Ok, kids, the new Death Valley High EP, “Duel”, is slowly being rolled out and all the songs are covers and duets and collaborations. You’ll find yours truly facing off with the band on the romantic “The Crab Song” by Faith No More. Pre-order the album on Apple music here >
…there was a little, little old woman who lived in a little, little old cottage with a mischievous little cat...
My mother used to read to me old Swedish storybooks and funnily enough Elsa Beskow’s “The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman” was the lyrical inspiration my song “Maggie” (For Blood and Wine, 2010):
I had a little secret I kept to myself. In a little black room, in a little black house.
But inspiration had also come from somewhere else. Namely, the cat that belonged to my nephews named Maggie. Like the cat in Beskow’s book, Maggie got out one day and had become lost. My sister and I told the little boys that Maggie had gone to live with another family and I suppose I wrote the song to soften the blow of the beloved missing cat. My boyfriend at the time helped me record the children’s version – sadly, several years later he fell victim to heroin. I think the song portrays the unbearable seclusion and darkness that it brought. Like Maggie, my boyfriend was also… lost. I found it difficult to cope.
It’s not a sweet or funny tale by any means. It’s one that still haunts me. I tell it because people often think inspiration comes directly from other music. No. It comes from those who are in our hearts and minds. The romantic loves, the little kids you play Lego with… and of course, your pets.
And Maggie climbs trees and hunts for little mice, but I like Maggie best when she cuddles at night.
I’m sorry if this somehow changes your view on such a dark song. I never was easy with how the rock audience seemed to desire so much doom and gloom when all I was ever really interested in was connecting and staying connected to those whom I loved.
Flowers have been a great part of my musical art and indeed, often have crept into my songs: “White Henry in my hair and Sapporo Lily in my hand”. I have always studied their meanings and used them to inspire my work. More recently I’ve begun watercolors while sitting in the Jardin des Plantes here in Paris. A series of my collage-d art have come together in products line now available on-demand at Society 6.
Working Cellista, cellist and composer, has always been enormously fun and inspiring. Lots of talk about the architecture of sound, poetry, philosophy, delivery of one’s part – in between laughter and black tea. Her work isn’t limited to any one genre. Does not bend to convention. It’s truly free to be reckless as well as academic. It assembles many art forms in performance (I.E.: Dance, theater – Cellista herself is not limited to sitting quietly at the cello and she may stand or dance as well). I encourage you all to open up to what music and performance art can be.
Hear Cellista’s most recent album here: Transfiguration by Cellist available here >
We talk a lot about music, but do we talk about sound? Pleasing sounds? The details of sounds that surround us? I like to dial-in to what’s clacking and crackling around me. It’s wonderful, of course, to take scenic photos of your last vacation. When you’re snapping along – do you think about what you’re hearing as well? That beautiful church cathedral probably has an amazing echo. The limestone bricks under your dress shoe souls make an interesting tone, no? Doesn’t sound help us define depth and space?
The various waves of noise mixed in with fragrances from flowers or smokestacks always enchant me. So, as is often the case, when traveling, I record bits and pieces of things I hear and later, assemble a little collage for later. Interestingly enough I can visualize so much of what I saw just by listening.
So with that, here’s a souvenir from Venice beginning with the showstopping air-conditioners at the museum (and I’m not kidding, they were worth the price of admission) …