All of the True Blood fans know of Abri van Straten’s music and his lilting sounds from his CD “Sunlight and Shadows”. Next weekend, he and his wife, Kristin Bauer will attend the Phoenix Comicon and Abri will be performing there. The Phoenix New Times has interviewed Abri and a portion of that interview is below:
New Times: You grew up in an artistic household in South Africa, and started playing guitar when you were ten. What do you remember about some of the earliest songs you wrote?
Abri Van Straten: The songs I started listening to were singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s, like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. I thought that was how you did it. They take parts of life and look at them through song.
NT: What is about the lyrics of artist like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel that you like?
AVS: If you look at the function of art, it’s where people get their ideas from, and the ideas shape our reality. Everything around you started as an idea. Art and entertainment are not the same subject. Dylan and those guys looked at life, but also thought about the future.
NT: What is your songwriting process like? Do you have a particular place you like to go, or time of day you like to work?
AVS: Into my own mind, and it doesn’t really matter what time it is. I go into my head, and sometimes, I come out for coffee (laughs).
NT: How does your solo album differ from anything you’ve done with The Lemmings?
AVS: It’s not too dissimilar, but especially live, there’s a lot more rock ‘n’ roll energy to it. Solo is much quieter, and a more peaceful situation.
NT: Your acoustic guitar playing is very crisp and pronounced. Do you use a pick, or do you hand-pick?
AVS: I was classically trained, so I play classical guitar. I have long nails, which is scary for most women (laughs), but I’m just really drawn to the sound of guitarists like Jose Feliciano. I like that Spanish sound and color.
NT: What are the ideas and influences behind your song “Living in L.A.?”
AVS: Unlike New York or London, that have identities, L.A. doesn’t — it kind of morphs and shifts. And it’s very haunted, as well — it’s literally crawling with ghosts, at these old hotels where people like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean used to stay.
to read the rest of this interview, go to phoenixnewtimes.com