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Interview
Hope Sandoval

Hope Sandoval

date
Monday 9th August, 2010 12:46PM

Q + A with Hope Sandoval (best known for Mazzy Star) who has just released a new album as Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions - a collaboration with Colm O'Ciosoig of My Bloody Valentine.

The making of the new album and collaborations…

What were some of the goals you had in making the new album?

We really don't set any musical goals for ourselves. We write our little songs and if they're still sparkling in the morning they tell us what they want to sound like. Sometimes they stay exactly the same, sometimes we hear ghost guitars, ghost keys or a sound that isn't necessarily an instrument but just a sound and we try to recreate that sound.

What are some of the common themes of the album?

Me, Colm and Dirt Blue Gene

What does the album title, "Through the Devil Softly," mean to you?

It's a very sensational notion.

You have been held up as a star of the shoegazer scene, how does that sit with you?

I'm not sure what shoegazing means.

How did My Bloody Valentine's reunion affect you and/or the recording of the album?

The My Bloody Valentine reunion did catch us off guard, but it gave me more time to spend listening to the record and change anything that needed to be changed, or in other words, over analyze the record and indulge myself with more time to work on it.

The album is quiet and dreamy. Do you always lean toward the softer side or sometimes rock out?

These were the songs that we gravitated towards. They all seem to compliment each other. If you play them really loud they will appear to be more "rock".

Can you talk about your relationship with Colm? How do you guys work together?

Kooky, lumpy and loveable.

How did you and Colm meet? How did that graduate to playing and writing music together?

We got to know each other about 12 years ago in London; we met at in a club there. Eventually he moved out to California and we just started playing music together.

Some of the songs on the new album were written in Ireland and some in California. Was it an even split?

I can’t remember the exact number, but I’ll say for the most part when we were writing, some of the members of Dirt Blue Jean were here and we did write them together in California. Most of the songs were written here in California.

Your first album was released in 2001, why the long time spans between albums?

After what happened in New York in 2001 we became afraid and spent a lot of time speculating and some of the speculations were more frightening than the bombs themselves. It seemed to pale the importance of music for us, but then of course we realized it was the best remedy.

In recent years you've worked with California indie artists like Devendra Banhart and Vetiver. How did that come about?

We love Vetiver and when Andy asked us to be involved with their first album we were flattered. He's an amazing songwriter. It's always good to hear new great music.

You have mentioned before that Mazzy Star has another album coming; why has it been so long?

Both David and myself live in different countries. It makes working difficult as we need to be together during the process and the distance stretches the time.

How do you feel about live performance now and can we expect something different for your upcoming shows?

I wouldn't expect much to change. I'm still the same.

You've lived in the Bay Area for years -- what has drawn you here and kept you here?

I came here to work with David (Roback). It was in the month of October and I fell in love with the beautiful atmosphere.

On The Influence of her early years…

What were you like growing up?

Introverted, shy and quiet

Where did you grow up? How has that influenced who you are today?

I grew up in Los Angeles in a very rough neighborhood and these things always cast a shadow on your personality. I definitely have used those childhood memories in my music.

What music did you first start listening to?

I have no memory of my first moments of music, as music has always been in my life

How did you get started in music?

My father bought me a guitar when I was 12

When did you write your first song?

I was 15 and I wrote my first song with Sylvia Gomez and it was called Shane

When did you know that making music was what you wanted to do with your life?

I still wonder

The Art of Songwriting and Performing Live …

How did you discover the sound that you have now? Was it through collaboration, or is that something you have always had?

Obviously when you collaborate the end result is what you've created together...the best music is ideas that are shared.

How do you write your songs? Where does inspiration come from for you?

There is nothing better than sitting in a restaurant and eavesdropping on the table next to you. With a little bit of imagination, by the end of the night you have a story.

Your songs seem to come from a personal space though. Do you worry about how they will be perceived and of possibly giving too much away?

I often think about that, but one of the worst things you can do is stifle yourself with what other people might think. You have to give yourself the freedom to express yourself sincerely.

It has been well documented that you dislike performing live, is that still the case?

I don't perform. I sing live and I do feel like myself though it can be a bit awkward at times.

Your songs often sound so personal and intimate - was it strange for you when others fell in love with your music so much? Is it still strange?

No, not at all. It's nice to know people have a connection.

What do you love most about what you do? And what do you like least?

I love that I play my interpretation of music. My least favorite is the fools that criticize it.

As you prepare to hit the road once more, what can fans expect? Will you play the whole new album, or some older songs as well?

It’s going to be a mixture of the old and this new record.

Any guest musicians in the works? Any possible surprises?

We haven’t decided yet, it’s possible.

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