Q&A with Vienna, December 2007

Chat and sip. Beret optional.

Moderator: Ginny

jrianne
Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:33 pm

just piano

Postby jrianne » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:40 pm

I was at your concert in SLC with Jenny Owen Youngs in the church. Those acoustics really were something, eh?

my question: I loved the purity of sound of just you and the piano. Will there ever be an all piano accompanied only recording of your songs? It was moving emotionally in a way that I can't describe, almost as if the other instruments interfered with the emotion behind it. Or maybe that was just from it being live.

Also, when are you coming back to this neck of the woods?

thanks in advance.

Vienna
Warm Stranger
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:19 pm

Postby Vienna » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:21 am

CandaceC wrote:My question is what you would suggest or a how to break out of the typical classical pianist mode and role or even your own personal story regarding that.

Consequently, do you find differences in your playing while working on classical vs. your general mode of performance?


I was always passive to some degree with classical music—learned the notes and markings on the page, then took direction from my teacher on interpretation. I didn't have to understand why this section was this long, or why the left hand had these unusual voicings here, and so on. They just...were. The composer put them there. Good pianists invest much more thought into playing a piece, I'm sure, but I find it takes active effort to think compositionally when there's already music in front of me.

Only occasionally I'd play through them slowly, relishing the choices their creators made. Suddenly I'd notice the colors in the rubato section of Debussy's Arabesque No. 1; the way the chords shift around an ever-present D# in Rachmaninoff's Prelude Opus 32 No. 12; the appearance of the subject in all kinds of clever forms in Bach's Fugue No. 8 in Eb minor, from upside down to double-length. I owe Chuck Fuery, my teacher, a lot for shining his flashlight down those dim corridors. Pay attention to this, he'd say. Wait for your ears to adjust to a new way of listening. Tell me what you hear.

Maybe that's the crux of it—listening, instead of reading. I found pop songs much easier to study, because I had to reverse-engineer their structure anyway; there was no blueprint to follow. Incidentally, when I had lunch with Chuck a few months ago, he told me he'd been playing his favorite classical pieces in all twelve keys on the piano, to re-discover them. When you can't rely on finger memory or a written score, your ears start working in new ways.

I don't know if that answers the question, but I tried. ;) By the way, thanks again for singing & hanging out with us at Monmouth Academy!

Vienna
Warm Stranger
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:19 pm

Postby Vienna » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:53 am

CandaceC wrote:Where are some places you like to go clothes shopping?


It's terribly amusing that anyone would ask me where I shop, seeing as I am possibly the least fashionable person I know. My guy friends have been known to ask if I'm really going to wear those shoes with those pants.

I did recently set a goal to buy only used, recycled, organic and/or handmade clothing from now on. So my favorite spots are second-hand stores and online (particularly Etsy, Greenloop, Tobi and Modify). And when Google's search results are too daunting, I've found Treehugger makes a good portal into the world of semi-conscious consumerism.

cambiare
Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:23 am

Postby cambiare » Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:30 am

Vienna,

I wanted to thank you again for the amazing performance at Joe's Pub back in April of this year. My Grandma still talks about your performance on a regular basis, and we thoroughly enjoyed yourselves. I will always treasure the autographed CDs and picture on my ridiculously inoperable Kodak camera that you gave me, too. Now that that's out of the way, here's my question.

This stems from my recent attendence of a Barry Manilow concert. We all know the answer that we want to hear desperately, but can you see yourself doing what you do for over a decade? Two decades, even? It sounds like a strange prospect now, but did it ever cross your mind that music would become a part of your life for such a long period of time?

Thank you so much for reading.

debby hagler
Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:31 am

Postby debby hagler » Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:04 am

I have seen a few of your concerts in the Charlotte, NC area, and I absolutely love the arraingement of " one Bed One Bath" with "9-5". My question is simply, do you know if Dolly has ever heard your version? and if she liked it?

Vienna
Warm Stranger
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:19 pm

Postby Vienna » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:13 am

Hello micro! Ohh boy, that's a lot of questions. Here goes, hope I don't bore anybody.

micro wrote:Do you feel that NYC is "home"?


I still catch myself telling people that I'm "going home" to California. But after several years of traveling around a lot, "home" is pretty much wherever I am for more than a few days at a time. My attachment to New York doesn't run much deeper than that yet, and I certainly wouldn't call myself a New Yorker...but of all the places to find myself by default, this is the perfect spot right now.

What are your impressions of NYC? Is it what you expected it to be?


I moved here because it's one of the capitals of the world, where all these different streams of humanity converge. And I have been amazed at the sheer variety of people I've met, the way there's a group for every possible interest you could have, a world-class institution for any field. New York is like freshman year of college on a grand scale: you never know whom you're going to meet next, or the next time you'll stumble onto something that ends up changing your life.

Also, my rent's cheaper than it was in San Francisco. ;)

Do you still plan to stay in NYC for one year only?


Did I say that? Well...the first 8 months flew by, so I'll probably be here longer!

If so, have you thought of where you may be going next, back to SF, Austin, Chicago, elsewhere?


Either Austin or Chicago would be great fun. Or even Amsterdam, or Manila? Actually there is another reason I moved to New York: centrally located for touring. 5-6 hours to Europe, 8 hours at most to dozens of cities in the U.S. And direct flights back out West.

What have you found most interesting?


Parker Posey sums it up pretty well: "You can be a loner here and still be surrounded by people. You can really live your life like a story, and fly by the seat of your pants. Or you can stay home and order in. You can consume as much experience as you can stand. There’s a lot of risk. I like risk." (in an interview with Paste)

Are the Dance fighting classes Capoeira?


Yup. Alex showed me ginga and esquiva in a park one morning on tour, and got me all curious.

Are you working on your next cd? Any target release date?


Yes. No. If I could work to deadlines, I would—I'd love to have twelve new songs to share with y'all by now. But I've tried it before and the music turns out awful.

Are there plans for a live cd to complement the DVD?


Hmmm, interesting thought. I think if we do a live CD it'll be of a different concert. But maybe.

How do you decide what covers perform?


If it's a well-known song it's usually on a whim; this summer "Fields of Gold" appeared as an encore just because Dina mentioned Sting at intermission. Other times I'm sharing music by someone that the audience may not be familiar with, in hopes that they'll go home and look up Brian Webb or Noe Venable or whoever. (Speaking of which, Noe has a beautiful new album out. Go listen to the Summer Storm Journals!)

What musical influences have you gotten from being in NYC?


I've noticed that I'm writing at faster tempos. Must be all that running to catch the subway.

How is the music scene different?


Again, the sheer variety. And caliber. There are venues that fit maybe thirty people at most, and on any given night you'll find musicians who play amphitheaters and auditoriums on tour, crammed into these tiny spaces, trying out new material.

Are you working on other projects? soundtracks, Broadway?


I'm in the early stages of a couple of different things...not sure where they're headed yet, or how much I'll ultimately be involved. We'll be sure to let you know if something makes it past the embryonic stage. :)

Will there be a collaboration w/ Alex Wong on a future cd?


Hope so! I'm in a learning-to-collaborate phase these days, and finding that it requires a whole new set of skills (being willing to try weird ideas in front of another songwriter, for starters). I'm crossing my fingers that at least one of our tandem scribbling sessions will end up being released to the public.

Are/will you be taking a break from touring?


I like taking breaks from touring, but not necessarily from playing. So even when I'm not going out for several weeks at a stretch, I'll be performing in or around town, or at an event here and there.
Last edited by Vienna on Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Vienna
Warm Stranger
Posts: 143
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 8:19 pm

Postby Vienna » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:27 am

Sorry we missed you in Virginia, Kay! Can't wait for the atrocious jokes. ;)

If you had to choose: 80's music or 90's boybands? Death is not an option.


Like, stuck on a desert island with? Boy bands all the way. Guys with headsets and doing dance routines would be much more entertaining than weird reverb and hairspray.

I'm also going to second Seaspray's question about In Rainbows, because damn. Any thoughts on the album, and what do you think of their method of digital distribution?


I'm of two minds. As one individual fan, in my particular age group, I thought it was a fantastic idea. (Paid £10 for it, incidentally, which translated to about $22 after conversion and fees.) It makes a lot of sense that Radiohead would do this: they have a loyal fanbase worldwide, they're not interested in scoring #1 hits on radio or under pressure to outsell their previous albums, and they've always had an uneasy relationship with the profit-driven corporate sector anyway. For them to release their music digitally, and to say "it's up to you" how much you pay for it, seems perfectly in line with their ethos as a band, and I admire them for it.

But I do wonder about the viability of a model like that in the YouTube/BitTorrent age; there's an entire generation that's growing up with the idea that you can always get media for free. Would they really pay for it voluntarily? Of course, that begs the question: can you really get them to pay for it, period? CD sales and fixed-price downloads are just as susceptible to this cultural shift. It seems likely that music, as an industry, is going to focus more on licensing and live performance, and come close to giving away the studio recordings to music fans. As a performing songwriter, that's not necessarily a rosy future; it means constantly being on the road, and possibly writing with one eye on commercial use. We'll see, I guess...

And to bring this back to a familiar topic: does listening to music ever make you crave a certain food?


Never thought of that! I don't think I've ever suddenly wanted certain foods. Just the company of certain people.

I have thought of music as food though. Björk is wild mushrooms, Nickel Creek is home-churned ice cream. Kind of Blue Miles Davis is smoked BBQ. I think I'm some kind of soup. Butternut squash, maybe.

Scot
Tengster
Posts: 1673
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:21 am
Location: Hilo, HI
Contact:

Postby Scot » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:35 am

Vienna wrote: I think I'm some kind of soup. Butternut squash, maybe.

Giggles. This sounds like a good question for the forum, too. If Vienna were a food, what would she be?

Hmm, 10:30pm here in HI, it must be even later where you are!

s
My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

Rotkehlchen
Warm Stranger
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:30 pm
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Contact:

Postby Rotkehlchen » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:36 am

Vienna wrote:I have thought of music as food though.
Björk is wild mushrooms,
Nickel Creek is home-churned ice cream.
Kind of Blue Miles Davis is smoked BBQ.
I think I'm some kind of soup. Butternut squash, maybe.

Scot wrote:If Vienna were a food, what would she be?

On the theme of liquid food: in Other Fine Cuisine (!)
disneyphish wrote:early Tori [..] a shot of whiskey and hot sauce.
Vienna strikes me as more of a glass of expensive red wine.


micro wrote:How is the music scene different?
Vienna wrote:Again, the sheer variety. And caliber. There are venues that fit maybe thirty people at most, and on any given night you'll find musicians who play amphitheaters and auditoriums on tour, crammed into these tiny spaces, trying out new material.

Here I imagine Vienna crammed in at the back of an audience listening to Woody Allen playing jazz clarinet in a small, smoky basement.


Vienna wrote:hope I don't bore anybody.

No chance, Vienna! ;) Your NY post is just so evocative.
There are people out here anxiously waiting for every word you post in this Forum.
And hoping they don't miss your Q&A session before it's over, when one finally comes round (like I did last year :( :oops: ).
~ R

Here's Johnny
Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:47 pm

inspiration

Postby Here's Johnny » Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:00 pm

Hi Vienna. I think your music is great.

A number of your songs seem to be about internal struggles for inspiration. Do you come up with the lyrics for these songs on the spot, or is it usually an afterthought?

Also, I have never heard a live performance of the song "Drought". Any reason for this?

Rotkehlchen
Warm Stranger
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:30 pm
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Contact:

Postby Rotkehlchen » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:04 pm

Apropos of nothing in particular:

Have you ever arrived at a venue without your keyboard and been offered a particularly recalcitrant piano for the evening?
~ R

echoingstreetsigns
Cool Stranger
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:28 pm
Location: Texas/Vermont

Postby echoingstreetsigns » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:36 pm

hi, vienna! i'm new to the forum; i hope i haven't missed the q&a entirely. my roommate introduced me to your music last year and i've been in love ever since. any chance you'll be playing in vermont and/or near austin soon? i keep being in the wrong place at the wrong time to see a concert, but one of these days i'm going to make it!

anyway, my question: i don't know if you ever explain your song lyrics, but "recessional" fascinates me. is it named that because the story is told backwards? that's only my guess, but i would love to hear anything you wanted to say about it.

and, just for trivia's sake: are you a harry potter fan? :lol:

coffee!sugar
Howdy, Stranger!
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:11 pm
Location: Chicago

Postby coffee!sugar » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:16 pm

It’s the season of grace but miracle cures are in short supply. I’m heading to Wisconsin today to the funeral of a good friend and colleague that introduced you to me many years ago. Rick came into the office one Monday and said, “You’ve got to hear this girl!” He heard you on NPR the previous morning. Several days later he hooked us with Passage (I must confess that I also snarl people with that emotional hook!). I can’t remember a day since then without my V-Fix - either is my ears, my head or my heart.

In the summer of 2006 they discovered lung cancer. Earlier this year my wife and I bought several tickets to your Chicago show and prayed Rick could make it – he was already in bad shape by then. Well, he made it and it was great! Hard to express in words how much it meant to him.

Rick had the luxury of creating the play-list for his own going-away party so I know I’ll hear some more today. Definitely not of morbidity, but his last show of love for your music.

Now since I abused the Q&A (tis the season for forgiveness tengsters), I’ll pose a few short ones and let you get on with your holidays at ‘home’.

-How’s the German coming along?
-How good is you Mandarin?

Thanks for everything.

cmooreNC
Tengster
Posts: 850
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:59 pm
Location: Hermitage, TN

Postby cmooreNC » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:58 pm

coffee!sugar wrote:It’s the season of grace but miracle cures are in short supply. I’m heading to Wisconsin today to the funeral of a good friend and colleague that introduced you to me many years ago. Rick came into the office one Monday and said, “You’ve got to hear this girl!” He heard you on NPR the previous morning. Several days later he hooked us with Passage (I must confess that I also snarl people with that emotional hook!). I can’t remember a day since then without my V-Fix - either is my ears, my head or my heart.

In the summer of 2006 they discovered lung cancer. Earlier this year my wife and I bought several tickets to your Chicago show and prayed Rick could make it – he was already in bad shape by then. Well, he made it and it was great! Hard to express in words how much it meant to him.

Rick had the luxury of creating the play-list for his own going-away party so I know I’ll hear some more today. Definitely not of morbidity, but his last show of love for your music.



Wow.... I've stumbled in and out of here so infrequently lately, and I come finally get back to catch up with this thread, and I find your post after reading through so many pages. My condolences to you and all who will be attending Rick's funeral. But each time your "hear" Vienna, in your ears, your head, or your heart, I'm sure you'll remember him. And he'll live on through you. What a gift he gave you! My sympathies.
Chris

cmooreNC
Tengster
Posts: 850
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:59 pm
Location: Hermitage, TN

Postby cmooreNC » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:28 pm

And to Vienna --- although I won't bother repeating my earlier question (something about potential consideration of an "opening act" slot on a larger scale tour.... I forget exactly what it was myself and I'm sure it's lost back there somewhere on this thread), I do want to know if you've heard Marc Cohn's "Join the Parade" yet? It only took the guy nine years between CD's, but it did finally come out in October. Since you have worked with him before and share the same booking agent, I'm guessing you've perhaps come across the new release and, if so, wonder what you think of it? Particularly the songs relating to Katrina and it's aftermath, since you dealt with the same topic in your own way on "Pontchartrain"?

It's been such an odd year for me --- with my father's death in mid-January, followed so closely by the wonderful World Cafe Live experience (January 22nd, if I recall correctly) and meeting so many terrific Warm Strangers there, and now my daughter's college graduation last Sunday and her fast approaching marriage on January 19th (with an immediate move to Boulder, CO, for her the next day). I seem to find myself firmly entrenched in "middle age". Not that any "age" doesn't present it's changes and challenges, but the life events swirling around me at the moment seem different, somehow. And I reflect back on the year and find that although I've experienced many concerts this year (Cohn several times, Springsteen a couple, even a jaunt up to Columbus, OH, to see Genesis again - which I never dreamed would happen) as I usually do, I am saddened to find I only saw VT perform twice this year. Your shows are so often a source of life force and affirmation of the rejuvenating power of live music for me - of all that is good with the shared bond between audience and artist. I truly need to recharge those batteries. So I hope you'll present us with a few opportunities to do so again next year. (yes, even if a road trip or two may be required for my wife and myself)

Greetings of the season to you, and to all my fellow fans here on the board.
Chris


Return to “The Cafe”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest