Anyway, I had this idea a while ago that I was going to write about some of my favorite songs for this blog. And I never got around to it. But since some of my favorite songs were written by Ivana, I started talking to her about them on Facebook. (Yes, we moved our relationship to Facebook after having a long “what are we” talk and deciding we should take our relationship to the next level.) Here, therefore, is some of what she said. We'll have to do this again some time soon because there is not nearly enough praise for this lady on the Internet yet. Also: I'm pretty sure I can get some bizarre Ryan Adams stories out of her if I get her drunk or something.
"Sweetie Pie" [listen here] is super old, but it was about this guy I dated and lived with when I was 21. My first love, or what have you. He had (simple) tattoos and left me so that he could be in a touring emo band and date other girls.
I think it was an "emo" band? We are still friends and it's all water under the bridge.
The Ryan Adams mix [of “Sweetie Pie”] [download here] is sort of a long story but: After I kind of lost my mind over that guy I moved to Brooklyn and started working in a fancy shoe store. My co-worker's boyfriend was a club promoter and was friends with the guy who runs Electric Lady Studios. He gave my stuff to that guy, that guy gave it to Ryan Adams, and then I started recording back up vocals for him for this double CD he was planning on putting out but never did. He must have thousands of unreleased songs. One day I went to his apartment and he re-mixed "Sweetie Pie" on GarageBand because we were talking about him producing my first EP. We got into an awkward falling out shortly after and never spoke again!
Yeah, Ryan Adams is weird.
“White White” [listen][buy] is about this other ex-boyfriend who rode a motorcycle. I was always worried he was going to crash so I wrote that song pretending he did and died so I could like, live it and forget it if that makes any sense. To stop worrying about it. We did it in someone's living room, [but we wanted it to sound like a church] so we added a lot of reverb. Tricks!
I think I would take opportunities such as having my soul-sucked [and] making money for it on a case by case basis. I don't think I could bring myself to dress up like a jerk and sing some horrible song for money in Real Life, but I'd totally write some BS and let someone else sing it, or sing it and not really advertise that it's me, for $$. I'm sort of no stranger to doing embarrassing or degrading things to survive, like waitressing or being the mouse for Chuck E. Cheese (yep). There was a time when I first moved to Brooklyn that I was being courted by some of the big labels but they wanted me to completely change into like, Regina Spektor, or worse. There was just no way.
I would probably think about marketing myself in a sexy way since I have a little bit of that inside of me already, but it would have to be done in a very simple and classy way. And it would have accompany the music with reason.
I did make a little money from the VW ad. That was exciting. I bought a new tooth!
I get very obsessed with one or two musical things at a time and it goes for months. Right now I'm into Kurt Vile, and watching interviews and performances of Vladimir Horowitz. I've pretty much been living AND breathing these two for the past few months. Someone recently mentioned Liz Phair's girly tapes which I was obsessed with when I was like 19, and it's happening again NOW.
The best thing people can do is tell other people about my music. I'm planning to slowly release every song on my free bandcamp page and delete the albums from iTunes. I just want people to have the music and spread it easily like an STD. There are some other more professional things in the works (touring/recording) for the fall and winter time. Otherwise I'm still puking songs into my computer. Forever.
As a person I'm pretty reserved. I have a few very close friends, like I can count them on one hand. I have had long difficult periods of depression throughout my life, which has been a blessing artistically, and a total fucking tornado otherwise. But I wouldn't change a thing. I love my mom and my cat.
Ivana XL is playing October 5th at Death By Audio in Brooklyn. If you live there you should go! Tell her I sent you. Give her a hug.