No longer Alice, Alison Sudol explodes into another fine frenzy. See her new video, below.
BY RANDY HARWARD
When last we spoke with Alison Sudol, the songwriter and
voice behind A Fine Frenzy, she was virtually undiscovered country-One Cell in the Sea, as her album title
put it, or Lewis Carroll’s Alice, a babe in the wild, wacky woods of the music
industry. But Sudol’s poise belied her then-21 years, as did her brainy-poetic
songs, which were infused with emotion and erudition of young woman with an old
soul, about to inherit the Earth and unsure of its value. Shortly after our encounter
at SXSW, Sudol opened for The Stooges at Stubb’s. The next day, she was the
talk of the town.
Since then, Sudol’s music has been in films (Dan in Real Life, Sleepwalking), and on television (House M.D., The Late Show
with David Letterman). She’s acted on C.S.I.:
New York, started a novel, and finished her second album, aptly titled Bomb In A Birdcage. A louder, livelier
affair than the pensive, sweeping One
Cell, Sudol’s Bomb could set off
another popularity explosion for her, or at least a fine frenzy.
BLURT: Last time we
talked was the [BLURT predecessor] Harp party at SXSW. After that, things snowballed for you.
SUDOL: Yeah, definitely, after the Stooges show. That was a
big show for us [but]… I know it sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I’ve
never had a first record come out before, you know what I mean? I didn’t know
what was going to happen, so I didn’t really see a correlation. I just thought,
“Whoa! Okay.” The album wasn’t even out at that time, which was amazing. I
didn’t really get how many people knew about us; I still have trouble with it.
There are several
literal and abstract references to explosions on the album. Any correlation
Well, there’s a lot of things that are potentially explosive
in my life. I’m the biggest potential explosive… like there’s a big trigger waiting
to be pulled. I think [the imagery] has to do with my whole life; I can’t say
that [success] is the biggest part at all, not even remotely.
There are difficult times, of course, when you spend a good
portion of your life in a room with no windows and no people, playing music and
writing music and then you’re suddenly in a world that’s moving very fast. That
is a lot of responsibility-a lot of things to do, a lot of people looking to
you for something. It’s quite overwhelming, but it felt pretty natural once I
got over the shock. The loneliness is very hard, the homesickness… [On One Cell…] almost every song was super heart-wrenching, and it actually kind
of wore on my sensibilities a little bit. So this time, I decided to make music
that I really could have fun with on stage, that was equally genuine.
You’re known as being
quite accessible to your fans. Do you find it hard to remain communicative now
with so many demands on your time?
There’s a struggle towards keeping myself open and not just
shutting down a bit. I think that is a natural reaction. But it’s something
that I fight against and I’ve managed to stay pretty open to people that listen
to the music. It’s hard; there are moments where I get a little bit freaked
out, but for the most part, I wanna be open in at least some form. I can’t
always sit outside and sign autographs because sometimes I’ll be out there for
like two and a-half hours and I won’t leave until I have signed the last thing.
But I try to stay open with stuff like Twitter and just really staying myself [while]
having people know who I am.
A Fine Frenzy’s latest
video is for the song “Electric Twist” – see below. She also has a residency starting at Largo in L.A. this week,
followed by a UK
and European tour in May. After that she will be a featured performer on this
summer’s Lilith Fair festival. Full tour dates and more at her official website.