Saturday, November 5, 2011

Show Preview - Interview - Rachael Yamagata - Club Cafe - 11.5.11 - Concert Preview

Rachael Yamagata will be performing this evening at Club Cafe. She is touring behind her new album Chesapeake which was just released this past October. In order to create the LP Yamagata teamed up with PledgeMusic, the leading international direct-to-fan platform for musicians raising funds to record and tour. This was a major departure from her having previously release her albums on major labels. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on her way to the burgh about Chesapeake, PledgeMusic and why she dedicated her life to music.

You just released your latest LP Chesapeake. I read that you had a different approach to this album from your past ones. Could you explain? How much did others contribute? Was there a sound you were trying to achieve?

We recorded the record much faster than I ever have before. All basic tracking was done in seven days. We were in a house, basically camping out with each other and tracking as a full band for most every song. The group of musicians were integral in how this record developed in that we were our own guides in every aspect. Song choices, arrangements etc were all based on how much inspiration we could find with one another. I wasn't going for any particular sound, but was strategic in the musicians that were in the room. I knew the combination of what each person could bring to the table in terms of style, ideas and vibe would be a great mix.

To help fund the new album you used Pledgemusic. Why did you choose this method? How did it workout for you? How did you decide what to give to those who pledged? 

I knew I needed to raise funds to make the record and tour behind it so started thinking of different options.  A few of my peers had suggested Pledge to me from past campaigns they had run. Most of the majority of the musicians on the record also knew of the folks running Pledge and raved about them. At some point the folks running the company also reached out and spoke in a way about me and my music that really felt in line with how I wanted to continue as an artist. The idea of engaging fans in the very process of making the record, showing behind the scenes of how tracking developed etc seemed so great to me. The system is really meant to have direct contact with the fans and have a mutually beneficial situation result. They want me to keep making music and were integral in helping me do so. I chose the incentives based on what I thought might be interesting as if I were a fan hoping to receive from an artist.

You recently released a Covers EP. How did you go about choosing the songs? Why did you decide to cover the ones you did?

Actually, it isn't officially released yet. It was part of the pledge campaign and available only to them if they chose it as an incentive. I'd always loved the 10CC song 'I'm not in love' and Mike Viola and I found this incredible vintage drum loop from an organ and just started messing around with it. It came about pretty organically. 'At 17' by Janis Ian has also been one of my favorites and I've always wanted to do up a version. 'Meeting Across the River' by Bruce Springsteen was something that my friend Helen turned me onto. Really love the laid back nature of how it came out.

This was a more diy route than your past albums. How did this experience compare? How have the results been?

The amount of work can be at times intimidating and yet the results are so much more gratifying. They all feel very tangible from the first intention to fruition and gone are the days of waiting for answers or changed schedules because some level of approval didn't go through. After the frustration of not being able to release a record in three years within the label system, it's empowering to have gotten everything realized for this one in about four months.

How have your fans reacted to the new record? What is the response like?

So far the reactions have been truly great. Each show we play seems to have more people who know the songs..

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

When I saw the first band I joined 'Bumpus' at a show in Chicago and just marveled at their electric energy onstage. All I knew was I wanted to be up there with them even if just to bang on a tambourine.

How do you go about creating your music? Are all your lyrics personally written by you?

I just try and catch the inspiration when it strikes. I do a lot of watching and observing as well. Unless it's a co-write, all lyrics are by me.

What would you like to accomplish with your next project? Are there any goals you have?

My focus now is really to just continue making records, releasing them quickly and tour as much as I can.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I'm super excited to play these songs for Pittsburgh and can't wait to see everyone... 

The show begins at 9p with doors at 8p. More information can be found here.

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