Interview by Tobias Carroll
The Rosebuds write classically catchy pop songs, full of awe and energy and a not insignificant sense of wonder. Their fifth album, Loud Planes Fly Low, serves as the duo’s most expansive album, at times haunting and isolated, at others infectiously catchy. Loud Planes Fly Low also serves as a document of the end of Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard’s marriage. Via email, Howard and I discussed the album’s genesis, the duo’s use of pre-existing texts for lyrics, and more.
The press materials for Loud Planes Fly Low discuss how some of the songs’ lyrics came from letters; was this (and the circumstances under which the album was made) the first time you’d gone this route?
This isn’t the first time we’ve used journals or facets of our personal lives for the lyrics to our songs. There really is no set formula to how we write our lyrics or come up with our song ideas. That being said, Kelly has volumes and volumes of journals she writes and gets ideas from for every project we do.
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Looking back to Night of the Furies, some of the songs there play out like travelogues. Did travel writing have any influence on that album?
Not too much actual travel writing, but definitely the act of traveling in Europe, Moscow, and Sweden, and going into the dance clubs on a regular basis influenced that record a huge amount. Lyrically the songs were all political metaphors about what was going on under the Bush administration and the Enron scandal, etc..
Have you been doing any writing — either music or prose — for projects outside of The Rosebuds?
As referenced earlier, Kelly is constantly writing short stories, poetry and song lyrics, and basically lives the life of a writer when we are not on tour. I keep trying to get her to compile all of her favorite pieces and releasing a book. As for me, I write songs whenever I get the bug, and end up with all different kinds of song for different bands I have in my head. Some of them have already been recorded (The Flute Flies which is coming out at the end of the year) and some a couple are in the planning phases right now.
What have you been reading lately?
The last couple: I just read Norwegian Wood for the first time, which I thought was beautiful and loved while on one of the last Gayngs tours, and re-bought the book House on Mango Street to read again on the current Rosebuds tour. Kelly just finished reading a biography about Edna St. Vincent Millay and The Year of Magical Thinking.