In Which the Ringlords Interview Me

Saturday night I was honored to do a live chat interview with the Ringlords.™ We talked about music and books and music about books. From my first band, to my beginnings in wizard rock, to future projects (Wheel of Time rock!?!?!) we covered it all.

The Ringlords

Ringlords.™

Here is a transcript of the conversation:

{Please note that due to a bit of a lag, a few of the answers got separated from their questions. I put them back together here for ease of reading. I left nothing out and left all typos in place.}

Ringlords™: All ready to begin ?

Me: YESSSS! I see things now!

Me: You know, the page looked really weird. I thought it was becasue i was used to the phone app, but I think it was a freak alt-universe Ringlords page!

Me: Is this mic on? *tap tap tap*

Me: Hello hello?

Ringlords™: So, Mandala , Tell us a little about your new record

Me: I am really excited about a five-song EP I worked on at the end of last year called “Momentarily Distracted.” It is, in many ways, quite a departure from my other music projects.

Me: You can listen to it here! http://mandalasongs.bandcamp.com/

{Note: I am embedding a player here since a player appeared in the comment, though this shows only the first song}

Me: It has a very different feel from my other two projects: Witherwings and Mandala at Twilight. I basically get right to the heart of some very raw emotions with the lyrics and sparse musical arrangements. Piano and vocals dominate this album, with a couple of songs being backed by a classic trio of piano, drums and bass.

Ringlords™: very cool … we were amazed to see Vick Degiorgio listed on the credits … awesome musician

Me: He really is! He and I go way back! Let’s tag him.

Ringlords™: by wild coincidence Vick apparently knows Sue Martin who is friends with our Chicago crowd from waaay back

Me: Vick Degiorgio and I met in 2002. He was playing bass at a show for a friend of his and we got to talking when I was waiting to buy a CD. He invited me to his weekly music group and the rest is history.

Me: That history is that I performed in a band (that Vick was in) called SusieCool and the Coolotees from 2033-2009. This group of very experienced musicians took me under their wing to sing harmonies and ended up letting me sing lead on quite a few songs. They asked me to fill out the band right before they were to tape a poilet for a tv show that was to be an Orlando version of Austin City Limits. It never got picked up but it turned into some of the best years of my life. Before that performance they put me though “Crappy-Bar Boot Camp” where we played every dive in the city of Orlando 6 or seven nights a week (late into the night when I had to work the next day) until the taping of the show. They wanted to make sure I sounded, looked, and felt like I was a PART of the band and not the new girl. That was the best education I could have ever asked for as a musician and a performer. I earned my place on the stage, that’s for sure.

Me: Ha! I am not a time lord. 2003 NOT 2033.

Me: A name that might be more familiar to your followers though, is Russ Benoit. He played drums on two tracks on this album. You might know him as The Creevy Crisis.

Me: Gotta love the wrock family. I am so happy he played on the songs despite them NOT being wizard rock this time around.

Ringlords™: Yeah, Russ was working on a film, wasn’t he ?

Ringlords™: We understand that one of the songs on your new record has a literary background

Me: Lag…. gaaaahhh.

Me: Yeah, so though this is not a wrock album, or an album with a vampire lit theme, I could stray too far from my love of books!

Me: *couldn’t BIG DIFFERENCE

Ringlords™: Yes… for those of you unfamiliar with FB’s poor programming, anything that does not make them money is treated poorly

Me: “Wrong” is inspired by “The Taker” by Alma Katsu. It is the first of three books, but only the first two have been published. I was drawn to the horribly selfish deeds of the main character, Lanny. She falls in love with the boy in her town that all the girls are in love with. She does some pretty terrible things to try to make him hers. As the story goes on, she is made immortal and makes him immortal against his will to be with her forever. But he doesn’t want to be immortal. He does not love her with the same intensity that she loves him, and the big catch: only she can kill him – and he is begging her to. That is where the book begins… at the end, so to speak.

Me: What drew me to her and her situation is that, despite what sounds here like a very selfish character, is really a very complex woman who you come to sympathize with and like. It is a GREAT story. Oh and there is SO. MUCH. MORE. One word/character: Adair. Yeowza!

Ringlords™: You have quite the literary roots in your music … Tell us how you got into the wizarding sound …

Me: I attended a HP convention in 2007 I think. ANYONE? 2007? Called Phoenix Rising.

Me: It was not my first exposure to wizard rock, that was a Harry and the Potters concert the year before. But PR was the first time I thought that wrock might be for me. After returning home, and going on MySpace and seeing how supportive the community was, I really felt safe to try writing music on my own for the first time.

Me: Goggle confirms May 2007.

Me: I posted my first songs onto MySpace in October of 2007 and I have not stopped writing and performing!

Ringlords™: … and there’s was a clip we saw of you rocking with the Imperial Troopers

Ringlords™: Lessee if we can scare up the vid … hang on

Me: Ha! The Mandalorian Mercs!! They were so much fun. I love mixing with other fandoms. (I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, BTW.)

Me: I use a pic of that performance on my Witherwings band page.

Me:

 

Ringlords™: YES !! the very one !

Ringlords™: LOL! … very suave !

Ringlords™: Is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with that you haven’t tried ?

Me: I really love the Wheel of Time series, but my friend Pattie Beavensaid she would go postal if ever there was WoT Rock. I fear she might be serious so I have not attempted any. DON’T SPOIL THE LAST BOOK FOR ME ANYONE!!!

Ringlords™: Robert Jordan humm ? … we always wanted to see a band based on Heinlein … you should try something like that …

Me:  I’ve read a few Heinlein books… Other than Witherwings, I cannot see dedicating an entire album to one book or author. Books will always influence me though. as they do many musicians!

Ringlords™: So, where are you headed next ?

Me: I’m really just focused on now. I’ve got a new little baby here and he is keeping me quite busy. He loves music though so I can do shows. Lining up one for the Friedricksbrg VA area in the fall right now. Working on booking for 2014 as well.
I’ve worked on some new lyrics here and there but nothing polished.

Ringlords™: Ahh, bringing up baby … That’s gotta put the pressure on you … how do you handle juggling home and gigs?

Me: My husband helps me out a lot at shows. He is merch boy/Daddy extraordinaire!

Ringlords™: Do you get nervous before a performance ? & how do you handle a mistake when you are playing ?

Me: I do get nervous, but it is also a rush.
As for mistakes… Ha! I am like the story of George Washington announcing “I cannot tell a lie! I chopped down a cherry tree!” I usually announce it. “Whoops my bad!” “Whoa what was THAT!?” Luckily I’ve performed long enough that if I forgot the words, I am able to vamp and just keep playing until I can bring that part aroiund again and start over. Or I just make up words or sing about forgetting words. I don’t get upset about it. Unless I am trying to video the performance. But then again, there is a video of me forgetting the lyrics to “Malfoy” that I posted on Youtube. That was harder though because I was singing to an iPod. Then you cannot vamp. I just made fun of myself and started over. Let me find the video.

Me:

 
It comes about a minute in.

Ringlords™: How often and for how long do you practice?

Me: I really “cram” before a show.I get in ruts sometimes, and other times I regularly practice once a day. By that I mean spend time on music whether playing or writing. Baby has made that irregular though. Speaking of baby… sounds like I am needed…

Ringlords™: that’s our cue to wrap it up here … we want to thank Mandala for hanging out with us this evening and struggling through FB’s wony behaviors … be sure to pick up a copy of her new record at that Bandcamp link up above

Me: This has been really fun, guys! Thanks so much for having me and promoting the album. I am SO SO proud of it. $5 on b

Me: bandcamp

Me: Whoops! http://mandalasongs.bandcamp.com/

Me: Ha! Well i posted it again. 🙂 Thanks so much! Have a great weekend everyone!

Me: ❤

Ringlords™: And keep an eye on this page … we plan to bring you an interview with a certain author one of these days coming up

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Mini-Tour Wrap-up

Sorry for the delayed post. Coming home from the road only to jump right back into classes, homework and mid-term preperation delayed just about everything in my life not related to school. Which… is going well, by the way. My Audio 101 class is about 2/3 Math and 1/3 Biology, but I am learning some really cool stuff that already has me thinking about what I need to adjust in my home studio. That, however, is an entirely different post altogether.

So the mini-tour which got nick-named the “minotaur” was blast. I really loved being on the road with Hawthorn and Holly. They even thought my reckless driving antics were funny rather than scary, so I expect more road trips to be in our collective future.

No tour is complete with out some road-side stops, and this was no exception. The peach stand dudes in Georgia asked us to contribute to their college fund, and we sang for free peaches. Now THAT is Fair Trade.

We even got to romp around in Universal’s City Walk the morning after our Orlando show. Wish we could have stayed longer, but we live for the open road, man.

But the most amazing thing for me was getting to play with my old band-mates in Orlando. Susie, Vick and Stuart joined me on stage and played MY songs. I was in Susie’s band, SusieCool and the Coolottes, for seven years. They taught me everything I know about live performances and how to be a seamless songwriting team. It could have been really stressful showing up and hearing their rendition of my songs for the first time while ON STAGE, but I had faith in these people. I know NO ONE more professional and knowledgeable than this trio, and they came through as I knew they would. So much so, that when I got ahead of the music on “In Defense of Ginny Weasley” due to the lack of (working) monitors, they caught right up to me in 2 bars.

Here is the only video clip I have at the moment. I will get more posted ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who came out to a show, bought a CD or shirt, or contributed to our gas fund. I met some really cool people and it makes me want to hit the road again as soon as possible!

Wrockers and Wizarding Life folks at the show in Orlando. Photo by Kevin Young.


In Which I Organinze My Brain For Tour

There is so much to do before this mini-tour! It went from a full-fledged tour to a mini tour becasue I decided to go back to school. This school stuff is getting in the way of getting ready for tour! *phsaw* Priorities! 😉

So I am making a to do list for the next few days:

  • Oil change and official recording of mileage. (Hey you, self-employed musicians! Are you aware that July 1st was the start of the increased rate you get back for mileage on your taxes? Get your car’s miles documented ASAP!)
  • Make sure all four bands are on board for the proposed show itinerary. (ie. order of bands and the idea of playing two sets rather than one long one.)
  • Check in with my band for Saturday’s show (I am SO SO SO excited to be playing with a full band!!!)
  • Double check that the chords the guitar player figured out are, in fact, the correct chords.
  • Make sure everyone got and looked at the chords for the other songs.
  • Pull out that awesome new Zoom H4n Handy Recorder (Check! Woot!) and see if/how it works to record ambient sound while running my keyboard directly into it. I would really like to be able to record Saturday’s show. Recording directly from the sound board and being able to capture audience reaction would be fantastic! (…but only if I can control levels. Need to find a manual on-line.)
  • Call the Taste to find when they want us to sound check. The restaurant part of the place is open all day. The art show portion of our event starts at 7, but the concert doesn’t start until 9.
  • I need to communicate this to all the musicians. *side note: THANK GOD for smart phones. I have been doing so much of this communication (emails, facebook messages etc.) on the train to and from school.*
  • Figure out what the heck I am going to wear. I hate this part. I can never just find something at the store when nothing I own seems to be working out. At least I know I am going to wear the sparkley new bracelet I bought a few weeks ago JUST for Sat’s show 🙂 I feel no pressure when deciding what to wear for house concerts or library shows, but  involve a stage, lights etc – and now I gotta glam it up.
  • Email reminders to my professors that I will not be in class on Monday. I am glad they find my excuse acceptable, but there will be consequences for missing material. I hope my hard work the rest of the quarter makes up for it.
  • Make sure the ipod is loaded up for all the shows. As for Saturday, organize the parts of my set not being played on piano or by the band. I have already made several versions of set lists. I guess I either need to pick one or load all of them onto the ipod.
  • Back-up my ipod. It is sometimes acts flaky – like starting the song 15 seconds in. *grrr*
  • Create a wrock play-list for intermission. Get permission from those bands.
  • Find/borrow/purchase a FUNCTIONAL car charger!!!
  • Organize my merchandise.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Okay. Is that it?!?


Upcoming Shows and New Merchandise

It is amazing how much time I have been spending everyday doing something relating to my music business.

Several Portland, Oregon DJs have expressed interest in my Mandala at Twilight music and I have been re-mixing many of the tracks to be better suited for club play. My albums tend to be mixed vocal-heavy, and that just does not translate as well to the dance floor. I have had to retrain my ear to mix the songs so that the bass and percussion are a little higher than normal to sound corectly mixed when played in a club.

Next, I have been spending many, many back-breaking (okay, maybe back-irritating) hours making new Witherwings t-shirts.  Each is hand made and I love them. I found a really great silver fabric paint that is opaque and looks good on dark shirts. The holographic glitter has these shirts making rainbows in the sun. They are a dream.

Why the new merch? Well I have a couple of big shows coming up and I wanted to have something new for my fans. In just over a week I will be performing in Bethlehem, Pensylvania at an event called Incendio 2011. Twenty two bands confirmed over two days. It is going to be some much fun. I have seen pics of the performance space and I am really excited about it.  June 10th and 11th (I perform as Witherwings on day 2.) Here is a link with more info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=206457176033637 I performed at this event last year and I really recommended you check it out if you can!

I am also organizing a HUGE event in Orlando scheduled for July 23rd. It is going to be a very unique night in that it will be a combined art show and rock concert. The details are almost ready to be announced, so save the date if you are anywhere near Central Florida mid-July! There will be a show in North Carolina the night before on the 22nd, and I will get you those details as soon as I have them.

Want more details about upcoming shows? Want a shirt? Want a CD or a digital download? All you can ever want to know and more can be found at: http://mandalasongs.com/index

Okay, off to clean glitter off my dog. It is everywhere.