Interview with Rae Spoon
A few weeks ago I saw Rae Spoon at a show at SilverFuture in Berlin. He’s that small guy with big glasses and a great voice. He presented his new album „Love is a Hunter“ and I just couldn’t stop listening to it every day since then. It’s less country based than the last one, more electronic, but nonetheless lovely music with wonderful lyrics. The show was one of the last ones Rae Spoon did in Germany before returning to Canada, where he originally came from. He stayed in Germany for two years and maybe he’ll be coming back to Berlin next spring.
How did you start to make music?
I started playing guitar when I was 11 and writing songs when I was 12. I began through a course in school. Then I really enjoyed writing songs, which I have done regularly until now.
What do you want to express with your music?
I generally try to express what is going on in my life and use my surroundings to generate the imagery in my songs.
What is the relation between the country style of your music and the place you come from?
I come from Calgary, which is known for its huge rodeo and cowboy culture. I started making country music because I felt a connection to home after I left.
Your last album is more electronic than the earlier ones. How did that change come about?
I lived in Germany for two years and was taught by my friend Alexandre Decoupigny how to program music on Ableton live. Both the influence of European electronic music and my new skills in programming contributed to the new electronic elements.
There’s a little difference between your appearance as a guy and your voice that is quite high. Some people get confused by it. Do you see that as a way of deconstructing gender issues by living the life you want to live and not to fit into any heteronormative category?
Many journalists say that I have the voice of a “woman”. I can’t tell the difference between women’s and men’s voices. There’s such a huge range of them. I used to think there was a contradiction between my voice and my appearance, but I can name ten cis-gender men who sing as high as I do. By choosing music as a career I have put myself in a very public position. If people have a narrow idea of gender I do end up disrupting their narratives. I didn’t choose it as a position, but I enjoy that it happens.
Your songs a partly about the problems queer people have to deal with. How important is it for you to express that?
I spent many years writing music that was not specifically about being queer. Lately I have been drawn to write about my experiences as a queer person and queer people I know. I think it’s been part of reclaiming space that has been taken from us by heteronormative culture.
What are the differences between the canadian and the german queer scene?
Germany and Canada both have strong political queer scenes as well as more mainstream party scenes. There are different challenges that each scene faces. The political climates of the countries are different.
What music are you listening to?
Kate Bush. The Knife. The Books. Bon Iver. George Michael.
What are your future plans concerning your music and with your life?
I am making a documentary right now about growing up in Calgary. It’s a musical as well. I will probably put the songs out as an album in 2 years from now.