From The Blue House
Twenty years ago I was preparing to make this, my second album, From The Blue House. Twenty years later I'm starting work on my sixth album, and it's a kind of perspective that the girl on this album cover couldn't have even imagined...
I started work on my first album, Megiddo, straight out of high school. After a long process including many (fantastic) producers, engineers, studios, mixes and remixes, the album was released by Virgin Records in 1997. I was never suited for the major label world. I rebelled immediately and insisted on making my second album in a tiny makeshift analog studio that Brian Kehew and I set up out in Free Union VA. I was still under contract with Virgin and using their money, but since they hadn't done shit to promote Megiddo, I decided not to play ball with them and instead to do exactly what I felt I needed to do for my own musical evolution.
It was a kind of adolescence of my career. My first album was made under the guidance of my elders, now it was time to assert my independence. I wanted one-take vocals with barely any effects and definitely no pitch correction. I insisted on playing all the guitars. I tried to get a 'live' take whenever possible - meaning all musicians playing the song at the same time just like you would on stage. I refused most studio tricks and overdubs, keeping the album sparse and personal.
Since then I have gone through periods of embarrassment, wanting to distance myself from the album. Probably because it's simultaneously genuine and flawed. But isn't that what being real is all about? Yeah, that's scary, and that scariness is what makes us hide our realness under a gloss of Instagram filters and protools edits.
Now looking back from this vantage point, I'm proud of From The Blue House, and the stubborn young woman I was then. When I delivered the album to Virgin, they didn't want to put it out as it was. They wanted to spend time in LA remixing and re-recording the songs so that it would sound "more like Portishead". Instead I managed to get out of my contract with the rights to all my masters and $170,000. I put the record out myself.