Monday, December 12, 2011

Lone Pornographer Kathryn Calder On Why She Never Gets Compared to Men

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 6:14 AM

  • Kathryn Calder

Kathryn Calder, a member of indie-rock-mega-supergroup The New Pornographers, will play a December 13 solo show at Cicero's (6691 Delmar Boulevard 314-862-0009).

The Canadian songstress is touring the U.S. in support of her second solo album "Bright and Vivid."

Calder has been a member of the New Pornographers (and is the niece of lead pornographer Carl Newman) since 2005 when she began filling in for singer Neko Case during live performances.

Kris Wernowsky: So, you're coming back to St. Louis. Do you have any particular memories of playing here before?

Kathryn Calder: It's always been really great playing in St. Louis. It's one of the only places I've seen where there was a line of people outside the venue to get things signed. The audience knew where to go and there were 40 or 50 people waiting to get pictures with the band. That usually doesn't happen.

So you're not used to a gaggle of people waiting outside of an indie rock show?

Usually there are a handful of people trying to get photos with the band. They were neatly formed in a straight line. A gaggle of about five is pretty normal.

Your new album is dedicated to your mother and father [note: Calder cared for and lived with her ailing mother during the recording of her first album Are You My Mother? She passed away in 2009]. Did their passing inform any of the decisions you made on "Bright and Vivid"?

When I recorded the first album, my mom was very sick at the time and had a terminal illness. I wanted to make a record for her to hear as well. She's always been a very big supporter of my music career. When I went into the second album, I had a good background of what I wanted. I just wanted to try something different. I knew that I wanted it to be something a little bit crazier, a little bit noisier and go in a bit of a different direction and make a bit of a statement too. That's the difference between the two. I've made lots of records before and it's always been in collaboration and it's always different. Here I am making the decisions and that's way different than being a part of a group where everyone has a say what is going on.

I just take events from my life and I write about them. Obviously, my mother's illness was huge. "Bright and Vivid" isn't a whole record about death, but there's defiantly a very strong theme. Anything is fair game. Any event is life is fair game.

Do you think that being in a very important indie-rock supergroup helps draw people in to you solo work?

Being in a band that's relatively high profile certainly helps. There are a lot of fans of the New Pornographers who are willing to try out stuff by the people who are in the New Pornographers. For a lot of bands, it's a big deal having people giving your work a chance in the first place. That's a huge hurdle for musicians starting out. Most of the time people just won't even bother. Then you're attached to a band and it gives people context to what you are doing. It's just a bit of a help, aside from just the fan crossover, there's also that too. It's been extremely helpful.

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