She Loves Green
You come from Portland, Oregon, as many famous artists like Elliott Smith, Courtney Love, guys from Dandy Warhols, Matt Ward of She and Him, Beth Ditto or Gus Van Sant. How can you explain that this city, which seems to be pleasant to live in, gave us so many melancholic but great artists ?
I've lived in Portland, Oregon for twenty years. It has changed a lot in that time. Part of the reason it has attracted people is because it was an affordable place to live, and make art. You could work a part time job, and have plenty of time to create. Sadly, the secret is out, and everyone has moved here, and rent is expensive, and it's really not what it used to be. I can say though, that it is still one of my favorite places in the world. To be in nature is something that I live for, and you can step outside of the city limits to find yourself in the most beautiful and inspiring nature in the world. Truly. That is a huge reason why I have lived here for so long. In terms of Portland exporting melancholic music, that just isn't the case anymore. Maybe 15 years ago, but it's exporting so much more than that now.
What kind of youth have you lived there ? Did your parents had a role in your musical education ?
I grew up moving around a lot, but have lived most of my adult life in Portland. I still live and explore with a touch of my youth. Always. My Dad is a luthier. He makes incredible acoustic instruments as a hobby. I grew up with him playing Bob Dylan songs on his guitar, and me and my sister singing along. Music was always being played in the house. It wasn't until I was a little older and my parents heard me singing, and began encouraging me to sing more. I didn't really understand what they heard, and didn't really start playing music until I was 17. I was in college studying marine biology, and started teaching myself to play guitar.
You were found of Nick Cave and PJ Harvey's music, weren't you ?
PJ Harvey and Nick Cave are badasses. They both inspire me deeply. I saw Nick Cave perform for the second time last summer, and it was like a religious experience. He's incredible.
From start to now, from your first solo album to this beautifull Pattern of Electricity, it seems that your music style became at the same time richer and simpler, I mean precise. And your voice seems also more assertive. Does it reflect a new state of mind ?
It's been ten years since I made my last solo album. I've learned a lot in that time. Making music with Joe Haege, and Tu Fawning really pushed me to really come into myself with fearlessness. I started to really sing, and take my voice more seriously, and to use it as an instrument, and not as an afterthought. I started taking voice lessons, and really found my power with it. With the new record, I couldn't really go back to how I was singing in 2006. I can still pursue a delicate voice, and use it in such a way to tell a story, but I find it's so wonderful to sing from the gut. It's an incredible amount of fun.
It has been ten years since the artist released her last album. But in the meantime Corrina Repp didn't stay inactiv, forming in 2007 the band Tu Fawning with her boyfriend Joe Haege, leader of 31knots. After two albums and great tours, the band split in 2012, and the couple too, leaving Corrina alone with her sorrow. Her, who dropped everythnig to follow Haege, found herself with quite nothing. Back to Portland, she then put music into brackets and began a therapy by the contact with nature, taking refuge in a house lent by a friend of her and located in the countryside. More than a year later, she came out of the wood with ten compositions all more delicate one than the other, with a more assertive voice because what does not kill you make you stronger. Listening to her, in this interview, we realize that Mother Nature doesn't only ease but lightened her, and her music too.
An interview with the american pop folk singer Corrina Repp
The songs of Pattern of Electricity have something special : "Woods" sounds for exemple like a deep blues or a modern gospel from the Delta, "Release Me" sounds like a llulaby...
I am a huge fan of old gospel music. Even if I'm not a religious person at all, I love the heart and soul that can come from the voices of gospel singers. It's such earnest music. How can you not love someone singing what they believe, singing it because they have to. It's a beautiful thing. I really just let each song become what I wanted it to. They all started with just me and a guitar, then I would record parts of the song on my iPhone, or my computer and start piecing together vocal parts. That was the biggest thing on this record, I wanted to layer my vocals, and add harmonies, and choirs and what not. I've been doing that for years when I'm at home messing around with writing. I love the power of the voice as an instrument. You can do so much with it.
After the split of Tu Fawning, you remained silent during 14 months. At this time, have you imagined being able to live without playing music again ?
I will always take breaks from music. I think it's essential to take a break, and recharge in whatever it is you do. I will never go 14 months again. That was too long. I was just in too much pain to play music. Now that I have finished this record, I feel excited to write this summer, and see what comes. Music is who I am. It is what keeps the light on, if you know what I mean. Creating music is what keeps the magic in me alive, and I need that as a person. Gotta have the magic. I have visions of being this little old lady, and still making guitar loops and singing along. That's the magic.
Pattern of Electricity had been recorded with Peter Broderick. His last album, Colours of the Night, had been released almost the same time as yours. Is that a coincidence ?
Peter had finished his record months before mine. He wasn't touring, and had some free time before he was going to begin touring to support it. He started recording other people, myself included. More than a handful of people have gone out to the coast to record with him ! He's just always working, and creating, or supporting others in their creations. He IS music. It's wonderful. Our records coming out at the same time is purely accidental.
You also played in few episodes of Portlandia, for television, with Carrie Brownstein of Sleater Kinney. Will you pursue your acting career, besides that of musician ?
Acting is one of those things I do if I am asked. I love to do it, but am often too busy to fully pursue it. I've been on every season of Portlandia, and it is always an incredible experience. I love arriving on set, and getting to improvise next to Fred Armisen. He's just a joy to work alongside, and to observe his craft in person. I was in a film called The Black Sea last year as well [with Jude Law]. It was the first time I played more of a lead role. It was difficult, and asked a lot of me, but I will never turn down an opportunity to be pushed. You grow and learn a lot from fear and unease. Doing the things that scare you. Acting still scares me a little bit, but it's an incredible feeling to act in a scene, and when they say, "CUT!", It's the same feeling I get when I walk off stage after performing music. Release. Fulfillment and joy.
Interview by François Girodineau
Corrina Repp - The Pattern of Electricity - Caldo Verde / Discolexique, may 19th.
Listen to the album here :
22th of may 2015