Good evening everyone, once again I’m Dr. Bob, and welcome back for the fourth and final episode of The Fireside Interviews with Nicole Noel and Chance Meyer where each week I’ll be bringing you thought provoking answers to insightful questions about these two talented and energetic artists, in anticipation of their upcoming Music Land concert at Your Big Picture Cafe on Friday, February 7th, 2014 (8pm to 11pm, free admission). For further information about this much anticipated and exciting event, please visit:
Also, to read the first three episodes in this series go to:
But for now, pour yourself a final cup of tea, pull your chair back up close to the fire, then sit back and enjoy The Fireside Interviews with Nicole Noel and Chance Meyer – Part 4 of 4.
Your music is very spare, just one guitar and two voices. What led you to that decision?
Chance: Trial and error, I suppose. We’ve both played in different projects, one together before deciding on this format. And there’re two ways to go in trying to create a righteous sound, you know? You can add members, and loudness, and complexity, and scope. Or you can reduce something down to its essence and try to make its virtue just its subtlety, rather than its grandness. I’m not saying we’ve achieved that fully, but it’s what we’ve chosen to strive for. Plus, since Nic and I are on the same page about what we want the act to be, the vision is more unified and clear, so we don’t have to struggle with reconciling a bunch of different views into one message or direction.
How often and for how long do you rehearse? What makes a good session?
Nicole: Usually we play at least once or twice a week, for a few hours at a time. If we’re on a roll creatively, we’ll play more. Most of the time we play a combination of songs that we’re comfortable with and new stuff that we’re still tinkering with and massaging. We like to challenge ourselves, so we always throw in something difficult just to keep moving forward and not get stagnant. We tend to do our best work when the lights are low and it’s quiet and we can dive into those dark places. The songs I really love to sing are the dark, sweet, sad ones. If I had come of age in the ’40s, I would have been a torch singer for sure. For me, what makes a good rehearsal is that feeling we get when we’ve touched a nerve and the energy in the room changes. It’s like a spark of electricity.
You’ve just started recording your first album. How’s that going?
Chance: Oh man, I think we’ve gotten some good stuff so far. We’re recording with Marc Loren at 42nd Street Studios, and he’s just got a great ear and has really helped us move through some of the more trying material. We’ve done most songs just surrounded by mics in the live room, all in one sitting, to try to capture the nuance of a live performance where there is real-time interplay and a responsive thing going on between us. We’re about halfway there, and are just searching for those special takes that get at something more than just a solid rendition of each song. And hopefully we’ll turn out an album that people can embrace in some way and find something in it that’s personal to them.
How is the studio work different different from your live performances?
Nicole: I love playing live—the energy we get from the audience, the back-and-forth that happens when we can feel the audience responding. You know, it doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does there’s nothing like it. But when we play live, all those little mistakes and imperfections just fly right on by, whereas in the studio you have to confront every little thing because your voice is GIANT and taking up your whole head. So there’s no hiding from yourself. Also, in the studio you have to make your own energy since there’s no audience there to help out. Although the techniques are different, the goal is the same—to give the most honest, truthful performance we can.
Chance: And the studio work is helping the songs evolve as well. For instance, our song “Oh, How We’d Sing” has this feature where at the end of every chorus there is a lyric describing a sound and then a descending guitar lick that bears that sound out. So one chorus ends with “the memories fall down like…” And then this pretty guitar lick shows how the memories fall down, you know? And that lick used to happen like nine times throughout the course of the song. But when we got into the studio and were really confronted with that structural decision, we realized that limiting that lick to a few moments in the song with a few predecessor lines really heightens the effect of this interaction between the actual sounds in the song and the underlying meaning of the lyrical content. So basically the studio is helping us refine things and see them more clearly.
Once again, that concludes this evenings presentation of The Fireside Interviews with Nicole Noel and Chance Meyer, and we thank you for spending this time together. We hope you enjoyed tonight’s show and that you will join us for their Music Land show at Your Big Picture Cafe this coming Friday, Feb 7th from 8pm to 11pm. There is free admission and there will be PIZZA with a vartiety of toppings available at the cafe. See you there!