Jul 7, 2011

*HIP/STER/EO Interview: Eleanor Friedberger

Some voices soar and inspire torrents of praise, praise which itself soars to lofty heights, and others seem so unfettered, so natural that the 'playing' is mostly ignored until the 'instrument' itself grabs your ear. Eleanor Friedberger is unquestionably the latter, with her sing-song, talk-sing style, it's the crisp, dry enunciation and complex timbre of her vocal that wins over those lucky enough to listen.

Last summer Eleanor Friedberger took a step towards musical independence when she fleshed out a series of demos with the assistance of Eric Broucek (pictured left with Eleanor), who produced and mixed. The record is more or less a mood piece inspired by her memories of a more naive-self moving to New York about 10 years ago. As she herself said in a recent interview with the NY Times Popcast: "... the album is really about reminiscing and memories."

Standout tracks (so far): "My Mistakes", "Heaven", "Roosevelt Island", and "I Won't Fall Apart On You Tonight". There is some great summer pop on this album, stream the songs below via NPR.

Here Eleanor answers a few questions which makes her the first interview to appear here on *HIP/STER/EO!

Alan Williamson: I heard you say that this record was made in much the same way that Fiery Furnaces records are made. In that they are pieced together in the studio, what I've never heard is how you work up your vocals. I know of many singers who will record their vocals over and over trying to hit on what works best, how do you decide which vocal take is the one to go with?

Eleanor Friedberger: Since I made demos for all the songs, I had already worked out how the vocals would go. By the time I got into the studio I knew exactly what I wanted and just did a handful of takes and then went through them line by line, “comping” the best ones. It’s very tedious, but if you know how it should sound, it’s a lot easier. Usually it’s just taking out a word that’s not in tune and replacing with one that is. The delivery was more part of the songwriting process. “My Mistakes” was a song I sang all the way through; it was more about the feeling of the performance. But a song like “Heaven”, was sung on a loop until I had perfect takes.

AW: What, of your first experience writing and recording a solo record, would prompt you to do another one?

Eleanor: Everything about it, really; I learned so much. I can’t wait to record another album, not necessarily to fix what wasn’t right on the first try but to jump off from there. I thought of Last Summer as an experiment or a test, just to see if I could do it. As corny as it sounds, I know my best is yet to come.

AW: Your first solo tour is coming up and that means you've got to come up with a setlist. I wondered which songs from 'Last Summer' would be included, if not all? Could there be any covers or even Fiery Furnaces songs in the set?

Eleanor: I’ll be playing all the songs on the album, with maybe the exception of "Owl’s Head Park" for now. But the set will depend on whether I’m playing with a band or on my own. For instance, I would play “One-Month Marathon” solo, but not “Roosevelt Island.” I’ll definitely play a few Fiery Furnaces songs and a few brand new songs I’m really excited about.

The album will be out July 12th thanks to Merge Records.

Tour Dates:
Jul 11 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
Jul 12 Washington, DC Black Cat Backstage
Jul 14 Cambridge, MA Lizard Lounge
Jul 16 New York, NY South Street Seaport - The Village Voice / 4Knots Festival
Jul 19 Toronto, ON Horseshoe Tavern
Jul 20 Chicago IL The Hideout
Jul 23 Portland, OR Neumo's Crystal Ball - Capitol Hill Block Party
Jul 24 Seattle, WA Doug Fir Lounge
Jul 26 San Francisco, CA Hotel Utah Saloon
Jul 27 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite
Au 22 New York NY Webster Hall w/ Deerhunter
Au 23 New York NY Webster Hall w/ Deerhunter

Read more about Eleanor Friedberger on *HIP/STER/EO

Stream 'Last Summer' Via NPR.

» Launch/PopUp NPR Player

No comments: