State Of Music: Part 19: Missouri - Elsa Rae
I like literal things. A large tea is much more simpler than a Venti Moccachino. A bookshelf is a bookshelf, unless you buy it from Ikea which would make it and you a Kuntus.
My love for things being called what they should be called is what drew me into Elsa Rae and her wonderfully entitled album Elsa Rae Plays Tiny Instruments, because that is what it is. A lady called Elsa Rae, playing small instruments. (with a lovely bit of singing)
Ably assisted by Vincent The Uke, Mozart the Toy Piano and Sebastian F Schwartz The Kazoo, Elsa has created a lovely 9 track long player which is a million times more beautiful than it is simple.
I really hope you enjoy this album, frankly I love it. Have a listen, read the interview with Elsa Rae below and maybe then spend £3 on this....about the price of a Venti Moccachino.
CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who is Elsa Rae and where in the world would we find you?
I am Elsa Rae, player of tiny instruments! Currently, I can be found roaming the streets of Kansas City, Missouri.
CMM: How long have you been recording and how did it all start?
I've only recorded one album, and that was this August. There is a mixing God by the name of Michael Dresch that lives in my home-town of Sioux Falls, SD whom I contacted in June and asked to have the honor of recording at his studio. He had an opening in August which I accepted. Those two months prior to recording were anxious ones. I spent most of my time waiting on two things: tables and for recording day to arrive. I only had the time and funds to record nine songs, all of which are on my Plays Tiny Instruments album, but I plan on releasing many more recordings soon under a local label based in KC, Missouri!
CMM: What attracted me to your album was the very literal title. How best would you describe your music?
My tiny instruments produce a very interesting and intriguing sound, and my lyrics express and evoke feelings relatable to everyone. So, I suppose I'd best describe my music as eclectic and thoughtful. I do have a difficult time answering this question, though. I don't think my tunes really fit into one genre, but instead a raggle-taggle mob of different styles. This does make it difficult to categorize and describe my own music, but I feel comfortable in saying that my songs are appreciated my most people! Ultimately, if you want to know what my music is like, you just have to listen (and I hope you do)!
CMM: How difficult was it to record your album? I can't imagine recording tiny instruments is an easy thing to do.
You are mistaken! It was quite easy, and only took about five hours to record everything. On most songs, I sang and played ukulele simultaneously. After the main instrument and vocals were recorded, I only had to add toy piano and percussion to a few of the songs. The most difficult part of recording was figuring out the best way to mic the toy piano. This took maybe two minutes. Once Mike, recording genius, and I figured out the best way to capture the tiny piano sound, everything was smooth sailing. I recommend tiny instruments to everyone! Easy to play, transport, and record!
CMM: What is the music scene like in Missouri right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?
There is a ridiculous amount of music happening in Missouri right now, but most of it is underground. Jazz and Blues gets a lot of attention in this area, as does Electro and Hip-Hop, but the real talent of this state is that which is still widely unrecognized. For this reason, the underground music community is an extremely supportive one. We underdog, underground musicians have sort of banned together. Regardless of genre, be it folk, alternative, punk, blues, rockabilly, or reggae, if you are a musician in Missouri, you are sure to get support from the fellow music community.
CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?
Yes! I am constantly inspired by my surroundings. Music can be evoked from anything: the rustling wind, cars on a city street, fighting neighbors. I thrive on these natural experiences and my surroundings for inspiration. What I enjoy about living in Missouri, specifically Kansas City, is that I have a diverse selection of surroundings in which I can immerse myself, and these various settings always inspire me in different ways. For instance, being in the heart of the city, surrounded by busy people and fast cars and bright lights, elicits completely different emotions than being in a calmer, more residential part of the city. These varying emotions, provoked and inspired by the scenes happening around me, undoubtedly fuel my music.
CMM: What other influences do you have, musical or otherwise?
This may sound strange, but I'm mostly inspired and influenced by silence. There being a lack of sound makes me want to create my own. I'm sure I'm starting to gain a certain persona here in Kansas City, as that girl that is constantly singing to herself, but when inspiration strikes, I cannot suppress it! Otherwise, there are many musicians that have influenced me. These are mostly musicians that are not afraid of experimentation and exude passion in every note played, like my current obsession, Yellow Ostrich, along with artists like Bjork, Dirty Projectors, Times New Viking, tUnE-yArDs, Joanna Newsom, Little Scream, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Lykke Li, Battles, Volcano Choir (or anything done by Justin Vernon for that matter), and oh so many more. Show me a passionate artist willing to use interesting instruments and step outside the musical norm, and I'm a life-time fan!
CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?
I've only released the one album, Plays Tiny Instruments. It consists of 9 of my most personal songs which I have written over the course of two years. In this album, I used just a concert ukulele, vintage toy piano, tambourine, eggshaker, and kazoo to produce my compositions. Apart from this album, I do have a few other tracks which I've released on SoundCloud.com, but they are rough home-recordings done with my crap-tastic PC. I plan on having more songs ready to record very soon!
CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?
In my opinion, playing live is what being a musician is all about. There is no feeling quite like connecting to individuals through the power of live music. I love playing in more intimate settings, for I'd describe my music as being pretty intimate. House shows, coffee houses, and small stages are my favourite venues to play a show, regardless of state. Playing live doesn't have to be limited to playing a show, though. I often take Vincent, my ukulele, on adventures with me; playing Vincent in different, unique places, like in an alley, on the street corner, or in a tree, I would still consider playing live. My favourite place I've "played live" thus far was on this hiking trail in Occoquan, Virginia. All that could hear me were the trees. As I ended each song, the wind would rustle their leaves, and it seemed as if the trees were subtly clapping just for me.
CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?
I am currently going to school for English, but am going to withdraw at the end of the semester to focus solely on my musical career. The idea of being a full-time musician was before very, very surreal, but I'm slowly realizing that not only is it all I want to do in life, but is completely possible. When I am not making music, I am thinking about making music. It is only a matter of time before all my time and efforts are dedicated to this wonderful art-form. I patiently await the fast-approaching day.
CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?
or, for more personal inquiries, firstname.lastname@example.org
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