Interview: The Hush Sound
Fri, 13 Jun 2008 06:56:48
Greta, The Hush Sound's entrancing and vibrant frontwoman, just woke up in Las Vegas. Her band's currently on The Honda Civic tour with Panic at the Disco and Phantom Planet. She explains, "We have two days off until we play the Vegas show, which is the second to last date of the tour. We only have a few days left. I honestly just woke up, and I haven't left the bus yet. I'm looking out, and it looks like a really nice day." After creating an album as lush, hypnotic and melodic as Goodbye Blues is, every day should be nice for The Hush Sound vocalist. The band's latest record couples bombastic, theatrical piano melodies and Greta's swooping croon for a batch of very powerful pop. Each song comes to life with a dynamic flare that borders between emotional alt rock and vaudevillian theater.
Though the tour's winding down, The Hush Sound is gearing up for a very interesting road ahead. Greta stares out the bus window at The Strip, as she talks to ARTISTdirect about touring, the band's new songs, creating from conflict and her favorite books, in this exclusive interview.
"Intro" just pulls the listener in. It's such a hazy, strange and beautiful opening.
It's funny, because that was a demo that I recorded in my apartment. I was thinking that we'd make a really subtle orchestral score to start and end the record with. When I sent it to the producer, we were getting to the point where we had to make decisions, and I asked, "Are we going to do a score of this?" He was like, "You know, this is really good, and you should just put the demo on the record." We were all like, "Really?" We thought for a song like that to work it had to be that quality. It couldn't be this formulated and planned out thing.
It just sounds so natural and raw.
Yeah, it is. It's me recording in my underwear in my apartment [Laughs].
Did you improvise the lyrics?
I don't think I'd written lyrics down at that point. There wasn't even anything there on certain points of the song.
It's just a hypnotic and powerful opener for the album.
That's awesome. I hope that's the case. My concern was that it would repel a lot of people who have a ten-second attention span or whatever, but you can't plan your record to please those kinds of people.
The song has a cinematic, smoky film noir feel.
I write so much stuff like that, but it doesn't make it on our records, because there's not really a place for it. I have so much stuff written like that. I think it would eventually be fun to do a song like that for a film.
The songs conjure a lot of imagery so the transition to film would be smooth.
I guess so. I'm becoming an increasingly visual person as I'm getting older. Tying that into songs is really fun for me.
Do you tend to write lyrics or music first?
For most of the songs on that record, I wrote most of the music, and then I added all of the lyrics later. For all of the new stuff I've been working on, I'm writing entire songs, lyrically. So I'll see how trying it this way works out for the next record. For the last album, it usually started with music. Then sub-conscious mumbling would follow, and then a lyrical idea would come out of the music somehow.
The Hush Sound's visual aesthetic has that old school, Vaudevillian carnival look. It's quite striking.
I guess so. I undeniably have a ragtime flare in my piano playing, because that's what I played so much growing up. So we carried that over into some of the photography.
Is that incorporated into the live show too?
Visually, we don't do a ton of stuff. We don't build a lot of backdrops. I'd rather go on stage and be concerned about whether or not we're singing with a lot of passion and intensity, rather than how the stage setup looks. I feel like our live shows are more about the people actually moving on stage than they are about making the stage look like a saloon or whatever.
It must be fun to go through all of those different emotions on stage every night.
Yeah, I have a really great time playing. That's why I'm so excited about our headline tour this summer, because we get to play for an hour, and almost all of the kids there will know all of our songs.
Has the tour with Panic at the Disco been particularly fun?
This tour has been incredible. We're sharing a bus with Phantom Planet, and we've become best friends with them. We're having a really great time. It feels like a dream. This is the 10th week that we've been out, and now it's almost time to go home. It's a really bizarre feeling, because you come home after having this huge life-changing, two-month long experience, and everyone else is doing the exact same things they were doing when you left. Everything in your room is exactly how you left it. It's so bizarre.
“I'd rather go on stage and be concerned about whether or not we're singing with a lot of passion and intensity”
Do you get to write a lot on the road too?
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