Q&A with Vienna, August 2009 (QUESTIONS ONLY)

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Q&A with Vienna, August 2009 (QUESTIONS ONLY)

Postby Vienna » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:19 pm

We're overdue for a question-and-answer session, I think. Sorry for skipping 2008; too many things going on!

Post questions here, and I'll be answering them in scrapbook posts over the next few weeks. We'll also repost them here, in a separate answers-only thread.

This is the slow part of a two-speed Q&A. For the real-time version, join me on Twitter this Saturday evening:

Saturday, August 15 2009
6:00-9:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time
hashtag: #vtqna

Have fun and talk to you soon!

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Postby roofboy179 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:28 pm

Hoo. Rah. Thank you for this :)

My first question is; Have you written any songs in the key of F yet? :wink:

And, also, what is that beautiful shiny red keyboard you tour with now-a-days? I did enough investigative work to figure out it was a Nord something or other.

I've been preparing for this for a while, but i have no idea what the rest of my questions were... i'll probably remember them later. :wink:

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Postby cyfairjerry » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:06 pm

Are there any contemporary classical composers/works that you enjoy these days? I'm wondering if they have an influence on your own writing.

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Postby eirlys » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:41 pm

hmm what to ask...

when you were a child, was there a favorite show or cartoon you insisted on watching (if you chose to watch tv, that is)?

what do you think about creativity in the music industry? I know that's a vague question...do you feel that lyrics in particular effect you emotionally when they are simple, or when the words to a song tell a more complex story? of course it also depends on the song surrounding the words...

anyway, I hope that last one wasn't too confusing :shock: thanks for answering any of them! :)

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Postby Elmira » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:46 am

Are there songs you want to cover but feel like your voice/position in life isn't suited for them?

How do you think extraterrestrial contact would affect the human perspective of the earth and surrounding bodies?

Do you feel guilty about the plastic wrapping around string cheese or whatever food non-recyclable materials surround? Do you actually buy food with too much packaging by accident?
I believe in airplanes.

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Postby Orcrist » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:49 am

For the serious question:

What is your opinion of the 'social media' outbreak recently, in the forms of things like facebook, twitter, etc? As someone who uses such things, do you feel that the benefits of their break into the mainstream outweigh the possible (and possibly creepifying) consequences of people being able to know as much about someone as they want to? At what point do you think we start breaking into serious 'big brother' territory?

(yes, I post this knowing you're answering these on Twitter =P)

And for the not-so-serious, just curious question,

Has anyone from Radiohead heard your cover of Idioteque (that you know of)?

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Postby Vana » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:30 pm

Hi Vienna,

Firstly, it's great of you to have this Q&A thing, so thank you.

My first question is . . . there are many elements to your music that I absolutely adore. But the one outstanding element above all the exceptional ones, to me, is your lyrics. It's pure poetry. But it's not only beautiful, it also just makes so much sense. It's like the eternal struggle for me, between head and heart. And then you give it the amazing vehical of melody.

I'm always fascinated by the stories you tell about song-meanings and your inspiration to different songs - when, where, how and why you wrote certain songs. And I realise that you don't want to disclose too much of yourself in that way.

That's also a part of your live shows that I love - that you take the opportunity to tell more about your songs and where they come from.

It's just that . . . your songs are so personal to me. And I think that's one of the reasons your fans get so closely attached - your lyrics and how they make us feel really hits home. And I often wonder about different songs, and where you must have been on emotional level, to be able to write what I feel so eloquently.

I guess this isn't as much a question as it is a request perhaps. Have you thought about perhaps writing a scrapbook entry or something similar about different songs and the story behind writing them? Or do you feel that would take away from their magic?

I know there is a website somewhere where someone put together your stories - not sure if you've seen it. But that doesn't come from you - it's a fan.

I hope to read more about the stories behind your stories. You're an amazing woman. Thank you for the music

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Thank you!

Postby Teresa » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:39 pm

Vienna Teng...you're absolutely amazing! I listen to your music everyday and learn something new about them each time.

I know it's the recession and all, but...can I work for you?

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Postby Avi » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:09 am

Hi! I love your music, I was introduced to it by a friend a while back and always flip to it when I need to listen to something emotional and well thought-out (often on the same playlist as RURUTIA and Porcupine Tree). The songs Recessional and No Gringo, in particular, strike a chord very deeply for me.

  1. What would it take for you to perform in Australia, one day? We love your albums, but we're sorely missing the real thing!
  2. You have a stated interest in environmentalism, and in what difference individuals can make to their personal choices.
    With that in mind, what are your thoughts on the idea of vegetarianism/veganism as lifestyle choices?

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Postby terraphim86 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:39 am

This is my first Q&A!

I just have a simple one: is it possible that we'll ever get a studio recording of "Nothing Left for Us to Find?" I find myself completely smitten with that song.

Also: Last time I saw you live, you had a gentleman fan come up on stage and perform harmonies for "Homecoming." Is it at all possible for a fan who has arranged harmony for another song to bring it to your attention?

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Postby Ang Mo » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:12 am

I am glad it is the Q&A time of year.

1. What was one of the most memorable moments on this last tour?

2. Did you discover any new cuisine that you like?

3. Which song is your personal favorite on "Inland Territory"?
--the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved once and for all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?

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is there a better way to get tix than from ticketmaster?

Postby kittyl » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:02 am

I'm trying to buy a few tickets for the upcoming saratoga concert, but found the online ticketmaster route a bit overpriced....35 tix + 8 processing + extra processing fee on top of that for a few bucks -- x EACH just because we buy it online. Is there a local outlet? Look forward to meet you at the concert... :shock:

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Oooooh.... so many questions, so little time!

Postby cmooreNC » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:44 pm


I'll try to be brief (yeah, like there's any real possibility of THAT ever happening!).

First off, Cayamo --- While on board, I kept wanting to pinch myself as if I could somehow convince myself it was real, as the whole experience was surreal and dreamlike. As one of the performers, did you find it similar? What were a few of the highlights for you, personally? I think you and Glen Phillips doing the duet on "The Last Sunset" was definitely one for me, or there was "Soon Love Soon" around the locked piano in the Atrium, or "Keep the Customer Satisfied" with that throng (both "on stage" and just the crowd in general) at Dazzles, or Glen's guitarist's "rap" about the cruise ('bout fell outta my chair during that one!), or hanging out in the Atrium until the last possible moment to see Alex play with Shawn Mullins before making a mad dash to our third row seats to see Brandi headline (and then having you and Alex show up for the end of her set)..... at least I think all those things really happened. Unfortunately we won't be joining Cayamo for its 2010 sailing (as a trip to South Africa looms in the planning stages instead for next year), but hopefully we'll have the chance to relive the dream in 2011 (or whenever you're next on board). Will Ward be along with you in 2010, or will it just be you and Alex again?

My other "topic area" concerns possible investment in your career.... I've mentioned this briefly in an email to Amy Cox several months ago, but she and I have never had the opportunity to further discuss it. I am totally convinced that with some decent money backing you and your creativity, your career could advance to the next level (basically greater CD sales and larger venues, such as playing 2,000-2,500 seat theatres rather than just the smaller places you usually find yourself in now). Don't get me wrong, as a fan I love seeing you in the "comfy & cosy" venues where the performances are so intimate and you are usually able to be accessible to your audiences after shows, but as I'm sure you're well aware the economics of such places don't lend themselves to very healthy paychecks. What are your career aspirations? Are you completely happy with where you are now, or do you have "larger" goals? If you do indeed aspire to become "bigger", what I envision is some sort of financial consortium to provide you with funds for more significant promotion (such as videos) and staging (crew and equipment for your own lighting and sound, for example). My wife and I are willing to be investors, if you have such an interest, and based on my knowledge of your audience base (some of whom are, like ourselves, in middle age and of the educational and financial background that they can consider such possibilities --- perhaps it's the NPR factor that has drawn us and those like us, or perhaps it's simply the beauty and complexity of your music and lyrics), I think there would be others out there willing to join us in the endeavor. Perhaps the whole concept is not one for public discussion at this stage, but I did want to toss it out there for consideration. If this is not a topic you want to address fully in a Q&A session like this one, but you do have interest, please have Amy get in touch with me. I haven't followed up with her myself because I didn't want to come across as pushy or annoying.

Finally, when I last spoke with you (when you played the Evening Muse in Charlotte) I mentioned the HD videos that had shown up here on the board, shot by Kevin Railsback at the Cedar Rapid, IA, show back in April. I suggested that you check them out. If you never had the chance to do so, I'd like to remind you about them now. They can be found here.... http://viennateng.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2922

Thanks for "listening"! 8)

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Postby danseuse » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:24 am

This is not a deep question... I really like the clothes you wear at your performances and photo shoots, and was wondering what designers and stores you shop at. For example, I love the dress you're wearing in this video and the outfits in this photo shoot.

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European vs. American audiences

Postby Fred » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:46 pm

You mentioned in a post somewhere that your European audiences approached your music differently, and often preferred different songs. Can you elaborate? Do they have a greater preference for your songs with a stronger classical music/pianistic virtuosity emphasis, as opposed to more folk/rock/blues influenced songs? How about your jazzier songs, e.g., from DTTN, since Europeans have often taken more to American jazz artists than Americans have? Also, what about audience size, Euro vs. American?

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