conducted by Hugo Lunny
It’s definitely a rarity that I’ll see a music video on an MTV-esque network and wish to interview the artist or group. It’s even more rare that I first see the video while on holiday in Australia, but that was the case with Caroline Weeks while she performed with Natasha Khan in the group “Bat For Lashes.”
After some further exploration into the group, and this singer, I found out that Caroline Weeks is the mastermind behind a variety of different artistic monikers and a member of various groups. She will soon be releasing an album under her real name dedicated to a little known poet named Edna St Vincent Millay, entitled “Songs For Edna.”
MVRemix spoke with Caroline Weeks about Songs For Edna, Bat For Lashes and more…
MVRemix: As an artist, do other people’s opinions of your work matter to you?
Caroline Weeks: No not really, I think I will always write music that I enjoy and the odds are there will hopefully be someone else out there who likes it too.
MVRemix: As a songwriter, who has influenced you?
Caroline Weeks: I was listening to a lot of Smog (Bill Callahan), John Fahey and Elliot Smith when I seriously took up song writing, I respect them loads. But I think poetry has had more of an influence on my songwriting and the way I connect words to melodies. My new album (“Songs For Edna”) is entirely made up of settings of poems by Edna St Vincent Millay, who was writing in the 1920s and 30s. The most thrilling thing about it is that her poems are little-known, especially in the UK, and I really hope it’ll inspire people hearing my music to seek her out.
MVRemix: Do you remember the first song you wrote?
Caroline Weeks: Well the very first song was an off-the-cuff ditty which I sung for a homemade radio show which I did with my older brother. I can still remember the melody now; I called myself Gloria and sung about the sun shining in the sky. I was probably about 6 or 7.
MVRemix: You’re a part of many groups, does entering a different persona influence your creativity underneath each name/group?
Caroline Weeks: Oh definitely, being in many different groups allows me to fulfill every creative side of my personality. Depending on what suits the music, I will perform in all sorts of manners – I can be very playful. Dancing in a cat costume whilst playing my flute to a march in “Pthhhh” (an all girl experimental chamber group); wearing lots of glitter and losing myself in the atmosphere of the music of Bat For lashes; Imagining I’m a Victorian/Romanian ghost whilst playing accordion in Euchrid Eucrow. And then performing solo, I try to be as strong as I can, I think of all the great solo woman of the past and present like Karen Dalton, Joni Mitchell, Diamanda Galas, and they give me courage to sing out.
MVRemix: What’s the current situation with Bat For Lashes?
Caroline Weeks: Well, Natasha has been working hard in the studio, recording her second album, it’s sounding amazing! There are still some finishing touches to be done… I’m actually meeting up with Tash and Abi today to jam out a little musical intro to the album. The album comes out in March and then touring will begin.
MVRemix: How did the group name come about?
Caroline Weeks: It’s a bit of a mystery even to Natasha herself, I think she was inspired by a painting she saw and then the words just popped into her head.
MVRemix: What’s next for the group?
Caroline Weeks: Well, Natasha will be getting her band together very soon and will start rehearsals for touring.
MVRemix: What about Caroline Weeks? How did that moniker arise?
Caroline Weeks: Caroline Weeks is my birth name, simple as that.
MVRemix: You gave up the moniker Ginger Lee, were you aware of the porn star when choosing the name?
Caroline Weeks: Unfortunately I had no idea, it was only when I decided to Google my name to see if anybody nice had written a review about me that pages and pages of a naked blonde lady appeared on my computer screen. Oh dear, I thought, this won’t do.
MVRemix: Tell me more about “Songs For Edna.”
Caroline Weeks: As I said, I sing the poems by Edna St Vincent Millay to picky Spanish guitar; the recordings are very minimal, with the odd warm tone of a clarinet or a little tinkle of piano. I suppose one would describe it as alt-folk music along the same vein as early Josephine Foster, and early Devendra Banhart… It’s very difficult to describe one’s own music… Anyway it’s being released on Jan 27th on Manimal Vinyl Records and will available on LP/CD/Download.
MVRemix: Are there any videos in the works?
Caroline Weeks: I have made a video to the song/poem “Wild Swans” with director Rupert Noble, it will feature on my MySpace very soon.
MVRemix: What’s the most romantic song you’ve ever heard?
Caroline Weeks: I really like “Strangers in the night”. I don’t remember hearing this song for the first time, and it isn’t something I associate with any one person. But it is a song I often sing to myself when I’m feeling in a romantic frame of mind.
MVRemix: How did you hook up with Manimal Vinyl?
Caroline Weeks: I met Paul Beahan of Manimal backstage at a Bat For Lashes gig and gave him a demo of my songs. Manimal Vinyl had already released Bat For Lashes’ “Fur and Gold” on limited edition vinyl and he has released music by other new and interesting artists such as Rio en Medio and Hecuba, therefore I thought this is a nice home for my music.
MVRemix: In a sentence or less, what do you do to relax?
Caroline Weeks: A walk in the country always rejuvenates me, or a nice cup of tea in front of an open fire.
MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la “Fight Club” – “If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight”?
Caroline Weeks: I don’t agree with fighting, sorry. Could it be a one on one dance showdown? If so, I think I would bedazzle Michael Jackson, with a few spins and twirls (Isadora Duncan style).
MVRemix: What next do we have to look forward to from you aside from “Songs For Edna”?
Caroline Weeks: I will be playing lots of live shows next year, in between Bat For Lashes shows, and possibly I will play solo before a few BFL shows. I have also done a cover of “The Drowning Man” for a Cure tribute album called “Perfect As Cats” which I think will be out by the time you read this.
I’ve just started a Bulgarian choir singing group with my friends Mary Hampton and Jo Burke who are both incredibly talented folk musicians too, and I’ve just started working with the singer Lucie Wren who will be helping me out with vocal harmonies for my solo performances.
MVRemix: Any last words?
Caroline Weeks: In the words of Edna St Vincent Millay:
“All your lovely words are spoken. Once the ivory box is broken, beats the golden bird no more.”
Bat For Lashes – What’s A Girl To Do video