Saturday, July 11, 2015

INTERVIEW: Melora Creager (Rasputina)

Hurtling back after years out of the limelight and a devastating identity theft incident, Melora Creager, main creative force behind the cello-driven Rasputina, has bravely released what might be her most personal album yet.  Short but sweet, Creager was kind enough to repond via email and share some insight into her ordeal and the impetus behind her art. 

The new Rasputina album, “Unknown”, was born out of a particularly traumatic time for you and is the first album of new music in almost five years.  Unlike previous releases, this was recorded alone and quite literally “under the cover of darkness”.  First of all, thank you for sharing something so personal – it’s a very beautiful and singular work.  How did the experience of having your online presence hacked impact the writing and recording process?

I was out-of-my-mind paranoid, but felt compelled to make this record. There are parts of ourselves that are powerful, yet hidden. I got to know that part of me as if she was a different person. I couldn’t have made this record without her.    

You’ve welcomed Carpella Parvo back to the group who departed after your debut to take care of medical issues.  Given all that you have been through, it seems like a nice way of “closing the circle” with your past.  How did you and she reconnect? To a broader point, do you find yourself pulled by nostalgia, or is the past usually best left there?

 Lately, I’ve been closing circles and opening new ones. I’m not pulled by nostalgia. I’m into ‘the now’ and the future. We reconnected through the internet of course. Had lost track of each other long ago. I’m so glad she’s back.

Last year, you helped to curate an art series on your website dedicated to memorializing the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death (and, by extension, all of those lost to suicide).  I was curious if you had watched the recent “Montage of Heck” documentary and if so, what you thought of it?

I haven’t seen it, but it sounds interesting.

It’s reductive (and probably not terribly helpful) to point out that you are a strong female artist that is working independently in tandem with but also outside a very male-dominated system. You have, however, reclaimed strong female figures of the past through your costuming and storytelling and it’s something that your audience seems to connect with and expect from Rasputina.   Do you feel a responsibility to represent the feminine in your work?   Why do we have such a tough time discussing gender in relation to female artists and their work? 

I don’t feel a responsibility to the feminine- I feel it’s my natural purpose— put forth strongly without thought of doing it otherwise. It’s what interests me, what I like, and what interests others, men and women alike.

Your songs cover quite a wealth of ideas, from the historical to the fantastic.  Having been at this the better part of 20 years now, what inspires you to continue to create art? And if you could communicate with your younger self, what advice if any would you give her?

Art is all there is to do. I don’t watch tv or the internet. There’s no shortage of ideas- just shortage of time.

I imagine your songs are like children – it’s tough to choose one above the others. But let’s say you are asked to make a “Sophie’s Choice”; is there one that you are particular proud to have written or one that is particularly special to you? 

Always the latest album’s material. Then soon after, I can’t listen to it. No special favorites of my songs.

What’s on tap for you next? 

Loads of touring until November. I’m always making new releases on my website. Just released an album of early cassette demos. Virtue video series to make. Fa La La II. A covers collection. That’s about it. 

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