She is a young woman of twenty-two, claims her songwriting to be inspired by Lewis Carrol and other writers of phantastic literature, plays the piano equally well as she sings with a haunting voice. The songs of Alison Sudol, better known under her project name "A Fine Frenzey", are indeed imaginative and intense, her melodies wonderful and smart.
Promoted by iTunes and Starbucks, her song "Song of the Day" climbed the charts and afterwards her success seemed unstoppable. Here in Germany, people love the mysteriousness and fragility of her music that sometimes reminds of Sigur Ros. No wonder maybe, for Sigur Ros is a band Alison Sudol names among those she loves…
Carina Prange talked to Alison Sudol alias "A Fine Frenzy" for Jazzdimensions
Carina: What are your favorite movies and books at the moment?
Alison: "Heima", the new Sigur Ros movie. It is spectacular! that's sort of a documentary... Regular movie would have to be stranger than fiction. It's gorgeous. My favorite book would be "Pride and Prejudice". I sat and cried on an airplane when I finished it... Perhaps I should have waited until I got home... I think the people sitting in my row were concerned! (laughs)
Carina: You wrote in your blog: "… I don't care if it's uncool to show you care about that kind of stuff [tour with Brandi and reaction of the audience]. Perhaps it's un-rock starly, but I think I break all those rules anyhow. Cool is not my forte." As a part of the music business, is it still possible to take care of one's own privacy?
Alison: It is a learning process for me. Certain things need to be kept to oneself to protect them. I'm a normal person who likes to do normal things... There are definitely places you can go and things you can do to jeopardize your privacy, and I try to avoid those things at all costs.
Carina: Does that mean you'd be playing a role when on stage? Or can you always be yourself?
Alison: I think it is easier to be myself on stage than it is in real life. In social situations I get shy and awkward and tend to clam up a bit. On stage, no matter how I feel, the words I sing are honest and uncompromised. That's what I love about making music... it's safe to be myself.
Carina: What is the story behind the songs "Come On, Come Out", "Lifesize" and "Hope For The Hopeless"?
Alison: "Come on, Come out" came from noticing that some of the simplest pleasures in life are the ones most easily lost in day to day living! It's not necessarily about escaping everyday life, but more just taking a moment to step outside and breathe a bit.
The second one: I was taking a walk in my neighborhood on an absolutely glorious day and I was in a wonderful state of mind. I looked up and saw an airplane flying overhead. Just for a moment, it looked so close I felt like I could grab it by the wing and hold it like a butterfly. After that, I ran home and wrote "Lifesize".
"Hope for the hopeless" I wrote for a friend of mine that was going through a very difficult time. I couldn't seem to say the right words to offer the sort of comfort I knew that person truly needed. All I could do was write a song, so I did. I believe it helped! (laughs) The strange thing is, a few days after I finished writing it, hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans... It was very eerie, the way the lyrics corresponded with the situation. Very eerie indeed.
Carina: Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" is a book you love. To quote from it: "'Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin', thought Alice, 'but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life.'" How much are illusion, subjective impressions, dreams and myths connected to life as we live it?
Alison: I think that life is far more colorful than some people would like to think it is! There are tiny sparkling moments in life that cannot be explained or rationalized, and whatever they are, I don't think they're random. I believe dreams can sometimes be meaningful and other times can be a deficiency of vitamin B1 or strange bits of undigested foods wreaking havoc on the mind. (laughs)
Looking back on life, it's clear how certain events shaped the present, and those things I believe happen for a reason. There is always power of choice, though, and awareness of paths chosen and deeds done definitely have as much value as those things which happen outside of our control. Trying to understand those kind of things is kind of like trying to grab a cherry in the bottom of a full glass of soda. The more you try to get ahold of it (with a straw, at least), the more elusive it becomes.
Carina: Do you have a sort of philosophy for life?
Alison: Remember how you saw the world when you were five and try not to forget it! Laugh lots, cry when you need to and never get too hardened by the blows and bumps that life will undoubtedly offer. Oh, and never eat sushi from an airport!
CD: A Fine Frenzy - "One Cell In The Sea"
(Virgin Records/EMI 50999 5 09805 2 9)
A Fine Frenzy im Internet: www.afinefrenzy.com
Virgin Records im Internet: www.virginrecords.com