Since her airline stewardess rebellion in Almost Famous, we’ve been hooked on Zooey Deschanel. She’s got the hair, the eyes, the voice and a copyright on being doe-eyed cute, and we were lucky enough to nab her only Australia...
Since her airline stewardess rebellion in Almost Famous, we’ve been hooked on Zooey Deschanel. She’s got the hair, the eyes, the voice and a copyright on being doe-eyed cute, and we were lucky enough to nab her only Australian interview in the lead up to the new She & Him album, Volume 3.
We chat about the making of the record, covering Blondie in French, and what she listened to growing up in 1980s Los Angeles. Read our exclusive chat below but first – hit it, Zooey!
When coming up with material, do you work on things for a long period of time or do you put aside time to write?
I’m always writings songs. Some of them were old and some of them I’ve written more recently. It was when we had enough songs [that we started recording]. When I wrapped the first season of my show, we had a hiatus month between seasons and instead of doing a movie, we decided to make the record. The way we work is we’ll go into the studio for a week or so, then take time to listen to what we did, think about what it needs and add stuff slowly.
Do you try to make an album that fits together in a particular way, or does it just come together naturally?
It always works out [that it comes together naturally]. When people try too hard to write a themed record, it sounds disingenuous, but if you just make the record, it sort of ends up fitting together. Worrying about cohesiveness – it’s better to worry about having good songs, the right production and the most organic process.
How has your approach to singing changed since Volume One?
With the first record I was so timid; a lot of it was just getting the vocals. The first song we recorded, we did it at our friend Mike Coykendall’s house. I needed them both to disappear. There was a lot of stuff that I needed to deal with psychologically. By Volume Two, I was a lot more confident and with Volume Three now even more confident. I think there were things we went for this time because we figured, “why not?” There was a song that we put 120 tracks on. These were songs that could take a lot of production. Both Matt’s and my taste are very similar and pretty varied – we like the same random group of things, but it’s a wide range of things. I don’t just like one genre of music. That’s part of what informs the songs. We’re not locked into one kind of arrangement. If you’re a country band, you’re kind of locked into a certain way of doing things. Whereas Matt and I, we both play a lot of instruments and we have a lot of resources. If this song needs violin or pedal steel, we can call up someone who plays that instrument if we can’t play it ourselves. We find people as needed, unlike a traditional band.
What made you choose to cover Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” on the album?
That was one of my favorite songs in high school. It had been released a little before my time, but my friend had a Best of Blondie CD and I made a taped copy of that CD and that was my favorite song on it. It was actually Matt’s idea to cover it. I normally like to cover songs that are a little less well known but Matt said he hadn’t heard the song before and turns out that I don’t think it was ever properly released in the U.S. The half English, half French version is the one I knew. We approached it as “what if Buddy Holly did a Blondie song?” and our rhythm approach was a Buddy Holly-inspired track.
How did ‘Hold Me, Kiss Me, Thrill Me’ come together?
I so like that song. I really love it; it was really fun to record. We recorded it, just Matt, Scott [McPherson, the drummer] and me, live, and then we added the string arrangement later.
Matt’s string arrangements have evolved over time, how has this affected tracks on the album?
Matt has become quite an incredible arranger of strings. “Never Wanted Your Love” – the strings on that are amazing. That started out with a drum fill but Matt took that idea and had the strings do basically a string version of the drum fill and it sounds amazing. It was such a cool idea.
How did th