Palmyra Delran Talks "You Are What You Absorb"
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 08:36:11
The title of Palmyra Delran's newest album, You Are What You Absorb, rings true for everybody. Whatever we imbibe, whether it's art, music, or film, we undoubtedly become to a certain degree. Delran's music certainly channels some crucial influences, but at the same time, she's crafted something wonderfully and wholly her own. You Are What You Absorb merges classic pop sensibilities with gritty rock 'n' roll swagger, making for an irresistible collection worth absorbing.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Palmyra Delran talks You Are What You Absorb and so much more.
What's your take on You Are What You Absorb as a whole?
Well, it was songs that I'd been writing for the last few years. It's not really a concept record or anything. I looked through my stuff and picked tracks I wanted to record. I always like to add crazy instruments such as harpsichord, Farfisa, and Stylophone. I wanted to fit all of that silly stuff in there to make it sound different than a lot of records. To me, one weird thing on every song is cool [Laughs]. That's the only thing I thought of. Everything else happened as it happened.
You really hear those flourishes on headphones too.
That's exactly what I was hoping for!
What's the story behind "Back to You"?
That one is a little on the depressing side. It's a couple of years old, and I was going through some heavy stuff. I hope people can relate to it as that type of a song. It's a little outside of my personality. I don't really like to open up like that. I figured it's out of my character but I'd try it.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the lyrics?
Yeah, definitely! It's not really contrived, but it is important. There's no right or wrong answer as far as what a song means. It might mean something to me. Then, it might mean something completely different to somebody else. A lot of people think "You're My Brian Jones" is about Brian Jones. It really isn't. It's about somebody who's obsessed with someone they can't have and they know they shouldn't have that person. I was reading a Brian Jones book at the time so that's all that was. It's misunderstood as a song about Brian Jones, but that's totally correct for whoever wants to think it is. I'm fine with that. That happened to me when I was a kid with certain songs. I'd be like, "Oh my God, I totally get that." It helped me in my own development or corruption [Laughs]. That's really what the album title is. You Are What You Absorb throughout life. With me, a lot of it involved production ideas. That's what I've stolen from other producers—layering and odd instrumentation.
What's your favorite song on the album right now?
I go back and forth. Or people will say, "I like this song," and I'll go, "Yeah, I did okay with that one!" It's a lot of feedback from others that make me get sentimental if somebody says something about a certain song. I spend so much time recording that I try to stay objective about what the recording is going to sound like. Once the song's written, I don't like to pay attention to the lyrics or anything like that. I just do the song justice as a record. After that, if somebody says they relate to a song, I'll listen to the lyrics again. The one I've been digging lately is "Your Best Friend." I like the Stylophone. It's serious, but it's also a pop song. It's more negative than I'm used to lyrically but within a pop song. "Shy Boy" has been playing a little bit in my head. It's about Nick Drake or someone who's so shy they can't really relate to anybody but people want to get to know them. They're all like little children [Laughs].
What artists shaped you?
Well, there are the classics obviously like The Rolling Stones, T. Rex, and The Kinks. I thought Ray Davies was such a genius with his lyrics. There are so many from the past. As far as pop stuff goes, of course I'd say Blondie. A lot of times movies are a big influence almost more than songs or bands. You'll get a Russ Meyer movie or a John Water flick, and it puts you in a weird space in your head. I like that attitude. I can come up with ideas from having that feeling for a couple of days if I watch a movie and click with that personality or vibe.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Actually, I'd say Polyester. If you watch Polyester, every scene goes from one to the next really brilliantly. There's something happening at every moment of that movie. It's playful. It's funny. It's sarcastic. It's serious. It's everything you'd want your songs to be. I want to hit a lot of different moods. It's not that my songs sound like a John Waters film, but in terms of editing and production, I did come back to that a couple of times.
Have you heard Palmyra Delran?