MacDirectory Magazine

Summer-Fall 2008 (#38)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 142 of 179

MacDirectory 141 INTERVIEW more like the piano bars in New York. It wasn't about being cool or famous, but an open forum, a community scene. MD > You and Emily began collaborating as teens. How did that begin? AR > We met as children, but didn't become friends until I was about 15 and we were both singing in the school choir. That sort of cemented it. MD > Did you experience an "a-ha!" moment when you realized music would be your career? AR > There was a moment, but it's mostly based on my relationship with Emily and the way we sing in harmony, and how much fun it was and what we created together. In college, your friends come and watch you play, and you hang out and have a beer afterwards. It was a social thing. The audience response didn't really matter as much to me as the communal environment. We still have that, even in the larger venues we play because we take our friends along. The opening band, or whomever we're performing with, is usually people we know. It's how we're wired and what makes us feel good. MD > Do you enjoy touring? AR > Playing the music is great, but it's tough sleeping on the bus. The older I get the more I want to be home. Actually, I've always been that way. I should be a Gemini because I'm completely split down the middle. Part of me wants to be a gypsy and live on the road while the other half just wants to go plant a garden. MD > Tell us about the new CD. AR > Our producer, Mitchell Froom, who worked on our last CD, Despite Our Differences, came back and we recorded this, real quick over three weeks in Atlanta. A lot of it's live and so exciting. After recording the band record, we set up a room with mics and went in as a duo, rearranged everything for acoustics and did all the songs live. It's the first time we've done that, mirroring the record in two ways, and we're going to release that, too. There are 10 songs on the new CD and the acoustic recording will have a few more. We just played "Fleet of Hope", one of new songs, on tour and it went well. MD > Is it true that you and Emily write your songs separately? AR > Yes, and we work out what we want in the studio. The melody and lyrics are done, and chord changes, but there might be a thing where the harmonies work better if we switch the melody, or if we decide to add a chorus, an instrumental or a bridge. It's pretty much finished, but the arrangement is what makes it ours. We have a system with Mitchell now, who fine-tunes what we've come up with. It's good to have someone like that—a mentor of sorts. MD > How has the Indigo Girls' musical style changed over the years? AR > Some things have changed for the better. Early on everything had to be done in such a duo way that we might sacrifice something about the song to have more harmony in it. Now, the first purpose is the song. So if it needs less harmony or if Emily should sing it alone, we try to do what's best for the song. There's maturity in musicality now by working with people who challenge us to keep from falling back into old ways and habits. MD > Have advances in technology affected your music? AR > With Pro Tools you can get a record together really fast and still have the opportunity to try different ideas. You don't have to worry about "Do we have enough tape or enough tracks?" Tape can take a lot of time. Having said that, tape is pretty sweet, too. When I work solo, I tend to work with tape combined with Pro Tools. It's the best of both worlds. We used to sit in front of a little cassette machine, push a button and hope for the best. They sounded fine. I love old and new technology. Now, we use Emily's little Pro Tools rig, adding extra harmonies and try things first, even drum loops. We can make demos to give the producer a repre- sentation of how we're hearing a song without spending a lot of money or time. For my solo stuff, I use GarageBand to arrange the harmonies and it saves time. Technology is not just about saving time; I'm not trying to rush. It frees me up to be more creative without worrying about the cost of the studio. I can refine the ideas and they're audible. I'm a fan of the old analog records and believe you can use that idea with new technology. Our producer, Mitchell, believes you just use your ears and what sounds best. Use a blend of all the new technologies, without worrying about what's cool. MD > Do you enjoy using any other Apple products? AR > Just call us iLife fans. Emily wrote a song called "Get Out the Map", and I sing it, "Get Out the Mac." On tour, everyone's got the Apple thing. We don't talk — we're on our computers. I've got an iPod and an iPhone. We used to pull over to a truck stop to make a phone call, even for interviews, spilling change into a pay phone. It's night and day now. MD > What's on your iPod? AR > I listen to everything. I just listened to 'Z' by My Morning Jacket. I'm going to buy Regina Spektor's record. MD > The Indigo Girls support several important causes. What are you currently focusing on? AR > Our political person is on tour with us and we're raising money by selling T- shirts to support Head Count and Project Vote. We're also working with disenfranchised people, lower socio- economic groups and minorities to make sure they're getting out to vote. Plus, we've organized with the League of Women Voters, not only to get people registered, but also to make sure voting is fair and accessible. MD > Is there a particular touring experience you remember? AR > We were in Europe once and I was in a really bad mood. The monitor board blew up and all these bad technical things happened within the same 10 minutes. I was so mad, and a lot younger with a temper, and I kicked in the dressing room door. I had to go to the emergency room and spend the rest of the tour on crutches. It was embarrassing and Emily was pissed at me for being such an impetuous rock star type. I learned my lesson. For more on Amy Ray and the Indigo Girls, including upcoming appearances and CD releases, please visit: and .

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