Tune-Yards Tune-Yards at Pianos on the Lower East Side, New York City


» Submitted From: » by Said The Gramophone » Posted: 26 September 07
Tune-Yards - When You Tell the Lions.mp3 Tune-Yards - All You Own Final Two.mp3

Tune-Yards is a small treasure, found in small little venues where voices go quiet to hear the show. Tune-Yards is a ukulele-over-beats-on-cassette one-woman wonder that can be truly lovely and also truly scary. She is split between many cities, so her time is scarce, but I had a email interview with her that I thought would illustrate my points better than I could.


StG: Are you working on an album?

TY: Yes. Slowly. I want it to be very very good. It will probably be released on cassette and digitally because I’m sick of thinking about all of those dumb scratched CDs filling up landfills.

StG: You’re a puppeteer. Tell me about your puppet shows.

TY: My solo puppet show is called The Fat Kid Opera. It is indeed an opera, and was also the reason I [bought] a ukulele (it was the only chordal instrument that would fit into the frame of my puppet theater). I started it in college when I got obsessed with the metaphor of adults eating children. So it’s a story of a girl who gets sold to the butcher by her mother and escapes, only after a punch-and-judy-like battle with said butcher. It took me a grueling part of my early twenties to complete, and is the first thing I have created that I ever felt right about. Fatilda, the main character, is built out of pantyhose stuffed with cotton.

StG: Your songs have a certain violence that feels at once instinctual, primal, yet kind of necessary. Do you agree with this? What do you think about violence (as of right now)?

TY: It is interesting that you pick up on violence. I suppose that I appreciate, on a gut level, noises that slap you in the face. Also bass-y, ass-bumping rhythm. Music that moves people on a physical level. So sometimes that means a certain amount of aggression.

And vocally, I am working on freeing my voice, meaning not containing it in niceness, prettiness, girliness, whatever. I don’t relate very much to things that try to be pretty. Possibly that has to do with my thoughts on violence, that there is so much violence and war happening right this second that being pretty seems like pretense to me. So although I feel powerless much of the time to stop it I can at least be a reminder, a poke in the ribs, a nagging voice, a mover of people’s…asses.

StG: What are your dreams like? Like, your actual dreams, not your “hopes”.

TY: I don’t sleep very well. When I do my dreams are often of the anxiety type…I dreamt a few nights ago that I was being attacked by a black bear. I was trying to figure out what one was supposed to do when a black bear attacked, whether one should stand still or run. So in my dream I was telling myself, “When you wake up, Google black bears and figure out whether you are supposed to run or stand still to get away from them!” And meanwhile the bear was like eating my fingers or something.

Tuneyards is also a member of Sister Suvi, who will be playing Pop Montreal on October 3rd.

Sister Suvi Show Pop Montreal Festival
Casa del Popolo 4873 Boulevard St-Laurent Montreal, QC H2T, Canada Wednesday, Oct. 3rd, 10PM

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  1. Dan

    Very interesting interview. I like the music.

    Just in case you have a black bear encounter

    -If the bear attacks, fight back aggressively. As a last resort, should the attack continue, protect yourself by curling into a ball or lying on the ground on your stomach and playing dead.

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