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Thank you for spending a few minutes with us.
But I do want to know about the new album, of the songs,
"Mass Education."
Was it the plan all along to do this?
Well, as far as the faux press conference
that we did to introduce "Mass Seduction," originally
the idea was I'm going to save some time.
I'm going to imagine what people might ask,
and then I'm going to just do it in front of a green screen
so that people will be able to just insert their own graphics.
And it'll be like, oh.
Look she was in Dubai doing this interview.
But then as we started actually doing it--
I wrote it with my good friend Carrie Brownstein--
it just ended up being complete satire.
So it was funny to see how many people--
journalists-- were terrified after that.
And I was like, no, I'm just having a joke.
It's a little joke.
But the inspiration for "Mass Education"--
this is kind of solipsistic-- but it was "Mass Seduction"
was the inspiration.
I just-- one of my good friends, Thomas Bartlett,
is a beautiful piano player.
And he really introduced me to my people in New York.
He was one of the first people I met,
and I got to just get to know downtown
characters and great artists and writers and freaks and weirdos.
And I finally found my place.
But we'd never played music together.
And so I just asked him if we could play these songs.
I wasn't sure if it would be properly released.
I just knew that as a culmination
of having written all the songs on "Mass Seduction"
that I wanted to calcify them just for myself
and getting to just live in them for a second with him
and perform them live with him and a piano.
Well, "Mass Seduction" was one of my favorite albums
of the last couple of years.
It's amazing, but as a fan of things that are just
stripped down to either a piano or acoustic guitar and a voice,
it was really exciting when I heard you were doing it.
And I'm really excited to hear what you do with the title
track "Mass Seduction" because I'm having such a hard time
with my tiny musical brain imagining
how you broke it down.
Because that sound sounds like Prince and Bowie had a baby.
Oh, thanks, love them.
And so how did you--
how did you do that one?
How did we do any of it?
Truthfully, we didn't talk about what we're going to do.
We just-- I said, hey, can we block out
a couple of days in the studio.
It was me and Thomas, who's at the grand piano.
I was on a couch in the fetal position.
And our friend and mix engineer was in the booth.
And we would just--
Thomas would listen to the song really
quickly, go, oh, I got it, not practice anything.
Just make sure you have the changes
and then we would go in and record two maybe three
passes of the song and pick the best one and that's it.
That's how it happened?
That's-- yeah, it was the quickest recording process
I've ever done.
It's just like what feels like magic in this moment.
When did the ghost walk through the room as they say.
And we're going to use that one.
It was magic.
That was it.
It was right.
It was just everything was right.
Well, thanks for letting me ask those inspiration
behind the album questions.
Totally fine.
Well, the inspiration on the album is my other album.
The album, yes.
So if we're talking about that then--
Yeah, that's easy enough to answer.
I'd really [INAUDIBLE].
So I want to talk a little bit about guitar
because you're such an amazing guitar
player, and me and friend on the team,
we were geeking out watching some of your greatest
little moments.
So-- oh, and I just sat with another fellow guitar
wizard who doesn't play with a pick, Mr. Lindsey Buckingham.
Oh, he's so great.
He's amazing, so I dove into his solo career to meet with him.
But-- yeah, I just--
I guess the question is how do you develop that style where
it's different and it's unique, yet you can pretty much
do everything.
How'd you develop?
Well, my Uncle Tuck Andress is a brilliant finger style jazz
guitar player, so I would grow up--
I was on tour with them a lot, and I would watch him play.
And he's all finger style.
He can play with a pick, but he is just this, like that,
all this crazy right hand technique.
And so I think that part of it was watching him,
and then I also think there's just something
genetic in our musculature or something
where we'll even do some of the same things.
And I think it's not from having watched him,
but just we will both--
when we play extreme vibrato-- will shake our heads like this
as if that's controlling that.
And then-- but then I also--
I just love music, so I played and--
I played bass in metal bands growing up.
I played noise bands whereas if your hand isn't
bloody by the time you walk off the stage,
you did not play well enough.
I had Freddie Green jazz phase, just went all over the place
with the style and learning different kinds of music.
And then the other thing is sometimes just not--
the guitar is mysterious to me in a lot of different ways
but one of which is that sometimes I just reach
for things and I don't know what they're going to sound like.
You just kind of decide to jump off the roof
and hope that you land on solid ground.
And if you don't, that's interesting, too.
Don't you think that you have to have
the technical proficiency and the background
to be able to take those leaps?
I don't know.
As far as guitar playing goes, some of my favorite guitar
players are so technically proficient--
the Hendrixes and the Marc Ribots or--
but there's-- but there's some of my guitar--
favorite guitar players are also terrible guitar
whatever that maybe a super guitar
nerd would go, ooh, he or she can't play,
but that's not the point.
The point is what are they saying
and how does it make you feel.
Some of my favorite guitar solos are one note.
Argue with the solo and rip it up
and start again or argue with Neil Young solo--
That's what I was going to say, Neil Young,
just riding that note.
"Down by the Water."
That works.
That absolutely works.
So like anything, it's not about how many notes you play
or what you're able to do.
It's about what you're able to express.
Well, thank you for taking a few minutes out
of your busy schedule--
Thank you.
To come talk a little music with us.
My pleasure.
This was fun.
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St Vincent | Today in Music | Amazon Music

3 Folder Collection
Cornershop published on May 31, 2020
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