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Hello, My Name Is Kelly

| May 31, 2012

IE: You recorded your first solo album in more than a decade, at Hollywood’s famed EastWest Studios.
Kelly Hogan
: There’s just so much history – it’s an iceberg of history. My vocals were going through the echo chamber that Frank Sinatra used on “It Was A Very Good Year” and “My Way,” so I could have just been standing there in a puddle of pee and no sound coming out of my mouth. But definitely, you had to rise to the occasion and I was glad I spent 10 years getting my music muscles strong enough to feel like I could go in there and try to make music. Our particular space was where [The Beach Boys’] Pet Sounds was made and all the Mamas & Papas’ big hits. [Guitarist] Scott Ligon and I were taking a rental car back and forth every day to the studio, and each way we’d hear sometimes three or four songs on the oldies radio that were made in that particular space. It was like a fantastic church.

IE: Could you feel the presence of these musical luminaries in the building?
: I’m a ghost believer: you definitely feel it. You could swim through the atmosphere and the ghosts. But they felt like benevolent ghosts. Although, I sang the M. Ward song [“Daddy’s Little Girl”], which is singing from the point of view of Frank Sinatra, so I really had to kind of get with that to make sure I wasn’t going to be haunted by Ol’ Blue Eyes. That was a little daunting to say the least.

IE: Your friends (Robyn Hitchcock, Jon Langford, Andrew Bird) basically donated songs. How did you pare down the submissions?
It was a scary thing to do to write 40 fan letters to my friends and colleagues, and ask them to send me a song. I keep saying I was going to name the record, I’m Not Worthy. I’ve said the whole thing is fraught with terror. It was landmines all over the place. People ask me, “What about people whose songs you didn’t put on the record, is that going to be weird?” But, everybody that I felt comfortable enough or tight enough with, we’re all musicians and the song is our boss. It’s like everybody would understand the record kind of makes itself – boy, do I sound like a hippie right now.

IE: You say you want people to make out to your music, but this seems like a breakup record.
It’s hard, the question, “What kind of music do you play?” And it’s just ended up where I say “make-out music” to make the world smaller. Like, hey come on over. Sit a little closer to me. Here’s a box of Kleenex I’ll share with you. We can cry about this together. So, yeah, it’s just my umbrella statement, but then, I like those sad songs. It’s a niche make-out market, I guess.

Kelly Hogan’s I Like To Keep Myself In Pain (Anti) will be available June 5th. She appears June 8th, at Space (1245 Chicago Ave.) in Evanston, and 9th, at FitzGerald’s (6615 W. Roosevelt) in Berwyn. Q&A by Janine Schaults.

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