Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mini-Interview: Correatown

LA singer/songwriter Angela Correa is, duh, both namesake and main creative force behind the band Correatown. She's been on the road for awhile now, but is coming back to town this Saturday night to celebrate the release of her latest cd. We caught up with her on the wrong side of SLC to find out more about it all.

Hi, Angela. So, what's the story with the show? How did it come together? Who all is playing? It's also a benefit, right?

Yes, and I've been waiting for this for a while! I am so ready for our EP to be released! We have an entire album totally done and mixed -- but we wanted to put out an EP first to figure out what to do with the album itself. I really wanted to have a big party Saturday and so many great people are playing short and sweet sets… The Sweet Hurt (Wendy Wang plays bass in Correatown), Jack Wilson, Jr. (a new amalgam of The Natural Disasters and The Devils Romantics), Cobra Lilies (a folked-out side project of The Monolators and friends), and Daniel Ahearn (formerly of Ill Lit).

Pehrspace is really a great space for intimate and unusual shows and Pauline, one of the bookers, had suggested the space for the Echoes EP release party. I was immediately into the idea because I knew we could do something really special there. I'd been inspired by a charity project I was involved with recently called "I Heart - Bombshell Alliance" so the first question I asked bands that I invited to play was "Are you cool with us donating our share of the door to a community organization?" and overwhelmingly everyone said "Hells yeah!"

So all the proceeds from the door and all of my Echoes EP sales Saturday night will be donated to the Bicycle Kitchen. A bunch of my friends are also contributing an assortment of killer baked goods- so we're also having a little "bake sale" to try and raise more money!

As musicians and artists, we're constantly asking people to come out to shows and events and to give us their time, to share their night with us. I think part of what makes our music community so wonderful here is that we do all show up and support each other in so many ways… so it seems right to try and give a little something back, you know, and it feels really good to be able to donate to another part of our east side community -- especially one like Bicycle Kitchen. Everyone there is ALREADY a volunteer, and they inspire people to be thoughtful, think outside the box, and come together. That's what it is really all about, you know!

I hear you and I both understand and agree. What was the process for recording the cd like?

It was such a long endeavor! I initially just thought to record a couple songs with Raymond Richards at his studio in Rancho Park, Red Rockets Glare, in the summer of 2006, but I enjoyed being in the studio again and Raymond was so encouraging that I figured out a way to make an entire album with him. We recorded the whole album over the course of a year, working on it a couple evenings each week with occasional weeks/months off when I needed a break or had no money.

I was really lucky because so many friends contributed their time on the songs because at that point it was just me and I wasn't playing with the band yet. Raymond had asked Brian Whelan and Rob McCorkindale (from The Broken West) to come in and play bass and drums on some tracks for me and we really hit it off, and eventually Ross came and played some sick guitar on a couple tracks and the whole band played on the song Nightlight. I also had Joanie Mendenhall and Ray Suen from The Exfriends (my FAVORITE San Diego band) play on some songs. Mike Green played drums on a few tracks, and so many more talented musicians came in.

Recording was really an exploration, and such a rush. With previous recordings I really only had access to my acoustic guitar and my voice but I always had complete song arrangements in my head that I never was able to capture. For this album, there was a really cozy studio with lots of rad gear to toy around with and I had as much time as I chose to take.

For most of the songs, I had a really clear idea of how each song would sound already floating around in my head long before we started, so figuring out how to play/use different instruments to create those sounds was key. More importantly, it was figuring out how to convey and express my ideas to Raymond because I have a really abstracted way of describing my music, rather than a theoretical vocabulary. Poor Raymond, right?

Once we started working on a song I would listen to rough mixes obsessively on the hour-long drive through traffic after work… and more ideas would take shape. I totally blew out my car speakers! And of course the mixing process was more like pruning and weeding because I had layered so many parts on by the time I got together with Dan Long. He was amazingly patient and fantastic to work with.

Speaking of being in the car, you've been on tour for awhile... Where have you been? How's it been going?

Holy smokes, it's been fun! I went out to New York first and then came back to tour up the West Coast (San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Sacramento) and through Reno, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah and some dates in Arizona. Then back to LA for the EP release Saturday -- and then I have more dates on the West Coast and East Coast through mid-February.

It has been such a great experience for me to get out and play a bunch of shows to faces I've never seen before. I'm playing solo on all these dates (except Saturday, of course), so it's also a real change from what I've been doing with the band in Los Angeles and a great chance to stretch and try out brand new songs. Every night I've been able to really change up a song's structure or melody or play really old shit that I forgot about.

I've been sharing a co-bill with Daniel Ahearn on this tour. His songs are heart-breaking and poignant, so it's been inspiring to play a show with him each night. David J from Novi Split was playing with us on the first few dates and we've had some adventures outside of shows because he's such a fun guy. We got into some trouble heckling bawdy elephant seals and running around on the Santa Cruz pier thinking about vampires and The Lost Boys. We actually played a house concert in Santa Cruz at this big co-op style "Love House" and that was probably my favorite show of the trip because of how warm and friendly everyone was.

It's definitely been an "alternative tour" of sorts. We played this German place in Alameda and I had to contend with huge plates of sausage and brew, you know – but it's good… it makes you play better and play harder. It makes you realize that playing a show just down the street from your apartment in your favorite part of town with all your friends gathered around, like at The Echo or Bordello is a dreamy scenario.

It's the best scenario and that you really have to hit it hard and really "show up" when you play. Yeah, especially when you are in a random town trying to win over old dudes chowing down on sauerkraut.

Finally: Pehrspace is BYOB. What kind of beer are you bringing?

Ah… good question. You know, I'll probably just have a small flask of Maker's Mark in my pocket, but maybe I'll bring some Red Hook. I'm also bringing CUPCAKES for the bake sale!

Thanks for your time, Angela. See you Saturday.


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