Her Name Is Calla veröffentlichen im Oktober ihr erstes richtiges Full Length Album “The Quiet Lamb” über Denovali Records. Mit ihrer Mischung aus Alternative, Folk und experimentellem Rock haben sich die englischen Musiker in weit über sechs Jahren Bandbestehen einen festen Platz in der englischen Indieszene erspielt. Neben zahlreichen Liveauftritten in Europa hat die Band mehrere EPs und Singles veröffentlicht, unter anderem das Minialbum “The Heritage”, das zuerst bei Gizeh Records erschien und später von Denovali Records wiederveröffentlicht wurde.
Die Preorder zum neuen Her Name Is Calla Album “The Quiet Lamb” startet am 29. August. Passender Anlass für uns, Sänger Tom Morris einige Fragen zur neuen Platte und einigen weiteren Themen zu stellen:
Your first real full length album „The Quiet Lamb“ is ready to be released. What took you so long?
Heh, I’m not sure really. We had a few set backs along the way. We had all sorts of problems: relocations, breakdowns, money problems, drink problems, label problems. All sorts of shit. Eventually we found ourselves in the good hands of Denovali and at a point in our lives where we thought we were ready to make the album that we’d dreamed about for so long. I think in general, we probably recorded parts of The Quiet Lamb about four or five times, but would scrap it and start over. All in all, I think it was about a year to record and mix. We record everything at our homes and do it all ourselves. We can’t afford studios or to pay people to record or mix for us.
We all have different opinions in the band as to whether this is actually our first album. Some members think that The Heritage is an album. It’s a weird subject for us.
The record sounds like you locked yourself in a homely room and started rehearsing your songs together, while you recorded everything. The sound has a very private atmosphere. Tell us something about the recording sessions.
The songs are certainly very private. I write the lyrics and most of the basic song structures before we flesh them out fully as a band. We’d normally record the bass, drums and guitar live at someone’s house, normally Adams. Then we’d all go away and separately record our vocals/violins/trombones etc. There were a few times we’d come together again to do communal vocal parts and things, but mostly we recorded separately at our homes. We use Dropbox, so everyone would put their parts in there so I could access them easily and add to the mixes. Some of the songs such as The Union had been around for two years. It was only now that we felt it was ready to record and release.
The epic Song “Condor and River” accompanies your musical career from the beginning. It is the center piece of the new album and was released twice before. The new version sounds more aggressive, with much more intimate vocals. What is the reason for your constant connection with this song?
Well, it wasn’t really at the start of our career. That was just the first main release that people picked up on. We’d been together about three years before we released that. Then it appeared on a minor release that was a vinyl only split with our friends Maybeshewill. This is the first major release that it’s had really. It was always planned to be on this album, but we didn’t realise that there would be such a big gap between The Heritage and The Quiet Lamb.
The original recording was very rushed; we’d only just written it when we recorded it. So we weren’t totally sure on how to play it. It was great to finally rerecord it as we were fed up of hearing the original that was full of mistakes and terrible vocals! Plus, we now had the experience of playing it all these years and managed to hone it to a certain quality that we felt was agreeable with us. I feel that the arrangement and the performance is stronger, as well as the recording quality. It was definitely an important song for us to get right.
There are also new versions of “Pour More Oil” and “A Blood Promise” on “The Quiet Lamb”. We saw you playing them live and we were hoping that you would put them on the album. Did you plan to release them on the album or was it a coincidental progress?
Both those songs were always meant to be on the album as well. Pour More Oil is a song that we really enjoy to play live and was one of the first songs that we finished during the mixing process. It now seems to be one of the songs that people really respond well to at shows, which is great. It’s nice to able to move onto newer material.
The album ends with the three parted “The Union” which moves from an alternative song to an instrumental noise monster until it happens to end up as a drifty trumpet leaded rock song, that could easily be on a Robert Rodriguez movie soundtrack. Must have been an amusing recording session with many merged ideas?
Yeah, on paper it sounds as a random mish mash of ideas, but it actually had a lot of thought put into it. We’d played around with the suite of songs for around two years and the Mexicana part was always supposed to be the final part of the album. We’d talked about closing the album that way for some time and wanted the album to show some clear steps forward from our previous record. It definitely puts a smile on our faces playing The Union, though it’s really quite hard to play. Into the West is actually the hardest to play musically. The drums are pounding non- stop and the bass riff is so difficult! But it is very rewarding for us to play the whole thing; very enjoyable.
It seems that everyone of you is doing backing vocals live and on your releases. How did this develop, did everyone sing by choice or were there some of you cautious?
No, I don’t think anyone had a problem with it really. No one in the band is particularly shy and there’s certainly nothing any of us could do in front of each other to be embarrassed by. We’ve seen each other at our worst moments.
We’ve always had a lot of harmonies in our songs and it’s good to add an extra dimension live. It’s important in Calla to be as versatile as possible. We all want to progress as musicians. We’re always willing to try something new and different to expand our sound.
What about the album artwork? On the first look it seems to be a positive motive with bright colours and a figure and a white lamb, but there are also these little black crosses and the ripped out face. Who designed it and what is the connection with the record?
A friend of Adam’s designed the front cover. She’s called Hannah McCague and she also did the artwork for Moss Giant. We used both pieces as the artwork for our tour t-shirts as well. We were really pleased with the work that she did; it looks really unique. We actually had a different artist for every song on the album. Stephen Clark, who was the artist for The Heritage and Long Grass also appears. There were submissions by fans of the band also as well as Tinhead who did the artwork for the first Foals album. It was great to have lots of different interpretations of the songs.
What are your expectations for your first performance at the Denovali Swingfest?
It will be great to hang out with Timo and Thomas our label bosses again. They’re really fun guys and great supporters of our music. Also it will be nice to see Heirs again, we had a good time with those guys last time we played together. They’re a really great band. It will also be great to hang out with some of the other Denovali bands. There’s a lot of quality across the label.
Will you come to Germany again this year to play some club shows to support the new album?
I don’t think we’ll come this year unfortunately; unless someone invites us to play something particularly great. After Swingfest I don’t think we’ll play any more shows in Europe until next year. We’ll see.
Tags: Denovali Records, gizeh records, her name is calla, INTERVIEWS, the heritage, the quiet lamb, tom morris