Friday, September 19, 2008

Interview: Sarah Negahdari

ITEM: The Happy HollowsSarah Negahdari is set to perform her acoustic material at Death To Anders' residency event at The Echo next Monday night.

And electric or unplugged, we maintain that she's an extremely talented singer/songwriter, as well as being “kind of magic… a grinningly happy median between spiritual and silly. Or as Vonnegut would put it, a ‘wampeter.’”

So we caught up with her for a quick IM conversation before the show...

RFSL (12:21:51 PM): Hey, Sarah. How are you today?
Sarah (12:22:53 PM): Great!
RFSL (12:23:57 PM): So you've got the acoustic show on Monday at DTA’s residency.
Sarah (12:24:05 PM): Yes.
RFSL (12:24:49 PM): You started out playing acoustic material solo and then formed The Happy Hollows? Or how did that work?
Sarah (12:26:46 PM): Yeah, I have played acoustic music since... uhh.. since I was fourteen... Then I moved to NY and played my acoustic songs for a year, and then I moved to LA and put down my acoustic and played only electric. The last eight months I started playing acoustic again for the first time!
RFSL (12:27:30 PM): While still doing The Happy Hollows.
Sarah (12:27:37 PM): Yeah!!!!
RFSL (12:28:11 PM): How do you decide what songs to do where?
Sarah (12:32:02 PM): Well, I sort of just allow anything that comes out of me musically to come out. I usually write a batch of ten songs at a time and then Chris and Charlie sift through them and decide which ones they want to work on for Happy Hollows and which ones just don't quite fit in with what our sound is. So these solo songs are the ones that just work so much better on acoustic, very bare bones and stripped down solo material
RFSL (12:33:30 PM): (But then there's the rare animal like Tambourine that starts off acoustic and then becomes a Happy Hollows song, right? That's on the new HH EP.)
Sarah (12:35:38 PM): Hahhaa!! Oh no, well, that one was written when I moved to LA and wanted to start The Happy Hollows and play loud electric guitar songs. That one was one of my first ever electric outings. These solo songs are very finger picking based stuff... And besides two songs, they have all been written in the last six months.
RFSL (12:36:43 PM): Oh, cool. I was just going to ask that. I know some of the older songs, like Driver, but think I’ve only heard the new ones at the acoustic show at Bordello a few months back.
RFSL (12:36:52 PM): That was kind of an amazing night.
Sarah (12:36:59 PM): SO amazing!!!
RFSL (12:37:07 PM): Everyone playing was kind of phenomenal.
Sarah (12:37:15 PM): Seriously.
RFSL (12:37:26 PM): That was the first time you'd played out some of the new songs?
Sarah (12:37:35 PM): YES
RFSL (12:38:04 PM): What are they about? How did they come to be?
Sarah (12:41:55 PM): Well, they have been a total surprise to me. The LAST thing I EVER expected to come out of me in all honesty. I think 08 has been a really difficult year for me in a lot of ways. I have been dealing with a lot of family and personal stuff, and just feeling seriously like...I'm really looking within...oh man I sound so do I put it...I just really wanted to be just sit down for a second and share with an audience...just how vulnerable and scared I feel...just how innocent I feel right now...that is where it stems from I think. I feel really really really thin skinned this year.. I think that’s why all of these songs came out this year..
RFSL (12:43:06 PM): I'm sorry to hear that it's been a rough year.
Sarah (12:45:40 PM): Oh, thank you, well, it’s been great in a lot of ways too!!! I am learning so so so much about my own truth and integrity, and I feel like I have grown in leaps and bounds in such a short period of time, lately I feel like I am out of the fog and everything feels really sunny and hopeful again. Yes, oh hell, yes, these songs were my best friends through this dark period. Totally helped me...oh man...yes...
RFSL (12:46:35 PM): What are some of the songs? I've heard them, but don't know their names or what they're about and stuff.
Sarah (12:47:50 PM): Hahhaha, I don’t know their names either!! uuumm, some of them haven’t told me their names yet...But one is called Voodoo, but the rest..keep changing their exact titles on me those bastards.
RFSL (12:48:25 PM): Oh, I know that one. I'll insert the video footage of that... here.

Sarah (12:48:33 PM): Hahaha!
Sarah (12:49:22 PM): One is called Captain Negahdari.
RFSL (12:51:28 PM): I saw a posting called that on your solo music myspace page. It was the results of one of those internet quizzes, like "What Super-Hero Are You?" but it was "What Fucked Up Genius Composer Are You?" And the results were Captain Beefheart?
RFSL (12:51:45 PM): You named the post “Captain Negahdari.”
Sarah (12:51:45 PM): Yes!!!
Sarah (12:52:17 PM): There is a song dedicated to that concept...
Sarah (12:52:54 PM): I need to record these songs dammit
RFSL (12:53:26 PM): Yeah, what's the plan to record them?
Sarah (12:56:41 PM): the plan, have just recorded and finished an amazing Happy Hollows album, finally laying down everything I wrote the last two years of my life that I wanted are getting out an EP and then an Album...and that has taken all of my attention...but after all of this...when I have time it would be great to record all of these folk songs I have done. I really love them. I think they all came as a surprise and the means to record them and the time to record them will come as a surprise...I'm just going with the flow baby!! In the meantime, I am going to play them every once in a keep my fingers moving fast
RFSL (12:57:53 PM): I heard that you developed your guitar plucking skill while stuck w/o a car for awhile.
Sarah (1:02:38 PM): hahhaha!! uuumm..ahahaa, that is funny..well, that was my tapping...that was a result of me being trapped in my house for hours on end watching all of these metal heads on you tube teach tapping from their bedrooms and spending hours and hours learning how to do it...but the fast finger picking I have been doing since I was 14. My mom was a drummer, so all I heard was fast beats all the time through the house since I was born. So, when I started playing guitar all I wanted to do was play with really intricate and fast rhythms..I wanted to invent my own style of really really fast rhythmic finger picking I've been doing that forever.
RFSL (1:03:31 PM): It kind of blows everyone's mind when you start doing that at shows.
Sarah (1:03:56 PM): That is such a neat feeling, because for me it’s so easy, and I forget that it’s not easy..
RFSL (1:04:42 PM): It's like you're standing there listening and really enjoying the songs and think you have a basic grasp on what you're going to hear and THEN EVERYTHING GOES ALL CRAZY!!
Sarah (1:04:54 PM): hahahhaaa, Oh thank you!!
RFSL (1:05:44 PM): Looking forward to hearing you play these songs out again on Monday.
RFSL (1:05:55 PM): It's DTA and who else that night?
Sarah (1:07:14 PM): Thank you, Joe!! I am nervous, I get so nervous when it is so stripped down like this!! It is One Trick Pony (who I am dreading having to go after, that guy is THE BEST) and Mad Gregs who are awesome are on after DTA
RFSL (1:07:50 PM): That night you played with OTP at Pehrspace was pretty magic, too.
Sarah (1:09:53 PM): OH Yeah!! That was really amazing.....I will never forget your face in the audience that night....I felt like you were really getting it, and I was so nervous to share these songs for the first time, so thank you, it made me feel wonderful!!
RFSL (1:11:34 PM): So before I forget to mention it, The Happy Hollows have an EP coming out at the end of October.
Sarah (1:12:05 PM): Yes, October 21st!
Sarah (1:12:15 PM): It is called Imaginary EP.
RFSL (1:12:36 PM): And it's a preview of some of the stuff off the album you recorded with Dave Newton.
RFSL (1:12:47 PM): Monster Room and Tambourine are on the EP, right?

RFSL (1:12:51 PM): And album?
Sarah (1:15:14 PM): Yes, well, Lieutenant will be on the EP and album, but Tambourine is an EP-only song. All of the rest beside Lieutenant are only on the EP. We recorded 22 songs with Dave...these five are like a taste.. a little taste for what is ahead.. and we are really excited about it!! And oh man, the album just feels like heaven for me to think about. I am so happy with it....
RFSL (1:15:39 PM): Excellent. Can't wait to hear it.

RFSL (1:16:01 PM): So one last question for you:
RFSL (1:16:07 PM): What are you listening to right now?
Sarah (1:20:35 PM): always ask this question..and I can’t believe I didn’t prepare....I love MGMT's new record...I cant wait to hear Deerhoofs new one...and play with them which blows my mind...uumm..I have been really really craving something new recently...I've been asking friends for recommendations..I always love the local bands music more than big bands most of the time I love Death to Anders new one...I am going to kick myself because I know I am blanking and shouldn’t be.....dammit sarah
RFSL (1:22:26 PM): Hee.
Sarah (1:22:33 PM): I’ve been getting into Television a lot...oh ..I honestly find myself mostly listening to old stuff....but I'm so over nostalgia..I just want to hear something fresh and new....fuck nostalgia man
RFSL (1:23:09 PM): I hear you. Listening to old favorites sometimes feels like flipping through old photographs.
Sarah (1:23:32 PM): Yeah, let’s move on, let’s be in the NOW... Hahaha!

- Brunch With The Happy Hollows
- Sarah Negahdari’s Driver MP3

Photo by Laura Jennings.


Blogger pretty in tents said...

mad gregs are playing the show at the echo on the 22nd as well, it would be nice if you posted that in the upcoming shows section as well.

1:11 PM  

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