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A Fine Frenzy Explodes Out Of Her Cage
Friday, September 04, 2009

Whether you know her as Alison Sudol or you know her as A Fine Frenzy, you know her as the singer/songwriter who pens some of the most beautiful and affecting music being made today. Personally, I can list all the artists that have ever made me feel a lump of emotion well up in my throat on one hand and Sudol’s one of them. Her sophomore effort, Bomb in a Birdcage, will be hitting stores on Sept. 8th, and after getting a sneak peak of the album I caught up with Sudol to talk about the project, as well as her decidedly non-pop star lifestyle, what some of her redhead emotional qualities are, and her reaction to having over 1.2 million Twitter followers.

Adam Bernard: Let’s start by talking about Bomb in a Birdcage. First of all, that’s a very interesting image. I know it’s also a line from the first song on the album, but if you could expand on it a bit, why did you feel Bomb in a Birdcage was the right title for this album?
A Fine Frenzy: I think, at the end of the day, it just felt right. As I was writing the album I felt both incredibly vulnerable and yet increasingly more and more rebellious and explosive. Most of the time, I was torn between curling up in the fetal position and karate chopping everything. Bomb in a Birdcage felt like it pretty well summed up that feeling. Strange days, but never a dull moment!

Adam Bernard: Artists oftentimes suffer a sophomore slump when it comes to their second albums. Were you worried at all about following up the success of One Cell In The Sea?
A Fine Frenzy: I was and it gave me writer's block, so I had to stop it immediately.

Adam Bernard: Musically you go in a couple new directions on Bomb in a Birdcage. Tell me about your inspirations for the very pop “Electric Twist” and the intense “Stood Up.”
A Fine Frenzy: “Electric Twist” felt almost like a joke when I first wrote it. I was like, "what the **** is this wacky business? Where is this coming from?" However, I couldn't get it out of my head and neither could anyone else, so we thought, "why not? Let’s check it out!" It's now one of my favorite songs on the record. Figures! “Stood Up” was similar, except instead of laughing at it I was kind of freaked out by it. It's certainly not typically “Frenzy,” that's for sure. It came about during the months before the election. There was this marvelous electricity in the air, quite unlike anything I've ever experienced before. People were so excited and yet it was pretty terrifying to care as the stakes were so high and people were scared to be let down, and yet, they did care, they united, they spoke up and they took action. It was such a powerful feeling, and I couldn't help but be inspired by it.

Adam Bernard: Going back to “Electric Twist” for a moment, it’s one of the most faced paced songs on the album, yet it’s also the song on which you choose to talk about the decidedly non-fast paced-ness of your life. Was that some planned irony on your part?
A Fine Frenzy: I don't know that it was particularly planned, but I guess it is pretty ironic. I just try to write about what I know and that first line (you should be wilder / you're no fun at all) came instantly and dictated the rest. I can't tell you how much teasing I've gotten for being so un-rock and roll. I know grandmothers who party harder than I do.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk a little bit about that non-pop star lifestyle of yours. You avoid the parties, nobody knows about your love life and you’re never seen lying out on exotic beaches. What do you do instead?
A Fine Frenzy: I read! Hurrah! {laughs} No, that's not all I do. I go out with friends, I watch movies at home, I go running, I go to the beach... sometimes I go to a bar or go dancing, but I get extremely drunk ridiculously fast, so I stick to water, though people usually think I'm drunk anyhow, I'm pretty klutzy and I don't mess around when I dance - all or nothing!

Adam Bernard: Redheads are notoriously feisty. Since you aren’t a crazy party animal, where does your feistiness lie?
A Fine Frenzy: I have a temper. It’s not a bad one, and I try not to let it run wild, but sometimes I just explode. Usually people think it's funny, which makes me madder for a second and then I laugh, too, because I know I'm ridiculous. Also, as I mentioned before, I love to dance, and I have the worst mouth out of everyone in the band. Salty language galore!

Adam Bernard: I would have never imagined you curse like a sailor! Moving back to your music, you close Bomb in a Birdcage with “Beacon.” The song is a classic example of your ability to emotionally affect the listener. Shoot, I damn near cried when I heard it and I don’t cry for anything (except for the end of Field of Dreams). Can you promise you will only use this power for good and not evil?
A Fine Frenzy: Oh man, thank you so. That means so much to me. I solemnly swear to use that power only for good, scout's honor - not that I was a girl scout, but I wanted to be one!

Adam Bernard: At this point I think your other biggest superpower might involve Twitter. What inspired you to become an early adopter and how do you think having over a million followers will affect your album sales?
A Fine Frenzy: I became an early adopter because it seemed like a novel idea and a way to keep track of what I was doing and where I was going since everything was happening so fast. I honestly didn't think anyone would give a hoot about what I had to say. It's insane how much it's exploded! I am stunned and grateful, though it still baffles me how big it has gotten. I don't know how it will affect album sales. I guess it's extra exposure, which is always valuable, and a way to remind people that the album is actually coming out, which I think a lot of people tend to miss unless they're told directly. We will certainly see! Fingers crossed!

Adam Bernard: Finally, reveal one thing about yourself that you think might shock people.
A Fine Frenzy: I have twenty one tattoos, the majority in places that simply can't be shown in mixed company… {laughs}… NOT!

Related Links

Website: afinefrenzy.com
Twitter: twitter.com/afinefrenzy
MySpace: myspace.com/afinefrenzy

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:11 AM  
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