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Interview: Top Synth Pop

Interview with JAG of TopSynthPop.com

"We're always looking for something new, a sound that is different, from a music standpoint Saint Eve brings incredible potential to the electronic scene." Received the new CD Elixir and listening to the first couple of tracks I was definitely pulled in. The sound is geniune. By the third song I'm at the website checking out details of this band .. I have to know more about what's behind the music. Surprised and definately impressed to find that the album is the work of 1 woman. The sound is present, the image is there.; but I still needed to know more ....

1.) I see Saint Eve born in 1999, but can't help but wonder what the labors have been working up to this release of "Elixir"?
If you go to the archive site, sainteve.net, you'll see a few galleries of pictures, video, a list of almost every gig, people who have given their time, lyrics, etc... It needs to be updated, but there is some history there for sure. The "thesainteve.com" site was meant to be a more immediate intro to Saint Eve.

2.) Playing live shows and in a scene that is relatively dominated by men, what have you found the reception and perception to be for Saint Eve?
Really strong and welcoming. I get a wonderful response from internet radio, club promoters all over the world, and have had good luck with unsuspecting live audiences. The only time it's ever an issue is with major labels because it doesn't fit on commercial radio. Being female may be part of the problem but I have never been openly rejected because of it. I heard Fiona Apple had trouble getting added to a station that was playing Tori Amos, like they had a chick quota. We'll see if Evanescence opens doors.

3.) While I'm listening to the "elixir" CD it seems to break out of the norm for all those electronic sub genres: How do you catagorize your music?
I know. It's the guitars. I love them but they muck up all the categories, even though I use them sparingly. And the whole point of naming a genre is to help people sort through a zillion bands and figure out what they feel like hearing. I feel for you.

I'm not sure how many non-musicians realize this, but whenever you upload your music to an mp3 website, they always want your genre. It's understandable, but there I sit in my underwear, with the multiple choices: A. Rock B. Pop C. Alternative (to what?) D. Techno - and their kind sub-genres are not so helpful either: a. drum-n-bass b. trance... you get the idea.

I decided that since I have synthesizers and guitars and it is song oriented and it is sung (unlike much "electro" that I love, but there I am in my underwear again) that I should find other people who do this kind of mix and go from there in my categorization. I looked as far back as the 70's and decided that David Bowie, Roxy Music and Elton John in their glam years, where the guitars were harder, was a good start. And the analog synth sounds of that era are just so gorgeous and respected. My influences are too far reaching, so to just name influences wasn't going to do it. And frankly, new wave has been a super strong theme in this record but that music also harks back to glam + even the 60's. And lastly, industrial rock flavors are some of my favorite sounds ever. So, I figured "glam" makes room for the synths, my primary instrument, and for the rock qualities.

So, I call it Modern Glam , whenever I am pressed for an answer. Sometimes I throw in "rock" to "modern glam rock" in the case of an ad where you might be confused with a clothing ad, or something. In the epk that's on the cd enhancement, I say "Saint Eve wears electric boots", which, of course, is a nod to the "Bennie and the Jets" lyric as well as my silly wardrobe. But really, the differences in genre are minor to me. I do have drum-n-bass littered about my tracks and there are trance elements. So, the heck with it, Modern Glam Rock will have to do until someone comes up with something better.

4.) What's the drive behind the music? (who are influence, where is the inspiration, that sort ..)
The drive is simply to create. I love that music gives me the first impetus to make something, but after that I get to write lyrics, figure out stage shows, video, etc... My biggest vocal influence is Annie Lennox. I don't use that style very much in Elixir, but I just love her. There's more of that on the Demonstration EP. Blondie was also one of my favorite bands, too. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush are a huge influence. They were really weird and did just fine for themselves.

5.) How do you perceive the NYC Electronic Music scene today?
There's a lot going on and it's very exciting. It's very "wild west" and anything goes. The fact that people will go see a powerbooker is amazing and to respect that this person is creating music live is really special. It used to be very different years ago. Audiences are very conscious of process. They're fine with track acts. The result is a sense of freedom and music always needs that.
Often, I'm asked to sing in a club with just my tracks and that's ok for even large shows. Lately, I've been using a turntablist (Geo Greene) instead of a synth player. The fact is, I'm the synth player but I can't do all that and sing and jump around in stupidly high shoes. And audiences seem to understand this. Before, my live electronic drummer/synthesist (and collaborator AJ Tissian) used to handle that stuff. The line-up always changes.

6.) What do you see in the future for the overall electronic scene?
The overall electronic scene is just going to grow. The festivals in Europe are huge - even the goth ones in Germany. I'd like to think that the open-mindedness that occurs there will filter here and I think internet radio is a huge part of that success.

7.) And what can we expect from Saint Eve in the future?
I'm open to the possibilities. I'd like to explore the theatrical aspects more - either in video or live.

 Additional Details
To hear the music and find more information follow the links below:
Saint Eve Intro Website
Saint Eve Music, Audios & Videos (previous works)
Buy Saint Eve's Newest Release "Elixir" online - at CDBaby , Middle Pillar and Amazon.com