One On One With Hesta Prynn

2 03 2009

hesta-prynnFor those who haven’t heard, Hesta Prynn (of the band Northern State) has just come out with an amazing solo project, Hesta Prynn and Civil Shepherd. Prynn has self-released a 5 song preview EP, and I am here to tell you now that the eventual full length album will be one of your top in 2009. I’m already obsessing over the song, Close To You, in a way that if it were a human being, it’d probably want to consider taking a restraining order out on me. You can hear three of her new songs and pick up the EP at her myspace page, here. I recently had the lucky opportunity for a Q&A with HP – enjoy!

EB: Is Hesta Prynn and Civil Shepherd your first musical project outside of Northern State?
I had a trash-rock band called Lucy a few years ago. We did like 70% of a record. We listened to it recently and it’s pretty awesome actually! We might release it in a year or so, it would just be a studio project most likely.

EB: You’re coming out with a solo project, Spero and Sprout have also just released an EP with their side project, Lucky Bitch; does all of this spell an end for Northern State?
No, Northern State is just taking a break right now while we all pursue other interests. We’ll probably convene sometime later this year and decide what we want to do.

EB: What was the motivation behind going solo?
I really wanted to explore other types of music that I love besides hip-hop. After shows inevitably someone always comes up to us and says “I don’t like rap but I love you guys!” That, mixed with the success of the song Better Already, made me want to do something more accessible – something that those people could love straight away. Also when you’re one third of a band you only get to make one third of the decisions. I wanted to play more keyboards, write more songs and take more chances with my live performance. I just wanted to try something on my own where I didn’t have to compromise and see how it felt. Whatever the success or failures are they are all on me.

EB: What can we expect from Hesta Prynn solo that we haven’t heard from Hesta Prynn of Northern State?
There’s a lot more singing and a lot more musical hooks in these songs as opposed to the NS songs where most of the hooks are vocal. These songs are about moods and feelings as opposed to NS where the lyrics are all quite literal – that’s kind of how it is when you’re rapping, there’s a lot of words and everything is about the words. These songs have a lot more space.

EB: On your myspace, your music is described as Electro/French Pop/Religious. That’s definitely a unique mix, what was your inspiration behind this music?
Those myspace categories are really weird so I just picked religious as kind of a joke but it’s definitely electro-rock based and also very poppy stuff. I love French New Wave film and the whole image and feeling of that period, so I was inspired to start writing these when we were in Paris with Tegan & Sara. Paris and New York are similar in a lot of ways and spending time there sort of renewed my love for New York. I am a New Yorker through and through from a New York family and much of this record is really about New York City and my love for the city. Musically I’m just a huge fan of the sounds of the 90s in every genre across the board so I think you’ll hear influences like Blur and The Pixies in there as well as a lot of Eurythemics which is obv more 80s.

EB: I’m loving the preview of songs that you’ve put out, when do we get the full album?
Thanks! We’re about 80% finished with the album, I’m actually in LA right now where we’re hoping to finish things up, but I’m sure we’ll end up having to do another week in NYC before we’re properly finished. Not sure when it’s coming out yet, I’m just starting to deal with all of the label/biz bs which is another reason why I’m out here. I wanted to release that “Preview EP” on my own so that fans and supporters could have something in hand to enjoy without having to wait for all of the music biz shit to be sorted out.

EB: So far you’re playing Philly, LA, and SXSW, any tour plans beyond that? i.e. – when are you coming to Chicago?
I’m going to start doing some NYC shows in April and not sure what the touring plans are after that. I definitely want to come to Chicago asap tho, that’s a great city that I’ve always loved.

EB: You have a veritable all-star cast working with you on this album in every aspect. How has it been working with Producers Chuck Brody and Jon Siebels, musicians Tim Harrington, Eric Gardner, and Bear Hands (love them), and Sara Quin in an A&R role?
I know it’s totally crazy! Not to sound super cheesy but these people are all so talented and it’s been amazing working with every one of them, and I’m really flattered that they’ve all been so excited about this record. Chuck and Siebels are AMAZING at what they do, seriously I think they are the best in the biz and watching them work together is great. The vibe is so chill and they compliment each other and really enjoy one another so the three of us together has been awesome. They also chill me out because I have a tendency to turn into the bossy big sister at times. Tim Harrington is insane holy shit wait until you hear the song he’s on, it’s epic! I’m saving it for something special. Bear Hands is a Brooklyn band that I am just totally in love with and CB is producing their record later this spring, and we are all friends so of course I really wanted them to be involved. They are great. Eric is the greatest drummer alive I think. I’m actually playing with him in LA on Monday (3/2, Spaceland, 8:00) and it’s going to be a really rare and special treat. What can you say about Sara Quin, too? She’s so fucking talented, her insights are amazing, her suggestions are always dead on and she’s just so talented that every musical thought she has ends up being the best part of the song. We call her “Captain Hook” for this quality. She took the photos that I’ve been using for press. She’s actually a great visual artist and photographer as well,  which I’m not sure many people know. We are all just good friends so it’s been great fun.

EB: If you could perform with any musicians in the world, who would you choose?
Wow I don’t know if I’d want to perform WITH my favorite musicians but I certainly loved watching The Pixies when they reunited. I’d love to go back in time and see a Rolling Stones show circa 1973 and I wish I had seen Biggie perform as well.

EB: What’s currently on Hesta Prynn’s playlist?
Kings of Leon, American Princes, Beastie Boys. I like that Lily Allen cover of Womanizer. I like this NYC band called Tigercity that just did a new record, very Hall & Oates. I like the old Yeah Yeah Yeahs stuff and The Police.

EB: We heard that you have a deep seeded love for Madam Secretary, Hillary Clinton, and while we don’t normally wear pantsuits, we too have big heart for Hillary. How do you feel about the outcome of the election and the future of America with Obama at the helm, Clinton as his right hand woman, and Hesta Prynn taking over the music world?
I am very excited about everything right now. 2009 has been great so far, I think it’s only going to get better from here.

Posted by Garvey

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3 responses

2 03 2009
Mr. Stratford

Nice job EB. I feel so much cooler now knowing I have similar musical tastes as Hesta. Where can I get Lily Allen’s ‘Womanizer’ cover?

2 03 2009
Garvey

LA’s cover of Womanizer is streaming all over the place, I first heard it at Stereogum. Not sure if it’s avail on itunes, don’t have access to mine right at this moment, but I’m sure it’s on itunes or rhapsody or one of those other places that people (not me) go for free downloads…

2 03 2009
Koop

I love Hesta’s new music and I’m really excited to see her show tonight in LA. And any mention of a Quin sister makes me very happy! I’ll let you know how the show goes.

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