Interview with Julia Frodahl
December 19, 2003
GO: Your new album has been an amazing surprise in Europe. I feel shocked about it and it is one of my favorite albums of the year. I think it is one of the few albums that is completely dedicated to quiet people, people who really feel more secure alone, at home, listening to this kind of albums. Was that your feeling at the time of composing it?
Julia Frodahl: Thank you so much. I think it is an album for quiet people, but also perhaps a tonic to go with the chaos. It can go both ways.
GO: Edison Woods makes music that really appreciates loneliness. Is it the best way to achieve what you look for in music? It seems that you feel more comfortable doing your music by yourself, without external influences.
JF: This might be a language matter but, I would say I appreciate aloneness as opposed to loneliness. Loneliness is not such a great feeling, but aloneness, especially when writing music, is a state I really enjoy, yes. And it's not a sad place. It seems in today's society if you're not loud and boisterous, if you're quiet and often alone, it's assumed something's wrong. But this is not the case. Being alone is when I feel very connected and centered. It's the time when I can find my inner ideas, the sort that are apart from the more temporary and superficial distractions, and this I love.
GO: The new album is very focused on piano, violin and your voice. It's a very classical structure but the sound isn't classic at all. In some ways, it reminds me of some of the best Rachel's compositions. I see it as a very good way to join classical elements in a contemporary and even indie context. Were you looking in that direction?
JF: Well, we aren't intentionally looking in any particular direction or genre really, just towards those mutable insides. We are playing what comes freely and then shaping it with a great amount of care and technique, which, thinking about it, is in some ways an equivalent of bringing indie and classical approaches together.
GO: Is there a strong influence of classical and chamber music? I say this because there are parts of some songs that reminded me of Bach, which for me it was amazing and very exciting. I don't know if that's a casual thing or if it is a real influence?
JF: It's interesting that you say that... There are parts that remind me of Bach as well but I don't know what exactly it is that is similar... I believe there are some of us in this group who could exist on Bach and truffles alone. We love truffles. So although Bach's influence is not intentional, we're naturally effected by the things we have taken in, such as those wonderful dark fugues of his.
GO: The press has compared your music to bands like Mazzy Star, Mojave 3, Low, etc... but I?m not quite sure if those comparisons are correct. Do you see connections between you and these kind of bands, which are more connected to folk and slow-pop?
JF: I think if you add the lush and also - this is important -- the peculiar qualities of Goldfrapp for example, her imagined lands, a clearer picture of Edison Woods comes. The peculiarity and subversive characteristics beneath the surface of our music is something that I feel is being missed by the press.
GO: The new album is one of the most emotional albums that I've listened to this year. Is it important to be in a special mood to feel closer to it? I don't know but I think people who really appreciate sadness, melancholy and loneliness as a way to know themselves much better can feel more identified with it. How do you feel about it?
JF: I feel that we reach for a particular kind of music in the same way we reach for a particular friend on a given night or hour. Depending on our state of mind, or mood and what kind of company would fit with us. It's a presence that we share a space with, and sometimes we want something to match us while other times we'd like someone to help either anchor or elevate us.
GO: Do you feel very influenced by your own emotional state at the time of composing your music?
JF: I'm not sure it's possible for an artist to make anything that is not influenced by her emotional state, even if she had the hope of doing so.
GO: Is music a good way of escaping from reality? Your music makes this life a better thing to be lived. Do you see music as a therapy?
JF: Thank you, David. I find music is a way of finding reality, actually. Many people say our music is dreamy and enjoy getting lost in it, which is wonderful. But along that excursion, our intention is not to cause forgetting and escapism, but rather to offer a warm place for remembering and connecting with some of the deeper places.
GO: Are you going to make a European tour? It would be great to see you live in Barcelona.
JF: In april we will be in Barcelona and your very charming streets. We are looking forward to it.