase in tow, the singer flew to the Big Apple where she caught Swell Season saxophonist Jake Clemons' jazz set at Brooklyn's Zora Art Space. "It was one of those magical evenings where I met people who became really important to me. It seems like it was meant to be." From there, she became fast friends with the space's owner Zohreh Shayesteh and Persian percussionist Aida Shahghasemi, both of whom would influence the album immensely.
Eventually, a painting at one of the studio's exhibitions caught Irglova's eye. "I walked into the gallery and saw this beautiful painting of a pomegranate," she says. "I bought it and contacted the painter to see if I could use it for my front cover." The album's title then came about randomly while Irglova was spending time with Shayesteh and Aida Shahghasemi.
"[They said] 'Let's go buy some anar,' and I said 'What?' and they told me it meant pomegranates [in Persian]," she says. "I thought that was such a perfect word for it, such a nice way to name the record. Pomegranates are really mysterious because they kind of look like not much on the outside and then you open them up and it's this treasure of rubies."
'Anar' certainly embodies a "more than meets the eye" quality. Melding her Czech upbringing with Hansard's Irish-pop influence, songs like 'Go Back' and 'Crossroads' start out as meditative progressions before turning into horn-laden jams. But for Irglova, there's one major difference between this and her Swell Season writing.
"[Glen and I] worked really well in terms of balancing our energy, the balance and harmony of the feminine and masculine energy," she says. "I tend to write from a more feminine place, like softer. I like music that's more soothing and harmonious whereas Glen, as much as he's really good at that too, can be really passionate and fiery and dynamic. I love that about him. I thought that when we came together, we complemented and completed one another musically.
"With this record I feel like it's much more feminine. It's definitely lacking a masculine aspect, which is OK because it's its own thing and I couldn't create whatever Glen added to the music myself. I'm OK with making something completely different."
Irglova recorded most of 'Anar' in snowy Chicago with her husband, producer and sound engineer Tim Iseler. "I feel really blessed to be playing music and traveling with both my husband and my best friend. It's really nice to have all these mutual memories and experiences."
From a young indie-film starlet to a married solo singer, Irglova has come a long way musically and mentally. After years of touring and recording she now knows how to keep it all sane. "With this lifestyle you can't ever really predict too far ahead. It's nice though, because it forces you to be in the moment and enjoy whatever's happening right now."
Speaking of right now, Irglova is currently on tour supporting 'Anar,' out now via Anti Records.