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Kami Thompson - Interview

  by Lisa Torem

published: 4 / 10 / 2011

Kami Thompson - Interview


Lisa Torem speaks to British singer-songwriter Kami Thompson, who is also the daughter of Richard and Linda Thompson, about her ambitious debut album, 'Love Lies', which was inspired by the break-up of a relationship

Kami Thompson is a British singer-songwriter and the daughter of Richard and Linda Thompson; the former members of Fairport Convention, and solo artists in their own right. Though Kami grew up in a musical environment, it took some time before she began to appreciate her parents’ legacy. Her brother, Teddy Thompson, is also a musician. Following her EP 'Bad Marriage' in the summer of 2010, she set out to record the more ambitious 'Love Lies' which she wrote after a torrid, bitter heartbreak. The album is inventive, while bitingly truthful about her experiences. Thompson has toured with other rock stars whose parents were legends. Sean Lennon contributed to the album, and she opened for him, as well. She has also worked with the musical Wainwright contingent. PB: Congratulations on your new album. How did your relocation to New York affect your career and worldview? KT: I live in Camberwell! I left New York over a year ago now. rather miss it. PB: One of the producers for ‘Love Lies’ is Brad Albetta who also produced Martha Wainwright’s debut. Was that a strong factor? KT: Brad’s great, and it was an easy recording situation to fall into. We all knew each other and it made sense. PB: It is interesting that some of your colleagues are artists whose parents are known as music icons, too; Martha Wainwright, Sean Lennon… . Do you feel that that shared experience has drawn you together in some way? KT: I think musicians are out making friends with other musicians more than, say, dentists. Actors’ kids all know each other, too – I think it’s the social nature of the business. I suppose there’s inevitable common ground, yes. PB: At what point did you come to appreciate the music in your household? Would you say you were as greatly influenced by the music of your parents’ generation as your own? KT: Honestly, there wasn’t much music in the household. I’m a MTV kid. PB: Have your experiences performing and touring with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Sean Lennon inspired your current collection of songs? Was there anything you specifically took away from working with them? KT: They’re great musicians, I just tried to watch, learn and not fuck up wherever possible. I’m not sure I’d say they’ve influenced what I do, but they’ve certainly shown me how to do what I do better, wittingly or otherwise. PB: How did you coordinate the instrumental and vocal contributions of Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright and your father, Richard, on the album? Who was asked to do what and why? KT: I have all their numbers; I needed guitar players and singers… I was very pleased to let them do their thing! PB: The album opens with ‘Little Boy Blue’ and the lyric “It broke me when you left without turning around to look at me.” The song is a fierce introduction to what lies ahead and the call and response between the guitar and your voice makes it all the more emotional. When you began to sequence tracks, were you aware that you had set the emotional barometer quite high from the onset? Did you look back and say, “There’s no turning back!” KT: Oops – no! Maybe next time I should start with a cover of ‘Fraggle Rock’ and set the bar low. I’m glad it leads the record, though. It felt like the “title track” to me. PB: ‘Nice Cars’ and ‘Tick Tock’ are both metaphorical with the lines “Ladies shouldn’t drive nice cars…” and “Watch the flames around me growing higher…” How did you decide on these themes? KT: I didn’t really. I start to write stories and let them go where they will. I’m pleased they make some sort of sense upon later inspection. PB: ‘Don’t Bother Me’ is a George Harrison cover and, to many, a fantastic song that got buried amongst a lot of Beatles hits. Why did you choose to do this one on an album comprised otherwise of originals? KT: I’ve always wished I’d written that song. I just loved it and it felt like it fitted into the theme of the record. PB: In ‘Gotta Hold On’ you sing, “You’re a fine distraction, but I need darker stuff.” Can you elaborate on what “darker stuff” means to you? KT: I like them dumb and pretty these days; I totally retract that statement. PB: It’s interesting that the very thing that made you suffer; the heartbreak and loss of love, has fueled your creative juices so well. What actual event inspired this record? Also, are you worried that if you find true love, you’ll have nothing left to say? KT: There’s a lot of creative license involved in writing. I like being in love, I like the transient pain of heartbreak and I like being on my own. Life’s full of good stuff, but it’s super-fucking-hard to write a cheery song! One day… PB: What’s next in terms of touring and recording? KT: I plan to tour the record a bit, the UK and hopefully a few US shows. The schedule is not confirmed yet -then back to the studio! PB: Thank you so much, Kami, and best of luck.

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Kami Thompson - Interview

Kami Thompson - Interview

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