October 29, 2009
Jessie Murphy In The Woods Interview
Its time to meet Jessie Murphy In The Woods. But don’t worry, Jessie is safely walking the streets of New York, probably sandwiched between her musical partners, sisters Marcia and Amy Wood. Together, the three create hauntingly melodic songs built on chemistry and three part harmony. In our interview, the Chamber Pop trio tells us how they’re inspired by the energy of New York City and what its like when they get together to cook up some of their musical magic. And oh yeah, as music teachers, they know their way around instruments you’ve probably never heard of.
Meet Jessie Murphy in the Woods!
1. How did you three meet and end up playing music together?
It was a dark and stormy night. Jessie was alone in a cabin, deeply immersed in Hammer of The Gods and dressed as an authentic mage. Low and behold she heard a knocking at the door. It was the cold and shivering Marcia Wood, who oddly enough, was also dressed as a mage.
She was desperate to conjure a sandwich, but was missing the key phrase that would unlock the spell. Suddenly, out of the darkness Amy Wood appeared, holding a French Horn in one hand and a flask in the other. Amy muttered something about “the wind” and stepped inside. Soon, all three girls were warming up by the small cauldron in the center of the room. From the depths of the pot, music and lyrics bubbled forth demanding three part harmony and travis picking. The girls had no choice but to answer and begin their magickal journey.
2. You are all trained musicians and music teachers, how has that shaped your musical style?
We all have a strong love for Palestrina and Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection.” Combining the two loves was a natural choice. We try to keep the pedagogy to a minimum at rehearsals and rather revel in the bliss of being completely infantile ourselves. One serious benefit to being music teachers is that, unlike most rock bands, we all know how to get places on time and keep our drug binges limited to flu vaccines and Sudafed.
3. From Eight Belles to God Save Owen Wilson, you seem to write very empathetic songs. Is this a conscious element in your writing?
I [Jessie] think that most personal charisma, or “weird star power”, is directly related to my innate lack of boundaries between myself and others. This can be classified as empathy but it can also be seen as a type of narcissism. My songs are born in the murky waters where empathy and narcissism co-mingle and offer up illusory reflections. But the best songs just come from the sky and I can hardly take any credit for them. Then all my ideas stay out of the way and I just try to be the best stenographer on the planet.
4. How does the creative process work within the group? Who usually does what?
So far Jessie has written the lyrics on our recorded material, but we have new songs that all three of us have collaborated on more completely. We work on the arrangements together, always. Jessie usually takes her pants off, Marcia drinks a lot of green tea, and Amy makes the best apple crisp.
5. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
We’re big fans of people like Joni Mitchell, John Denver, and the Carter Family. But we’re also into acts like The Cure, Jay-Z, Bright Eyes, and Neko Case. And oh yeah, we love Led Zeppelin.
6. How is New York City itself a factor in the musical process?
New York City is the fourth member of the band. Unfortunately, it’s often the Bonzo (John Bonham) of the band; the loudest, the most inconvenient, the most intoxicated. But it’s also the most inspirational; the clearest channel for whatever message is coming through. New York City is a transistor radio for every conversation on the planet. If you listen closely you can pick up garbled versions of some of the most interesting bits, put them into songs, and then own the publishing.
7. Where can people go for information about where to see you live?
Our MySpace page is a great place to hear our music or check for an upcoming show. Or you can become a fan of our Facebook page if that’s more your speed. Our website will be up soon as well.
Thanks, guys. We appreciate the introduction to Chamber Pop so keep on doing what you do. Be sure to check out the brand new Jessie Murphy In The Woods website. It will be going live soon at www.jessiemurphyinthewoods.com.
Posted by A. Sogal at 9:38 am