But, it turned out that Annie prefers actual talk to typing so we arranged for a cell to cell meeting.
It took me three tries to actually get Annie Clark on the phone. I kept getting her answering machine, and while under normal circumstances I would have gladly left her a voicemail, I read somewhere that she is petrified of checking her messages (an unreasonable fear we share! we are bound to be friends-I told myself) so I just kept calling.
Eventually, when we landed (my) voice to (her crystal clear) voice, it turns out she was in the middle of an interview that ended up running long and apologized for that. I asked her : “How often do you give interviews?” and she said: “Not very often, today must be my lucky day” and I pinky swore not to ask her at what age she started playing the guitar (look it up, if you care).
And off we went.
BYT: Annie, how ARE you?
Annie Clark: I am WELL. A little hungry, and…
BYT: On the road?
Annie:Yes! We’ve headed out again a week a go, and thus far its going great.
BYT: You’re playing both the a church, the Warhol Museum AND a dirty rock club in DC in just a four day time span, do you prefer one over the other, over the other?
Annie: Well, naturally all of them have their own advantages, like actually SEEING the art before you play and the interesting acoustics and …. but you know, you have to try and make the most of what is out there…. I really liked RNR hotel though…
BYT: It’s a cool place
Annie: I mean, it has hands down one of the coolest band rooms ever. With these giant paintings of…
BYT: Mao, I know. You gotta love your propaganda!
Annie: Definitely, the only problem with playing DC is not having enough time to see anything and worrying about your van being stolen. But…we’re willing to take our risk…(laughs)
|BYT: We’re glad. So, I read somewhere you named your album after
“Arrested Development”. How did that come about? Do people get really disspointed when they discover that “Marry me” wasn’t just a love song to someone, but a tongue-so-deep-in-cheek-it-may-as-well-be-in-between-teeth-reference?
Annie: Ha, well, no one has told me they’re disappointed yet, which I think is a good sign. But you never know what people expect…BYT: Right, a pretty girl, a romantic song title. I remember being surprised with how dark and layered the material really was…
Annie: Yeah, I mean, people come up to me and say they’re surprised I can play the guitar. And play it well.
BYT: Why? Because being a girl means you don’t have ten fingers and a good ear?
BYT: So, someone actually proposed to their girlfriend at the Rosebuds show at RNR hotel a few weeks back…Has this happened to you during the “Marry me” tour?
Annie: Actually it did! This very sweet man in Boston wrote to me through my blog and asked if he could do this… so I said: SURE! and he came up on stage and sang the first chorus, though he (thankfully) replaced the name “John” with his girlfriend’s name. And she even said YES!
BYT: Oh man, did you choke up? I would have choked up
Annie It was definitely special. He was a pretty good singer too.
BYT: And presumably did not know the Maeby Bluth origins of the song
Annie: (laughs) Probably not. Hopefully not.
BYT: So, I read 800 interviews with you and they all talk about you playing with Sufjan and The Polyphonic Spree. And not a single one asked you HOW did you end up playing with them….I mean, as an experience and pedigree it sounds awesome, but how does exactly one get to do that? I mean, you’re so young…..
Annie Ha, I don’t know, am I? I am starting to feel old.
|BYT: Quarter life crisis. Its a bitch…when you stope being the youngest person in the room….
Annie:BY FAR!BYT: But still, very young, so tell us, tell us…how did you hook up with those folks?
Annie Well, I played all my life, and actually toured with my aunt and uncle (who are jazz musicians) ever since I was 16 so I’ve been around musicians for a while and then …. I left Texas (Annie is a native of Dallas-ed) and moved to New York for a bit, and then it was time to come back. And one of my friends was like: “The Polyphonic spree is auditioning!” so I went over there, played some stuff. That was on a Tuesday. By Saturday I was touring Europe….
BYT: And Sufjan…
BYT: OOOOOH, I interviewed her a few months back, she was great
BYT: How different was it to bust out on your own after being part of such MASSIVE bands, both popularity and size wise?
Annie: I mean, I am not going to lie….they were all great people but it is a completely different feeling to be able to do exactly what you want to do, and not be a tool for someone else’s vision…
BYT: Nicely, put. Speaking of doing exactly what you want to do…are you working on any next stuff?
Annie Oh definitely….
……(shuffle, break, “What kind of bread do you want that on?”, followed by “Does that have bacon on it?”)……
Annie: Sorry about that, I am at Subway
Annie: It lunch time. We’ve been eating Subway for days now… I am so excited about this sandwich….Oh wait, where were we? The new record! Yes.
BYT: I hate interrupting people’s nourishment. I promise there aren’t many more questions coming…
Annie: OOOH, its ok. I AM writing. Slowly. I hope to have a new record early next year, but, you know, you never know…
|BYT: Is it shaping up to be similar or…is there anything you’ve been reading to or listening lately that is sort of changing the writing perspective..
Annie: I think it’ll be quite different. (laughs) Whether this is for better or worse, I don’t know, but it will be. And I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway. Which is someone I’ve had a lot of problems with when I was younger.
BYT: Oh, I know, I hater him in high school. A little too masculine, and straightforward. Just not overwrought enough for my taste then…
Annie: You should try it now. I found myself so much more into him, now that I am older.
BYT: The things the quarter life crisis will do to you…
(we both laugh)
BYT: Any other things? I sort of wanted to do a “FAVORITES” list, since you come off as such a cool customer in all the interviews, you could share some of the stuff that make your taste buds excited these days. Aside from that sandwich, of course
Annie: Fire Away
BYT: Ok, song that makes you happy:
Annie: Robert Wyatt “Rock Bottom”, not necessarily a song TO make you happy, but a song that I am happy TO hear.
BYT: Fair enough, and a song that would make you cry….
Annie: That would be Robert Wyatt’s “Rock Bottom”
(we both laugh)
BYT: Do you ever listen to any of your own songs…?
Annie: NEVER! I mean, that would be just weird…. you go to a party, and someone starts playing St. Vincent. I’d hide
BYT: (laughing) So, this is going well, how about some movies….
Annie: Oh man, well, I can watch “Stardust Memories” and “Annie Hall” on repeat.
BYT: A Woody Allen fan?
Annie: Definitely! And a Dianne Keaton fan. Have you seen this movie she directed called “Heaven”? You have to. And I’d recommend “The Piano Teacher” though that’s a movie to just see once.
BYT: That movie kills me. Someone actually just wrote it up in their “Valentine’s Day Movie” article, and I was kind of like…wtf?
Annie: Definitely NOT a date movie. But really good movie.
BYT: That’s what I said… I mean, you see that with a date….
Annie: Actually, you see that and double book it with Haneke’s “Funny Games” and watch it all go awry
BYT: Pretty soul destroying.
Annie: Yes, the question WAS “Soul destroying movies”, wasn’t it?
BYT: (laughing) Definitely seems like it
Annie They’re making an english language remake of it. I am both afraid and excited to see it.
BYT: I know. Actually, they’re having a Haneke retrospective in DC right now. Too bad you’re not staying a few days
(sounding somewhat unconvinced)
BYT: But, at least you’ll save your soul. Just 2 more questions, and then its sandwich time
BYT: If you had a dinner party of your dreams, who would you invite?
Annie: TOO MANY CHOICES. Probably Somerset Maughm, maybe Oscar Wilde for post-dinner dirty jokes, maybe Igor Stravinsky, though he’d probably be all carmudgeony and drunk in a corner most of the night…..
BYT: All excellent choices…
Annie: And Miranda July!
BYT: Oh man! I love her
Annie: Is she not the greatest. I just met her the other day.
BYT: YOU DID? I am so jealous right now, I cannot even speak. Was she wonderful?
Annie: SHE WAS. So sweet, and quiet but….
BYT: A powerhouse
Annie: Yes! We only met for a few minutes though, so I’d invite her to dinner to talk some more.
BYT: I know someone who had tea with her and it is basically the bane of my existence, the fact that I never did
Annie: I want to have tea with Miranda too!
BYT: Well, if I ever go, I promise to invite you.
BYT: Ok, and finally,before we have Miranda file restraining orders, we do this song review thing, where we send a song to my co-editor’s Mom
Annie: Oh my God, that is so cute…
BYT: We like to think so…non-target audiences and whatnot. Anyway, you have to pick a song. And bear in mind that this is a sweet South Carolina lady, who loves her children and her church….
Annie: I’m gonna pick “Marry me”. Oh wait…she may find that offensive…but then, I STILL want to pick “Marry me”
BYT: Good choice…you have to take some chances.
so here goes:
Here goes….I liked the composition, the music, and the beat of the song….would give it 4 stars. I always am disturbed by lyrics that don’t make sense to me. That is something that is important to me in my assessment of a song. Overall, however, it did sound a bit “Norah Jones” like, so it was appealing…..like that soft, sweet easy sound.
P.S. When do you go back to the doctor this week?