This week celebrates the release of the new Fairy Bones album Dramabot with a listening party 1/27 at Welcome Diner and a CD release show at the Rogue Bar on 1/31!
Silverplatter contributor SONG RIVER interviewed Chelsey Louise of Fairy Bones:
A Walk With a Spin of Synthamatic Popin’Punk Wave-
Interview with Chelsey Louise of Fairy Bones and a delicious tease of their newest album- Dramabot
By Song River
Chelsey… what have you done? As I went back watched and listened to your recordings since 2013 I kept thinking where have you kept this powerful explosive voice? How can it be contained in this diminutive female and how much longer before it is blasting from every speaker across the globe?
Chelsey: Well thank you! I’ve been storing my vocal chords in the dark depths of a lagoon off the coast of Switzerland for some time now, but decided to retrieve them from the goo in 2013 to form Fairy Bones. It’s an ancient secret. But we hope this record could take us to “the next step,” which for us is touring nationally and wider radio play. So to answer this question.. soon, hopefully?
Song: Before we get much further though Chelsey, give me some background on you. Were you the powerhouse singer as a kid, belting out birthday and the tune of the day lyrics around the house? Are you vocally trained? Do you come from a musically inclined family? Who were some of your early influences musically?
Chelsey: Actually, no. I was EXTREMELY self-conscience as a kid about..everything. My awesome mum grew up in London, England (both of my parents are actually from the UK, I’m a first gen American), and she worked in West End, which is where basically all theatre happens. She passed that passion along to me, and I did my first musical (Bye, Bye, Birdie) when I was about 12 at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre. I always thought of myself as more of a dancer who could sing, rather than a singer who could dance (musical theatre kids will understand this well). My dad is a drummer, has been since about 18 (he is now 71 STILL DRUMMING TO THIS DAY!). He opened for The Rolling Stones, had a lot of crazy adventures in the 60’s producing records, playing in awesome bands and he was a huge inspiration for me to start a band. I had a lot of vocal training in my teens and it definitely shows with my style of vocals. You don’t have to be trained to be a good singer, but it helps stylistically. For instance, I’m not a great pop singer. I use too much vibrato, my tone is all wrong, but it works for rock and musicals.
Song: You and Robert Ciuca were formally in a band together, Born Loser and the Hangers On, I believe? What style or sound? Reading the background, it would seem the band amicably dissolved, and now are playing in a variety of bands in Phoenix. If the band did amicably agree to move on, how does or did that occur without hard feelings? As we know bands are much like marriages, and at times dissolution can be very difficult to keep civil. Or was, is there ‘hard’ feelings?
Chelsey: (deep breath) That’s a whoooooole long story, and I’ll spare the details, as I don’t like to air dirty laundry. The breakup wasn’t rotten, but it definitely wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I think we are all now in a fine place. We see each other at shows and have no hard feelings. BLATHO was more of a pop/rock band, and we were very big advocates of the GLBTQ community. We were a hodgepodge of different backgrounds, styles, lifestyles, and everything. The band was so much fun, such a trip, and I would never take it back. (pauses) You’re right, it is a lot like a marriage, and everyone needs time to heal when something they built and loved together falls apart. Overall, it was for the best. The new bands we are all in are far superior to BLATHO in my opinion. We all wanted to play different styles of music, and now we all get to do exactly what we want, and there is no greater outcome than that!
Song: When I listen to Fairy Bones what I hear is your voice as the central force, the musical instrument that is supported by the entourage of instruments surrounding you. YOU are the cornerstone. Is this something you realize? After all you refer to yourself as the Banshee.
Chelsey: (laughs) Well, a Banshee comes from Irish legend, and it means “a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death.” I think the howling is pretty accurate. I appreciate your compliments, and I know the audience generally connects with the singer the most. After all, they’re the ones telling a story through words which we connect with as humans instinctively. Fairy Bones isn’t all about me though, without these musicians behind me, it would be nothing. They drive me, they inspire me, we are a collective, and I’d like to stress that point.
Song: Point is well taken and it is refreshing to hear the connection of respect. The band’s musical influences are easily notable… a mixture reaching back at times to a Warhol ‘isck’ dream state, twisted with grunge, heavy pop metal, DIY Punk, Electronic wave, and a dollop of pop… to say the least I’d place Fairy Bones in the slot of ambiguous… because there isn’t a clarification to place your sound. I can think of multiple labels, but my instincts tell me Fairy Bones isn’t looking for a ‘box.’ What do you say Chelsey?
Chelsey: I absolutely love the way you described us! That’s super on point! We are pretty eclectic. We are definitely not going to fit in a box. We are all different shapes, so it just wouldn’t work. I love Queen, Nirvana and pop, Robert loves Muse and Dave Matthews, Matt likes Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age, Ben loves Frank Zappa and Motown, so when we combine it’s definitely.. different.
Song: Who does most of the songwriting? And how do you bring all of your cross personalities of talents together?
Chelsey: As of right now, I write a majority of the beginnings of songs, but we flush them out as a group. We change the structure, everyone adds their own parts on guitar, synth, bass, and drums, and we go from there. We all share writing credits, and I write the lyrics. Matthew, our drummer, also writes some lyrics. In the beginning, a lot of the songs sounded sort of sporadic, because we were developing our sound. We still are, and we never try to make a song sound a certain way. If it sounds reggae, then we play reggae, if it sounds pop, it’s a pop song. Doesn’t matter to us. This is our life dream, and it’s our business, but in the end, if it’s not fun and creatively inspiring to us, we’re not gonna do it.
Song: Dramabot, Fairy Bones’ newest album. Let’s chat a bit about the tracks off this album. Opening up I heard you mention that the singer, Cher, and dance club music are a part of the opening track off of Dramabot called, Demon’s and Dogs?
Chelsey: I would very much love to be Cher, but this song is more about relationship decisions. Should I stay, should I go? I want to be needed.. but I need space. Decisions, decisions.
Song: You and You Again… a collective effort. How did that feel to be able to have everyone involved in this track?
Chelsey: Fantastic. We are doing more and more of this style of songwriting for future releases. It’s my favorite song on the record. Bob Hoag added an amazing breakdown that made it snazzy as shitttt.
Song: Waiting, has a dark and heavy sound. What is Waiting? And why did you all decide to place one of your oldest written tracks on this new album?
Chelsey: Well, we did that creepy music video for this song, so I think people really knew it the most. It’s simple, the lyrics are simple, and the breakdown is SO MUCH FUN TO PLAY. You can’t really beat the feeling of people screaming the lyrics at you from the audience.
Song: Next is, Heat on the Lips... Gospel preaching eh? What was it about the song that made you feel it wasn’t your vocal style?
Chelsey: Matthew (drummer) wrote the lyrics, so I had to ask him what it was about, how he felt about it, to get the emotion down. In the end, I pretended to be preaching, because it’s so inspiring and upbeat. I love this song so much, I wanted to make sure I did it justice.
Song: Then comes, Jack. Sounds like someone whose heart is being ripped… what is it about a sad song that we all can relate to Chelsey?
Chelsey: Yeah, my heart was ripped out. Losing your best friends, and feeling like it was your fault, is equally as bad as losing a boyfriend or girlfriend. Everyone has felt abandoned, and has gone through days where you can’t even do simple things..
Song: We compare ourselves constantly, and social media has become the ultimate in our fantasy wild lies. Yeah Pretty Yeah… a lived experience?
Chelsey: Of course. I see how pretty and thin some of my Facebook friends are. I see them having kids, getting married, and although I don’t yearn for that every day, sometimes it stings. Am I not good enough? But you never see the bad in their lives, and you forget that you can filter your life on social media.
Song: In Trinkets you bust your vocal chords to deliver a solid scream. It sounds as if it is coming though from some place you know. Is it?
Chelsey: Bob Hoag wanted a big, explosive ending to this song. It’s jazzy and weird, and the only real lyric is “I don’t believe everyone ends up alone.” You’re scared, you scream into the air in the car. Just frustration. I want to believe this but, do I?
Song: Butchery, a pronounced title. What is in the song?
Chelsey: It’s a very exaggerated metaphor, Butchery. Whatever sets you free, do it, even if it’s butchery. Obviously, don’t go all “The Purge” on people, but you know, if you wanna run around in the jungle naked.. be my guest.
Song: How easy is it to mix a deprecating song with an upbeat tone? Whipping Boy certainly delivered.
Chelsey: Whipping Boy is definitely sarcastic in that sense. It was like, “Shit. I screwed up hard, and there’s nothing much I can do it about it so.. here’s a song about how I suck.”
Song: Banshee. Girl/Boy relationship stuff. Is that at times what relationships gone sour sound like?
Chelsey: Banshee is a big middle finger.
Song: The final song to me sounded cool, so very cool. As I listened I kept thinking, “Shaken Not Stirred.” Notes from Wonderland sounds like a theme song from a James Bond Film. By chance, has M called yet?
Chelsey: Yes, she called from the grave. (laughs)
Song: Chelsey what does the release of this album, Dramabot, mean to you?
Chelsey: I feel like it’s a turning point in my life.. but I really don’t like to have high expectations. Then you can never be disappointed. IT’S FOOL PROOF!
Song: Lastly, Is Miley Cyrus still your favorite female vocalist… or have you moved on to Taylor Swift now?
Chelsey: (Taking an exaggerated bow) TSwift is a God among men.