2002, Ottobre, Milano, Italy
Interviewer: Ferruccio Filippi
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When and why did you begin to play music?
How is it that in the stampede for genius, the age one began is getting younger? Soon we will be reading: “When I was a premature baby I played a trumpet that fell into my crib”. Actually, as a little girl I just made up songs in the bath, swishing a mermaid doll through a cave of bubbles and flicking my sister with a flannel – I think the song ended with her screaming.
Which kind of feelings do you want to communicate to the listeners ? Which are the considerations (and the states of mind) that make you write this kind of music?
“Follow your bliss”, said the anthropologist Joseph Campbell – that’s all I’m doing.
In which way did Shakespeare’s text inspire you?
Shakespeare’s writing inspires me with its visual imagery, humour, insight, vivid characters and the poetic sound of the language. Further, his plays are steeped in enchantment, from the elemental Ariel in The Tempest, to mischievous Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mercutio’s speech on Mab in Romeo and Juliet, or the wild witches of Macbeth.
Your music is a mix between acoustic and electric sounds. Do you use a lot of technology to obtain this mix?
Often, yes. I am no purist. When the first human stretched an animal skin over a hollow log, perhaps some people sneered “hey, that’s cheating!”…?
Your music has both traditional and modern elements. Did you do a balance between them?
Initially I compose with voice, guitar, mandolin or keyboard… Later sometimes hire sessionists. I like to experiment with things lying around: quills from birds, a spinning marble in a perfume jar, a chime made from broken jewelry… strumming with a book, fish-net and gloves.
My favourite songs in Ariel album are: ‘Blackbird’, ‘Nobelius’ garden’ and ‘The Seagiant’. Could you tell me anything more about them?
In ‘Blackbird’ a woman summons the little vagabond to steal her soul away. Nobelius is the creator of a garden at Emerald Lake: amber and chestnut mingle with eucalyptus and native fern. ‘The Seagiant’ came to me in the arms of my first love as he drifted into dreaming.
Why did you choose this kind of artwork? Is it related to the content of the album?
It portrays my song ‘Alice in the Garden of Live Flowers’, inspired by Lewis Carroll. Its painter Karan Wicks is the girlfriend of Sean Bowley, whose studio we were using at the time. In his humour, Sean reminds me of the Mad Hatter. Siamese cats roamed through his studio with eyes like glass moons, while Karan painted me a giant teapot of the Cheshire Cat… Another design feature (in the French edition) is the blue fairy. This is the art of Sabine-Adelaide at Prikosnovenie.
How did these songs work on stage and did they fill into your existing live repertoire?
My songs fit well into a stage show with a small group. The problem is that the show does not fit easily into my life… geographic isolation is a frustration…