Friday, June 06, 2008

A Fine Frenzy interview

A Fine Frenzy Interview

A Fine Frenzy's debut record, One Cell In The Sea, has been something of a phenomenon, catapulting it's lead singer, Alison Sudol, into the limelight. The 22 year old singer-songwriter has just returned to her native LA after touring Europe with her band. Before that they were headlining the USA for the first time. She takes a moment out of her recovery time to talk to About The Music.

How was the tour?

We have been on tour for 6 weeks in Europe going everywhere, and before we went to Europe we had just finished our headlining tour in the US. When I'm on the road I'm living on adrenaline, seeing new places and meeting new people. But when on tour I also think back and miss the mundane things in life, like I was thinking about how nice it would be to do the dishes! I've realised again that the dishes are pretty over-rated.

Now I have got home I cleared my diary so I could have some time to relax and read a book, but I've found it difficult to do nothing after the exhilarating tour. I've been very restless. I think I thrive from being busy.

How did you find Europe?

It was our 4th tour in Europe. The people there were, as always, so welcoming. It is amazing that they can sing along with me, knowing all the words to the songs - and they don't even speak English! I find that incredible, I don't think I could sing along in a foreign language.

How did AFF get started?

Well I've been making music since I was 11, and writing songs since I was 15. I've always felt connected to music, the way it can take you to another place and absorb you in its story. I found it a wonderful way to express myself, in a way no other medium could do. 

I wrote Almost Lover [From One Cell In The Sea] when I was 19 years old. I taught myself to play the piano and that was the first song I wrote using the piano. It was a real turning point for me. Almost Lover was this song that was completelymine about how I was feeling. From then on I really wanted to get going and write more songs. 

When people hear the songs that you've written it's a real thrill, the final part of the artistic process.

Almost Lover feels markedly different to the other songs on One Cell In The Sea, much less oblique and more honest. Is that a deliberate to move away from exposing yourself?

Almost Lover was at one point very difficult for me to play but I really believe in that song and in music. I think that you have to be honest for people to be able to connect with it. If people don't understand, and can't connect with my music then I may as well quit.

As I grew up and immersed myself in the novels of CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll and others who use fables and allegory, the easier I found it to write in images. I think that when you speak in stories and images it makes it easier for others to connect with, so that is how I try to write now.
What do you think of Pullman and The Northern Lights Trilogy?
I haven't read it actually. I really should but I haven't got around to it yet.

I hear you're writing a book?

Yeah that's right. It's a young adult fiction book, in the style of Narnia. I haven't let anybody read it yet. For now it's staying tucked away.
How have you found the last year?
It's been amazing, but I think the universe has been shielding me from it all. I've met so many people, amazing fans. I'm now getting letters and emails from great people.
Tell me about the next record?
The new record is shaping up now. I've written about 10 songs. For the last album I wrote 50 songs and then chose from them. I'm listening to a lot of music which is shaping the record.
You seem to love all the same artists as About The Music, who should we be listening to?
Well, apart from the obvious like Iron and Wine, I love Jose Gonzalez, Camera Obscura and Stranger Than Fiction. I went to see a band last week from Oxford called The Foals, I really liked them. Oh and I love Sufjan Stevens. I saw him in New York, I'm friends with a member of his band and we were walking down the street and we bumped into him and he was wonderful. I love his music.
I heard you were at the New York fashion show. What about modelling?
Oh I could never become a model. I'm 5 foot 6 and clumsy! I find fashion interesting and I'm learning a lot. It's an interesting form of art and at the moment My music is providing interesting opportunities.
But those are all just distractions, music is my real thing. I can never stay away from it for long. I always have a guitar or something nearby so I can sit down and play music.

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