Nov 04, 2011 12:00AM

Krystle Warren Interview

We chat to the soul singer prior to the Nick Drake tribute concert.

Nick Drake's legend becomes more and more potent as time goes on. We announced a while back that the Sydney Opera House will be celebrating his musical legacy with a big ol' tribute show. One of the very talented artists to perform is Krystle Warren, a smokily-throated singer-songwriter who will join the likes of Robyn Hitchcock, Vashti Bunyan and local acts. Oyster gave her an early morning call in Paris, where she sleepily but graciously answered some rather deep, pre-9am questions.

Christel Escosa: Between listening to your mum's records in the attic to recording Circles, can you give us an idea of what was going on for you musically in that time? How did you get to the point of wanting to lay an album?
Krystle Warren: It was all really in steps from being a kid, listening to music, and then just getting really inspired. In my mid-teens I was listening to a lot of brit-pop, The Kinks and The Beatles. From listening to the songs, I decided I wanted to learn the songs. And then I progressed to writing them, and then recording them.

What inspires you?
Anything that's existing out there. There are these little fragments that are just floating, all I have to do is pull them out and piece them together. Sometimes I am inspired by my own experiences as well, but I try to write songs that are as universal as possible.

You grew up in a religious household although you've said that you've tried to dispel everything you've been taught through religion, except the musical aspect of church, which has impacted on you a lot. How would you describe your current views on religion?
I feel that I've been figuratively washed clean of all that bullshit. What I got from my religious upbringing was really just musical theory. That's the greatest thing that I walked away with. In fact, my biggest pet peeve was having to dress up. I was constantly arguing with my mother about the dresses and the patent leather shoes. It wasn't my style then and it still isn't now. We had a lot of falling outs over it!

Your Paris-based music label, Because, is pretty amazing. Do you speak French?
I speak very little French. I speak it enough to get my cigarettes and then I speak it the way I like, so unfortunately, nobody knows how witty I am.

Where do you call home these days, and how does that affect your state of mind for creativity?
I call Paris home these days. I don't really know where the creativity is coming from. This past February I went to New York and reunited with my band, The Faculty, and we commenced recording a double album called Love Songs. The first side is the, 'Gosh I'm so happy I'm in love', and the second side is, 'Fuck I'm so depressed that I was once in love'. It was an album I've been wanting to do for a while and it's in me no matter where I am, and I just kinda run with it. Hopefully Australia will have some things that will kick in as well and I'll start writing songs about Australia!

Do you tend to keep up with what's on the radio at any given time? Do you listen to new music?
I don't really listen to the radio, mostly friends tell me about new songs. A year later I'll check out so-and-so because I listen to what I like to listen to. I'm pretty loyal to the artists that I've been following for decades. I keep in touch a bit with what's going on, but I am mostly my own DJ. I can't do the crappy illegal download thing. I'm a big Amazon patronizer – I order loads of vinyl and CDs.

Nick Drake died young but his legacy seems to get more potent as time goes on. I presume you don't have any such plans, but when your number's up, how would you like to go and how would you like to be remebered?
Preferably in my sleep – not so old that everyone I've known is dead and every muscle in my body aches, but not so young that I don't meet at least one grand kid. I would like my friends to survive after me, so that they destroy any ideas of some legend emerging from my death. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Nick Drake, John Lennon and all sorts of folk who are no longer with us but I don't think they ever really wanted to become the legends that they are now. I just want to be known for my songs and hope that they inspire. I hope all my mates are around to keep that in check, to make the songs important and not make some martyr shit out of it.

Krystle Warren Australian tour dates:

Sydney  Friday 11 November, Sydney Opera House
Melbourne  Monday 14 & Tuesday 15 November, Melbourne Recital Centre

Krystle will also be returning in March 2012 for a solo tour.

www.krystlewarren.com

Christel Escosa