D//E Interviews: Lori Goldston

Experienced musician, master collaborator and renowned solo artist, Lori Goldston will be releasing her anticipated new full length, High and Low, on October 7th, 2022 via SofaBurn. 

The artist talks about the impending album, parts of her amazing career, her tastes in music and more in an interview with D//E.

What is High and Low about, and how would you describe it in comparison to your  previous solo albums? 

I put this album together intuitively; it fits together but not in a way that I decided on beforehand. It’s full of metaphors and connections. For a while now I’ve been wanting  to make an album that focused on my amplified work, which felt a little  underrepresented in my recorded output compared with my performing life.  

Some of it was recorded at a memorial concert for my friend Geneviève Elverum. I wondered what would help keep her spirit floating easily, and how to boost the signal of  the resonance she left on this plane of existence. I don’t know what happens after we die  but maybe some kind of consciousness sticks around? If that’s the true I hope she liked  the show. In any case she was a wonderful person and friend, I was happy to help  remember and honor her.  

The title has a really broad meaning, including a reference to playing a low-ish instrument with a heavy use on harmonics, reflective of a certain kind of full physical/ psychic experience and nourishment I’m aiming for.  

The new album has a strong improvisational character. What made you choose that path  this time, rather than a more structured direction? 

This album is, among other things, both elegiac and euphoric. There’s an openness that I  don’t think I could have captured with a written score. As a listener/audience member I  love when you can feel a performer having making big decisions moment by moment, it  can be very vulnerable, inviting and honest.  

Most of my earlier solo albums and (solo work in general) are mainly improvised. I  enjoy being on the spot and thinking on my feet. It’s difficult for me to play things the  same way more than once, I like to reinvent and reinvestigate. 

How would you describe the songwriting and recording creative process? 

That really varies. Sometimes I make a plan and stick to it, sometimes I abandon my  plans, and sometimes I go in without a plan. Often there’s a kind of broad concept, and I love assignments. The concert that the live songs are from came to me as a kind of  epiphany, very suddenly and clearly.  

Certainly, the Nirvana Unplugged session must come up frequently when you discuss your career. How did you get involved in it, and what are your most vivid memories of it? 

Nirvana was looking for a cellist for their North American tour, partly in preparation for the Unplugged session, and mutual friend recommended me. I could play by ear,  improvise and, because I played guitar, understood about chord changes, etc., all of which was pretty unusual for cellists at the time. 
I toured with them for six months, so it’s a long list of memories. It was a big adventure and a nice time. I’d always liked their music and was happy to play it, although to be honest I was much less of a rock person then than I am now. The band and crew were great, and they were careful to choose excellent opening bands with people they wanted  to spend time with. 

Did you have the impression that you were a part of something that much historic and  momentous at the time? 

They were extremely famous by the time I joined them, so it was definitely something very public and visible that we were all up to. I didn’t anticipate Kurt’s early death, which no doubt boosted the band’s legendary status exponentially.  

Throughout your career, you have worked with a large number of artists. What are you looking for in a collaboration? 

I like to keep learning all the time. I like people who are good listeners, imaginative, smart, and have a strong voice.  

Apart from the Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light albums in which you were  involved, which is your favorite Earth record? 

There are so many great ones. I’ve probably listened to is Earth 2 the most, and have a dream of covering it on amplified cello sometime. I’m also partial to Pentastar, but  really I enjoy them all. 

What are some of your earliest music-related memories? 

My earliest memory of making music is singing and strumming the metal record rack imitating Morticia from the Adams family. The gag on the show was that her music was supposed to sound horrible and unhinged but I liked it. I think I was two or three years old. 

Which are some of your sources of inspiration? 

Now that we’re out of pandemic lockdown I’m back to attending a lot of live shows, many of which are incredibly inspiring.  

I am a big nature fan and take a lot of long walks focusing on wind, rain, sun, clouds, birds, mammals, etc. I enjoy it and also consider it is essential to my work - I think  there’s a lot of those things in my playing. 

Post lockdown life brought me back together with a lot of extremely inspiring musician  friends, I am really, really lucky. I’ve been playing a lot in Mexico, working with the  bands The Polar Dream and Mortemart; in June I toured there as a duo with  percussionist Dave Abramson. This summer I toured Europe and the UK, mostly solo  but I played a show in Italy with the band Larsen and our mutual friend Jacoppo Benassi, and in Cologne I performed with Mik Quantius. I love travel and hearing what  people are up to, and seeing what everyone’s doing to make things happen.

What are you listening to the most these days?
A few weeks ago I paid 50¢ for an old LP of Messiaen piano pieces played by Yvonne  Loriod and can’t stop listening to it.  

I’ve been very happily listening to a lot of hip hop and other stuff with my teenage son: Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem, Nas, Death Grips, and our local hero Specs Wizard  among many, many others. Totally dreamy to have someone who knows a lot about the music that’s being released and understands my taste. I’ve been proud to recommend a lot of music to him that he really likes.  

Also I’ve been listening to a lot of Edith Piaf songs to learn to play them in my friends’  band, and have been on a big kick with vintage Latin American and African music.

What does your immediate future hold? 

In October I’ll do an East Coast tour, mostly with my trumpet player friend Greg Kelley, and some solo. This month I’ll sit in a couple of times with the band Some Surprises, and with a trio that does old French songs, Vin Voleur.  

I’m hoping to get to California and British Columbia this winter and spring.  

I’ve got a couple albums in the can, one with Greg Kelley, produced by Steve Fisk. I  think it will come out in a few months on Broken Clover Records. The other’s a duo with Dave Abramson, just recently finished and still looking for a home. 

Photo by Lorenzo Santagada, courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

Lori Goldston Bandcamp | Spotify | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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