Pitchfork: One of the Jeff Lynne-produced songs is called “The Wallet” and it’s about finding someone else’s wallet, then finding a Blockbuster card in the wallet, and then returning the wallet back to a Blockbuster. It’s great. But, listening to it, I couldn’t help but think: “Who goes to Blockbuster anymore?”
RS: That’s funny because I wrote that song a bunch of years ago and I remember playing it on tour and thinking, “Do they even know what Blockbuster is in other countries?” Now I might need to change it to Netflix. [laughs]
It’s like one of those songs that you listen to from the 20s and ask, “What’s a kaputnik?” It’s this thing that was obviously very important because they’re singing about it, but it just doesn’t exist anymore. That’s why Bach and Mozart had it right by not putting in any words and making timeless instrumental music. In 300 years, when our great-great-great-grandchildren are checking out music by putting their finger into entertainment sockets, they’re not going to know what “Blockbuster” or “Netflix” or “Juicy Fruit” are. They’ll be like, “What’s fruit?” They’ll probably be living in a cement pod and eating food through intravenous tubes. They’re not going to know any of this shit.
Regina Spektor Interview for Youtube Presents
Regina Spektor interview with Evgeniy Dodolev, summer 2012, during her first visit to Russia since she left at 8 years of age. Translated!
To wit: I have interviewed Spektor three times. On the first occasion, she was profoundly late (so much so that she could’ve actually been considered early). The second, she was profoundly late and her handlers could not get in touch with her because, as it turned out, she had walked into a telephone pole. The third time was Tuesday, and once again she was late, and once again her handlers could not get a hold of her, though this time it wasn’t because she had injured herself — it was because she had fallen asleep and missed her alarm.
I am not including this information to point out how “quirky” or “childlike” or “naïve” Spektor is — because, really, those seem to be the only three adjectives music journos use to describe her these days — but rather, to prove a point: Spektor’s new album, Far, hit stores on Tuesday. It is the follow-up to her breakout Begin to Hope, which, if you’ve watched a TV drama aimed at the 25-54 demo, you’ve probably heard sprinkles of by now (Spektor, it should be noted, does not own a television set). And this makes Far a really big deal, not just for her, but her label, Sire Records.
And knowing all that, she overslept anyway.
“This is the one thing I would love to change about myself,” she laughs. “Sometimes I have days when I’m really good at being on time, and then I fall off the wagon. All it takes is one time … but sometimes I also think I feel too proud of myself when I am on time, like it’s an occasion. So I should probably work on that too.”
But she probably won’t, because time is a very funny thing for Spektor, and not just when it comes to scheduling. Far is the follow-up to Hope in sequence (and expectation) only — the songs on it date from as far back as 2001 or as recent as five months ago. She didn’t write, say, “Dance Anthem of the ’80s” or first single “Laughing With” specifically for the album — she just had them lying around and figured now was as good a time as any to release them onto the world. She decided to work with four producers — Mike Elizondo, Jacknife Lee, David Kahn and Jeff freakin’ Lynne — not because of their decade-spanning résumés, but rather “because they all seemed like humble, cool people.” These are not how hit follow-up records are made — not these days, and really, not ever.
Which is good, because the jury’s still out on whether Far will continue Spektor’s hot streak. Early reviews have been mixed — most seem to find fault in the quirk (the dolphin noises she makes on “Folding Chair,” the Germanic accent she adopts on “Machine”), while others miss the rough edges she bent her voice around on 2004’s Soviet Kitsch. These are all actually fairly accurate criticisms … I’ve listened to Far three times now, and I find myself noticing the same things; though, to be fair, I’m firmly entrenched in the Kitsch camp, as opposed to the glossier territory she explored on Begin to Hope. Then again, Spektor probably doesn’t care about this at all. Actually, I know she doesn’t, because she told me.
“I think people who really care about something they really like — it’s natural to only want more of that. Forget about music, people feel that way about shoes. They go back to the store where they bought a pair of shoes three years ago and they now all have pointy tips instead of round ones, and they don’t want any of that,” she says. “I’m that way. I would wear the same pair of shoes until I’m 80 years old. But music is a breathing thing, and they’ll always have those records. My job is not to make people happy, you know? ‘Can I get you more to drink?’ I’m not a people-pleasing housewife.”
And at this juncture, her handlers break in and try to wrap up the conversation. Spektor is due to leave for Europe in the morning, and there’s much scheduling to do. But before we go, I ask her about making music — twisty, turny, timeless and tangible music — in a time when none of that matters and everything is, essentially, completely and utterly disposable. She sighs and recommends a book for me to read, “The Lexicon of Musical Invectives,” which she describes as “a collection of nasty reviews of classical music, from Bach to Wagner,” then launches into a rant that one could describe as “delightfully quirky,” if one were a lazy music journo, though I prefer “timeless.” Or, rather, beyond the concept and constraints of time itself.
“I mean, in this book, it’s music criticism from the 19th century, and they’re ripping Tchaikovsky a new a—hole, but the thing that really gets me is that it’s written so beautifully. It’s nasty reviews in beautiful language, and that’s what I want,” she says. “My dad will forward me some of the stuff people write about me, and I think it’s all bullsh—. It’s all, ‘Oh, this sucks, that sucks, blah.’ I don’t want that. I want you to write poetically about how bad I suck.”
By James Montgomery
Regina Spektor - WNYC Radio Interview 29 May 2012
“Just being in Russia was amazing — it was completely bizarre, and everything still feels like a dream,” she says. “I was there for a week, and I’ve come home and I’m just sort of in borscht withdrawal.”
She was determined to visit her first piano teacher; the house she grew up in, where she learned to play on a Petrof upright; and the historic Arbat Street abode of renowned Muscovite songwriter Bulat Okudzhava.
“Regina Spektor: Her Russian Roots and New Music” - New Interview with Theworld.org.
Regina is ABC’s person of the week! In this interview/video there are some clips of her old piano teacher, Sonia Vargas, as well as some never before seen photos from Regina’s childhood.
Regina appeared on The Colbert Report last night, where she performed two songs (one on air, one off air) and did a short yet hilarious interview with host, Stephen Colbert.
Listen to the interview
She joked that she stayed up until 3:30 a.m. writing a song, trying not to wake the neighbors, but never wrote anything down. She still doesn’t.
“I try to be better now, at least about recording little things, because sometimes I still have things just disappear,” Spektor says in an interview with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish. “You always think, ‘Oh, I’ll never forget that. That’s so obvious.’ And then, of course, you forget it.”
For a Regina Spektor fan, the fact that there are “lost” Spektor songs is scary. But there is hope. “I am so lucky, because almost from the beginning, people would record the shows,” Spektor says. “I am just so thankful to them, first of all, for taking the time and putting it up online and sharing it with other listeners, but also mainly [for] myself, because there are so many songs I would not know how to play. It gives me so much relief to know that they’re somewhere.”
”It’s easy to see why fans of the 32-year-old singer-songwriter – whether the (female) colleague who told me “I’ve sobbed with heartbreak watching her” or the (male) colleague who admitted to holding a crush or perhaps even Barack Obama, who’s seen her play live twice – might still want to parse her lyrics for a sense of who she really is……..
Spektor is a newlywed, but of her recent marriage to Moldy Peaches guitarist Jack Dishel she won’t say anything; and nor, understandably, is she keen to discuss the drowning of her cellist Daniel Cho in Lake Geneva the day before she played the Montreux jazz festival in 2010, or the recent death of another close friend. But she does say, turning hushed and sounding understandably uncomfortable: “I’m definitely in the club of people who have experienced great tragedy in their life. Nothing bad had ever really happened to me but now I’m in this club – and it’s a really big club. I don’t think I was prepared for the level of pain I’ve been experiencing in the last few years. As you go through life you try to take all the things that come your way and process them with as much strength and kindness as you can muster. Obviously it transforms you as a person, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a final definition.”“