Unfortunately, most of you seem to have missed Railbird’s appearance at Kung Fu Necktie this Friday, which was somewhat sparsely attended (not that that’s all that uncommon there). For those of you unfamiliar, Railbird is Sarah K. Pedinotti (S.K.P.) and her crazy cast of quirky multi-instrumentalists. S.K.P. is likely the most mysterious and postmodernly mystical of NYC chanteuses. Although she tends to draw comparisons to Kate Bush and Bjork, I would characterize her sounds as grooving like early Tegan and Sara with the soul of a slightly restrained Karen O. I chatted with S.K.P. after the show, attempting to at least crack my way inside her head.
Izzy Cihak: What are your thoughts on Philadelphia?
Sarah K. Pedinotti: I feel Philly and Railbird are still in the early stages of dating. When we played The Roots Picnic that was like a French kiss on the first date. Which, of course, was very exciting. I feel a lot of potential there. To be frank, we’d like to “go all the way.” It takes time, but Philly is worth it.
IC: What tends to inspire, or have the biggest impact on, your lyricism? You discuss a lot of quirkily intriguing things.
SKP: Well, most things at the right time can inspire me to write. It’s about having the discipline to do it that’s a challenge. I’m learning that it’s important to respect the creative process and allow myself time to think. When your head is in it, just about anything can become fascinating for some reason or another.
IC: How would you characterize your sound? Do you consider yourself to have any peers out there, in terms of bands producing a similar aesthetic?
SKP: Experimental pop. The Rex Complex, Cuddle Magic and Fit Club are off-shoot, family bands. Also The Shyest of Marmots (from the 70s) is an influence.
IC: Are there any musicians that you’re regularly compared to that you actually hate and, conversely, are there any artists that you really like that no one would ever guess?
SKP: I’ll tell ya later, if that’s ok.
IC: What are your biggest non-musical influences?
SKP: Haruki Murakami, Allen Ginsberg, Howard Zinn, friends, animals, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers.
IC: How would you characterize your live show? What does it draw inspiration from?
SKP: Yesterday in the van, on the way to Kung Fu Necktie, we were talking about improvised vs. composed music and how we feel about each in a live setting. We came to no final conclusion or agreement. But I decided that it doesn’t necessarily matter to me the genre. What I like in a live setting is to feel that the artist is “present” and that what you’re experiencing is genuine. I guess for me I am looking to connect with the audience in some way. I can only speak for myself though.