INTERVIEWS SHAUNA BURNS
BLASTING OUTI'll be honest. When I spoke with SHAUNA BURNS in regard to her most recent LP 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE', I had yet to hear it. Nine times out of ten, this would've meant that I would have to reschedule the interview, but this was SHAUNA BURNS. Back in 2006, ROCKWIRED became acquainted with Ms. BURNS, two months prior to the release of her debut album 'EVERY THOUGHT'. That album proved BURNS' mettle as a formidable songstress whose haunting piano-driven arrangements and stream-of-consciousness lyrics drew the inevitable comparison to TORI AMOS - especially on tracks like 'PINK GIRL' and 'VAMPIRES'. In 2007, SHAUNA released the EP 'DESERT TUNE' and if anyone noticed that the formula seemed as if it were repeated, it was simply due to the fact that the collection of five songs was recorded at the tail-end of the recording sessions for 'EVERY THOUGHT'.
SHAUNA BURNS RETURNS TO ROCKWIRED
FOR A THIRD TIME
WITH HER NEW CD 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE'
AND A BOLD NEW DIRECTION
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
Now, SHAUNA BURNS has released 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE', and now that I've had a chance to listen to it form begining to end, I can honestly say that it's her best. While BURNS' lyrics still bring to mind imagery inspired by fantasy writer, PETER S. BEAGLE, her sound has shed some of it's former intimacy thanks to her embrace of electronics and looping this time around. "Sonically, it is different. (The previous album) 'EVERY THOUGHT' was very organic. We recorded everything pretty much live together and didn't create any loops and it was pretty organic whereas 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE' we created loops and different sounds. There is almost an electronic edge to it." says BURNS "I have this fantasy that I wanted to be in DEPECHE MODE and with this album we came close, yet we didn't take the sound completely overboard. There is definitely an electronic element to it, with synth pads and different drumming and crazy things that JAMES (CLARK, the album's producer) did. It definitely feels like it belongs in outerspace."
ROCKWIRED spoke with SHAUNA BURNS for a third time, weeks following the release of 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE'. Here is how it went.
It seems like it was just last year. Oh wait a minute, it was.
I know. It's like we talk all the time.
I'm sorry you didn't get the ROCKWIRED AWARD.
Oh, I didn't even know.
Well, then I'm REALLY, REALLY sorry , then!
And after I sent all of those people to vote for me!!!
You came in third.
Third is good!
Yes it is! The voter turnout is always the highest for the women.
And on the other end of the spectrum, the voter turnout for the male artist is always the lowest.
It's a weird situation. And speaking of weird situations, I have to tell you that CHIP never sent me the CD.
(Gasp) You're kidding!
The last time I interviewed you, it was for your E.P. 'DESERT TUNE', which was recorded at the end of your first album 'EVERY THOUGHT'. This time you've launched your full blown second album 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE'. Now that it's out there for the public to snatch up, how do you feel about it?
Very, very excited and I'm a little more nervous for some reason, but it's a good nervous. This album was approached differently then EVERYTHOUGHT and DESERT TUNE. It has a different energy to it. It has more of a sense of urgency.
Sonically, what's different. Are there new people that you are working with or are there new sounds that are incorporated into the new material or-
I have the same team working around me. JAMES CLARK, STEVE LEMON, RYAN TILBY and CAROLINE KEMPER - so those elements are basically the same. Sonically, it is different. 'EVERY THOUGHT' is very organic. We recorded everything pretty much live together and didn't create any loops and it was pretty organic whereas 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE' we created loops and different sounds. There is almost an electronic edge to it. I have this fantasy that I want to be in DEPECHE MODE -
Yes, and with this one do you think you've come close.
I think we've come close and we didn't take the sound completely overboard, but there is defintiely an electronic element to it, with synth pads and different drumming and crazy things that JAMES did. It definitely feels like it belongs in outerspace.
Especially with the artwork.
With this album we've created our own planet and the songs live on the planet. We sort of wanted to sonically mirror that but not go "silly" with it. We wanted it to make sense and still feel like it's natural but otherworldly.
All of your albums to date seem to work like concept albums and just by seeing the artwork and listening to the new songs on your MYSPACE page, this album seems like it works like one as well.
I would agree with that. It's funny because I don't set out to make concept albums. I think of it more as each album has a point of view or reflects a subconscious energy that has chosen to come forth - if we want to get really artsy about it. With 'MOON AND FIRE' I really like this idea of combining the dark and light side within us. This idea actually didn't come to me until all of the songs were together. Originally, all of these songs were going to be two different albums. One was going to be a dark album and one was going to be a light album. When I put them together, it just made sense that this is the complete planet within us; the dark and light side. It feels right and it feels complete. It feels whole. At least within me it does.
How was your show at THE MINT in Hollywood?
It went really well. It was very exciting. I had never played there before and someone had told me that FRANK SINATRA had played there and that really thrilled me to death. It was very nice! We had a nice meet-and-greet before, and then we did the show. We played all new songs. It was very intimate and very sweet. Everyone there was very nice. We had a really good time.
CHIP invited me but I couldn't make it. I really wanted to go. It would've been great to finally meet you in person.
Absolutely. Have there been any other shows for this new album?
That was the first one. We are going to tour. This week, we're going to Portland, and Seattle. We are getting the dates in right now. Right now we have couple of shows in Utah and New Mexico in the summer, but there will be more coming.
I read somewhere that you'll be playing a Rennaisance Festival. I could totally see that!
It's funny because CHIP asked me if I would be up for that and I think it's going to be really thrilling. I've had a lot of people e-mail me, very excited about it. I keep telling the band that they're going to have to wear tights.
What about armor?
Funny enough, the band isn't that upset about it. We'll see. That'll be something to see.
Send ROCKWIRED a picture.
For this new album, what tracks stand out for you and why?
I would say 'BLOOM' the first track. I like the idea of blasting out. This was sort of the theme when we were in the studio. I picture 'BLOOM' as sort of our rocket ship taking us on this journey. I thought it would be a good first song. To me, it connects 'EVERY THOUGHT' and 'THE MOON AND THE FIRE CIRCLE' because I see it very much connected with the song 'CAMELOT'S WAITING' which is the last song on 'EVERY THOUGHT'. To me it is the bridge song but it is a solid foundation for the 'sun' phase of the album. For the 'moon' phase, 'TUMBLEWEED' has always been a strong song for me. I view it as the axis of the album because it holds the harmony of the light and the dark very beautifully and it has this idea that if you separate yourself, tear your soul in half or try to be unfaithful to whats inside of you, then it would make it very hard to live. I also have to say 'AND FIRE' is also a strong song for me. I like the feeling of surrounding yourself with people that respect you because it makes your creativity or who you are easier when things don't go exactly as you see them. The song 'AND FIRE' to me is almost like a fire of strength. I have to talk about 'CARRIBEAN SEA' because that song always reminds me of this album and I love playing that song when it's really late at night, when there is time to breathe and think.
How long did it take to write the songs for this album? You said earlier that you envisioned it being two albums.
It took a little over a year. There were more songs, when I had the idea in my head to do two albums, so I had to take some songs away but they will eventually come to light. They're hiding in the wings. They'll come out some day.
Who did the artwork for this new album? I think it's very impressive!
All of the photography was done by a photographer named NICK ADAMS. We found him and I had all of these pictures of BJORK that I found on-line that I absolutely love. We were talking about abstract concepts because BJORK does abstract really well in a beautiful way. I had this idea about the planet but I didn't want to go overboard with it. We wanted to portray this beautiful but dark and almost other-worldy world where these pictures came from. I'm really thrilled with how the packaging and the artwork came out.
I really like the artwork. It reminds me of that book DUNE.
Hmmm! I kep thinking about LORD OF THE RINGS. DUNE works too!
Of course! DUNE is all about the mind and human potential which are themes you sort of address anyways.
What do you want someone to come awya with after hearing this album?
I would hope that they would come away being okay with having different parts of themselves merged as one. I know that that's something that I have thought about alot and that I have heavily meditated on; this idea of what makes somebody whole. I think we all have times in our lives where the darkness really takes hold of every aspect of you and there is this shame that you can't pull out of that in the blink of an eye. I think for me, things really changed whenever I was feeling this darkness to embrace my vulnerability. Once I made that switch in my mind of embracing that, it really changed my outlook on darkness and light and being okay within yourself. Embracing your vulnerability is what makes you who you are. So many times, I think we're scared to show that and for me in songwriting - the more vulnerable a song is, the more appealing it is to me because it is more real. It feels more authentic. I think the fusion of all of this frees your spirit and heals you.
READ THE PREVIOUS ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SHAUNA BURNS HERE
READ THE FIRST ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SHAUNA BURNS HERE