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Sophe Lux

A Conversation with Gwynneth Haynes

Gwynneth Haynes: Hello?

Puremusic: Hello, Gwenny, this is Frank calling.

GH: [laughs] Hi Frank, how are you?

PM: [laughs] I'm--

GH: Happy birthday!

PM: Ah, thank you. Happy New Year. Yeah. I really feel like 2007 is really special and is going to be a great year. I think it probably will be for your band as well, and I just feel a really good one coming.

GH: Oh, thank you. I feel good, too. I feel optimistic about a lot of things, and the state of the world, too.

PM: Really?

GH: Yeah, I really do. Maybe it's easier to feel that way in this tiny little island of Portland, Oregon, that is so kind of isolated.

PM: It's a beautiful island. I love Portland.

GH: Yeah. Green, and green in philosophy and an outlook that I think that--I don't know, I feel some hope about the political status of the world, and a change in consciousness. So I hope I'm right.

PM: It's funny how it feels like you and I are old friends already.

GH: Isn't that funny? I like it. I can sense it even in your voice.

PM: [laughs]

GH: It's kind of a nice familiarity and comfort.

PM: Even before I heard a note of your music I'd already been irretrievably charmed by you in your correspondence--

GH: Oh!

PM: --in a very interesting domain called MySpace.


GH: A crazy world we live in, isn't it? But miraculous, too. I mean, that's the beautiful thing that I've been noticing on MySpace, is that every now and then there's this connection. And thank you for that, because I really feel that kindred connection to you, too. There's something actually compelling about your picture and your eyes. And I was like, "Okay, this is somebody for me to connect with."

And then you look at MySpace and it's not this horrible machine of impersonal technology and shameless self-promotion, it's actually a place to make some real connections with kindred spirits or real people. And there have been some amazingly beautiful correspondences. One of the delightful ones has been connecting with you and I'm so excited to actually talk to you and hear your voice. What begins as a virtual connection can lead to a real connection. This impersonal reality has the potential to become personal, intimate. That's amazing to me.

PM: I agree totally. And I'm happy to be speaking a little bit about MySpace, because I wanted to do that with you, because that's literally where we connected.

GH: Right.

PM: And at first I thought--I kind of messed around with it a time or two, a year ago, maybe three or four, five times, and came away each time thinking, well, I think you have to like be in your twenties or something to navigate this thing.

GH: Right.

PM: But it was just a matter of kind of getting my names and different ID things straight. And finally when I started walking through it correctly, I started to see the funny things that it could be and also very recently with people like yourself and a few other significant artists, it's like, oh, okay, well, say what you want about MySpace, I would not have met Gwynneth Haynes otherwise, or I mightn't have, and so God bless MySpace if it's going to connect me to people of substance and artists of repute, well, use it right. I mean, I'd thought that, this is just like a meat market for the younger set, is that the deal?

GH: Right.

PM: And that's cool if that's what it is, then that's not appropriate. But obviously it's whatever you want it to be, and whatever you make it, just like the rest of life.

GH: Yeah. And I like so much how it permits each person to have a space and a vessel to express their individuality. I think that's really important in this time, especially in the randomness of sort of the personality of the world. It's really nice for people to have a place to say, "This is me, and these are my pictures, and this is my identity."

PM: Absolutely.

GH: And that's really great, giving people a vehicle for expression of any kind is really important.

PM: Because if the music industry is going to fall apart, as it apparently is--

GH: Right! It's going to crash and burn.

PM: --then the indies have to have a way to present themselves to the potential audience, to market themselves. And it's slowly starting to emerge that a paradigm may arise. It had better. And being from Nashville, being from a record town, I know the atmosphere of a town full of people that are just literally trying to protect their jobs.

GH: Right. But you're right, it's definitely slowly being encroached upon by a very powerful presence of people taking these decisions into their own hands about what kind of music they like. And like you said, the internet is, and MySpace is an incredible testament to that, that people will not be sort of controlled by those couple of people who are making decisions out there about music. It's bigger than that, and it's very interesting.

PM: And more and more, webzines like Puremusic and many others will become important as vehicles for finding out what's out there.

GH: Right. So I appreciate you for being part of this--you're part of this revolution for change. I looked at some of your articles, and one thing that I really appreciate about you is the personal sensitivity that you give to your work. I mean, you treat artists like people. It's not just this superficial thing, you go into the humanity of the musicians.

PM: Thanks Gwenny. As indies, we just don't have to do it the way some of our predecessors have done.

GH: Right.

PM: We're not tethered by some of the standard principles.

So, I think you're fantastic, and I want to talk about your record.

GH: Okay.

PM: Is this your first record, or have there been others before it?

GH: There was one before. This is my first record with my band. My first record before that was called Plastic Apple, and it was released in 2003. And it was when I was more of a singer/songwriter artist.

PM: Oh, I've got to get that, too, because I want to know that side of you.

GH: Right. I want to get that to you. It has a full-band sound because we invited in people and did it at Jackpot. It was co-produced by Larry Crane of Jackpot Studios. And John Moen, now with the Decemberists, played drums--a sweet, fun, funny guy. And Larry and I just kind of brought the songs to life. So I'll have to send that to you.

PM: Absolutely, I want to get up with that.

GH: Yeah.   continue

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