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Her Name Is Calla

Interview von: arne mit Thom und Michael, am: 15.01.2011 ]

Die britischen HER NAME IS CALLA lieben krasse Gegensätze – sowohl musikalisch als auch visuell. Das letztjährige „The Heritage“ war noch düster und bedrohlich gestaltet. Die zweite Denovali-Platte der Band kommt nun hell und aufgeräumt daher. Die zugrunde liegenden Intentionen sind aber kaum weniger verschleiert und geheimnisvoll. Nicht eingeschränkte Kreativität, Deutungsoffenheit und verschiedenartige Ausdrucksformen bestimmen den Weg des Künstlerkollektivs. Auf „The Quiet Lamb“ versuchen sich die die Briten immer wieder im Grenzbereich zur Statik, doch es finden sich auch eruptive, aufwühlende und beschwörende Momente, die nötige Gegensätze schaffen.

 

Musicscan: When you started out did all of you guys had an equal vision about how Her Name Is Calla should sound like or how did your actual style of playing came to be?

Her Name Is Calla: Thom: we never talked about it really, not in any overarching way. We maybe talked about the direction songs were going in, but that's what happened, the music kind of went in its own direction.

Musicscan: What are the benefits from involving a lot of guest musicians when it comes to transforming ideas into songs? Do those guests have an impact on the songwriting, and has Her Name Is Calla been a “collective effort” built up around a core-line up right from the beginning?

Her Name Is Calla: Michael: It's always good to get people to help play with us, they have a completely different perspective and can help us make the song better and stronger. In regards to what they play, they usually have a little direction of the kind of thing we're after and then they're let loose from there. As soon as you start playing with us your opinion on all aspects of the song is welcomed and listened to. The main goal with any piece of music we write is to make sure it is not something we have done before, that it is a step forward and in the end the song becomes the best it can be.

Musicscan: How has the songwriting approach evolved since you started Her Name Is Calla and you became more mature as songwriters? Are there still limitations you are confronted with in any way?

Her Name Is Calla: T: It's changed out of necessity, with Tom moving north and Sophie becoming an integral member of the band. We're quite fragmented now and so that's had a big impact on the process. I think if anything it's more refined now though. We're less inclined to spend time on ideas that don't have something special about them from the start.

Musicscan: Is there something like a main theme or a main idea that runs through all of your music, something that perhaps connects the individual songs you‘ve created over time?

Her Name Is Calla: M: Most of the initial ideas for the songs comes from tom, but we've been playing so long together we already know our individual roles within the band, how we can play to get the best out of the songs. All of the lyrics come from Tom, and he doesn't like writing them. He has to invest a part of himself into the songs to make it worth him singing. He has had a difficult couple of years and he's been putting that into the songs, making them deeply personal for him. So that's a thread if you like.

Musicscan: Do you think it's more important for bands to observe the traditions of a style, or to push the genre's boundaries? Is there a way to achieve a balance between progression and tradition? How do you feel about such a balance in the context of Her Name Is Calla?

Her Name Is Calla: T: I really don't think we're that aware of it. We're aware to an extent of what people say we're doing, reviving post-rock or creating some new genre, but there's no kind of goal in place that makes that happen. We write and play the music we want to write and play. What you hear is just what comes out. As for other bands, they should do the same. They shouldn't follow genre conventions, or set out to break them just for the sake of it.

Musicscan: As far as scenes and styles go, the rock underground is constantly changing, up and coming bands seem to have a different agenda that some of the veteran bands might had. Who do you feel sets out with the same ideology as Her Name Is Calla; attempting to accomplish the same things that you have?

Her Name Is Calla: M: The only goal we have is to make music we all like and love, we've all been in several bands and played all different styles of music. In the past I've been in a Strokes type bands and it was terrible, we had to make sure all of our songs had the same style and we had a tight box creatively to fit into, this made it no fun, there was no experimentation at all, we just had to write songs by numbers it was shit, we had to make sure we were playing the 'cool' music of the day, and there's no feeling in that. I never want to go back to playing in a band like that, now, there's no fear of doing something different or old. I think 'The Union' shows that beautifully

Musicscan: A lot of today's bands seem to miss passion. You have lots of it and that's why I enjoy The Quiet Lamb this much – it’s honest and profound and it’s having a lot of huge contrasts to keep things interesting. Is it just a question of the right attitude towards music and being a band?

Her Name Is Calla: T: Possibly. I couldn't comment on why other people are in bands and make music, though I could probably jump to a few private conclusions. Music is communication, regardless of the words. It's a communication of feelings and ideas. The band exists to create and play that music, and so we want it to be honest and true to us as individuals, and because of that I think it ends up being quite passionate, because this is what we feel.

Musicscan: Are there specific things that you're doing to push yourself further in different directions? Listening to different genres of music, reading more music theory, practicing...is there anything you're doing on a consistent basis?

Her Name Is Calla: M: We're all passionate for music, films and art. We're always looking out for new things to catch our ears and eyes and we're keen to share our findings with each other. I have played in jazz workshops, helped out friends in heavy rock bands, been a student radio DJ and Tour managed a theatre company. Tom has been singing on Worriedaboutsatan records, recording, mixing and mastering other peoples music., helping school musicals. Adam is making his folk album, his IDM album and finishing his book of poetry. Sophie has been playing violin on Maybeshewill's new album. Thom has also been going to Jazz workshops, as well as hosting an open mic night attending jam nights, as well as playing with the Bardi Orchestra and writing a screenplay. There is also a Her Name Is Calla and The Monroe Transfer collaboration record that's being recorded. Adam, Tom and Sophie have their folk outfit Lupercal that they're working on, and me and Thom are trying to start a dirty jazz band. All this is encouraged, music is our life, even if we weren't in Her Name Is Calla, we'd still be doing all of this. With us living all over the place, we have difficulty finding time for us all to rehearse. We tend to mix rehearsing and writing over a full weekend, from Friday night to Sunday night. We all know how rare they are so we usually throw ourselves in and only get a few hours sleep.

Musicscan: In my mind The Quiet Lamb is a pretty courageous record. It´s intense and really shows what the band wants to do, no matter what listeners say or expect. What would you retort to that?

Her Name Is Calla: T: Thanks. Of course we're aware of what listeners and reviewers say. We love hearing stories of pour more oil soundtracking a marriage proposal, or thief helping someone through a bad breakup. And we come across negative comments in some reviews. We don't really care about the negative comments. We love our record. We love that some people have found places in their hearts for parts of it.

Musicscan: How important are compromises in the context of Her Name Is Calla? Should they play a major role at all? To me it seems that you are not willing to take compromises into consideration at all…

Her Name Is Calla: M: We as a band, will not compromise our music for anyone. When we played the union for the first time to our old record label, they said, "I like it, but how am I going to sell it?". We knew then that we would be parting ways soon after that. Inside the band, we talk about everything and exchange emails and phone calls every day. We all have busy lives in England and it can be quite difficult with just getting together. We try to make it work for us as best as possible so that the music doesn't suffer as a result.

 
 Links:
  myspace.com/hernameiscalla
 
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