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Thursday 9th June, 2011 11:19AM

Annabel Alpers his a hard lady to pin down, kept busy with a hefty tour schedule and the recent release of her new and last album as Bachelorette.  We tracked her down in the US and sent her a few questions over email to get her thoughts on the new release and her life as Bachelorette generally.  Here's what she had to say...


Did you always imagine this album to be the last one? If so, did that affect the way you wrote the music (did it play on your mind that this could be the final statement under the name Bachelorette)?


It wasn’t until I was working on it that I got the feeling that I didn’t want to repeat the process of recording solo, the way I have been in Bachelorette. I don’t think that realisation made any difference to how I approached the songs. You still have the same process, no matter what’s on your mind, I guess…

Did you have a specific plan while making the album?

No. In fact, this was one album where I just let myself do whatever I wanted, without any restrictions, in terms of the subject matter or the approach.

You write “nothing bachelorette makes ever sounds the way I’d like to” – how different do the songs sound on an album to how you envisaged it? Was that frustrating as a musician, or a too impossible goal?

I never know how something’s going to sound before I start on it. I think it’s more that I just pick holes in everything once it’s done. It’s impossible to listen to the music objectively when you’ve spent so much time on it. I guess also just recording on my computer, with my gear, means that by the end, the song sounds to me like a series of compromises, in terms of the quality of the instruments, the playing, the recording quality and so forth. I think it would sound different if I had access to amazing gear and sound engineering expertise.

Does that in part explain the retirement? Anything else (e.g. disillusionment, tiredness) which drove the end of the project? Are you still planning on making music?

I definitely will keep making music. It’s just Bachelorette that’s having a rest. I just don’t want it to be my only focus. Recording and writing this album was the only time that I’ve been able to focus solely on Bachelorette and haven’t had to do a day job or study. It was what I’d thought I always wanted, but once I was in that situation, I felt that focussing solely on music didn’t have enough meaning for me. I couldn’t handle the idea of it becoming my world.

This album was written all over the world – did that result in the album reflecting a bit of homesickness and alienation (and perhaps the opposite too – excitement, wonderment etc.)?

If anything, I think that travelling around gave me a more relaxed sense of who I am as a person and a musician. I love NZ, but it can be a bit claustrophobic, musically and socially. I did get homesick at times, though I don’t know if that was reflected in the album.

It’s a very wise album lyrically – is there a sense of acceptance of what’s important, that maybe you didn’t feel beforehand?

I suppose so…

My Electric Family almost had technology and digital sounds standing in for ‘humans’ and relationships – does this album connect back with humans a bit more? The acoustic instruments for example are for the most part a bit more upfront…

I don’t really think it through that much. I just use the sounds and instruments that I have available, that I think suit the song.

My Electric Family had a number of other musicians and collaborators, and you said at the time it was to make working on the album more interesting for you – how did you find it going back to what looks predominantly solo again? Was it as difficult a process as Isolation Loops was for example?

Yeah, it was definitely hard. That’s why I don’t want to restrict myself to a solo project anymore.

Was it difficult recording while travelling around – it’s a typically dense and textured album, did you find the practicalities of that difficult?

It was. I had to hole myself away in the countryside (in Virginia) for a couple of months to really be productive. I get too easily distracted otherwise.

I remember reading that Bachelorette was formed as a way of recovering your sense of identity – in hindsight, how do you view your last six years or so as Bachelorette. Is it too soon to look back at it retrospectively?

One of the luxuries of being middle class is that you can pursue pretty ridiculous passions and convince yourself that they are somehow meaningful. Most people in the world are just struggling to survive and ‘indie music’ would never appear on their radar. I think that to identify oneself in relation to a particular art scene is pretty short sighted, though I’d like to believe that the work people come out with has some value.

Brannavan Gnanalingam


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