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What were the main instruments that were used on the album?
Corgan: The album has a Telecaster, a Bozo acoustic, an old Selmer amp, a Minimoog, a Fender P Bass and a little bit of drums here and there.”
Swan: “Going through Billy’s equipment was such a fun experience. He’s got everything! [Laughs] And I just loved that acoustic. But we really didn't use a lot of things, even though he's got a ton of instruments and gear."
Corgan: “I’ll share something that my Flood – my friend and a great producer whom I've worked with – told me, and it’s something that Brian Eno had told him, so I’m paraphrasing: ‘You should only go into the studio with one keyboard.’ The idea being that you’ll be forced to get inside that keyboard rather than half-getting something out of 10 keyboards. I went into this with a slightly similar approach, that we’re going to get a lot with a little.
“And the fact is, Sierra’s a great musician. She’s one of those people like Bob Dylan. People talk about Bob Dylan, but they don’t talk about what a great musician he is. If you listened to early Dylan and he’s fingerpicking, he’s really good. Sierra is like that: She’s as good a musician as she chooses to be. If she chooses to play guitar, she’ll blow you away. I don’t have that – I have to really work at it.” [Laughs]
Sierra, the way you use your voice is pretty striking. On the song Emotional, you’re your own choir, but it doesn’t come of as a pretentious, cheesy effect.
Swan: “I know what you mean. I think a lot of it’s from my dad. He pushed a lot of real singers on me. It wasn’t about who was popular – that just wasn’t how I grew up. He showed me who real singers were and what they sounded like – people like Patsy Cline. I would listen to the inflections in people’s voices, the intentions, the laybacks, the way they would power through – all of those things work with lyrics. A lot of singers don’t try to put that stuff together, I think.”
Talk to me about the song Little Shoes. I’ve never heard a lullaby turned into an alternative-rock torch ballad before.
Swan: [Laughs] “That’s great! I love that you say that because that was sort of the plan all along. I hadn’t heard one of those before myself, so I was like, ‘OK, let’s try it.’ I totally wrote it trying to wake my son up from a nap. He actually doesn’t like it when I play guitar, probably because he thinks it’s taking me away from my paying attention to him. The song just happened. Recording it, yeah, I wanted it to sound exactly how you said. That’s great.”
Corgan: "There’s a certain amount of maturity that’s Sierra's gained, and I’m sure motherhood has played into this. She was in a tough spot with this whole thing – no label, the Kickstarter thing, trying to generate the resources. She’s very much on her own in the truest sense, and this is very much a DIY thing. But I told her, ‘You can open this up into 20, 30 more years of music. It’s there if you want it.’
"This can be her breakthrough, and hopefully this is the music business we’re going to for people Sierra. Her life and death as a musician shouldn’t come down to popping out a dumb single to complete with the other dumb single to complete with the other dumb single."
Sierra Swan's album Good Soldier can be purchased at her official website.