INTERVIEW: Roxy Rawson

Hi Roxanna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello! Better than ever! Thanks for asking! I recently got told I’m in remission from lyme disease and physically feeling better than I have in 5 years…

Can you talk to us more about your song “Born Again”?

Sure. ‘Born Again’, is a song about..well a few things at once, about a love lost and knowing it wasn’t good love…

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

A break up…a very bad one. With someone I had fallen for, but I was blind to what he was actually like. He had temper issues, lack of patience. Despite the pain of giving my heart to someone I felt didn’t deserve it, I had my faith to rely on….the song is a mixture of this hopeful feeling that everything would ultimately be ok, but that also despite knowing that, I was pining for the lost love, despite knowing the person wasn’t treating me right, I wanted it to have been different. It’s ultimately about wanting for him to have been different, to have been born again, to be a different person, worthy of my love. Maybe that sounds self-righteous, but it’s a snapshot of how I felt at the time!

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes! I have a video of beautiful swallows flying together over hills…representing the ebb and flow of the feelings in the song..

The track comes off your new album Quenching The Kill – what’s the story behind the title?

Quenching the Kill describes the survival anger that certain animals have. Predators have to kill in order to survive. Their bodies are made that way.

This album, is a lot about quenching that thirst for just and right anger for survival and to satisfy it by expressing it. To call out those things that are not right in the behavior of others and/ or within ourselves.

The songs are also about the opposition of light and dark, the experiences of joy, excitement, free expression, pain and sadness and allowing that full gamut of emotions. It echoes my life journey at the time in how I was learning to embrace all these different aspects of myself and allowing myself to be emotionally vulnerable- and angry about the right things- and hopefully, through these songs, I can share that resounding need for expression with others and hope that others might feel too that how their full gamut of emotions are valid and worthy of expression.

How was the recording and writing process?

I recorded this album in a converted warehouse in London called ‘The Fish Market’ with a string quartet, upright bass, drums and piano, Rhodes and vibraphone. A lot of the reverb is natural because of the resonance of the space.

The arrangements were worked out a lot by myself in advance as I played the songs live very often with a group of core musicians and friends who also feature on the album. Ben Trigg, an amazing cellist and arranger who has worked with a multitude of high profile acts- ( most recently I saw he played with Jane Birkin! extended these arrangements beautifully and captured what I was looking for in my performances, going as far as giving direction in the score more than a few times to the string players to ‘go fucking nuts!’. 😉

Ben Lamdin my producer and sound engineer, was wonderful to work with. He knew what I was trying to achieve and wanted to help me capture the performances with beautiful warm Neumann microphones and analogue gear- and wanted to help me make I record I would be proud of, I remember him saying that to me. And that he thought we had achieved that:-)

Have Feist and Florence + The Machine influenced your writing in any way?

I have certainly have listened to them and enjoy their music, as well as other singer-songwriters I admire. I think when we create- our subconscious contains all the music we’ve ever heard, so they may have influenced me!

What role does Europe play in your music?

I guess it’s where I received my training and certainly that training informs everything I write..I was trained in Paris, with lots of technical and practical training (which seemed not useful at the time, but now I use it all the time!)

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

For the full album, the inspiration for songs and lyrics would come in a flurry usually all at once, one song at a time, as if bubbling up from my subconscious, then I’d use use my cognitive mind to shape them and sometimes wrangle them into a cohesive form. Some songs came to me more fully formed than others. For example, Iron Shoes started with just that opening line…and for weeks and weeks I wrangled it into a shape that felt right…sometimes songs have a soul of their own and I have to really work to understand what it wants.

Any plans to hit the road?

I’d love to ! But I don’t see how right now as I need a way to finance costs for the musicians I play with…I could certainly do a solo tour and see if I can find a musician or two that would be willing to do it on a cost basis. I may try to crowdfund for a tour once I have enough of a following in the US…

What else is happening next in Roxy Rawson’s world?

Well…I am in the midst of creating a non profit to support musicians in the bay area, the arts are taking a big hit with the rising cost of living which is a travesty, because the tech world needs diversity of perspective in order to keep their perspective and not get too caught up in thinking their way of seeing things is solving the world’s problems! I’m also co-founding a concert series celebrating ‘femme freak folk’ which I think is an awesome genre- it’s female fronted and basically borrows widely from any genre, but is dedicated to the craft of instrumental playing and expressing authentically. It can span fro example bands from like My Brightest Diamond to Regina Spektor.

I am also in the middle of writing and recording a second album. It will contain some older songs, but reworked..and the feel of this second album is turning out to be very different in terms of arrangement compared to the first..there has so far been quite a lot of distorted guitar and even a celtic metal vibe on one of the songs…I am not quite sure which way it will go and what the songs are calling for, but I hear orchestral instruments, distorted guitar and maybe timpani. We shall see…

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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