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Marykate O'Neil

A Conversation with Marykate O'Neil (continued)

PM: So this great EP, mkULTRA, it's not simply a prelude to the one you’ll be coming out with in February, right? Or do some of these tracks appear on that record as well?

MKO: The only one that appears on both is "Green Street."

PM: Oh, great.

MKO: No, the new album, Underground, is 11 songs and they're all different.

PM: So let's hear all about Underground, then.

MKO: By the way, Flash and the Pan--that was who did the secret loop that they used. I knew it would come to me.

PM: Oh, Flash and the Pan, right. Bad name for an act. Like that song, though.

MKO: They were like an Australian band from the '80s.

PM: Right. It's just unbelievable.

So tell us something about the band that you're touring with.

MKO: Yeah, I'm actually touring with a band really the whole time, which has been so much fun for me. I tour a lot by myself, and it's always more fun to have people to hang out with. And it can be a little more musical, obviously, and spontaneous.

PM: Although, I saw videos of you playing solo on youtube that were very good.

MKO: Oh, thank you.

PM: Yeah. You can do it. Some people insist on doing it that can't really do it solo, because it's the only way one can afford to go out behind records that are good.

MKO: Exactly, it's a lot cheaper, just you and your guitar.

PM: But for this record you are out there with the band.

MKO: Yeah. Ken Maiuri has been out with me--I recorded a lot with him. And David Shuman, who was also in a band called the Lilys. I like them a lot.

PM: Yeah.

MKO: He was in that band. And J.J. O'Connell is on the drums. He's in a million bands. But he plays a lot with New Radiant Storm King. And Gerry Giaimo, he's in a lot of bands. He's often with Seth Adam.

Marykate and the band

But it's been really fun to play with a band. I think it's funny, because when you play alone, you just do whatever. And so I'm not very good at sticking to the set list, for instance.

PM: Right, you can no longer just do whatever.

MKO: Exactly. Well, the band is like, "Why bother giving us a set list? You never stick to it anyway."


PM: Yeah, if you can just stick to the arrangement they're in good shape. But a lot of us have trouble doing that when we play solo.

Well, I want to ask you before I go, have you seen much TV or film action yet?

MKO: A little bit. I got a song in a movie called Stephanie Daley. It's actually a great movie starring Tilda Swinton. And it won all kinds of awards.

PM: What's it about?

MKO: It's not an Up With People movie. It's like one of those--

PM: Oh, good, then I'm more likely to see it.


MKO: It's a movie about a teenager who is pregnant and doesn't tell anybody. And she basically leaves her baby at a ski resort in the toilet. And she gets raped. And I think they play one of my songs at the teenage party scene before the rape.

PM: Oh, my God!

MKO: But it is a really good film.

PM: Oh, I'm going to search it out.

MKO: It's good. And it got played at a--Sundance now does a thing in Brooklyn at BAM, which is the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was neat because they invited me to it, and they interviewed the director, myself, and a bunch of people. So it was fun to participate in that.

PM: That's exciting. And one of the reasons I ask the question is because I certainly think that you're fixin' to see some more action in TV and film.

MKO: Well, I think that's sort of the way that people are able to pay for anything these days, because CDs, I think most people don't buy them anymore. They download the songs or--

PM: They just steal them or they download them.

MKO: Exactly.

PM: Yeah, CDs, yeah. I'm surprised that CDBaby is paying out as much money as it is.

MKO: I know.

PM: Somebody is buying CDs, they're paying out millions of bucks. But yeah, by and large, I think also that the way people literally become known, or better known, now, is from TV.

MKO: Yeah, it's getting to be the way.

PM: Well, the programs are so shitty that at least they're using better and better music. So somewhere you're getting some kind of product in there.

MKO: And the TV ads are like all starting to use hip bands too.

PM: Oh, yeah. If you ain't got a slamming track, people are gone to the 'frigerator.


PM: Well, it's just really, really beautiful to connect with you again, and to be so knocked out by your music.

MKO: Well, thank you so much. And I guess I'll hope to see you in Nashville, randomly run into you again at the next, I don't know, coffee shop.

PM: Actually, there you won't. I mean, I've packed up Nashville again, as I do from time to time, and I'm speaking to you from Miami Beach.

MKO: Oh, wow.

PM: I'm right on the water. Yeah, a long story, but it sure is fat.

MKO: That sounds very nice.

PM: So it's great to talk to you, Marykate.

MKO: Nice talking to you, Frank.

PM: And please send love to Jill.

MKO: I will.

[We got sidetracked before we got into talking much about the upcoming album. But find out more about Underground by visiting her label, 71recordings.com, where you'll also get the scoop on mkULTRA and other great releases by Marykate. In this interview, we often mentioned Jill Sobule--you might enjoy our interview with Jill from a few years back, you'll find that here.]

Underground by Marykate O'Neil

listen to clips        print interview (pdf)

marykateoneil.com       marykate's myspace

dig this (some of her paintings)      71recordings.com


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