Nine Question for STEMS

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1) Who are you, who is in the band, who does what in the studio and on stage?

Stems are Kirsten Adamson, Anne Aulmann and Diana de Cabarrus. We all sing, we batter and cajole cello, guitars, mandolin, bodhran, and a few other things. We all write and arrange the material together and we all play in many other bands too. Kirsten Adamson/Candythief/One Way Chemistry/Dead Broke and Dirty, etc.

2) How long have you been writing and performing in this way?

We are a Limbo Love story and if we had thought of it in time we might have dressed in white and asked Andy to wear a hat for an Easter Limbo wedding – we met when our respective other bands Kirsten Adamson and Candythief were on the same bill last year.  After that Diana invited Kirsten to join the candythief single launch bill for some country wig-disguise three part harmonies, and we enjoyed that so much we decided to start a new project.

3) How exactly do you work / write / record?

Anywhere on the spectrum from one person having a song pretty much finished that suits the  vibe of the endeavour and the others fine-tuning the arrangement and working out parts collaboratively, to starting together from scratch in the same room and googling Zen Koans for inspiration, to someone coming up with a single melody and the others responding with further parts.

4) How do you feel your studio/recording style informs the way you perform your music live (or vice versa)?  Does it make it easier or harder, better etc…?

It’s been a bit interesting working out how to do Travel in Mind live! The studio liberates you to try things easily in conditions that would take a lot more effort to replicate live. But once you’ve arrived at a destination facilitated by studio conditions, it can stimulate your creativity to work out live arrangements that might be different and interesting in other ways. Having studio conditions for writing gives you immediate feedback on what an idea sounds like and can help you focus and distill on what the essence of your idea is.  But jamming live with other humans also throws up great ideas that a computer can’t – the great enjoyment for us in Stems is that everyone is a songwriter/composer/singer and it’s incredibly refreshing for one writer to find a musical idea developed in unexpected and awesome ways by the sensibility of the others.

5) What’s been happening lately and what’s new with you?

We have an EP out called ‘Everything Turns’ and the proceeds are going to Edinburgh Women’s Aid. We really want to raise a bit more for them, and we are really proud of how it sounds, so go and buy it 🙂

Kirsten has been working on her forthcoming  Kirsten Adamson album and the mixes sound HOT. Diana and Anne have been writing for a new Candythief album, Diana’s just back from a UK tour with Kentucky Americana songbird Brigid Kaelin, and we are planning to record a more extensive Stems release.

6) When was the last time you played Edinburgh (and where)?  What do you remember about that experience?

Stems last played Edinburgh just before Christmas at the Tron Kirk, but the more memorable experience was when we did a turn at Diana’s music students’ Christmas concert at the Drill Hall – there was a loud Christmas market on and the cafe had a megaphone to alert stall holders to their orders being ready. So we were all going ‘la la la la beautiful harmonies’ and then there was a loud parp from their horn and * STALL NUMBER 41 EGG ROLL* ‘la la la la singing a song’ * STALL NUMBER 15 SOUP AND COFFEE* ‘la la la la’. Etc.

7) If you’ve played Limbo before, what did you like/rate about the experience?  If you’ve not played Limbo before, what have you heard about it?

Diana: I first discovered Limbo when I heard Pumajaw, a band I’m massively obsessed with, were playing and came to see them. I remember Law was also on that night – wow! I was really impressed with the diversity and awesomeness of the bill and earmarked it as a night I’d love to play. Imagine my delight when Limbo got in touch a mere three months after that! And then imagine my delight when I met the lovely Reuben from King Eider and all the lovely Kirsten Adamson band gang!
This is what I liked:
-great bands
-great sound
-good atmos – visuals etc – people giving an actual toss about putting their stamp on an experience of quality. Since then I’ve been to quite a few Limbos.

8) What’s next, coming up after this gig, for you and what are you generally looking forward to right now…?

Stems EP! Kirsten’s album! Stay tuned on mailing list for festival dates and more gigs. We have plenty of ideas for comic strips, fanzines and trapeze routines – ‘hang out’ with us and you won’t get bored.

9) If you have any other passions/opinions you’d like to share, if there’s anything else you feel strongly about, pls feel free to tell us about it here…?

When you give someone a lift in your car, and they leave crap in the footwell. Would they crumple up a packet of crisps and chuck it on your kitchen floor? NO! So why is it acceptable in the much more confined and non-dustbin equipped environment of a car??
*Tries very hard to think of something awesome*
Diana: As an immigrant to Edinburgh, I’m extremely glad about the calibre of collaborators I’ve met – people often complain about the Edinburgh scene being dead compared to Glasgow, but that’s not my experience at all. Always something going on, and lots of really committed artists making interesting and valuable work.

Ah yes! That’s it! The amazing warm feelings of humans congregating in a mutual environment of catharsis, release and sensory exploration! That’ll be a good gig then – like what will happen on Saturday!

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