After a few bouts of phone tag, I recently got a chance to chat with Theresa Andersson. Andersson, a multi-instrumentalist, released her eighth solo recording, Street Parade, this past April and next Friday, June 15th, her current tour will find itself at Olde City’s Tin Angel, alongside Lucius, some of my favorite Brooklyn songstresses (now accompanied by Dan Molad and Peter Lalish, my friend Elizabeth Ziman’s former “Catapult.”) When I first begin chatting with Andersson she apologizes for the several missed chats, “I am, like, working on my show. Looping things kind of gets me out of the world.”
Street Parade is an ode to New Orleans, where the native Swede has been living since 1990. I ask her to characterize what it is about the city that she finds so inspiring… beyond the cliché tourist crap that we all hear about: “I love how diverse it is: the food, the culture, the music. As a port town, it brings people from all over the world and mixes them together.” She says that she takes a lot from the Mississippi River, which she lives one block from, admitting she spends a lot of time wandering up and down the river for inspiration.
Although Street Parade boasts a lot of instrumentation from traditional wind instruments; such as trombone, saxophone, trumpet, and clarinet; the finished product is something a bit more whimsically dreamy… even falling into the realm of “dream pop” at times. It is both soulful and dark. It also rings of her decidedly postmodern take on performing more so than many of her previous studio albums. It’s sassy, but in a mature and classically-schooled manner. Andersson seems to manipulate the traditionally joyous sounds of her city to explore slightly more dangerous and introspective territory.
“I’ve been really happy with the response so far. I think that, sonically, it reflects the sound of New Orleans and marching bands but, harmonically, it’s a little more of my Swedish roots. It has a little more of a melancholy sound [compared to earlier recordings].”
The majority of Theresa Andersson’s notoriety has come from her somewhat unconventional live performances as a one-woman band. Andersson tours solo, along with her violin, guitar, drums, dulcimer, and record player but, in order to achieve a fuller sound, she utilizes two loop pedals to make all of the instrumentation cohesive all on her lonesome: “I guess what really kicked off the whole one-woman show was this puppeteer from Chicago, Blair Thomas.” The puppeteer played numerous characters onstage, simultaneously, along with “live” drums.” There are a handful of contemporary musical artists working similarly in a live setting (i.e. Emily Wells and Zoe Keating), but Andersson’s reasoning is, by far, the most intriguing I’ve heard yet. I tell her that most frequently I simply hear that the artist couldn’t afford a touring band. “Well, that’s nice too,” she admits. Of her current tour, she says she’s, “Very excited to bring the new show and new songs,” but admits that, with a one-woman show, “I kind of rely on the audience.” So if you plan on coming out to her June 15th stop at Tin Angel, and I highly recommend that you do, don’t plan on a passive viewing.
In terms of what is to follow her current US tour, Andersson tells me “I’m going straight over to Sweden to tour Sweden for a couple of months and then start working on the next show.” Although she considers herself a resident of New Orleans, she has, in recent years, made a habit of traveling to her native Sweden: “I didn’t know what to expect because Swedish people are so quiet, compared to Americans… Swedish people are a little more orderly.”