Friday, May 8, 2009

Exclusive Interview with Elizabeth & the Catapult!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the adorable Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth & The Catapult. Here's what she had to say.

Where does the band name come from? The Elizabeth part is obvious but I'm sensing a story behind the "and the Catapult"...
I just wanted to incorporate something whimsical and a little off kilter- and I really liked the image of a little girl with a slingshot wandering around looking for trouble.

How does it feel to be releasing your first full-length album? And what has it been like to watch your fanbase grow and expand? Please talk about your "rise to fame" so to speak and what that's been like to experience...

It makes me a little sleepy thinking about it, but it's a wonderful feeling. We're all super grateful. We only had an EP floating around for sometime there, so it's nice to know our fans can finally sit down and enjoy a bit more than just 25 minutes of The Catapult....

You said this album was for adults who just never quite figured out how to grow up. Do you think that growing up in NYC, where people simultaneously grow up too fast and don't grow up at all, was a heavy influence for you when you created this album? NYC is a very odd and unpredictable monster. I've been here so long I don't even notice how much it's hot headed temperament creeps into the music....but it really does. There's just so much zany material to go on! When I'm in a good mood I idealize the city, the energy, the amazing people, the opportunities. When I'm in a so-so mood I lock myself in the house, close the window shades and sit down to write a song like "Taller Children".

Elizabeth, how do you feel your classical background has influenced your current sound? Do you try to incorporate classical music into your life/work still?
It's really plays a huge influence on what I do. When I was a kid my favorite "artists" were Ravel, Debussy and Chopin. So whether I like it or not, it's deeply imbedded in the harmonic character of the songwriting. I always try to build an element of surprise or ambiguity in the music, so that it's not always your basic 4 5 1 chords. Although, once in a while, the lyrics will really call for that too:) We had a demo up on myspace recently of a Chopin spinning song that I had set some lyrics too--- I basically took the left hand of the piece and started improvising over it---weaving in and out of the original song. Some people like to improvise over Ellington, I like Chopin.

On your myspace blog, you wrote that some demos posted wouldn't probably make the final album. What is it like to have to cut your own songs? How difficult is that?
It was really difficult. But a great problem to have. We tried not to deliberate too much about the song choice before we recorded with Mike Mogis- but after the sessions there was one song that never made it to the album that was a real heartbreaker...luckily there's always our sophomore attempt!

What's the best/most important thing you've learned on your journey so far?

To keep your music close and your inspiration closer.

What has been the funniest/most outrageous moment on your journey so far?
We once played a gig at an installation art show in LA called the Black Pussy- we didn't realize what we were walking into at the time, but when we started playing our song "Devil's Calling" suddenly a bunch of women started taking off their clothes. I think I peed my pants on stage from laughing so hard.

Lastly, what is your ultimate "guilt free pleasure"?
Haribo Gummy bears. Sooooo good. I can eat a truckload in about a half hour.

And for those of you who didn't catch it, check out the write-up of their performance at the Deli Magazine Best of New York show at Southpaw on Wednesday for a free mp3 of the title track from their new album, Taller Children.

No comments: