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Brandi Carlile and her band

A Conversation with Brandi Carlile (continued)

PM: Visually speaking, it's such a very interesting and arresting image that you cut with your deadly duo, the Hanseroth Twins. Is that how you say their name, first of all?

BC: Yeah, that's it.

PM: How did you first meet Phil and Tim? And did an alliance form very quickly between you?

BC: No, it was gradually, over time. I mean, when I met them they were in another band. They had their own band, The Fighting Machinists, that I was a fan of. I loved it. It was a really rock 'n' roll, heavy metal type thing.

PM: So they were very edgy in the Machinists?

BC: The idea of the band was edgy, but they still sounded like the Beach Boys fronting a heavy metal thing.

But over time their band broke up. And I called one of the brothers, Tim, and asked would he get together with me and play music, and he did. So eventually it worked out well enough to where we brought his brother Phil into the situation.

PM: Oh, it was one at a time.

BC: Yeah.

PM: Tell me a little, please, about each of the brothers, and in what ways they may be alike, the way twins often are, or different, personality-wise?

BC: Well, I don't really know. I mean, I would have to--I'm sure their opinions and my opinions are a little different.

PM: Yeah.

BC: But I don't think they're anything alike, really. They're such very different people. They kind of fit together like puzzle pieces in that way, musically and in other ways too.

PM: Is one more aggressive and one quieter? Is it that well defined, or no?

BC: Wow, that's a really good question. I don't think either one of them is very aggressive at all. I just think they're very different.

PM: Right. And you know them so well.

BC: Yeah, totally.

[Designer note: there are some wonderful portraits of the brothers, as well as other cool images of Brandi with and without them, on view at the site of extraordinary photographer Jennifer Tzar. Here's a link to the Music/Celebs section of her site--currently three pairs of photos of Brandi, Phil, & Tim are at the top of that page. If you don't want to pause from your reading just now, you'll also find a link to jennifertzar.com at the very end of the interview.]


PM: How about the Indigo Girls, who sing on the record, on "Cannonball"? Where did you first run into them? And are you tight with them?

BC: Yeah, actually, I'm on tour with them right now. We just were hanging out last night. I was first introduced to the Indigo Girls when I was about 15 years old. Somebody played me their music. And for the longest time I guess I thought they were sisters. I thought their last name was Indigo.


BC: I just thought that they were sisters because their harmonies were so amazing. And me and my brother just totally fell in love with them and their harmonies. I was really influenced by their music, influenced to learn how to play guitar, because I'd only played piano up to that point. And yeah, I was just a huge fan, went to as many shows as I could, and tried to learn the harmonies. It's really funny now, it's very strange to be hanging around them in a different capacity. It's somehow separate to me, the girls as people vs. the music that I came up being influenced by. It's very, very cool. I'm having the time of my life out here.

PM: It's amazing, yeah, that first you idolize somebody, you have them on this plateau, and then later you may become their associates or their friends, and it's hard to put those two worlds together.

BC: I really wondered if it could happen at first. But you know what it is? It's them. They're such amazing people. They make themselves very accessible in ways that I hope to learn how to do, over time.

PM: Yeah, I've always heard they're really amazing people.

BC: I mean, what a legacy to have, what a reputation to have, that everybody knows that they're great people. That's so cool.

PM: That's the best. Have other musical figures you've met been very supportive or helpful along the way?

BC: Everybody, everybody that I've met has been incredibly supportive and helpful. And then I've met people that didn't influence me and now influence me, because I was overwhelmed by their music, or just the kind of people they are.

PM: Wow. Anybody that comes to mind in that regard?

BC: Mostly I think that the most supportive is definitely Amy and Emily. But I got to talk to Elton John on the phone, and he was certainly very sweet.

PM: Was he? What was he like?

BC: He's wonderful. He really is just like amazing.

PM: I know you are a big fan of his.

BC: A huge fan of his, yeah. I've gotten a chance to meet pretty much all my musical influences and heroes at this point, the ones who are alive.

PM: How did the call with Elton go down? Who set that up, or how did that happen?

BC: I don't think anybody set it up. I just think that he'd read that I just loved his music, and I guess I'd said some nice things in certain publications. And he wanted to say thanks and say hi, so he sent me flowers.

PM: That's amazing!

BC: Isn't that cool? He sent me flowers at a show, and then somehow got my phone number and gave me a call. It made my year, completely.

PM: Holy jeez, that's incredible. Well, thank you for sharing that.

BC: No problem, glad to.      continue

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