Thursday, September 16, 2010

okay alright

Elliott Smith Elliott

SM: We'll try to make it short for you.

E: Okay.

SM: Have you lived in a southern town before?

E: Yes, I grew up in Dallas.

SM: So you know.

E: So I know.

SM: When we moved down here it was like that song all of the sudden had new meaning.

E: Oh, yeah? Yep, I lived in Dallas for ten years.

SM: We wanted to ask about your Ferdinand tattoo. Is that representative of you?

E: Well, really it's just a tattoo. I didn't know how many people knew who Ferdinand was.

SM: Were you hoping less people knew who Ferdinand was?

E: No, I think it's a good book, but I just had no idea. I wanted to get a bull and this was the one. I never think about it anymore. I'm glad you like it.

SM(Kelly): It reminded me of the story so I went and got the book for one of my friend's little boys.

E: Yeah?

SM: Mm-hmm. What major label is Heatmiser on?

E: Heatmiser is on Virgin.

SM: And have they ever approached you at all to do anything with your solo career?

E: Um, yeah.

SM: Are you going to do anything with them?

E: Uh, no.

SM: No?, (laughter)

E: There's like some legalities involved with it that I can't entirely control but they're not making any motions like they're gonna force me to do anything. I'm very happy working with Kill Rock Stars. But Virgin's actually been very, very nice to us. I can't say anything bad about them.

SM: When is the new Heatmiser album going to come out?

E: Not until August. It's already done, but it's not coming out until then. I mean Virgin has been very supportive of my solo stuff, and they haven't been like, "oh, we're not going to let you do it with Kill Rock Stars." They've just been like, "if you want to do it with us, we'd like that."

SM: Do you find your work as a solo artist more fulfilling or rewarding than Heatmiser or different?

E: Yeah, in a word. There are lots of things I like about playing in a band, the things I can't do by myself you know. But it's sort of more a group of friends type of situation than a musically fulfilling one to everybody in the band. Everybody's got things that they'd probably rather be doing differently, but we've all known each other for a really long time and we're really good friends.

SM: So you have fun playing together kind of thing?

E: Yeah. Most of the time. I think we're all variously sort of dissatisfied in one way or another with our recordings or what happens to our songs once they go through the band. The band's filter, but playing live is a lot of fun.

SM: Do you ever foresee a time in the future where you have to choose between the two? Devote your time to your solo career more?

E: Maybe, yeah. Probably. But I think it's pretty clear to everybody in the band which way that would go. It's just comes more naturally to play on my own with minute people. I'm trying to be careful because I don't want to make my band mad. It's a little touchy.

SM: So, when you're in New Orleans do you have any plans for mardi gras?

E: No, I've never been to mardi gras. I have a friend who lives there who says it can be kind of gross and I'm interested to see it, but I don't have any real plans. Probably drink a lot of hurricanes or something. (we all laugh) I'm not going to be running around in the street telling people to take their clothes off or anything like that.

SM: We haven't seen it yet. It'll be our first.

E: Yeah. So you're going to go?

SM(Chris): Tomorrow. We're going to one of the parades. We've gone to some. I rode on a float in one of the parades in Mississippi. It's an experience.

E: That's how I look at it.

SM: It's free entertainment.

E: I'm looking forward to seeing what it is. I just don't want to get swept up in a crowd of crazy people like drunk frat guys or something.

SM: Understandable. That's one thing to avoid, because they've shown stuff on the news about it. One thing to avoid is Bourbon Street.

E: Yeah, I just have this mental picture of it as like a human equivalent of the running of the bulls. Except the bulls are like frat guys and stuff then I'll sort of have to not get in a dense area.

SM: Good comparison. Do you perceive your last album as being 'darker' or moodier than the first one?

E: Yeah.

SM: Why is that?

E: I just wasn't in as bright of a mood when I was making it up. The first one was more about people, that was the angle of it. The second one wasn't hanging out with people as much. Sometimes people are like, "oh, the second one is all about drugs and stuff," and it's not about drugs. It's a different angle or topical way about talking about things. Like dependency and mixed feelings about your attraction or your attachment. It's good for you on the one hand, and on the other hand it's not really what you need. I just thought I'd answer that question in advance in case you asked.

SM: Actually, that wasn't on the list.

E: Well, I just get that a lot. 'All these songs are about drugs.' Well, not really. No.

SM: We didn't have it in our minds, so that's okay. Actually, the question was going to be is your life as bleak as your songs seem to suggest?

E: I don't think that they're that bleak really. I mean they have their moments. Those songs didn't come from nowhere so if it seems bleak, then I guess the answer is 'yes' but they're not bleak to me.

SM: Well that's good. That's what is important.

E: That's just how they turn out. I don't intend to write depressing songs and I'd probably rather write happy ones. But to me they have their happy moments. Maybe that's strictly mine. My own belief.

SM: Are you working on a new album at all? Writing new songs?

E: Yeah, I'm going to do another one when I get back from this tour. It'll probably come out late spring or early fall. I'll try and write some happy songs. (we all laugh)

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