DIGGING IN Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, in a still from her most recent video.
The haunting and quasi-S&M-themed video for her song "The Nothing Part II" (directed by Portland filmmaker David Meiklejohn) premieres on SPIN.com this week. We caught up with New York songwriter (and Brunswick native) Aly Spaltro, a/k/a Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, before the record release of her mighty CD Ripely Pine, March 2 at SPACE Gallery.
CONGRATULATIONS ON THE RECORD. YOU'RE GETTING A LOT OF ATTENTION FOR IT. Thank you.
I'VE SPENT SOME TIME WITH IT, THOUGH NOT NEARLY ENOUGH AS IT SEEMS TO WARRANT. IT'S A PRETTY BIG ALBUM. Yeah, there's a lot going on.
I FEEL LIKE IT'S THE SORT OF RECORD WHERE STUFF MIGHT COME OUT AFTER A FEW WEEKS THAT DOESN'T THE FIRST COUPLE LISTENS. Yeah, I hope that for people it's sort of like Arrested Development. You ever watch that? I've seen that show so many times and I love it to death. I used to work at the video store (Bart and Greg's DVD Explosion in Brunswick) and would just pop it in all the time and would constantly find new jokes I had missed. That's how I'm hoping the record is: that people will be like, Oh, I didn't realize there was a clarinet there!
BUT OBVIOUSLY IT'D BE TERRIBLE IF YOUR CAREER WERE SUDDENLY RIPPED OFF THE AIR, AS IT WERE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE THIRD SEASON. Ha. Right.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE TRACKS ON RIPELY PINE? I NOTICED THERE WERE SOME UPDATED VERSIONS OF SONGS FROM MAMMOTH SWOON, YOUR 2010 RECORD. CAN YOU SPEAK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THEY MAY HAVE CHANGED? Yeah. I always considered Mammoth Swoon a sort of demo CD specifically for Portland, Maine. When I moved to New York a couple years ago I needed something to sell the content that people were seeing in my live show. But I always knew that the songs weren't finished. That record is sort of a mishmash of stuff — some live tracks, some radio recordings, and then some bedroom recordings. I always knew that they were nowhere near defined fully. (For Ripely Pine) I chose 12 songs that were begging to be finalized to me, that I wanted to close the book on.
SO OBVIOUSLY YOU WROTE THE CORE OF THESE SONGS, BUT IN THE LINER NOTES IT SAYS THAT ARRANGEMENTS WERE FLESHED OUT WITH HENRY AND PETER OF THE MILKMAN'S UNION. Yeah, the drums and bass. All the rhythm guitar was exactly the same. We spent a couple days together working out the arrangements for drums, bass, and guitar, which we then recorded live in New York. That's in part why the record took a year: I ended up gutting a ton of what we did live, but we definitely accomplished what we set out to do, which was to make the most energetic backbone (for the songs) that we could.
THE SHOW THAT YOU'RE PLAYING AT SPACE (ON MARCH 2), IS THAT GOING TO BE A FULL BAND OR JUST YOU? It's gonna be both. About six songs full band — and the band I'm playing with (is comprised of) a friend of mine from New York playing bass, and my opener Xenia Rubinos. She's a keyboard player and plays as a duo with a drummer, and so they are playing drums and keys with me. And then two of the guys from the other opening band Cuddle Magic are playing horns. And then I have a couple Portland friends playing strings.