Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Laura Stevenson

Laura Stevenson
Photo by Dave Garwacke

Brooklyn, New York singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson released her third studio album Wheel early this year. Getting ready for more full-band tour shows, AMBY caught up with Laura to talk about her favourite city in the world to play, her must-follow on Twitter, and being terrified of rooms in her old house!

AMBY: Hi Laura! Thanks for having a chat with AMBY, what have you been up to lately?

Laura Stevenson: Not too much, we got home from tour about a month ago, so I’ve been trying to get used to being home, which is always frustrating and weird.  But it’s nice to be back in Brooklyn, there are so many shows to go to that I don’t have to be playing in.

AMBY: You have recently released your third album, Wheel. Which tracks are your favourites?

Laura Stevenson: I like The Move and The Wheel best.  Probably because those are the two newest songs and they also needed the least bit of work because my buddy Jeff recorded them each in like, one take.  The less time spent on a song, the more I’m going to like it because it’s just an impression or a sketch rather than a big, detailed thing made with a lot of different hands.  So, it’s more honest to me and I’m more comfortable with that.

AMBY: What’s the story behind your stellar song Runner?

Laura Stevenson: Well, I always lose my mind around the same time every year, so it’s kind of about depression and life and wasting your time and not wanting to be around but then still sticking around.  My years for the past decade or so have been peaks and valleys so, it’s an examination of that cycle.  I think the whole record is pretty much about that idea in some capacity.

AMBY: How do you feel about the state of modern/mainstream music?

Laura Stevenson: I’m too all-over-the-place to keep up with things… I get a little bummed out that the writerly quality of music kind of gets swept aside to make room for just, a whole album that celebrates an aesthetic… mostly fuzzy reverby crapola.  I like records with movements and careful lyrics and beautiful melodies.  I like writers with good brains on them.  Not just like, blando, taste-maker’s choice, passionless, cool-guy stuff… which seems to be what is happening now pretty much.

AMBY: What is your favourite city in the world to play and why?

Laura Stevenson: I’m going to say El Paso, Texas.  The first time we played there, we played this guy’s birthday party and it was a big punk show in a backyard and the town’s whole scene was there, and they all seem to come out to our shows, 5 or 6 years later it’s the same kids and they are so rad.  Same thing with Charlotte, North Carolina.  Just like, a big, tight-knit group of people that are so kind and enthusiastic.  Playing those kinds of shows reminds me of the shows I went to when I was a kid on Long Island…just like, full of pure joy.

AMBY: Which three of your influences would you love to hang out with for a day?

Laura Stevenson: Oh, whoa.  A whole day… I’m going to say maybe Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and Courtney Love.  The day would start pretty mellow- Neil would take us to a model-train museum or something, but later on we’d definitely get into some shit.  I feel like Paul would be the wild-card in that bunch.

AMBY: Who is your must follow on Twitter?

Laura Stevenson: Let’s see- Joyce Carol Oates has a really beautiful and insightful twitter.  That’s a weird sentence.  It’s really good though.  But, you know- I love comedians so I’d say Joan Rivers and Jen Kirkman tie for my number one must-follow slot.

AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?

Laura Stevenson: Funniest thing?  I’ve fallen off the stage.  My fly has been open for at least half a set.  I’ve walked out with toilet paper on my shoe.  You know, the classics.

AMBY: What is your song of the year so far?

Laura Stevenson: Probably The Woodpile by Frightened Rabbit.  I listened to that probably 8 times in a row the first time I heard it.  Scott Hutchison has one of the most emotive voices, just really really beautiful.

AMBY: What has you excited for the rest of 2013?

Laura Stevenson: We’ll be doing a bunch more touring, hopefully one of those tours will be with someone I’m very excited about so we shall see but yeah, just being out on the road and not in my apartment because I already feel crazy.

AMBY: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Laura Stevenson: That’s hard.  I’d say I’d change something big- like, doing away with all organized religion but then I’d probably actually do something lame like, put soda in all the water fountains.

AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about Laura Stevenson that nobody knows?

Laura Stevenson: I’m still absolutely terrified of both the attic and the basement in the house I grew up in.

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Thank you Laura Stevenson, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout

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