Interview: Eleanor Friedberger

Interview: Eleanor Friedberger

Eleanor Friedbergers album har fået sit navn efter et besøg på en goth disco natklub i Athen. Albummet Rebound rummer flere historier med personlige referencer og melankolske melodier. Den 20. august gæster hun Voxhall, men forinden bringer VINKaarhus dette interview med den New York bosatte sangerinde. Læs med.


When did you realize you wanted to make music? 

“I always had a vivid imagination from a young age. And I am not a musician in a way that I studied music. I was just a kid at the right time: Nirvana came out with their first album in 1991. These were untrained musicians that were making something real. Then I went to college and I had a boyfriend who was in in a band and signed on a real label and went on tour. So it didn’t feel like a fantasy, but something, that I could do. And without having to be very skilled, rock and roll still felt like if you had the real attitude, you could do it. I was always competitive and when I used to see shows my attitude would be like: ‘I could do that!’.  I also grew up in house where music was really appreciated, and my grandmother played music as a job. My brother played music from a very young age and consistently. And when he encouraged me to play myself, it felt very natural. But from a really young age I would only listen to music and pretend to play guitar and sing along to records. It took my a little while to get started myself. My brother bought me a guitar when I was 18, and I started playing. And it wasn’t until I moved to New York when I was almost 24 that I started playing in front of people. “


Where do you find inspiration for your music? Music, movies, literature? 

“Everywhere, I think. Art and music. When I was a kid I was very much intro 1970’s and 1980’s New York movies and thats why I also wanted to move there. I still kind of romanticize that period of time. Now I read more than I did maybe 10 years ago. So I think for writing songs I try to read as much as possible now, which I didn’t do when I was younger. Then it was more about just living and traveling and experiencing as much as possible.  But  I’m constantly taking notes if I hear something interesting or taking photos, and it all kind of seeps in. I also just finished a book of short stories by Dennis Johnson and a book called Astroweek, which is a story about Boston in the 60s.” 


So about your new album, maybe you can tell me a bit about Greece first? 

“My grandparents were born in the US, but the come from very strong greek communities, and my mother is the first person in her entire family to marry someone who isn’t greek. And Greece is a place I’ve been going to a lot the past 20 years for holidays. But maybe 8 years ago I started playing my first shows there and I started making friends there. And Athens was a place I felt very connected to, because it has this special energy. I wanted to spend more time there, so at the end of 2016 I had been touring most of the year, and then the election happened, and a lot people I know felt lost and upset, and the timing was also that I needed to work on new music. So I decided to go to Athens to spend at least a month there, but ended up there for two months forming a band and doing a lot of writing.”


How did you find your new band?

“Just trough friends of friends. I have two close friends, who are brothers. One is a painter and the other is a promotor, and they just introduced me to a ton of people. I had a show booked, and I thought it would be more fun to play with a band than play with myself, and in Athens you can practise in fx an abandoned officebuilbing. So its just cheap to do it there. And it was also  interning to play with somebody who speak another language. For me I liked surrounding myself in a foreign language, trying to figure out what people are talking about.”


Your new album Rebound has received some good reviews. AP wrote that your album has a “charming sound that these days is not easy to find”. What kind of sound, ideas or stories did you have in mind when you made the album? 

“What it turned out to be was a collection of pretty melancholic songs, because I wrote a lot of them on the keyboard and used a drummachine. But it has that kind of pop element, that is a little accidental. But I thought I wanted to make an album that was going to be really loud and agressive because my last album was so calm and groovie, and easy to listen to. I made this record that I thought was the ultimate 70s sing a song writer rock album. And that Is what I had I set out to do. And I felt like ‘Im not going to make a better version of that’. I always think of my natural self as this kind of punk rocker, sloppy and messy. But I guess thats not true. But I ended up just writing a bunch of songs on the keyboard, and I just loved the sound of them. And most of my song are written with someone in mind, someone that I know.”


Have you experienced that someone you know have guessed that a song of yours is about them? 

“Well no, usually its not that obvious. The most obvious example is on the new album and called ‘The Letter’, and it is based on a letter that someone send to me, and the person heard it and wrote me and said ‘Hey, this sounds familiar?’. “


And the album Rebound came to have its title from a fun experience. Can you tell a bit about this? 

“Yes, there is an after hours nightclub in Athens called Rebound. And I have friend, Stella, who is a musician that lives in Athens. And at the beginning of my trip I asked a couple of things that I had to do before I leave. She thought about it for a while and then she said ‘You have to go to Rebound!’ And she described it as a goth-disco place and its only open after 2am on Saturday nights. And on the last Saturday I was in Athens we went with a couple of friends. So it is a nice story because it is a special place. “


Do you have any touring rituals or things you do before you go on stage?

“Well, not really. I like to have a beer og maybe one little taste of tequila. I try not to eat to much and get a little bit exercise and walk around if I have time during the day.. Its just a funny job because your whole day is surrounded by this one hour you spend on stage. “


Last question: If you could choose who would you sing a duet with and what stage/venue would you like to perform at? 

“I think it would be fun to play at Carnegie Hall in New York City, which is the craziest idea! But obviously its a beautiful room, and it has a lot of history. As for duets, it would be fun doing a duet with Iggy Pop. “

// Foto: Philip Cosores.

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