New York’s gothic chamber pop band, Rasputina, is led by classically-trained cellist Melora Creager. Creager spent the last two years scouring over daily world events and adapting them into new songs that may be found on Rasputina’s sixth full-length album Oh Perilous World! recently released on June 26th. Melora was kind enough to answer a few questions for usounds about the new album and tour.
usounds: Can you describe what the two years of your life was like? Will your next album feature current events, or was that too depressing?
Melora: I lived in NYC. I read a lot about climate change, then Hurricane Katrina happened, and I did not want to live in a city anymore. So I moved to the country, got used to that extreme switch and worked on the album all the while. I didn’t find it depressing. Opening my eyes to the world today called me to action in lots of ways. I won’t limit or predict what I’ll write about.
usounds: You wrote a song based on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 in New York. Since you are originally from Kansas, a state that has some fairly notable past events, do you ever see yourself writing a “shout out to your homies” song about William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas or something like that? Or do you not get back to Kansas all that often?
Melora: I don’t get back much, but a visit to my sister in Chase County inspired me to get out of the city. Western Kansas is an inspiring landscape.
usounds: At what point did you start allowing dudes into Rasputina? What can you tell us about your drummer Jonathon TeBeest that we cannot extrapolate online?
Melora: There’s almost always been a male drummer, but he was more background. There is an eccentric, pansexual genius secretly living inside of Jonathon.
usounds: How does your band’s writing process generally work?
Melora: I write all the music, but editing and arranging are arts in themselves. Jonathon is great with that.
usounds: How would you describe your live show?
Melora: We get intimate with the audience and we always give everything we have.
usounds: What has been the best stop on a past tour and why?
Melora: The Rasputina Field-Trips™ are best memories. The Lizzie Borden house tour, swamp cabins in Bayou Noir, Flaming Gorge WY, Sappelo Island GA, Yellowstone in the pitch-black night…
Melora: Blow, hm…I don’t touch that stuff!
usounds: Yeah, me either. I was sorry to read that one of your ex-bandmates (Carpella Parvo) went missing. Is she still gone?
Melora: She was from Bucharest. She probably went back there. She was from a royal family- The Hapsburghs, do you know them?
usounds: Actually, I went on a tour of the House of Habsburg once in Austria, but I also just realized Carpella Parvo never existed so let’s pretend this never happened. So, moving on…If I had a time machine, I wouldn’t totally rule out going back to nail G. Rasputin in Saint Petersburg circa 1903 even though he is generally unwashed and his beard looks pretty rowdy. (He has really nice eyes.) Where would you go?
G. Raz’s stunning eyeballs
Melora: I would be an early homo-sapien like Daryl Hannah in Clan of the Cave Bear.
usounds: Interesting, Neanderthal interaction with Cro-Magnons would also be a good option. I really like your album titles. Especially How We Quit the Forest and Frustration Plantation. You also released a solo album called Perplexions that I have yet to hear. How does the solo album differ from Rasputina, and what is the song, “Tom Petty? Tom Petty.” about? I mean, I think it’s about Tom Petty, but in what capacity? If I wrote a song about Tom Petty, it would be about what I think Tom Petty and Kevin Costner’s small talk would be like on the set of The Postman.
Melora: The solo EP is not too different from Rasputina. I’m always me. It’s a little more personal and I didn’t have people around me wanting it to be any certain way. “Tom Petty? Tom Petty.” is a description of my rendition of the Tom Petty tune, “American Girl”.
usounds: I think that is a compelling idea. I’ve seen that song make people in bars go nuts, but I’ll bet they don’t really think about the lyrics. What albums are currently in heavy rotation for you?
Melora: Canticles of Ecstasy by Hildegard von Bingen, and Biorecharge by Grasshopper Enterprises
usounds: Are you referring to the Grasshopper Enterprises who distribute a revitalizing 3 track cd that triggers the release of human growth hormones from your pituitary? Because I hope so. I also hope that you are a giant. What is the craziest dream you’ve ever had?
Melora: My daughter was in love with a moose. I had to meet him and try to accept him. He was a good guy, wore a flannel shirt.
usounds: Moose are phenomenal swimmers so at least she would not be stranded on the edge of a sluice. Thanks Melora! We wish you the best of luck with your tour and the new album!