I have been learning to love this moment when I’m on stage. It’s transcendent and you become a different person.
Interview und Fotos: Corinna Sauer
Interview und Konzert am 23. Januar 2015 im Bi Nuu
Die unergründliche Welt der Miss Spx
Als ich zu meinem Interview-Termin mit Cold Specks erscheine, ist der Soundcheck grade in vollem Gange und ich habe die Möglichkeit, die Sängerin Al Spx und ihre Band vorab auf der Bühne zu erleben. Das Bi Nuu ist leer und abgedunkelt. Lediglich die Bühne ist hell erleuchtet. Ich nehme in einer hinteren Ecke Platz, um meine Notizen noch einmal durchzugehen. Als die Stimme der Kanadierin erklingt, ist der Raum von einen Moment auf den anderen weder leer noch dunkel und ich lasse augenblicklich von meinen Notizen ab. Al Spx Stimme – kraftvoll und gleichzeitig zerbrechlich – markant und unpretentiös wehmütig, durchdringt und erfüllt die Halle und es ist schwer, sich ihrem Sog, der einen davontragen möchte, zu entziehen. Man ergibt sich augenblicklich und lässt sich mitnehmen in eine Welt, die nur die Sängerin zu kennen scheint. Diese Welt scheint dunkel und unergründlich und zugleich warm und irgendwie tröstlich.
Ihr Debut-Album „I Predict A Graceful Explosion“ veröffentlichte die damals 24-Jährige Al Spx 2012. Im August 2014 erschien nun ihr Nachfolgealbum „Neuroplasticity“, mit dem sie zur Zeit durch Europa und die USA tourt. Ihre Musik scheint inspiriert von den Musiker_innen der Südstaaten. Es ist eine ineinander fließende Mischung aus Soul, Folk, Blues, gekleidet in einen dunklen, warmen Umhang, den nur Cold Specks tragen kann und der den verschiedenen Einflüssen den Zusammenhalt gibt.
Hi, nice meeting you!
CS: Nice to meet you, too.
So first of all, how are you? Did you arrive in Berlin today?
CS: We came in last night. So I’m good, pretty well rested. I’ve made the decision to make sure I sleep eight hours every night and that worked out well.
Did you have time to discover the city a bit so far?
CS: No, not yet. I’ll do it tonight and tomorrow morning. We’re right in the center. So that should be good.
So, you just started your tour. That must be pretty exciting to finally present your album, which you’ve been working on for quite some time. I’m interested in how much this part of being a musician means to you because it must be so different from the writing and the recording process.
CS: I love to perform these days. I have been learning to love this moment when I’m on stage. It’s transcendent and you become a different person. I find it really exhilarating.
Your music seems to fit quite well into this season somehow. When I listen to it images of icy lakes, a winter forrest or something like that pop into my mind. Maybe it’s just in my head and the connection that I make because I know, that you are from Canada and that I think of the Canadian landscape. But still there is something a bit rough, but at the same time organic and very beautiful in your music. Are you inspired in some ways by nature?
CS: Well, it’s not something that I’m conscious about. I think, it’s only natural for someone’s surroundings to find their way into the songwriting. I know that I’ve referenced bodies of water and subway stations and certain landmarks, but it’s not something I’m conscious about or that I decided to do.
I read, that you wrote this album in a cabin in the woods in England. Do you usually decide for a certain time and place and how much of the songwriting happens „in between“?
CS: It’s actually just because I was looking for some place to rent for two months. So I have this friend and he suggested this place. I went there and just decided to set up a studio and make some music. But I didn’t go there to isolate myself, it’s not a runaway story or something ridiculous like that. I just needed a bed and a roof and that was the cheapest place that I could find.
But still I guess the surroundings influence a creative process. And if it’s only that it’s not your home but a place, that’s new and different and where you don’t find a lot of distractions.
CS: Yeah, Glastonbury – it’s a very strange city. There is this ancient tale about the ruins of this church from the 12th century. It attracts a lot of spiritual hippies. And I guess, somehow I was influenced by that. Just because it’s a weird place.
You moved from Toronto to Montréal.
CS: Yes, I live in Montréal now. It’s great.
How would you describe the music scene there?
CS: It’s very vibrant and busy. There are a lot of different things going on. It’s a city where people can afford to be productive. That’s always nice.
A bit like Berlin, I guess.
CS: Yes, I think Montréal and Berlin are alike. But Berlin is prettier.
You think so?
CS: Yes, it’s older.
Please tell me – which influences did you have music-wise?
CS: These days I’ve been obsessed with Alice Coltrane, Grace Jones, PJ Harvey’s „White Chalk“ record… I never used to listen to women. It’s something new. And I’ve been listening to Aaliyah a lot recently. I’m starting to remember my love for 90s R&B. I have two older sisters, twins. They are ten years older than me, so when I was a kid, in the 90s, they were having those parties with their friends. Like music-video parties. Aaliyah and TLC and all this 90s R&B. I was hiding in my room and trying to catch some of it. But I don’t listen to most of this anymore.
I think it’s always important to know where you come from and sometimes it’s nice, like you said, to go back to something and realize, that it was actually not so bad or that there is something in it, that you still can connect to on some level, even if your taste has changed.
CS: Yes, for sure.
Is there a particular musician that you would like to collaborate with sometime?
CS: She is dead, but Nina Simone. I would have done something with her. That’s about it.
The year is quite fresh. Would you like to say something about your plans and also your wishes for 2015?
CS: Oh gosh… I’m just gonna be touring. This record came out in August, so I’ll be performing for the next couple of months. And I’ve been writing some new songs, so I hope I’ll be recording some of them.
Are you gonna perform at some festivals, too?
CS: Yeah, I think we will be playing at a festival in Germany, which hasn’t been announced, yet. But it could be fun. Do I have spoken to you before? You seem very familiar.
No, I don’t think so. But actually you also remind me of a friend of mine. Maybe there is a hidden connection somewhere.
CS: Who knows.
Thank you for this interview and I’m looking forward to seeing you on stage later tonight.
CS: Thanks, see you.
2012: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion