Like recently profiled Swahili Blonde, The Weather Station are another act that we last chatted with just a few months ago. The Weather Station are the primary project of Toronto singer/songwriter Tamara Lindeman. We last spoke to her last July, shortly before her most recent Philly show at Johnny Brenda’s, and shortly after the release of the band’s third LP in 10 years, Loyalty, which I characterized as, “A delicate (and somewhat experimental) blend of classic folk songwriting with the same slightly dark sentiment of contemporaries like Jenny Hval and Sharon Van Etten.” Well, Tamara is bringing The Weather Station back to Johnny Brenda’s next Thursday, January 28th, and she recently once again took some time to tell me about what she’s been up to in the past half-year or so.
Izzy Cihak: So, I apologize if this interview is a bit brief, as it wasn’t that long ago that we spoke, but what have been some of the highlights of The Weather Station since the last time we talked, in July of last year? Any particularly great experiences?
Tamara Lindeman: There’ve been so many. But we just got back from Australia, which was truly a life highlight. Such an amazing tour, wicked shows, excellent humans everywhere. And it was truly surreal, to fly to the other side of the world in January and emerge in a land of beautiful birdsong and stunning flowers, sun and beaches and wallabies. Everything was so new to us – we were enchanted by everything. And then for the shows to be so great, on top of everything? Miraculous.
Izzy: For that matter, since 2015 just wrapped, were there any albums or tracks to drop that year or any performances you got to experience that you found to be especially inspiring? You mentioned being excited to “make some new discoveries” when you played Pickathon. Were there any artists that really stood out?
Tamara: I saw Ryley Walker a lot in 2015, both at Pickathon and other festivals and also opening for him in Europe, and every time it was so wicked. His band is my favorite band to watch right now – they’re just incredible musicians and so dialed in with each other. And it always feels so loose too, as though anything could happen. A lot of bands try to be exciting, but Ryley’s band just is, naturally, effortlessly.
Izzy: You also told me that your favorite track from your latest, Loyalty, is regularly changing, but at the time you were especially loving “Way It Is, Way It Could Be.” Is that still true, or is there another track that you’re most digging at the moment?
Tamara: To be honest I haven’t listened to the record in a long while, but I like playing “I Could Only Stand By” these days.
Izzy: You said that you’re always looking toward expanding and evolving your sound, so I’m curious if there are currently any kinds of sounds you’re especially enjoying making, or even just hearing? What would you consider to be your most significant influences at the moment?
Tamara: I fell in love with an electric guitar this past year, and that’s really changed things for me. It’s changing how I approach songs and rhythm and groove – it’s changing how I play. Playing with a band too, that’s huge for me. Those two things are probably the biggest influences on what I’m writing now and how I’m moving forward. It’s a new frontier for me – guitar music – for lack of a better phrase – and exciting to me in the way that quiet music was a couple years ago.
So we’ll see where that leads.
Izzy: So I know you’re playing a number of upcoming dates with both Basia Bulat and Damien Jurado, respectively. How excited are you to be sharing the stage with each of them and getting to see their sets every night? I’ve recently become a huge fan of Basia and Damien is just so totally massive, so I imagine each will be amazing experiences. Were you previously fans of theirs?
Tamara: I toured with Basia briefly in 2014, and she has become a great friend of mine. We share a manager, a bass player, and a lot of advice and shared experiences. I adore Basia, she’s a fountain of talent and enthusiasm – there was no question that I wanted to travel around with her. I’m admittedly not familiar with Damien Jurado, but from what I’ve heard I’m excited to dig in to his work and see him play every night.
Izzy: You told me you’re a slow writer that takes a long time to put out an actual album, but that there were things you were wanting to start working on, and your website confirms that you will be, “ON TOUR FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.” So I’m curious what you’re planning for 2016? Is it mostly touring, with a little bit of writing, or a balance of both? Can we expect new music in the near future? Or, is there anything you’re just especially excited about in general this year?
Tamara: It’s true that I am on tour for the foreseeable future… there’s a lot on the calendar. Just as I like it. But I have been on a writing spree recently, in the few little windows of being home, and fingers crossed, I really hope to get into a studio in 2016. That’s the goal. Of course, one can’t count on these things and I do tend to get bogged down along the way. But that’s the dream.