Q&A with Vienna, December 2006

Chat and sip. Beret optional.

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Postby Vienna » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:05 pm

JohnEZ wrote:It's about Shasta.... "Clouds, the color of fire, and the scent of an orange peel..."

Is there any particular meaning or symbolism attached to these three things? Or is it something totally obvious that I'm missing?

No, nothing obvious, and no special symbolism. (A quick Google search says that oranges can be symbols of wealth and good fortune, as well as innocence and fertility, so a case could be made...)

Sometimes I just want to have specific details in a story, to anchor it somehow. Carrie's been sustaining herself mostly on coffee, Snickers bars and oranges on this trip, so styrofoam and wrappers and peels litter the floor of her car. The day before she drove through an obscured sunset, the last light of day filtered through a layer of cumulus. I could have picked any number of other thoughts she might have had—a gas station attendant's smudged hands, maybe, or the weather-beaten door of the last motel—but "orange peel" rhymed with what I wanted for the last line of the verse. :)

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Re: Q&A with Vienna, December 2006

Postby jumpin » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:01 pm

actually, i don't have a question.
just wanted to say thanks for the "frau sudoku" story. it made me laugh out loudly.


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Postby waterfall » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:21 pm

Vienna wrote:
Luminosity wrote:Any chance of you coming back across the border sometime? (Maybe headlining at the University of British Columbia, or is that being too hopeful?)

Hope so! We're due for a return to Vancouver and Toronto. If UBC will have me and someone's up for organizing it, I'll be there. :)

please do come to UBC! or at least Vancouver :D

I have a couple questions and I hope I'm not repeating any that have already been asked.

Recessional is the song that really got me to fall in love with your music. Beautiful lyrics! Is there a story behind it? Or if not exactly, what inspired you to write this song?

I read in your Q&A form of your bio that you graduated from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science and worked as a software engineer for two years. When you decided to leave that behind and make your career in music instead, were you scared? or worried? if there were any doubts, how did you overcome them?


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Postby Decemberunderground » Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:41 am

On a side note before I begin, I resent the fact that Atlanta is having summer-like weather eleven days before Christmas.

Anyhow, on to the real point.

Hello there, Vienna, I hope the road has treated you nicely. If not, well then, I hope that the idea of the holidays around the corner puts you at ease.

Do you plan on coming back to Atlanta? Last time you were here, I managed to make it to both of your shows. We had so much fun being your 'ninjas' that I would jump at having half of the chance to do it again.

Frau Sudoku, huh? When I went to France at the beginning of last month (for my birthday) I was playing Sudoku on the flight there, seeing as I had already seen the second Pirates of the Carribean enough times to know all the words. When I did it on the metro, it seemed to get me a lot more local cred. Some people even smiled at me, people who I wouldn't have noticed before. I'm just glad I knew enough French to be able to ride the metro so carefree. My mother was another story.

Which leads me to my question: If you could learn any language, assuming that you had access (not to mention time) to a tutor of some sort, which would you choose?
in rosa requiescat.

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I second that!

Postby jennmorg » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:42 am

As a fellow Atlantan, I'll second all of Decemberunderground's sentiments- weather, Atlanta shows, etc. (And my picture with Vienna turned out beautifully from the Duncan Sheik show!)

A question for Vienna? Hmm. Being a film buff, I guess I'm most interested in your movie tastes. What are your favorite movies? I read you enjoyed An Inconvenient Truth... And if a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

Personally, I recommend any Kieslowski film and for a newer flick, Little Miss Sunshine. I'm also a big Richard Linklater fan- Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Something about the dialogue. And the importance of words and their arrangement.
"Get right to the heart of matters. It's the heart that matters more." -Counting Crows

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Postby Frances » Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:37 am

Hello Vienna,

Question: What are the top 5 things you value most in life [at this moment]?

P.S. Congrats on getting distribution via Universal Music in Europe. That is a major breakthrough!

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Postby am.rock » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:29 pm

Vienna wrote:I want to move to New York. Logistically it might be tricky, as I have some strong personal reasons to stay in San Francisco. But NYC is an incredible place to be a musician—so much cross-pollination between different worlds, so many talented people challenging one another to go farther. Also, there exist such things as artist lofts with a rehearsal studio in the basement.

If you do move, this means less shows up and down the west coast! No! As for the artist loft: that's such a great idea. It's way more convienent then having to rent space far away when you want to play at 2am. Although, if anything, I would have expected such things from SF, maybe Oakland... still, that's not musically the same place as NYC (or cough LA).

Now onto my question:

First, there's thousands of hobbyist musicans out there, did you ever feel you were one of those? Like, "my music is pretty good, and my friends like it, and sometimes i play out, but it's [just] a hobby".

Second, when did it become apparent to you that you were going to be a professional musican? I mean, was it clear to you from a while back...in the college days, and the job was just a day job to pay the bills? Or, did you see it more as a hobby, and the thing just spiraled out of control? How did you feel when you realized, maybe I can make a thing out of this and quit your job? I guess what I'm trying to ask is, when did you know? Even, how did you know?

I remember from some interview you made the analogy musican <=> startup. I think this is really really valid. Both require a leap of faith at some point, starting from nothing, unknown, lots of people with the "skills" but not the courage to actually do it...

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Postby Dreaming Pepper » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:49 am

A Q 'n' A session Vienna!! Sweeeeeeet!

Always feels great to be able to keep a level of personal contact with one of your favorite musicians.

Have you ever tried "jamming" in between songs? Hearing a jam between piano, cello, and violin/viola (I am sorry I forget real fast!) would be really nice. I know whenever I go to a red hot chili peppers' concert, jams are always there in between songs and intros and outros could boost a song from 4 minutes to 10 minutes. If you do jam in between songs with intros and outras..can you do it on your Jan. 21st show??

If not....you can always play a set list that consists of every song from Waking Hour to Dreaming Through the Noise....instead. :wink: :wink: :wink:

Well for a more serious question... Has any of your songs, or other artists songs, create very vivid and sometimes weird dreams? or am I the only one...
Last edited by Dreaming Pepper on Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Whoa.. I remembered my sign-in information!

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Postby kazarareta » Sat Dec 16, 2006 6:14 pm

Hi Vienna,

I'm from the Philippines too and had been a fan of yours since reading an article on a local magazine here with you on the cover. Care to drop by here for a vacation and sing for us? :lol:

I actually heard 'whatever you want' on a campus radio and was really excited but couldn't score myself a copy.

As for my question, can you recommend any movie you've watched recently for us?

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Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:25 am

rtu wrote:1. since you've mentioned food...what is your favorite cuisine?

The only kind of food I *can't* get into is Korean, for some reason. Unless Livia Sohn is cooking. Other than that, I think it's more a matter of quality than cuisine. Er, though I do love me some Popeye's Chicken and Jack In The Box. Guess there goes that theory...

2. i'm assuming you've had the philly cheesesteak (and if you haven't then i should take you while you're here), where and how do you prefer it?

I've done both Pat's and Geno's (gasp!), both wiz-wit, but I have a feeling there's still something better out there...maybe you have some recommendations?

3. other than song requests, how do you decide what songs to play at the concerts?

If anyone onstage is new, we try to plan out the set, so he/she knows what's coming up. Other than that, I navigate by feel. Some songs seem good at the beginning, others mostly near or at the end, some mostly as encores. Then everything else ends up in the middle. I try not to play too many songs of similar feel all in a row, which is tricky, since...well, most of my songs are slow-ish and quiet. :)

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Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:35 am

Jade wrote:Do you ever get tired of playing some of your songs night after night, and if so, do you do anything to try to make them interesting again?

The audience has a lot to do with it: the more people who haven't heard a song before, the more interested I am in playing it well. So gigs opening for other artists can be really fun that way. I do take some songs out of circulation for a while, so I don't start autopiloting them (The Tower took a sabbatical recently, and I think Harbor may be due). It's always a tricky balance, getting to the point where I'm confident and comfortable with something but not bored.

The arrangements also evolve subtly over time, especially if we feel like it's not quite working yet. I'm reluctant to change up a song just for the sake of changing it; that seems like shortchanging the audience for one's own amusement. But if we think it could be musically interesting for everyone, we'll give it a try.

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Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:41 am

Those questions about food have got me all hungry now. :)

While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?

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Re: Thanks Vienna!

Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:50 am

sod2002 wrote:Appears you are playing Joe's Pub in April. It too is a great small venue...I have seen Over the Rhine and Rosanne Cash there. Really enjoyed sound and intimacy of the place...even good sight lines from the bar area BUT ..they serve food during performance and I have never been much of a fan of that...I think it detracts from what the performer is doing onstage (or is at least a little distracting)...so just a little forewarning on the food thing.

Yeah, we do hear forks tinkling when we play at Joe's Pub. At the Triple Door in Seattle, too, and several other places. I don't mind it nearly as much as talking; in theory people could be focusing on the show while also eating grilled salmon or whatever. And those venues tend to have grand pianos, which makes me tremendously biased in their favor!

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Postby sod2002 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:04 am

Well actually...I love Salmon... almost as much as you playing a grand piano!

...so I guess you changed my mind Vienna!

See you at Joe's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best wishes,

Steve O

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Postby Ginny » Sun Dec 17, 2006 3:50 am

Vienna wrote:Those questions about food have got me all hungry now. :)

While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?

Please, for the love of God come to Greensboro so I don't have to go to Charlotte anymore! Charlotte and I do not get along at all. :evil: If you're in GSO you will run into the typical NC problem of restaurants closing too early to eat after the show. But if you have time, go to the Village Tavern, the Green Valley Grille, or Lucky 32 for something on a somewhat nicer scale. Or the Red Oak Brewery has some good stuff if you're feeling more casual. If you quit making me go to Charlotte I will take you myself and happily buy dinner for you and anyone traveling with you. Have I mentioned that Charlotte makes me feel disgruntled? Your concerts make my Charlotte curse worth enduring, but still....Greensboro would be a nice change. ;)~G
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