Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Regina Spektor in Studio at WERS

There was a crowd growing on Tremont Street outside the floor to ceiling windows of the WERS’ studio. Last Monday, those eager faces were watching the piano pop serenades of Soviet born Regina Spektor. She was in promoting her Boston concerts and new record, Far.

Before Spektor arrived at WERS, the studio techs had to quickly disassemble the two expensive studio microphones meant for her vocals, so she could set up her own, simple SM58. It was all her gracefully powerful voice needed.

The first thing Spektor played was ‘Laughing With.’ It’s a somber song that rounds up tragedies ranging from personal heartache to cataclysmic current events. Much like the balance of her sound between sweet sorrow and quirky humor, the song finds sarcastic humor in misfortune. This primarily comes from her suspicion for the likes of televangelists. “I noticed I end up writing a lot of songs that sort of think about religion and spirituality and how sometimes they go together and sometimes they don’t,” she said. Along with twinkling keys and booming chords, she sang, “God can be funny, at a cocktail party while listening to a good God themed joke.” Spektor’s preternatural aura and the sweetness in her voice as her falsetto trippingly spilt into quick rhythms made listeners believe that she actually did sip martinis with God on the weekends.

Spektor herself seemed eager to be back in a college setting. While promoting her last album, Begin to Hope, Spektor said that she kept accidentally calling her record producer a ‘professor,’ because she missed college so much. It’s been almost a decade since she graduated from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in New York. “I realized that I think of it like a class,” Spektor said. “So I thought, for this next record I should have a few professors.”

On Far, she worked with four different producers. “When you do one record with one person you have this whole big arc of the experience. It’s very intimate. When you have a few people for a few songs, it’s a shorter experience, but it’s like intense little bursts,” Spektor said. “It took the pressure off. Everybody was experimenting and nobody was worrying about, ‘well, what’s the single going to be?’” The result is cohesive; a mixture of socially conscious ballads and playful tunes that showcase Spektor’s unique and fearless style.

Her last tune was ‘Folding Chairs.’ It’s a lively love song with wisdom like “the sea is just a wetter version of the sky.” It also revealed that Spektor can speak fluent dolphin, as her ‘Oohs’ transformed into the guttural cries of a marine mammal. She only had time for two songs, but what she chose were themselves like intense little bursts.

Spektor also tipped off listeners that she has begun to pen and compose a Broadway musical that should be out in 2011 or 2012. “I love theatre and I love old musicals like Sound of Music, Mary Poppins,” Spektor said. “Things like Singing in the Rain. I love the feeling of people just kind of bursting into song and music being really integrated into dialogue.”

At the end of the session, Spektor addressed the “nice people outside.” She said that their presence was a blessing, followed with, “Go to class now!” Despite the suits that were constantly pushing back the fans, Spektor graciously stopped to meet everyone on her way out of the studio.

~Lee Stepien

Photography by Luana Suciu & Howard D. Simpson

Published to on September 24th, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment