Carla Bozulich

Angel & demon [English version]

» Interview

le 26.08.2007 à 06:00 · par Janf R.

Carla the American came to Montreal to record Evangeslista, her first album on Constellation. Recorded at the Hotel2Tango and blended with a pocketful of beautiful noises and loops prepared at home, it also includes additional players from various bands from the famous Canadian label.

Here is an interview of the woman-with-the-inhabited-voice, getting ready to record a new album on Constellation.

Evangelista, your third album as a solo artist has been released on Constellation, the famous Canadian label. Your music fits the 'Constellation spirit' so well that musicians from various bands (A Silver Mount Zion, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Black Ox Orkestar) play on Evangelista . How was this project born? How did it take form?

I have been friends with those musicians and the people that run Constellation for a very long time. More than 10 years! Jessica Moss played briefly in my band The Geraldine Fibbers when Constellation was just starting. She is probably the best friend I have in the whole thing because we have remained each other's biggest fans and she has played with me from time to time when we are near each other on tour. She plays in A Silver Mount Zion.

Early last year I toured North America playing much of the music of Evangelista. In Montreal many of the musicians you mention were at the gig. Jessica and Thierry Amar played with me, in fact. The Evangelista music hadn't been played in Montreal — it was very different then, of course — I played a lot of the music solo with samples and guitar, but with a certain similar intensity. I guess everyone was happy because after the show Efrim said he would like to record the music and I learned that my fine canadian friends would like to play on the project. I was totally blown away. We started making plans and six months later it was happening at Hotel2tango with my dear friends.

You recorded Evangelista with Efrim in Hotel2Tango studio, then you added some samples at home. Unlike most of samples that usualy sound like urban sounds, these sound much more like organic noises, like noises heard from inside the body. That produces a very dense, deep and almost claustrophobic mood. Did you initially plan to record the album this way (in two phases) or did you decide afterwards to add the samples, once the instrumental part recorded?

Well, to continue from what is said above, the samples where the main instrumentation of the first Evangelista — the Evangelista I was performing when the Godspeed You! Black Emperor / A Silver Mount Zion folks first heard the music played. The samples came first. There are four core samples that make the backbone of Evangelista and three of them are in some way originating from a certain 100 year old wooden box with a metal crank that turns against a tin disk with holes stamped in it. Sort of a music box but broken and when the little samples went into the machine in my brain they did not come back in one piece. Add the voice of the baptist preacher and you have the four main samples.

Indeed, for me sampling was my best musical skill for a long time before I started brutalizing my poor guitar. I guess I sing a little, too. Anyway, the nature of the sounds is just a combination of my style which is to take a sound from nature or and instrument or outright steal it from anywhere i want and then tweak it in and out a million ways and then loop it. I am a worshipper of the drone. I like sounds that are moving beneath us while we laugh and type and circle the streets looking for a parking spot. I like the sound of a cat's heart — so fast! I like the sound of a contact mike being dragged across a length of skin — a leg maybe, a woman with stubble from not shaving and then a very short slap-back delay. Lower the freguency and octave or so, turn it backwards and you got a pretty nice sound (I must try this one tonight!!!). I like sound and love.

Evangelista is truly an experience. Very dramatic. From anger (Evangelista I) to calm (Evangelista II). You describe it as an 'exorcism'. Can you precise why? What about calling it a 'birth'?

Thank you. I will tell you a couple of things. One is that the anger you speak of is not anger but pulling pulling pulling the way when you pull so hard you make an awful sound... pulling to get acrosss... to get across the feeling of urgeant, unbridled unbalanced LOVE, not anger, love. I know they sound the same when someone is throwing their body into it that hard. And then: I never called it an exorcism. That would be someone in the press. It has been repeated but it is not my word for the album. If someone uses my work on themselves like that and it works that is great but it was not meant to exorcise me.

I don't need exorcising. I want myself this way, devils or not. I want to change shapes constantly. I want to be a little cat and then a big scary man. I want to spit green stuff. As for birth, I refuse to be born again and if I was I would just want to grow up to be me anyway. I am curious. I like that about me — I always want to learn about people and what they love. I am troubled and weird and ramble the planet with no place to hang my hat. I love dogs and cats and any kinda animal. I even see how a fucked up lunatic can turn out the way they did. It's not that I won't kill the thing if I have to but I will understand him or her while I do it. I have three plastic hagstrom guitars and have enjoyed so much infernally loud music that I'm beginning to lose my hearing. I have chocolate and kisses and waiting for me where ever I go. I have everything that I want and I don't need anything that is not in my bags upstairs right now as I am checking out of this hotel. Why would I throw all that away?

Evangelista is driven by your very powerful and inhabited voice. Do you feel close to artists such as Nick Cave or PJ Harvey? To any other artists?

I love that you called my voice inhabited. That is the best word i ever heard to describe my voice. I do feel attracted to Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. I love to hear them and feel their strength spilling out. I remember being on tour in Britain and seeing the huge posters of her wet flying head — Rid Of Me — and thinking that looks like it might be a fucking interesting musician. and, wow-o, that's a really professional publicity job! I'm in awe of PJ Harvey's use of stiletto heals. I can't walk in pumps. last night i was recording and we started playing a blues. i love the blues but me and pj are capable of a lot of the same things — our voices have a similar range that we stalk around in, etc so i said to the band that we had to fuck it off. that's the advantage to being the famous one, I guess. she's got chicks like me saying fuck off the blues just so they won't be compared to her.

You have covered many country artists such as Willie Nelson in The Red Headed Stranger. In Evangelista, you covered Low's Pissing. You have described it as 'maelstromatic' (I would also say 'excellent'). What are the other indie / folk / rock artists you would like to cover? Or simply enjoy?

I'm not thinking about any covers right now, though I love doing it so much. I was trying to count the number other people's songs I've recorded. I couldn't count. Hummmmm, rock bands, huh? OK, well, forget about Speculum Fight, then. I love a band from the United States called The Silver Daggers. I love Xiu Xiu. I love Celebration. I love Death Sentence: Panda.

What about the future? Have you planned another album? With Constellation?

I am going to start recording my new album for Constellation August 15 at the Hotel2tango with the same monster friends of mine. I'm really excited about it. I think I will stop using my name and begin calling my project Evangelista. The album will be called Hello, Voyager. It'll be out in February, I think.

Can we imagine that you could join a Constellation band as a very special guest?

I hope one day to rip it up with A Silver Mount Zion or Frankie Sparo.

Any last question you would like to answer?

« Carla, are you a giant monster that walks big shaking steps tumbling concrete and asphalt dust making every machine everywhere you go malfunction? Do you, Carla, move with a hole in your abdomen that you put there so a person can peek at another life that makes them feel stimulated and like breaking things in the name of WHAT THE HELL IS UNDERNEATH??? are you happy when you are gentle and kind? »

Yes and yes. Yes, I am happy. Thank you.

[mail interview, June 2007]

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