New interview everyone! We'd like to thank Amanda once again for allowing us to interview her! Most of these questions are from you, so we hope you enjoy them First of all: what are you currently working on? Are there any new projects on the horizon?
Right now I'm getting ready for the release of the Kiske-Somerville album and also the show I'll be doing in Detroit at the Sirens of Metal Festival. I'm also writing new songs for my next album, putting a new band together for live shows and have been doing some guest appearances on some various bands' albums. Yay!Will you come to Scotland/Brazil/New Jersey/the moon/... In short: will there be an Amanda Somerville tour? (This was the most frequently asked question)
I'm still working on that. Really! ;-)When composing a song, which comes first: The lyrics or the music? How does it go from that initial idea?
Every time, it's different. Sometime it starts with a phrase, sometimes with a little melody, sometimes with just a verse or just a chorus. Other times EVERYTHING comes out all at once! But I must say that I most of the time, I write the music and lyrics together at once, but sometimes in fragments. "All That I Am," for example, started with me playing around on the piano, then the words and melody just flowed forth. I also got some input from a friend of mine and his contribution to the song ended up becoming the title. It took a really long time to write in the end, however, because it had to be special, since I was writing it for my friend who was getting married, but I was stumped for a chorus. Then all of a sudden, months later, it came while I was on a flight to Miami. I couldn't wait to get off the plane so that I could record it on my cell phone! "Inner Whore," on the other hand, was exactly the opposite. I had the chorus forever, but wasn't inspired to write the rest of the song around it until months later. And "Carnival," well, that came out from start to finish in about an hour!As someone who writes their own lyrics, what is your process? Do you write down thoughts and arrange them or is there a more technical process behind them? Do you have any tips for beginning lyricists?
Again, every time it's different. I keep journals that I go back and read for inspiration and also jot down phrases that come to mind here and there that I think I might like to use in a song. A lot of the time, when I sit down at the piano just to plunker around, an idea will come up and I'll be inspired to write a lyric and vocal melody right then and there. I used to just write lyrics in entire song formats, but the past several years the lyric and music writing has gone hand in hand simultaneously for me.
For beginning lyricists, I would highly recommend keeping a journal and always having something to write with you. You might find inspiration in the strangest of places and a lot of my songs have been written on the backs of sales receipts or restaurant napkins! In my opinion, the best songs are the ones with heartfelt lyrics, those that you can relate to and that you can feel are real. So I'd also say that writing from the heart is always the way to go. Put all of your love or heartbreak or anger or frustration into any lyric you write in a creative way and you're bound to come up with some great stuff!Career-wise, what was your greatest challenge so far and what helped you overcome it?
My greatest challenge... Hm. I'm not sure that there was ever a superlative challenge. Some are easier than others, certainly, however I get nervous with each new challenge I'm presented with and think, "Can I do this?" But I always straighten my back and tell myself that I can and somehow it always works out well in the end. I don't like to say, "No," so I'll smile and say, "Sure, no problem!" even though I might think, "Shit, how am I going to manage that?" Haha! With Aina, that was most definitely the case, as it also was when Sander Gommans asked me to write all the lyrics for his (I'm quoting him from back then) "super, heavy, pretty much thrash metal" HDK project. But I tackled those jobs and gave them my all and am proud of the end results! Sometimes, you've just got to tell yourself that everything's going to be ok, close your eyes, count to three and jump into that cold water!Where did the inspiration for Inner Whore (a favourite of many forum members) come from?
Why, thank you! Well, that's one I'm going to keep to myself, but I assure you that the lyrics are rather self-explanatory. ;-) Use your imagination!If you only had one more song to sing, which one would it be?
I just spent a while thinking about that one, and was rather stumped, so I'll go with what popped into my head as the first thing, even though it's a bit cliche: Amazing Grace. Probably also because a scene somewhat like the Titanic sinking went through my head, where I knew I was going to die. Yeah, yeah... Drama Queen. That's me!Which is your favourite instrument? Why?
Maybe I'm saying it because it's "my" instrument, but I'd have to say the piano because it simply sounds beautiful and is so versatile in so many different settings, whether played alone or amongst other instruments.
Which is the best concert you've been to as a fan?
I'd have to say the Paul Simon concert I went to several years ago in Hamburg. I never thought he'd tour again, so I thought I wouldn't get the opportunity to see him play live. Then he came out with a new album and did a tour to promote it and I was in total heaven. I'm a HUGE Paul Simon geek, so I'd have to say that was it, even though I got to see him later at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. That concert of his in Hamburg was amazing. On to more random things: Can you spell Arnold Schwarzenegger without using google?
Haha! I actually can, firstly because I've lived in Germany for 11 years and speak the language fluently (you spell the words exactly like they're spelled), AND because I was the Spelling Bee Champion of my primary school when I was younger, so I'm wicked on the spelling tasks. ;-) What was the last book you read?
Oh, no! I'm outing myself again as the extreme dork that I am! It was the latest in the Sookie Stackhouse series, "Dead In the Family." My sister got me hooked!!!Have you ever broken any bones?
Yep. Broke my leg in a horrible way in a skiing accident in Winter Park, Colorado when I was 7. It was a boot-top fracture and they set my leg wrong in the cast at the ski resort hospital, so when I got home to Michigan the doctors had to re-break it and set it again. That was the WORST and I'll never forget that pain - they re-broke it with no anesthetic and just told my Mom to hold me down!If you could clone someone from the past, who would it be?
I wouldn't. I don't think we should mess with things like that! Plus, you can't ever re-create exactly what the original was because people become who they are because of their environment and circumstances and experiences.Do you have any things that you should throw away but can't (old junk mainly)?
Ooooooohhh, yes! Old school things, love letters, clothes I haven't worn in ages but think that I might someday again... etc. I also have tons of office supplies that I think I might have a use for some time in the future, so I don't throw them away. Clutter. Just lots of clutter!Lightning round!Coffee or Coke?
- Coke. Don't drink coffee. Never have. Most likely never will. Hot weather or cold?
- Cold! I'm a ski bunny. :-)Salt or pepper?
- SaltTattoos or piercings?
- Neither. Well, my ears are pierced, but I don't think you meant that!Night or day?
- Choose? Seriously? Then day because you can always go to a planetarium or somewhere that doesn't have windows and turn off the lights! Haha! ;-)White or dark chocolate?
- The darker, the better.Dog or cat?
- I have & love both.Oprah or Dr. Phil?
- Oprah.Vanilla or chocolate?
- Chocolate!Apple or banana?
- Apple.And lastly, do you have anything you want to tell your fans (or ask them)?
Yep. I hate thong underwear. I'm always trying to get my undies out
of that crack, why would I purposely put them in
? What are your thoughts on that subject? ;-)