Slim's, San Francisco
Cranes members include:
KZSC: Welcome back from hiatus. We are all extremely pleased to see you two creating music once again. It's been five years since your last US tour. How have the gigs been so far? What are some highlights?
ALISON: The shows have all been really cool so far. We've enjoyed most of them. Highlights were the show in Denver which was in a really nice theater called The Bluebird Theater and Portland the other night was a really nice show. The audience there were fantastic, so it was cool.
KZSC: With just you and Jim doing the music on FUTURE SONGS,
how does the album translate in the live performaces? Will you be joined
by any other musicians on stage?
ALISON: Yeah, there's five of us when we play live. John Callendar is our new drummer and Paul Smith is the guitarist and keyboardist. Ben Baxter is the bass player and it's really important that there's five of us because, although Jim and I write the songs, we couldn't really function as a group without the sort of the group spirit of all five of us.
KZSC: Remixed Cranes material is a relatively new idea. Our station
has a copy of the SUBMARINE EP and it has been very well received. Do
you have favourite people to work with in the remixing process? Which
remixed tracks stand out or resonate with you and why?
ALISON: Well, one of the tracks that we liked best on the EP was the "Driving in the Sun" remix by Dimitri Tikovöi. He's actually a French producer who we met in London. He's got sort of a natural understanding of what we're about and so he's quite really nice to work with. We've worked with him on some other things as well. Most of the other people that worked on the remixes are people associated with Instinct Records who are the label that we're with in America. It was really quite experimental really. The guys at Instinct sent the album out to lots of their artists and just asked if any of them would like to do mixes and several people came back and said, "Yeah, we'd really love to do THIS song or THAT song." It was quite an actual process, really and all the mixes are different, but I think it's kindof interesting to see how everybody came up with totally different versions of the songs.
KZSC: I read that between 1997 and 2001, you took acting lessons. How do you think this experience has influenced your music and your vocals?
ALISON: I think it gave me a break mentally from doing music
because I felt liked I'd done music all of my adult life and I just felt
like I wanted to explore some other aspect, maybe, of performing. It was
good to go back and study again and do lots of reading. I think the effect
on the Cranes was more indirect, really, in that it gave me ... when we
came back and started to write songs again after a break, I felt like
I had a different energy to bring to it. Also technically some of the
things we learned at college were good. I think I'm able to protect my
voice better now than I used to be able to.
KZSC: I also read there is another Cranes album due out within a year. What can fans look forward to in terms of material? How will it differ or build upon the sound established with FUTURE SONGS?
ALISON: We're hoping to start working on a new album. We've already started working on a new album, but you know, to start more consistently when we get back from this tour. We can never predict how it's going to turn out. We usually just sort of try to step into a slightly different area with each album and it might be a progression from FUTURE SONGS but I couldn't say at this point what it's going to end up sounding like.
KZSC: Have you been able to write any material during this tour? Lyrics/music? If yes, what is it like and what outside influences do you identlfy as making an impression on this work?
ALISON: It's true that we do write during tours. Jim's been taking equipment into hotel rooms in the dead of night and working on ideas and things and I've written some lyrics. Often it's just a phrase, like we were playing in St. Louis and somebody came to see us that I've been speaking to by email for about ten years. It was the first time I've met him and it was my birthday. He gave me a gift, a really beautiful sort of African instrument that's like an acoustic instrument and he told me something his mother had said. Just the combination of the sound of this thing and this sentence gave me the idea for some lyrics. I mean, it can be anything. Also, we've had some pretty extreme weather conditions so far on the tour. (laughs) We were driving through Kansas in the middle of a really heavy electrical storm and we saw lightning like we've never seen before. We were right on the edge of a tornado because there were hail stones and we heard afterwards that when you feel the hail stones, the hail stones come from within the tornado so we were pretty close to one!
KZSC: What's the next major ambition in your life, music or otherwise?
ALISON: I think we'd like to write the music for a feature film, like write the whole score to a feature film. I think that would certainly be Jim's ambition. We've had tracks used in films several times, but I think we'd like to write an entire score, which would be one thing. I'd quite like to be involved in a play if I have time to pursue any more acting things. I would prefer to work on stage rather than on television or something like that which I wouldn't feel comfortable with.
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