The Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz
Claire Voyant is:
KZSC: With the recent release of "Love Is Blind," you are doing a short tour of California. Are there any plans to launch a more extensive tour later, either in the US or Europe?
VICTORIA: Rather than touring the US we're going to do short jaunts to each area, like we're doing right now we're doing California and then around the end of May we'll be going out probably to NYC, hopefully doing a couple of dates around there. Maybe Boston and Ohio. We're not really sure exactly whether it will just be weekends, but basically we're just concentrating on the areas that want us to come. Definitely want to try to get to Europe. We've got some offers and we are working on that, but it's difficult to do a full tour with a working schedule and financially right now touring has ... there aren't a lot of other bands out there to get the kind of bill we would need to sustain a month or long tour that we wouldn't lose a lot of money on or the label wouldn't lose a lot of money on.
KZSC: What factors influenced your decision to play in Santa Cruz and what do you hope to achieve by participating in the ELectron SAlon series?
BEN: We're just happy to be invited to play.
CHRIS: And Victoria's sang with John Zorko before...
VICTORIA: Yeah, and he's always been saying you need to come and then I think I got an email from you and I got an email from Veronique and it was like, "Please come to Santa Cruz," and I was just thrilled and so honored to have the interest. And then I started looking into her series and I was like, "This is incredible!" There's nothing like it. We're playing in clubs predominantly and the chance to play a theater with other people that are doing darker, more ambient and ... the visual presentations.
BEN: The visuals, yeah. We were excited about that too. It's not something that you are going to get ... there's a lot of bonuses.
VICTORIA: You don't get to do these kinds of things very often and then get to do an interview too. It's just great.
KZSC: Your music has been continually called "hard to classify" in terms of genre. Being on the Metropolis label might have the effect of shoehorning your albums into the gothic or industrial arena. How do you classify your own music? What terms do you use to describe it to others?
CHRIS: We don't do it very well.
VICTORIA: We don't. We end up using ten adjectives.
BEN: Or we try to take something somebody else says or bands we like or think maybe we'd have a good show with.
VICTORIA: I kinda go on the moods that I feel from it too like it's dreamy, but it's dark but it's still kinda lush and it's ethereal sort of, but it's pop. So I always end up saying it's ethereal pop because we are much more pop than most gothic or ethereal people, but we're much more ethereal than most pop people.
BEN: We're more accessible, but at the same time I think we're lucky to fit in with a lot of the people that we play with too, where most people can't. Most people are boxed into one exact thing and then couldn't play another venue.
VICTORIA: Yeah, we have a great fan base. A lot of goth and industrial people will say "Well, you're not Goth OR industrial," because we're not necessarily.
BEN: The cool thing is that we get to do shows like we are doing now, you know? We get to do a show like tonight and then tomorrow at The Palace...
VICTORIA: And then tomorrow we play with four industrial bands that's going to be very interesting! But hard to classify is a hard thing, I just want to say. It makes it difficult for us and it makes it difficult for our label because they are like, "Who is your market?" We basically say anyone that likes it. You can see that by our crowds. It can be someone that's 50 and just likes music or someone that likes female vocals or someone that likes guitar with electronics. There is no one type of fan.
KZSC: The use of guitar in music, particularly by Metropolis bands, is becoming somewhat of a rarity. Ben's guitar work obviously compliments each song he plays, but what is the effect you seek as a band? Why do you think guitar is integral for Claire Voyant songs?
CHRIS: Because Ben's in the band and he's got to do something!
BEN: I got to do SOMETHING to earn my keep around here! When we first started this incarnation of the group there were no expectations of what anything was going to be.
CHRIS: Right, so we just did whatever.
BEN: Everybody has molded into their positions that they do and I try to write parts that fit song oriented material whereas most of the time, guitar is pretty much boxed into a solo instrument or something that is all about the guitar. The stuff that we do, some of the sounds can sound somewhat synth-like and then there's other songs with very organic guitar. I think that's one thing about the group that we all love so much is that everybody's part benefits the song as a whole rather than one person's individual talent's being the focus of everything.
CHRIS: Except for the singing (laughs).
BEN: The vocals are always the main focus and should be.
VICTORIA: In all the music that I would say we are strongly influenced by, most of it has guitar. Starting with The Cure and bands like U2 ... many Cocteau Twins ... I mean, what would they be without the guitar as well as Elizabeth Fraser? And I think that's what makes us sound different than bands that are pure electronics, which I love and I'm in a couple. But it adds another dimension to us and I think it adds another melodic quality that allows us to have really accessible songs. There are so many melodies going on in our songs. There can be a string melody and a guitar melody and a vocal melody and I think that's what people like.
KZSC: Your vocals appear on several other projects, usually as a guest. Can you talk a little bit about why you act as a contributing vocalist? What makes it satisfying for you? What projects have you contributed to lately?
VICTORIA: The number one reason why I do it is because they ask me to and they flatter me and butter me up and say, "Oh we love you and we want you to sing for us!" Of course, that goes a long way. Plus, I love to sing and I want to sing as much as possible. Every time I do something, I grow from it. You know, when Daniel (Myer) sent those 15 tracks of those original songs and said, "Sing on what you like," I would sit there and break myself down and say, "I can't sing to fast music. I sing slow, I just can't do it. Forget it, I'm going home." And then one day, I developed a style for that. Like when I sang on cut.rate.box's song "Enigma" off of their new album it was like, "What do I do to this?" and then all of sudden ... you know? Those become new characteristics of my voice. Now with Monochrome, with a member of cut.rate.box and another project, it's much more of a very pop-oriented project. There's new growth. Singing to 130 beats per minute is a lot different than a Claire Voyant song.
KZSC: If you could give your fans an inside tip to understanding the music of Claire Voyant more fully, what would you tell them? What should they know about you?
CHRIS: For me personally, especially working on the last album, because I probably worked on it for about a year and half, two years, beat myself up over it is that, it's true that it's like 1% inspiration and 99% hard work. We'd all get together and write the song and the song would be written in terms of chord structure and melody she'd have a melody, we would flesh out a chord structure and we're like, "Yeah, that sounds good." It's like a SONG you could write it down on paper, you know what I mean? But then, in terms of turning it into something, a Claire Voyant piece, then it turns into...
VICTORIA: Hours of labor.
CHRIS: It just turns into a laborious process and being able to work on something for six months and then say "That sucks," and throw it away and start over again.
VICTORIA: And plus, not only is he a keyboard player and a song writer and a producer, he's the engineer for Ben. He records all of Ben's tracks and for me, he records all of my vocals. He works with me on my parts, he goes through the painstaking labor of harmonies and additional parts. Not only is he contributing, we can leave the studio and, I mean really, he's the glue. What many people don't know is that I get a lot of the "Oh! Claire Voyant = Victoria," and it's a lot of work behind the scenes.
BEN: I don't think anyone realizes the amount of effort Chris puts into making something as perfect as it possibly can be.
CHRIS: Without ruining it!
BEN: Right. Perfect in the sense of what Claire Voyant is, which is the framework we all agree on.
CHRIS: And knowing when to stop.
VICTORIA: And doing it - I mean, it sounds like we're giving Chris a commercial, but sometimes he needs it
CHRIS: Awwww, shucks!
VICTORIA: No, I mean he will do it after getting up at seven in the morning and going to work all day and coming home at six o'clock and then staying there until two o'clock in the morning for Claire Voyant. And he will do it without bitching and...
BEN: Victoria and I are not the type-
VICTORIA: We're not the perfectionists! (laughs)
For more information on Claire Voyant or their label, Metropolis Records, please visit their official web sites.
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