So the word is that Rocky Votolato’s show next Thursday, May 24th, at Milkboy Philly is almost sold out. This is great news for the Seattle-based singer/songwriter; my dear friend, Bill Hanson, who owns and operates my new favorite Philthy venue; and, also, one of my new favorite people in the world of music, CALLmeKAT (Although I just call her “Kat.”) CALLmeKAT is Katrine Ottosen, a Copenhagen-based singer, musician, and composer, whose music Interview Magazine has described as “Winning lo-fi pop,” and who NPR has characterized as “Just mesmerizing.” Next week CALLmeKAT is embarking on her first US tour as support for Rocky Votolato, which includes her very first trip to Philadelphia (She tells me she’s quite excited to see the city.) I recently got a chance to chat with her while she took a break from rehearsing. We talked about the upcoming tour, the recording process of her sophomore effort (Where the River Turns Black, which was recently released on the other side of the Atlantic on her own Pixiebooth, but still awaits a US release), and her plans for the rest of 2012.
“The highlight of the year for me so far was just finishing the album and getting to release it… I’m trying to figure out how to release the album in America.” Although the sounds found on the album are similar to those of her debut, Fall Down, the process was not exactly the same: “The writing process was not so different, but the recording process was so different.” She tells me that the first album was just done with herself and her friend, Daniel (who is apparently a big fan of the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection), with “A lot of it done in a computer.” While WTRTB was recorded in a more traditional manner: “It was a more organic process. We recorded everything like old-fashion, in a studio with real instruments… I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.” The sound of the album is very whimsical, soulful in a minimalistic manner, a little bluesy, and slightly jazzy. It would seem to appeal to fans of early-mid 20th century American sounds, along with those who appreciate a quirkily sincere singer/songstress, and even some more twee-centric music listeners. It includes the bass playing of former Gang of Four bassist Sara Lee and collaborations with Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Spring and Sigur Ros’ Helgi Jonsson. However, it’s the live performances of the new songs that she seems most excited about: “I’m really happy that all this touring is happening. For me, that is really the highlight.”
However, the highlight of our conversation (for both of us, I think) was my favorite topic of discussion, and largely irrelevant to what a music journalist should be discussing with a musician… cinema. “I guess I really like cinema,” she tells me, “I find it inspires me more than even music… Cinema is really liberating.” She also tells me how much she’s enjoying being in the states (She recorded WTRTB in the Catskill Mountains in NY.) and getting to take advantage of Netflix, something not yet available in Denmark. “I have pretty broad tastes,” she tells me, before going on to gush about Woody Allen. And then we went on an extended tangent about our seemingly mutual “favorite person” Lars von Trier (and, for her, a fellow-Dane): “I loved Melancholia. It’s just Earth-shattering [I’m not sure whether the pun was intended or not]. I’m awestruck every time I see any of his movies.” SHE EVEN TELLS ME SHE ONCE GOT A CHANCE TO SEE HIM PLAYING TENNIS… I’m not sure if that tops the time I saw Iggy Pop wearing slacks and a sweater-vest.
(Kat, if you’re reading this, I’m currently composing the list of film recommendations that I promised and the director of Elles, whom I couldn’t remember while we were chatting, is Małgorzata Szumowska, who co-produced Antichrist.)