...Interview Musician Abby Mott

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I first came across Abby Mott when I was skimming a local “things to do” site and one of the recommended “things to do” was listen to Abby Mott. So I did and immediately became a huge fan. I promptly bought her first album, Hearts a’Flutter, listened to it back and forth and learned that not only did Abby write her own songs, but she also played every single instrument on the album. Which, come on, that’s just showing off. But it was a beautiful, exciting and varied production, and it played with so many genres that it was really impossible to classify (her range and diversity of styles reminds me of Eva Cassidy, someone that fans of the DC-MD-VA music scene are definitely familiar with, or maybe Nicole Atkins for you New Jersey-ites).

I briefly met Abby when she playing at a small Virginia club called Iota. My wife and I went to watch her and, afterward, Abby just hung out for a bit. I’ve written before at how much I suck at meeting people I admire, and this time was no exception. It probably didn’t help that I was my wearing my favorite Alkaholiks sweatshirt with this logo. But she was able to look past my awkwardness and questionable fashion tastes and we had a nice conversation, and I didn’t feel like I had been too offputting afterward (win).

Since then, Abby has released an EP called Go West! Get East! (I am unashamedly obsessed with the song “Draw Me a Line”) and is working on a new collaborative album in Austin, TX. She was nice enough to agree to an interview with me.

Oh, here’s the interview:

What's your favorite joke?

I listen to a lot of standup comedy but I am terrible at remembering jokes. The only one I seem to be able to remember is a dirty joke. I don't remember where I learned it and can't seem to forget it. Since I'm NOT going to tell you that one, and I like nerdy jokes, and I hate to leave you with no joke: "Why was six afraid of seven? It wasn't. Numbers are not sentient and thus are incapable of feeling fear."

(Ed. Note: Nodding happily.)

How did the experience of playing all of the instruments in Hearts a’Flutter compare to recording with a band for your second album, Go West! Get East!?

It was a very different experience. I'd been with the band for Go West! Get East! for years. We’ve spent hours and hours on the road together, so they're like family. Having them in the studio to record those songs was hilarious, and very efficient. Things go a lot faster when the band plays all at once! They are insanely talented and brought a lot of great ideas. We'd had about a year of playing the tracks live before hitting the studio so it seemed obvious what to do.

The record I'm doing now, "Mutiny!" is a collaborative project with a musician named Branden Harper here in Austin. I'm letting go of a lot of my initial thoughts on the songs I've written in order to allow the sound to evolve in the studio. It's been a much more conceptual process. The sound will be different and more layered than that of my previous recordings. I'm stretching out and taking risks. I'm not a risk taker by nature, so that's been a challenge, but it's exciting and we're creating things I couldn't have imagined on my own.

(Ed. Note: You can download two songs that serve as a precursor to Mutiny! here.)

You lived and performed in Baltimore for a while, and then the Philippines, and now you're recording in Austin. Have the changes in region affected your music? And what drew you to the Philippines?

I am very much influenced by my surroundings. All the songs on my upcoming record were inspired by my time in the Philippines. It comes out in the lyrics. Lots of ocean imagery and dancing with the idea of being "away." It was a very nostalgic time. Adventure was what I sought in moving to Asia, and that's what I found, although in different ways than I'd anticipated. I spent a lot of time alone actually, which made a space for my music to evolve a bit. I was removed from the music and scene I'd been threaded into for so long. My concept of "style" fell completely out of context. It was refreshing. Now in Austin, I'm trying to thread back into things. But Austin is new to me too, and the pace of my life has doubled. And I'm nostalgic all over again because I miss the Philippines and I'm recording the music I wrote there. It's double the nostalgia!

Who are some of your influences?

They change all the time, but I usually come back to older music, time tested. Pop/rock for arrangement and soul and old country for voices. David Bowie, P.P. Arnold, Etta James, Blondie, the Zombies, Billy Joel, Loretta Lynn, the Shangri-Las, Barbara Lynn, Queen, so random! Contemporary influences change. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Feist and Mumford and Sons.

You're on a deserted island with three albums. They are..?

Rough question. Today it'd be Feist Metals, David Bowie's Best of David Bowie 1969-1974 and a mixed CD of my husband singing his own songs and covers.

(Ed. Note: For those of you that have your three albums picked out and want a fourth, you can buy Abby Mott’s music here.)

Are there any works of art in other genres that influence your music?

Definitely. Books for sure, and even TV shows. Right now I'm working on a song that I just realized is taking cues from a medieval fantasy show I've been watching online. I was an art major in school, so painting used to influence me more. I can imagine getting back to that one day.

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Thanks, Abby! Check out Abby’s site here, and you can like her on Facebook here and follow her on Twitter here. And, if you can, let’s all bug her to tell us that dirty joke. If we all pitch in, we can make this happen. I’m really good at peer pressure.

(P.S. And you can follow me on Twitter here and like me on Facebook here. Just saying.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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INTERVIEW ROLL CALL:

Michelle Davidson Argyle (writer)

Cathrina Constantine (writer)

Jenny Drummey (writer)

Kristen Elise (writer)

Sunny Frazier (writer, publisher)

Chris F. Holm (writer)

Maxim Jakubowski (writer, editor)

Sara Jones (musician)

Nik Korpon (writer)

Barry Lancet (writer)

Sommer Marsden (writer)

K.D. McCrite (writer)

Abby Mott (musician)

Alan Orloff (writer)

Alice Peck (editor)

Lucie Smoker (writer)

Ellie Ann Soderstrom (writer, editor)

Art Taylor (writer, critic)

Steve Weddle (writer)

Sarah Weinman (writer, critic)

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