Retrieving Her Soul: The Larkin Grimm Interview
Larkin Grimm (of the Dirty Projectors) has recently released her fourth solo album, Soul Retrieval. Those not familiar with Grimm’s solo work may not know what to expect, especially when her colorful life story is offered up alongside any textual descriptions of the work. Indeed, her music defies adjectives, with the possible exception of “genuine.” Soul Retrieval, like her other music, is borne of Grimm’s open heart and wide-eyed wonder at the world.
ELM: I read that Soul Retrieval was inspired, in part, by mystical Sufi poets like Rumi and by ecstatic love poetry such as the Song of Solomon. How do you think that manifests on the record?
LG: In the midst of a lot of speculation about the end of the world in 2012, I wanted to make an album filled with love songs to humanity, from the gods inside of my mind.
ELM: Have you ever had a soul retrieval, if that’s not too personal of a question?
LG: Absolutely! With John Perkins, the white shaman who wrote “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” It was awesome. I was introduced to my god-self, who subsequently wrote a lot of beautiful songs for me.
ELM: How did Tony Visconti help you make the record?
LG:He played bass, flute, and a little guitar, and believed in my vision, which was the most important part.
ELM: What makes Soul Retrieval different from your other albums?
LG: It was written by a kinder, gentler part of myself.
ELM: What is your favorite myth?
LG: Apollo flaying Marsyus the Satyr alive after Marsyus boasted that he was the most beautiful singer, and lost in a contest judged by the muses.
ELM: You also mention being inspired by the women of Morocco. Can you say more about that?
LG:I just want people to recognize that the invisible women of the conservative Muslim world are very amazing and beautiful, have a rich culture and history, and are perfectly capable of claiming their own power. We don’t need to bomb their countries in order to free them.
ELM: What is your live show like?
LG:I don’t know! Ask someone who has seen it. I’ve heard that it is pretty good.
ELM: Are you planning any videos?
LG:Lots of things are in the works, and I just need to find the time to finish them in between changing my baby’s diapers and playing with my band.
ELM: I’m really interested in “Without a Body or a Numb and Useless Mind.” I’d love to hear more about that.
LG:It’s all about accessing the transcendent nothingness and oneness with all things, and how depression can be a gateway to transcendence.
ELM: What kind of visuals inspired you while you were making this album?
LG: I don’t see sounds, I feel them. Warm textures. Little happy worms eating the dark thoughts out of your brain.
ELM: If you could raise awareness of one social cause, what would it be?
LG: The Man’s World may be coming to an end, but women are getting ready to build a better one.
ELM:Who are some of your favorite writers?
LG: Flannery O’Connor, William Blake, William Faulkner, Henry Miller, Emily Bronte