Karen Mould (aka Bitch, Capital B) is a violinist, singer, actor, filmmaker, poet, and runs Short Story Records. She answers questions about her project BEACH, gives insight into older songs like “Traffic,” and discusses the intersections between creativity/artistic truth and technology.
After The Show: Overall BEACH is more extroverted and participatory than your older work, but “Maybe State” and “O, Packaging” sound more similar to your older songs…were they earlier songs?
Capital B: Good ear! “Maybe State” was the first song I wrote out of this collection of songs. “O, Packaging” was probably about 4th or 5th.
Dancey music with beats is more inclusive/participatory because it’s currently more popular than introspective, poetic folk songs. When you began BEACH, did you consider musical trends like EDM at all?
No–just broadening my own style and making the show bigger.
Little touches like the spoken words “human beings, human beings” and sound of bowling pins collapsing in the beginning of “Kitchen” seem so random but work quite well in the song. How do you figure out when a song is done or when you need to add more sonic details?
That is the biggest challenge of self-producing (which I did with that album, Blasted!) You are constantly trying to hear with fresh ears and let the song speak to you.
In “Zen Lane” you say “you can’t call me, you’ll just have to come, because I won’t have a phone.” I know you’ve recorded in a cabin without Internet and seem to like having some space away from technology. Technology can help fuel creativity and share art, but it can also hinder creation…how do you manage the balance between technology and creativity?
Great question and a great challenge. The temptation to constantly ‘check in’ can really hinder my own writing. The nature of songwriting or any kind of writing is to be able to tune in to your own thoughts, so sometimes taking away everyone else’s is the key to artistic sanity!
“Traffic” is one of my favorite songs ever – I like how you focus on the words, and each phrase seems carefully thought out. Is there anything about that song’s inspiration or writing process you’d like to share?
I know I wrote the lyrics of it before I put it to a melody and bass line. When I wrote the bass line I was in my hot pink and hot orange living room in Brooklyn and I was sitting on my long white couch. Joni Mitchell was playing in another room, on the other side of two closed doors. This is a dreamy way to hear music because you hear something that’s not actually there. The melody and bass line were born!
I always wondered what your birth name was – would you ever use the name Karen Mould to release a project? What about using Capital B?
I probably would use my birth name, now that I’m over the initial shock of it all. Capital B has always been one of my favorite nick-names and will probably be left as that.
I notice there’s often a connection between musicians and pure foods/a health and wellness lifestyle…why do you think that is?
Any artist is trying to get to the truth of something. Most of my musician friends are on either extreme— super healthy or super self destructive–and most have gone through BOTH, depending on where they are in their lives! The body is the holding place for this human truth we are all trying to see. I guess it’s our basic relationship to that that fuels everything. Some ride it like a kicking bull and some ride it like a wave.
Thanks for sharing Capital B! Catch the project BEACH opening for Jay Brannan next week:
July 21st at The Basement in Columbus, OH
July 22nd at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, IL
July 23rd at Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN