As a new feature to this here blog, I’ve decided it would be pretty great to do semi-regular interviews with really incredible people. (Brilliant, right?) Most likely, the majority of these will be with musicians, but I do realize there are people who do great things that don’t involve music, so I’m going to keep that in mind when looking for folks to talk to.
As the first interview, I’m thrilled to have The Cold and Lovely contribute.
Where the two have found the time to record and play as The Cold and Lovely is perplexing at best.
Toohey has been a staple for Billboard topping artists The Weepies both in studio and on tour (and in addition to her producing, writing, and recording for other artists, she has also toured with Lenka, Schuyler Fisk, and Lori McKenna to name a few).
Fiorentino, meanwhile, has kept herself occupied for the past year recording and touring worldwide as bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins. Before that, she was keeping active in several bands, including Light FM, Twilight Sleep, Veruca Salt and picking up bass duties on tour with Spinerette.
Meghan joins us from Los Angeles after a weekend of rehearsing and performing with Schuyler Fisk while Nicole chimes in from between recording sessions in Chicago…
Q: The Cold and Lovely. Explain where the name came from.
M: Nicole was talking to a friend at work when she used to wait tables. He was referring to someone as a “hot mess.. like hot and messy”. She suggested that if the woman was a hot mess than she should be described as “cold and lovely”. She went and wrote it down because she thought it would be a great band name. I agreed!
Q: You’ve both worked with/are currently working with some talented people in the music world. What’s a favorite experience on tour or stage from each of you when playing with others?
M: I think playing in front of Herbie Hancock and having him tell me that he “dug my playing” was a highlight for me. There have been a few heroes of mine I’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with… that’s always a thrill.
N: I’ve also had opportunities to play with/for many of my heroes, especially more recently. Kathy Valentine (bassist of the Go-Go’s) has a new band called The Blue Bonnets. They played a show with us (TSP) in Texas last year and Kathy referred to me as “badass”. That was pretty rewarding.
Q: Meghan, after taking a hiatus from performing your own music for 8 years or so, what brings you back?
M: I got burnt pretty bad at the end of the “The So and So’s” era. Between being in and out of record deals and almost famous moments, I crashed and decided to change my focus to being a side player. After 6 years of doing that I got the itch to put together another band and write my own music again. I also had a lot of support to do so from Nicole and fans that have stayed with me over the years to put out new material.
Q: Go to your record collection and pick out a random album. What is it, where did you get it and why?
M: Since you can’t really “pull an album” on iTunes I just closed my eyes in front of my vinyl collection and happened to grab “Sarah Swings” by Sarah Vaughan. I think I probably inherited this record from my mom and dad’s collection. I love Sarah Vaughan! Jazz is a huge part of my life and I grew up listening to all of the song birds. I actually was a Vocal major at Berklee and spent a lot of time studying those old standards. Love them.
N: I pulled my “Tiffany” record. I got it in the 5th grade for my birthday. We didn’t have a record player at the time, so I had to go to my bff’s house to listen to it. We proceeded to make up a dance to one of her songs and performed it at our school’s talent show. it was a disaster.
Q: Nicole, where do you pull the most influence from when creating music?
N: I am always very inspired by my old reliables, The Cure, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvery, Fleetwood Mac. But when I am about to record I try to listen to a large variety of music so that I am not pigeon-holing myself into one sound.
Q: You’re both New Englanders living in Los Angeles. Is there something in that experience that helps the two of you mesh musically?
M: I think it helps us mesh in every way. LA can be a pretty ridiculous place to live at times. Being from MA, we can appreciate that. It’s also funny to go back home and see how crazy obsessed Boston is with sports and that makes it also a little ridiculous. Boston has sports and LA has celebrities. We both love where we are from and where we live now and embrace both obsessions. We are lucky to travel a lot in our careers and be able to spend time in each place.
Q: Any connecting themes or associations between the songs on your upcoming album?
M: The entire record is a reflection of the experiences I’ve had over the last six years of living in LA. It was a pretty brutal landing so far from home and not knowing anyone here. I got into some wrong crowds and into some very destructive relationships with powerful people that I had never experienced and it really wounded me. This album is the purging of that time for me and the outcome is happiness and the fact that I’ve finally found my place here and good people to surround myself with. I hope this record will take people on a journey that we all can relate to. It’s a healing.
Q: You both volunteered recently at Rock Camp for Girls in LA. Is this something you wished you had growing up and what was the experience like?
M: Yes! Rock Camp is so inspiring. I think it has just as much of effect on the instructors as the campers. It’s very moving to see the change that happens when someone picks up an instrument for the first time and rocks out. The campers get a few lessons on their choice instrument then pair off with other campers and start a band. That band writes a song together and performs it in front of a crowd at the end of camp. It shows how much can be accomplished with a little passion and work. In basically a few days they’ve done what sometime takes me months to come up with. It reminds me that the creative process is something to enjoy and get excited about!
N: It’s extremely rewarding to inspire someone else to play music, all the while they are inspiring me and helping me to remember why it is I started playing music in the first place.
Q: What is something you think about?
M: Constant obsession over furnishing my new house right now…
N: Right now I am in in recording mode with the Pumpkins, so all I can really think about these days is how can I best represent myself in these songs? I hope that I can bring something fresh to the sound of the band without stepping on the toes of the classic Pumpkins style. I think I am figuring out how to do that. ; )
Q: Anything else to add?
M: Very excited to release this record. We hope you guys like it.
N: Just you wait.
The two have recently released the first single off of their upcoming album on their website. You can find it for purchase on iTunes.
Find The Cold and Lovely at thecoldandlovely.com