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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 63 - 11/30/01

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
- words of Hope

The Mother of Inventions and her simple plans

A lot of rumours circulate about Hope Sandoval, the enigmatic singer from the amazing Mazzy Star. For instance, apparently she's not talking to David Roback anymore and Mazzy Star broke up. She's also said to be the worst interview partner, because she basically doesn't talk AT ALL. And she didn't even manage to finish her "solo" album, which was to be her first full-length release after Mazzy Star's 1996 Among My Swan. Well, it's all lies basically. Despite the fact that it's been a year since Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions - featuring erstwhile My Bloody Valentine member Colm O'Ciosoig and as a guest star british folk legend Bert Jansch - released their debut EP, their first album (Bavarian Fruit Bread - to be reviewed next full moon) was actually released on Rough Trade in late November and there's also a new Mazzy Star record in the works, possibly for release in 2002. And Hope also turned out be a shy, but very charming interview partner when she recently called me from San Francisco. Okay, so she wasn't exactly talking, only whispering at first and talked VERY slowly, but after a little warm up there were no signs of any kinda deep resentments against the media.

LuKa: You are much more the focal point of this new band (hence the name) - how democratic is the group?
Hope: "Colm and I did most of the music, although we wrote a couple of the songs with some other people, like Colm's band mates. We also covered two songs, one that William Reid wrote [the Jesus And Mary Chain obscurity Drop, that appeared as a CD-only bonus track on the band's 1989 record Automatic] and Butterfly Mornings."

LuKa: While the William Reid song didn't come as a surprise [William and Hope apparently used to date], the other choice was a bit weird, since the other song stems from the soundtrack of a Sam Peckinpah movie, The Ballad Of Cable Hogue. And Peckinpah, best known for his excessive use of violence couldn't be further removed artistically from you. So was it just the song that attracted you or the movie or even its director?
Hope: "I just really love this song and I didn't quite know what the chords were so I made up my own and we played the song all the time and then I thought it would be nice to record it and I send a tape of the song to Bert Jansch and he really liked it. I was pretty happy that he came out and recorded with us."

LuKa: But how did you get in touch with a legend like Jansch? I guess he's probably not listed in the phone book...
Hope: "Well, Mazzy Star played a show with Bert Jansch a few back and Geoff Travis from Rough Trade knew his manager and so... Plus I would go to his shows and he remembered me from the show that we did together, so I asked him if he would be into the idea of playing some music with me and he said: 'Yeah, just send me the tape with the music! I'll let you know what I think' and I sent him and he really liked it!"

LuKa: Is Jansch really topping your list of 'people I want to work with'?
Hope: "Yeah, I think he's probably the best guitarist in the world and he's very inspiring, he's a very special person."

LuKa: Taking of inspiration: Could it be that your influences and your sources of inspiration have changed somewhat over the last five years or so? At least the new album seems to have a bigger folk element to it than the "psychedelic" Mazzy Star albums. Is that just because David Roback isn't on the album or does that reflect a change in your personal interests?
Hope: "Yeah, I think so! My first group was more acoustic music, when I first met David that's what I was doing. When we started to work together I was in a band that played more rock with a hint of acoustic sounds - and I love both. But the acoustic thing is how I started out and maybe that's why the new record does have more of an acoustic side to it than some of the Mazzy Star record."

LuKa: Does that mean you had to make less compromises on this album?
Hope: "I think with Mazzy Star we always do what Colm and I did on this record as well: We just chose songs that we really liked and played them we way wanted to hear them. A song like Suzanne - we thought about doing it with the whole band, but then we felt that it sounded nicer this [stripped down] way and we just left it."

LuKa: People have been wondering why it takes you so long to come up with a new album. It's been over five years since the last Mazzy Star album. Do you have a problem with finding the right moment to stop?
Hope: "A lot of musicians can work on a record forever if given the opportunity, but I think it's also good to decide that you're finished and then it's probably better to work on something new."

LuKa: You've recorded a number of songs on the new album in Luna Kafé country, Oslo to be precise. Why?
Hope: "David, my partner in Mazzy Star, spends a lot of time there, so he invited us out there to visit and spend time and of course David and I are working on the next Mazzy Star record. So it was kinda to do work with Mazzy Star and then we flew Bert Jansch out to Oslo and we did his recordings there, because it made more sense then for him to come all the way to San Francisco. We also spend a lot of time in England, where Colm lives. We basically recorded wherever we were."

LuKa: The last time Mazzy Star played together was on a very low-key European tour last year and you seem to keep a very low "public profile". So do you see interviews and other promotional duties as a necessary evil as well, that you rather would avoid?
Hope: "Sometimes for me interviews can be difficult. You sit down with a person you don't know and you have this anxious feeling that you don't know what the person's gonna come away saying and there are so many times where a journalist will come away and really just be vicious and nobody wants to sit down and anticipate that sort of thing. That's what makes it awkward for a lot of musicians. Sometimes you have a nice time and you talk and the person is fair, but then sometimes they don't like you and they don't want to be nice and friendly."

LuKa: So what the media says about you really does affect you? Do you read a lot of the things that get written about you?
Hope: "It's not so good to get too involved in it. I read some things when we got some press in Mazzy Star but after a while I just didn't bother, because if you get too involved you get caught up in really believe whatever they are writing. But it's only based on a meeting you have with somebody for an hour and it's practically impossible to know really person in an hour!"

LuKa: Media people aside, do you notice a difference between your audiences in, say England, mainland Europe or America?
Hope: "Yeah, sometimes when we play more pop-oriented cities like London or L.A. or New York it's very different than playing a place like Oslo or somewhere in Sweden or Italy. It could be that there is just so much happening in places like London, they have so much to chose from, they get bored more easily. I don't know what it is, but there are differences."

LuKa: Last question: With a Warm Inventions tour coming up in late January - do you see this current album just as the next step or is that going to be an important deciding factor where you go from here?
Hope: "Well, it's just a collection of songs and there's so many songs and so many more songs to write! (laughs) The next step is to finish up the next Mazzy Star that we've already started. It's basically a very simple plan!"

Copyright © 2001 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

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You may also want to check out our Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions articles/reviews: Bavarian Fruit Bread, Through The Devil Softly.

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