in which i chat with i am not lefthanded

so, i’m very pleased to share with you a interview the husband and i did with one of our favorite indie bands recently. i’ve written about i am not lefthanded before (as has he) – originally from ireland, they’re currently living and working in england. hard at work on their new full-length album (set to be released this year), the band also has two stellar EP’s available along with a free sampler EP.

from their bio:
Fiercely independent, Anglo-Irish three-piece comprised of Kathryn(vocals/piano/guitar), Daniel (vocals/bass), and Benji (drums), I Am Not Lefthanded are known for their homemade, quirky videos as much as their lyrical, evocative music. Described as sounding like ‘Natalie Merchant fronting Death Cab for Cutie’, they’ve toured around the US, the UK and Ireland alone and as special guests for Irish and English luminaries such as Duke Special, The Rumble Strips and The Answering Machine.

kathryn was kind enough to take time out of IANL’s busy recording schedule to answer some questions about the history of the band, touring, and recording for us. and for the first time ever, this will be a two-blog interview! you’ll be able to find the first part here on have you met heather and the second part over on your moment of zen.

have you met heather: ok, so let’s get the obvious question out of the way for people who don’t know you…what’s with the name?

kathryn: It’s accidentally become one of the most controversial things about us. I was left-handed, when I was little. Only I had a very… traditional, but enthusiastic… teacher when I started school. 14 years of Catholic schooling later and I use my right hand for more things than my left. I read somewhere that changing the hand you write with changes the way your brain works, but then they say everything changes the way your brain works, so nothing new there.

Left-handed people seem to take it that we’re saying something about them, that we’re making a declarative statement about left-handed people. Where really it’s more of a throwback to the person I was back then.

It’s also a quote from a film – my favourite movie back when I was left-handed, one that holds some good memories for me today 🙂

hymh: the first songs we heard from you were very personal. how do you pull your lyrics together to create your stories?

kathryn: When I started writing, I had plenty to say, and no idea how to say it. So I used to build on the images created by writers who were far, far better than me. Endline has a line ‘I never saw more trace than their shadow cross your face’, which is a reference to a line from a TS Eliott poem ‘Who is the third who walks beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together’ The words are different, but it was the tone I wanted. Then later I started to build images of my own, but I was too embarrassed to admit what I was trying to say. I didn’t want the world to know what was going on in my head. So I couched everything in elaborate metaphors. If people happened to extrapolate the same thing I did from them, then it made me happy, but I was more comfortable having plausible deniability. I grew out of that though. I figured out why I was writing music in the first place, and it wasn’t really for me, it was for other people. And what was the point of writing music for someone else if they had no idea of what I was trying to say? So I became less elaborate and more honest. Anything I write now comes from the tumble of words and phrases that come into my head when I’m trying to be honest about something difficult.

hymh: has there ever been a song you heard that you instantly wish you had wrote?

kathryn: I love Ben Gibbard’s lyrics. I was already in my ‘it’s time to be honest’ phase of writing by the time I first heard the band, and some of his lines literally made me ache. Half with understanding, half with envy that I’d never thought to put something that same way. We covered ‘I will follow you into the dark’, and turned it into a duet. I think the harmonies were my own way of shouldering in on Death Cab’s lyrics.

hymh: how’s the new record coming along?

kathryn: Slowly, but then it’s just too much fun. At the moment, I sort of feel like one of those diners who’s the last to leave the restaurant when all the waiting staff want to go home. Every time we’re nearly done with a song, one of us seems to come up with something else we’d like to try for it. It’s blind enthusiasm for what we’re doing, but makes me feel like we’re being a bit greedy with our time. Some very kind and trusting people gave us their money to make this album. I’d like them to actually hear it some day soon.

thanks so much, kathryn!

go HERE to read the rest of the interview.

it’s hard to pick a song to share from this fabulous band, but i think i’ll go with lifelines. it’s pretty typical of what you can expect from IANL: stellar vocals from kathryn (honestly, she’s got one of the most beautiful voices out there right now), emotional lyrics that are spot-on with real-life feelings, and a gorgeous melody.

i know that this might calm down,
and i know i could sink and not drown
but treading all night’s getting old
and sunrise these days leaves me cold
i know, I can’t turn this around

cause when i cut your lifeline
i started falling – so far
i couldn’t look back

when i cut your lifeline
you were calling – so hard
i couldn’t shout back

so no more of the long walks through town
and no more talks of who let who down
though now I’ve said all my goodbyes,
my mind is filled with kind replies
i know, i know.

cause when i cut your lifeline
i started falling – so far
i couldn’t look back

when i cut your lifeline
you were calling – so hard
i couldn’t shout back

let it all settle down, let it all settle down

and yet i think i’ll miss you if i fall…

here’s kathryn and daniel doing a live version of the song:

head over to the band’s bandcamp site to buy/download songs from their three EP’s (including the free previously on IANL). i’ll be posting their new video for alone as soon as it’s available!

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