Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Catching up with Regina Spektor

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Russian-born singer/songwriter Regina Spektor has a bright and airy mannerism about her. Her girlish voice rings like wind chimes, reflecting an unmistakable sweetness in her music. Her mother is a music professor, and Spektor studied piano at SUNY-Purchase Conservatory of Music before falling into the New York anti-folk scene of the early aughts. With her theatrical vocal affectations and idiosyncrasies (she beatboxes and mimics a trumpet on her latest album, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats) Spektor’s sound is somewhat reminiscent of Tori Amos — if you replaced the tie-die with a quirky East Village thrift shop Bohemian sensibility.

Spektor signed with Sire Records in 2004 where she saw the re-release of her third album, Soviet Kitsch, followed by the single, “Fidelity,” which became something of a hit on the heels of her Gold-selling 2006 album Begin to Hope. With What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, Spektor retreats from the polish of her previous album, 2009’s Far, to rediscover her canny mix of self-conscious oddity and pop craft.

We caught up briefly before a show at the State Theatre in Minneapolis on October 18.

On turning 30 (she’s 32 now), marking a transition for her ...

I feel like I’m always in transition, and like I’ve been in transition since I was 4 years old. There’s many many different stages and discoveries of self, and I feel like during my 20s I was changing a lot, and my perspective was constantly changing. I feel like I was wiser than when I was changing all the time in my teens, and I think that I’m just happy when I have the mixture of both — when I get to live and take in art and life and nature and friends and family and humanity, and also then make art and travel and make records.

On everyone’s different “operating systems" ...

This morning I was thinking about how there were these different operating systems that people have built within them — or it’s a combination of nature and nurture — and how I can’t relate to the system; how amazed I am by the people who climb a mountain or go scuba diving in a cave or jump from the edge of space or surf the big wave. They’re built for it. But then someone else will say, “I don’t understand how you want to sit in a room for 13 hours in a row playing the same three-minute thing that you’re writing.” I’m built for that. I’m built for listening to a song on repeat in my head while I’m making a record all through the night and then waking up and going in for another 16 hours again.

On reaching her audience ...

I want as many people as possible to hear my music, I just don’t expect them to like it and want it. I would love it if there was a chance for everyone on the planet to hear it once and make his or her own choice. That would be amazing. But you know, I think it’s really hard to get your music heard even that first time.

On playing “sit-down” theatre shows vs. rock clubs ...

I really like the mix of the two, usually during the tours it’s not just one or the other. Because, I don’t know, it’s just different energy and I really like both.

Regina Spektor plays the Tabernacle on Saturday, November 10.

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