Sunday, April 14, 2013

While You're Sleeping, I'm Dreaming | An interview with Tamaryn

You grew up in New Zealand. What lead you to New York?

 I was born in New Zealand but I migrated all over the place growing up. The people who raised me were a bit transient and then I "left home" at 13 and kind of bounced between friends and extended family for a while. I lived in San Francisco in the late 90's alone and then decided to take off for New York when I was 18. Best thing I ever did. 

Have you always been involved in music or is it something that developed later?

 I've been in bands since I was a teen but never really got it right until Rex John Shelverton came into the picture. 

Who would you say were some of your earliest musical influences? 

Siouxsie, David Bowie, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush... I really got inspired by the first Glass Candy tour in 99'. 

When it comes to your own music, where do you generally draw your inspiration from? Is it something you work on collaboratively with your band mate or something you flesh together first then bring to the table?
Rex and I pass things back and forth. It's a collaboration but it's also very much vocalist/music man type thing.

Your music can be likened to a sort of whimsical trance-like dream state. How did you find your "voice" and your sound for Tamaryn? Are there any female musicians that influenced you or inspired you to become a singer? 

The music I make is the kind of music I listen to myself when I want to transport out of the shitty cages life can become. Our songs have a big range because I am trying to escape a lot. Once you posses something you lose interest in it right? You have to find something else to get a thrill. That being said we very much have a defined set of sounds and so far the records with Rex have been about those sounds as much as the song parts themselves. 

I feel like there are a lot of great female singers and musicians in music right now. Women like yourself, Liza Thorn of Starred, Dum Dum Girls... Who are some of your personal favorites in music right now? 

You named em! It's a long list really. 'Women in music' is such a patronizing term don't you think? Most of my favorite artists are women. It's not really a minority situation. 

What has your experience been like as a female musician touring and on stage? What do you think are the biggest challenges female musicians face in comparison to their male counterparts?

 The biggest challenge as a female touring for me is that I don't get off on meeting guys on the road. That might not be the case for all women but it's safe to say most male musicians I know covet the chance to meet women all over the world. I find no gratification in short illusionary encounters. I'm not really into touring at all honestly. As an artist you create a world to escape into and it's usually a solitary one. Trying to take that and recreate it in an indie band situation is less than ideal. I'd rather make more songs and images and play shows sparingly. 

Tender New Signs was a psychedelia dream and was received really well. Were you happy with how the album was received and has the live reaction been equally satisfying?

It's really hard to have a healthy perspective. I have no idea how well received it was. I was touring and honestly losing my mind a little. Only just starting to get my equilibrium back. I have this underlying sense that what I've created has effected things in some way but I don't feel present enough with it to understand how. That's why I am just trying to stay busy and creative as to not over think it.

Has your relationship with Rex evolved and/changed over the years compared to the humble beginnings of Tamaryn and how so?

Sure. We started out as a recording project and blossomed into a pretty impressive live act I think. One thing that never changed was we always set the bar high musically. We wanted to make vast, all consuming, uncompromising music and we still do just that.

There is a real feminine energy about your music and a particular aesthetic that follows it. How would you describe Tamaryn aesthetically? 

Romantic. Not really in a nice way. It's always a meditation on beauty and loss, delusions and deaths. The imagery just comes out of me and doesn't really have to be thought about much. 

There is a free spirit rock vibe about you and your style. Are you someone that follows fashion and if so who are some of your style icons? 

I try not to because I feel like fashion gives you a terrifying look at your own mortality. I have been subject to trends inadvertently as it's hard to avoid and now I just try to not think about how I look as much as possible. If I make an aesthetic change it's because I am trying to escape myself a little or give myself some energy to feed off. I respect the fashion industry and how it ties culture together and the art that is put into it. It's exciting in that regard but I think personally a uniform is a bigger statement then being in the day's hottest trends. 

Though you put out a new album last year, is there any plans to start working on material for the next or is hibernation in order? 

I am working on two albums now. One with Rex and one with someone else that is a real hero of mine. I have some singles coming out that may surprise people. I want to make tons of records in my life and I am not interested in focusing on limitations while doing so. I may make a pop record. I may make an Acid House record. I may wait 2 years between releases. Whatever I want. 

Are there any plans to make your way to Australia and what can we expect from Tamaryn in the future?

We would love to but we are waiting on the promoters to call us, if you know what I mean... The future is more art, more music and likely more madness. Wish me luck.