Beauty Among the Pleiades: A Correatown Interview
Californian singer-songwriter Angela Correa of Correatown has recently released Pleiades, a swooningly beautiful album of dream pop and well-thought lyrics. Correa was nice enough to answer a few questions about her music and the record.
ELM: First things first, HOW tired are you of being compared to Mazzy Star?
AC: Well, it does happen a lot. Honestly, I’ve only ever listened to that one tune that was *the hit* Fade Into You, albeit I heard that song a lot when I was younger.
I think most people mean it as a compliment, so it’s a pretty ok comparison.
ELM:Speaking of the devil, did dreampop like Mazzy Star or Slowdive influence you at any point?
AC: I listened to Slowdive a little in the 90′s——-> but I was way more into Smashing Pumpkins at that age. Yikes. That was long ago.
ELM: How did Dan Long influence the making of Pleiades?
AC:Dan really helped us to create the textures, and find the analog synths that my ears wanted to hear. It would have been a totally different album without him at the helm as producer. I have a lot of ideas, and am really vocal about what I imagine or hear- and he really took it all in but edited and tempered everything in a really good way.
ELM: Why did you move to LA?
AC: I moved to LA to try and make a go of playing music. It’s funny because in hind sight you can make music from anywhere, and probably more easily in a town with cheaper rent and cost of living. But I learned a lot from being in LA, and gained knowledge that’s proved valuable in the long run.
ELM: In the press release for Pleiades, you say something about organic songs. How do you distinguish between organic and inorganic songs?
AC: I guess in my mind the difference is: organic, like a string resonating. A guitar, or a voice, or a ukelele. Versus Inorganic: Synths, weird air noise and hiss, processing a sound back through an old piece of gear from the 70′s to get a certain quality, running my voice through a bullet mic and then an old 50′s Kalamazoo amp to get a grit and snarl to it.
ELM: Why did you include a remix of Valparaiso?
AC: We liked the idea of bookending the album with two different takes on the same song. I LOVE to re-do and re-imagine songs. It’s probably one of my favorite things is to take something I’ve heard or played a certain way and toss it all around into some new arrangement. It’s like testing the flex of a song – how much you can push and bend before it breaks and becomes something new.
ELM: What are your upcoming tour plans?
AC: I’m not sure- that part of the puzzle is still coalescing. Probably winter 2012- up the West Coast, maybe to Texas, hopefully in Europe. Fingers crossed to Australia.
ELM: Can you tell me a little more about what “Further” means to you?
AC: I think I was writing in a very *the personal is political* sort of way… and in my mind I was thinking very universally about how we treat each other as human beings, and how we treat ourselves. People assume a lyric about *love* is romantic love… and if hearing the song that way strikes a chord with a listener that’s lovely. I think I have a tendency to not be very nice to myself inside my head, I’m probably not the only one. Our culture is sort of drowning us in images of what we should look like, how we should be, what success is, what we need to be happy, who we should compare ourselves to… and it’s easy to buy into that bullshit and start doubting yourself, your ideas, your talent, your achievements, the little tiny moments that make up a life. For me- the song is a reminder.
ELM: In terms of the lyrics, what is your main inspiration? (i.e. politics, relationships, books, science, etc.)
AC: I think there are many different inspirations for the lyrics in my songs… I’m very much influenced by stories, books, things I read in articles, my favorite books or *moments* in films that make me feel something. I was just watching “Rumble In The Jungle” and had an idea for a song. Conversely, I was having a discussion with a friend and I used a word to express an idea- and suddenly realized what a great word that would be to play with in a song, since it had many meanings and could be used to convey a range of ideas.
ELM: Did you ever have any guitar idols?
AC: Not really… I really had vocal idols. I loved watching old musicals in high school- and Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, and Bing Crosby were early idols. FUNNY right?
ELM: Who are your favorite writers?
AC: I LOVE Salman Rushdie. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Virginia Woolf, Milan Kundera, Pablo Neruda, Haruki Murakami, Jane Austen, Joan Didion.
ELM: If you could raise awareness of any social cause, what would it be?
AC: There are so many causes that are really important——> right now I would say poverty & education in America. It’s so incredible when you consider the immense riches and wealth that our nation has at it’s fingertips… and that we can’t even ensure that children in our country are well educated and fed. We spend millions, if not billions of dollars abroad DAILY, and yet we can cobble together enough money to fix schools, provide fundamental knowledge and skill sets to the next generation and make sure that not only children but adults and elderly people are well taken care of. I think the real mark of an *evolved* society is how well they care for the young and the old. We are failing miserably at both right now. That’s also a little of what “Further” means to me —–> “we have so much love, but we need so much more” <——– PEOPLE. That's what really matters, taking care of each other. Seriously.