Atlantic Records electronic press kit
April 9, 1998
Cornwall January '98
The new record was made here in Cornwall. We started recording in October '97 and we're mixing right now.
The new album is called From the Choirgirl Hotel.
It felt like all these songs were different beings. I just saw some of them in room 13 and I saw some of them answering the phone, and it became very much like a traveling group of, I don't know, wanton women, I guess.
And I feel like these songs are, they're a bit of a group. You know, some are altos and some wear leather. And some are sopranos and they only eat meat. And some, you know, some don't like men and some just adore men. And some aren't interested in anything but, you know, reading, and they became very much like entities.
The difference in this record is, I had such an amazing time playing live with the players. All my other records, for the most part, I would do the piano first and then all the other instruments would kind of have to fit in around her -- a very self-involved way of doing things. But this time I surrendered a lot more than I have before, and wanted to. I wanted it to be more of a relationship between me and the other musicians instead of them coming afterwards and me not being able to really interact with them as a player.
George Porter, Jr. again has played on the record, who I call the Father of Funk. Matt Chamberlain played drums. Justin from Beck. I met Justin a few years ago when he was playing with another band, before he got the Beck gig. When I saw him play, I knew that I wanted to play with him at some point. So, this opportunity, we put it out there and he came. So, he and George really share the record. It's very different, what they add. They're such unique players and from such different worlds.
It is really based around a band now. The piano has, she's accepted that she's not in the front anymore. She knows that she has to share the stage, and she's doing it, she's doing it.
When you hear the record, it's very different than the other records. The sound, every detail of it, is so much a part of it. How the piano is integrated with the drums... It's really not like a record I've made before. It's definitely plugged, this record. And "Playboy Mommy" is kinda the closest thing I can do (solo).
In “Playboy Mommy” I’m much more voluptuous, you know, but I’m allowed to do that because I’m the writer, so I can make myself that way. And I saw myself in a different way than I am – with a thirteen year old daughter. And I saw that mother/daughter relationship of just not being enough. I saw my mother, you know. I saw how I felt when I was... not ashamed, but that moment of, “Why couldn’t you be the thing that I want you to be?” and realized that I would probably have that experience with my own daughter.
Sometimes I feel like I become the male figure for my girlfriends, and so it's unfortunate that I can’t be a man because I think I’d be in love with all of them. But it’s not my inclination and yet, I love them very much. So, this song is about: “Things are getting desperate when all the boys cant be men, everybody knows I’m her friend, everybody knows I’m her man.” And, well, they love it when I sing it to them.
"Northern Lad" is probably the love song on the record. You gotta have one of those, I guess, on every record. Yeah, I know a Northern lad.
“iieee” has a Native American influence in it, when you hear the rhythm. And yet, there’s a little of that New Mexican, driving in an old dilapidated Mustang, and you’re just on your own, and you drive for days and days and days, and you think you’re at the end of the earth, and it’s just you. And I think that feeling -- “iieee” is very much about dying and about sacrifices.
I have an amazing team that's doing the production. I'm producing with some great engineers and a very good chef.
I've arrived here with loads of Nurofen. As you can see on the desk, we have the 400s because nothing less works. And at this point, I'm at mixing stage. My crew has fled. They've all gone for two hours, so you don't get to see them. But I work with a team of people. I couldn't do it without them.
This is the second time I've produced. The first time I did it, I swore I'd never do it again. And, of course, here I am doing it again.
Well, when I'm facing this board. I love this board, obviously. It's our board. But my crew has put a dollar on it and called it a turkey. So, if you can see the dollar bill. It's been acting up. I mean, I adore it but, as with anything, it takes such patience.
Strong points of production, from my end, are trying to hear the soul of the song and to put aside any logical argument. I work on instinct. Music is, obviously, it's etheric and you can't touch it. But in the mixing, I'm very much about, it has to become visual, it has to translate on that level. Now, obviously it'll translate to you differently that it will to me, but I feel if I'm seeing a picture, you'll see your own picture. But at least it'll go into that realm.
I tour every other year to keep myself in shape because I hate working out so much. So, I think we'll do about two hundred shows.
I'm pretty ruthless about the live show. It's my background. I was playing live since the beginning.
I was holding on for so long to the fact that I had to be loyal to the piano. I mean, I really was her lover. And once I really understood that she and I had made a pact -- ever since I was a little girl, I had a commitment to this instrument -- I wanted to bring it into this medium. Not just classical music or jazz, but to bring it in to where they plug in at 118 decibals, and have an impact. Well, we did that. So, I could let that go.
Now, it was very much about, "Let's play with other musicians. We don't have to be so isolated. We don't have to prove anything now. And we're lonely. I was actually really lonely. So, my crew became my band -- 35 of them. And when I decided to have a band, they just kind of integrated into the crew. So, it's the next step, for me.
There are not a lot of bands that I hear that blow me away, the playing. You know, words like "wow." I've just heard music played live and I didn't miss the record. I love the record, but it's a different experience. And this is translating, it's about musicians who can really interact.
Hopefully, the production is really, if you're into that sort of thing, you can put your headphones on and be entertained for hours if you're bored. You know, what the reverb on the guitar is doing it, or whatever that might excite you, for those people that are into that, hopefully it will sound effortless.
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