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11-20-08

Interview with Alysoun Quinby, Momu singer/songwriter

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Alysoun Quinby has been working with Momu since "The Dive" was released on Loq Records back in 2001. She's a fascinating character with a diverse background that includes singing, modeling, academia (linguistics, specializing in the language of BDSM), and working for left wing think tanks. We had to ask her some questions.

Loq Records: Your first performance on Loq Records was singing in "The Sway" by Jondi & Spesh, on the We Are Connected album, almost ten years ago. How did you meet up with Jondi & Spesh, and what were you up to at the time?


AQ: I was friends with Jondi's wife Kia, and she suggested we work together. It took some time but eventually we did. Jondi and I worked on a few songs together in his studio, and I may have met Spesh during that time too. But I sort of jumped ship on the project when I decided to go back to school (aak! flakey!). The vocal for "The Sway" came originally from one of those songs.

Loq Records: What's your musical background and who are your greatest influences?

AQ: There are a lot of musicians in my family, and one of my favorite things to do is make music with them. I just grew up singing along with everything all the time, whatever my family was listening to or playing - from Ella Fitzgerald to Randy Newman to Linda Ronstadt to Tom Waits. And then I was a musical theater geek too.


I don't know if I would claim any "influences"; there are certain singer-songwriter types that I kind of hero-worship. Lately I've been really into Liz Phair: I like how her songs portray these vulnerable characters - both in the lyrics and the way she sings. Gillian Welch is also my hero and I really hope I've been influenced by her!

Loq Records: Your performance on Momu's "The Dive" helped make that track one of Loq's biggest hits. There was also a music video (dir. Kia Simon) in which you sing underwater. What was it like shooting that video?

AQ: COLD! ;)

Loq Records: For Momu's new album "Momentum," you collaborated on song-writing. What was it like working with Jondi & Mark from Momu? What were the hardest and most fun parts of the process?

AQ: I would say the hardest parts were also some of the most fun: learning to collaborate with people whose process is so different from mine was hard, but collaboration is great in that you don't always have to start with a blank slate - you get to play off someone elses ideas. And if you have just a little half-baked idea, you can pass it off to the other people and let them expand on it.


My background is not really in electronic music, and I think my ear and voice are geared towards a looser, more acoustic-y sound, so trying to change my style a bit was also fun and challenging.

Loq Records: Tell us a little bit about the lyrics for the track "Window" (which you wrote and performed).

AQ: I'm not sure where the idea came from, but I guess was trying to imagine the thoughts and intentions of a creepy stalker, trying to feel what it might be like to get caught up in an obsessive thing like that.

Loq Records: What are you working on at the moment? What else do you do besides music?

AQ: At the moment I am on leave from graduate school (I study linguistic anthropology at UC Berkeley). During my break from school, I am 1) working at a really cool non-profit doing applied cognitive linguistics 2) continuing my dissertation research on the intersection of sex, language and power, and 3) trying to write more songs and have more music in my life in general (hey! this is the reverse of what I did when I first started working with Jondi... hmmm...)



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