I’ve wanted to be a music writer for pretty much all my life now, but that whole leaving the house and putting on something nice to wear thing always seemed to slow me down. Then it hit me, AOL Instant Messenger interviews! My dream has come true, and I’m very excited that LA’s own Emily Wells agreed to blaze the AIM interview trail with me.
Session Start (LA Snark: Emily Wells): Wed Sep 17 15:46:52 2008
[15:46] LA Snark: Emilyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
[15:47] Emily Wells: Hi!
[15:47] LA Snark: What’s up!?
[15:47] Emily Wells: tryin to keep cool You?
[15:47] LA Snark: yesyes, sitting right in front of the fan
[15:48] Emily Wells: perfect
[15:48] LA Snark: It’s Jon from LA Snark, just in case you’re totally thrown off now
[15:48] Emily Wells: no no… i’m actually a little new to the AIM world.. you’re my very first buddy
[15:49] LA Snark: That’s awesome, you are LA Snark’s very first AIM interview
[15:49] Emily Wells: perfect! you can indoctrinate me
[15:49] LA Snark: Yes! Ok let’s take a second to get fired up, I’ll go first
[15:49] LA Snark: Yeah!!!!!!!!!! Wooooooooooo!!!!! yayayaya!!!
[15:49] LA Snark: ok your turn
[15:50] Emily Wells: wooh!!! hells bells!
[15:50] LA Snark: Yeah!
[15:50] LA Snark: Ok, so how long have you been in LA?
[15:50] Emily Wells: six years!
[15:50] LA Snark: Nice! And you moved out here for more “opportunity” shall we say?
[15:51] Emily Wells: actually i never thought i’d live here… i moved here for love, believe it or not… and have fallen in love with the city by chance
[15:51] LA Snark: Ah, we’ll we’re glad to have you however you got here.
[15:52] Emily Wells: why thanks…
[15:52] LA Snark: Excuse me if I seem a little nervous, this is my first time interviewing a Pixie Punk
[15:52] Emily Wells: ha ha! don’t be.. i’m smiling on the other end… in my pixiepunkdom
[15:52] LA Snark: Nice, that sounds like a whole new genre. Move over Emo.. Pixie Punk is here.
[15:52] Emily Wells: Exactly
[15:53] LA Snark: I read through your bio – back in 2000 you were working with Epic and Warner Chappell and then went off on your own in order to gain full creative control. How did this early music compare to the music on The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties
[15:54] Emily Wells: wow… well… I’d say it was less interesting…. Kinda like early college papers compared to a thesis… you know? there were seeds though… and i learned a lot… worked with a bunch of producer types the label set me up with
[15:55] LA Snark: Nice, it seems like you took what you learned from these producers and went on to kinda DIY
[15:55] Emily Wells: yeah… i started on 4 track and moved on up… now i’ve got 32 whole tracks to work with… it’s pretty wonderful… (was a slow ass diy process for sure… still is i guess)
[15:56] LA Snark: I’m a big fan of lo-fi one mic/4 track recordings, but alternatively I love a big all-out production. You seem to be the same way, do you have a preference when it comes to listening to other artists?
[15:57] Emily Wells: no… no preference… it’s all about the song….. love both… i can really go there either way
[15:57] LA Snark: Ok, here’s a question from Kestrin via Twitter: ask emily wells if she ever actually practices violin alone and if the hotel cafe has changed her life at all/how!
[16:00] Emily Wells: okay… yes yes… i practice violin alone every day… the band practices about once a week… and yes the hotel cafe has DEFINITELY changed my life. I mean it’s my home spot… i feel most comfortable there… i’ve grown a lot as a performer there too… The whole process of writing the symphonies was affected by that space because the audience and their love of the emerging work became part of the work.. if that makes sense… Plus everyone there is so generous and gracious… marko’s my pal.. (and manager)
[16:01] LA Snark: The LA Times ran an article last week calling Hotel Cafe “Hollywood’s ground zero for singer-songwriters.” I assume you agree with that?
[16:02] Emily Wells: well.. sure… there are a lot of people who’s lives/carreers are being propelled by the cafe and all that it is turning into (tour/cds etc)
[16:02] LA Snark: When you play Hotel Cafe, do you go up the road and eat at Greco’s Pizza? Those slices are huge! I saw Jesca Hoop play at the Hotel and she totally hit the big pizza afterwards.
[16:03] Emily Wells: hell yes… very tasty… though too much garlic (we learned by experience) for the pre show meal! We go to that little sushi spot next door pretty often before shows cause wasabi is good for the throat.. or something
[16:04] LA Snark: Ha, I read that Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs drinks Tequila before the show because it’s “good for the throat” maybe you should throw that in with the wasabi.
[16:05] Emily Wells: ahh… not a bad idea… though i’ve got this strict no getting fucked up preshow rule…. almost a superstition… though a little tequila never hurt a girl right?
[16:06] LA Snark: it depends how much punk rock cred the girl is trying to hang on to :)
[16:06] Emily Wells: only for myself… that is ( the preshow rule.. the boys hold their liquor) and as for cred… shiitttt
[16:06] LA Snark: haha
[16:07] LA Snark: Speaking of Jesca Hoop (I probably shouldn’t out her eating habits but oh well) are there any local artists that you think people should hear if they haven’t already?
[16:10] Emily Wells: i do really like jesca… yeah! a lot of great bands… timmy straw (who’s local but but making a record in portland if that counts) is so so good… and sam and joey (bassist and drummer of the trio) play in a hip hop band called simple citizens… which is excellent… Jeremy Sole’s Musaics… incredible dj producer songwriter etc… VOCO, Listing ship.. i could go on.. but yes.. a lot of great bands
[16:11] LA Snark: Great! So you have a trio with you tomorrow night at Hotel Cafe, is it easy to get the live performance to sound like the record? There’s a lot going on there..
[16:14] Emily Wells: yes trio tomorrow! and well… i think there’s definitely more space in our live show… which i really like… i want the songs themselves to be there, and the production can go a lot of places from there… For instance we completely remix syms 3 and 9 for our live show….
[16:14] Emily Wells: but you’d be surprised how much noise just the three of us can make!
[16:14] LA Snark: I am prepared to be surprised!
[16:15] Emily Wells: excellent… we’re doing a cover tomorrow too!
[16:15] LA Snark: are we allowed to know what cover? any hints?
[16:15] Emily Wells: i’ll give you a hint… artist: Biggie Smalls… it’s off ready to die
[16:15] LA Snark: Oh snap!
[16:16] Emily Wells: i’m on this covers jag lately… it’s a first for me… and i love me some biggie
[16:17] LA Snark: I don’t know if you’ve heard Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine” album, or if you even care to, but I can hear some similarities in the production
[16:18] Emily Wells: did john bryon produce that? please forgive any ignorance on my part there.. if so.. big ups.. he’s rad… and yeah.. i care… i didn’t buy that record but i know she’s a good one… and production wise can get pretty deep
[16:20] LA Snark: yeah I think it was john bryon.. it’s a good style of production that you’ve found without the john bryon budget.. I’d say it’s “interesting” in that there’ so much going on and you can sense the depth of the song by the volumes of the different instruments that come in and out. It’s stands out well next to all the overproduced music we hear on the radio today.
[16:21] Emily Wells: thank you so much. serious.
[16:22] LA Snark: No prob! Here’s a kinda selfish question: You moved out here and had to make a name for yourself with the local venues, I know that tons of artists move out to LA with dreams of making it big. Any tips on how to start down the right road and not get frustrated by all the “pay to play” that new artists tend to be frustrated by?
[16:27] Emily Wells: okay… well… i’d say above all focus on one’s craft… perfect it… explore it… and find your community of other musicians, artists, inspired folk… that’s the only way i’ve not gotten TOO frustrated with things… and trust me there have been plenty of rough spells… i think the hotel cafe is a gem because it wasn’t pay to play earn your keep for me at all… Marko actually listens to the music you know… I mean i wrote him an email saying hi… i like your club.. i wanna play there and here’s my music (link) and he actually wrote me back with a line from one of my songs… that is a first and only… it really sets it a part and i believe is part of their success… so i guess trust your intuition.. there are plenty of lame heads out there with $ agenda…. but there are good good people in this heathen town
[16:27] Emily Wells: i say heathen with a smile
[16:28] LA Snark: a snarky smile :)
[16:29] Emily Wells: snark indeed…
[16:29] LA Snark: Ok one last question: At LA Snark we love going out and finding new places to discover. Do you have a favorite breakfast spot? Nighttime hang? Clue us in to some favorite spots so we can tip off the paparazzi.
[16:32] Emily Wells: ha ha… For breakfast i LOVE this adorable and delicious place in Venice on Abbott Kinney called Meditrina…there is this also an incredible Pho spot called the Blue Hen in Eagle Rock… i live in Highland park… it’s so lovely here… i like to walk around with headphones on and my pitbulls by my side.
[16:32] LA Snark: ah so you’re ready for the paparazzi
[16:32] Emily Wells: bring it
[16:33] Emily Wells: just kidding.. i think that would pretty much suck
[16:33] LA Snark: Well it’s been great talking to you, thanks for debuting this new interview series with us!
[16:33] Emily Wells: it’s has been my pleasure. thanks for having me jon!
[16:33] LA Snark: You’re so welcome! Hotel Cafe, 9pm sharp tomorrow?
[16:34] Emily Wells: exactly! 9 (sharp indeed!) i’ll see you? looking forward to a face to face meet
[16:34] LA Snark: Me too!
More information about Emily Wells:
Sep 18 2008 9:00P
Hotel Cafe LOS ANGELES, California
Oct 4 2008 5:00P
Eagle Rock Music Festival Eagle Rock, California
Oct 9 2008 9:00P
Hotel Cafe Los Angeles, California
Oct 30 2008 8:00P
The Bowery Ballroom New York, New York
Nov 1 2008 8:00P
Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York
Nov 5 2008 8:00P
The Zipper Factory Theater New York, New York
Nov 11 2008 8:00P
Bluebird Denver, Colorado
Nov 12 2008 8:00P
Avalon Theater Salt Lake City, Utah
Nov 13 2008 8:00P
Knitting Factory Concert House Boise, Idaho
Nov 14 2008 8:00P
Doug Fir Portland, Oregon
Nov 15 2008 8:00P
Chop Suey Seattle, Washington
Nov 17 2008 8:00P
Great America Music Hall San Francisco, California
Nov 18 2008 8:00P
Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, California