'Not Neccessarily Larkin' Around!'
Calling Larkin McLean’s independent self-titled, bossa nova flavored debut “... right up there with Frank Sinatra’s collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim,” online indie tastemaker CDBaby.com exclaimed it as “... an ideal choice to have sex to.”
The L.A. based songwriter and vocal stylist, who confidently declares herself “a pop singer doing songs with a jazz feel,” is as sensuous and seductive as ever on her highly anticipated follow-up 'X-Rated Musical,' but this time, she has slightly more than sex on her mind.
McLean infuses her playful attitude into great, quirky storytelling lyrics and musical vibes that expand her palette beyond mid-60’s Astrud Gilberto-Stan Getz (as on 'Do I Still Love You') to incorporate nouveau retro elements of soulful jazz, blues, country and even some exotic Tahitian flavors. The mood-setting songs and McLean’s edgy and sassy performances are instantly compelling, but the expressive-eyed, dark haired beauty also just completed videos for the opening track 'Devil Tuesday' (in lingerie!) and 'Don’t Wake Up' to show the more visual dimensions of her endless artistry.
“There’s definitely a sexual vibe in these songs, but there are also a lot of emotions attached, too,” she adds. “I hope they really stimulate people in a lot of ways. I just approach a song with humility and put my personality in it. Some of the lyrics might come across as ‘poor me,’ but I didn’t write them to gain sympathy. Instead, I want to provoke people and make them think about their own lives.”
First timers to the Larkin McLean experience will also be quickly enraptured by her one trip out of the L.A. mindset, the vibrant Latin-spiced Euro-romp 'Roma Roma,' and the closing track, 'Nobody Gets Over Ava,' a bold and brassy ode to a best friend who also happens to be a heartbreaker.
Chatting recently with Larkin, I first noted that on the back of the CD it stated that this CD's music was "... a musical glimpse of life set in the diverse cultural landscape of Los Angeles." So, I wonder just how long, and how many 'adventures' did you have to undertake to create such a musical work? "This is an interview! Not a confessional!," she laughs mischievously.
Your album title is really descriptive, but what does it truly mean to you for this recording? "X-rated Musical came about because I like the concept of an X-rated Musical. "Busty Latinas and long legged blondes doing the can can in the chorus line" is funny. It's a fantasy of creating something interesting and breaking the rules thus having success. All that while having a good time laughing, singing, dancing and making love. Now who wouldn't want to do that?"
"The CD as a whole are songs that deal with sex. I'm not a virgin anymore and I write about what I know. I know about other things, but is it interesting to other people? What I desire as a singer songwriter is to stimulate people even if it takes lascivious lyrics. Either make them laugh or feel good. Take them out of their stressful world. That is what I am here for. I do have a protest song in me though."
Being that this album musically encapsulates the feeling that lust is an old story worth retelling, what would be the new story that could possibly be told next time?! "A new story of lust? How about a gorgeous Brazilian delivery boy with maduros on the front doorstep? What am I going to write about next? I don't want to jinx anything. Because when you make plans, God laughs. I do have a lot of song seeds planted and they are growing!"
Please explain further how drawing naked people probably inspired some of these songs!! "On the contrary! Drawing naked people didn't inspire writing the songs. Drawing helped my brain focus better than it had ever done before in my life. Drawing is thinking. Drawing is problem solving. It's patience. It's magic...a little intuitive. It's abject misery if you want to be good. So is songwriting. Drawing and writing go hand in hand. When you are drawing or writing you are describing something...what you see, feel etc. You are the storyteller that is pulling the audience into your world. There was this art school in Delaware called The Brandywine school. Famous Illustrators went there at the turn of the 20th Century. Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth being the most famous. Part of their curriculum was to write as well as draw. I wonder how Maxfield Parrish described cool light on an evening snow or how the light hit a copper pot."
Which one song on this new album truly encapsulates Larkin Mclean at her musical and lyrical finest? "I like 'Devil Tuesday' through and through. Even with different arrangements/musicians. The way it modulates. It is about having no control over your desire for someone. Especially if your feelings aren't right. God forbid anyone get into a Devil Tuesday situation. Yes, it is the highest of highs and extremely beautiful....But I'd cry over not being able to control it. I really felt possessed. I am a tea-totaler and health nut, but I'd compare it to being a serious drug addict."
How did you come to join forces with renowned ex-Lemonheads musician Kenny Lyon? "Kenny still tours with Evan Dando. They just don't go under the name "Lemonheads"... Just "Evan Dando". I met Larson Paine (The man who wrote 'Johnny Are You Queer' for Josie Cotton) at a party when I was 17...I ran into him again years later at a bookstore and I told him that I wanted to make an album. I wanted to hire all the old jazz musicians that I knew and record analogue....do it the old fashioned way....the more expensive way as well. Larson turned me on to Kenny. I am so happy that fate stepped in. Because Kenny is well read, well traveled and interesting....gives good stock tips. He's not a pretentious pseudo-intellectual. The worst part about Kenny is that I can't win an argument with him. Kenny is always right. There's only one argument that we will not resolve and that is the Birkin V. Bardot singing with Serge Gainsbourg. I prefer Bardot. And I'll fight it until the death of me! There should be a courtroom trail or televised debate!"
For fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:
'Do I Still Love You' - Do you still love any one of your ex-boyfriends, etc.? "Love and caring never stops. But I wouldn't want to get back together. I'm not going to feed anyone's big fat ego and single anyone out. I gotta be mean to keep em keen! He knows who he is anyway."
'X-Rated Musical' - Have you ever watched a porno and if so do you have a favorite?! "Lets talk about porn! Yes, I have watched porn, but I am not a fan. First and foremost I do not judge anyone involved in porn. I respect that they have to make a living. I think some of the women are beautiful and funny. I think Ron Jeremy is interesting. I am not opposed to hanging with the porn stars. However, It is not always true, but what I have observed is that the porn industry takes advantage of the young and desperate. The unguided, the unskilled workers, the drug addicted, and the women that get their ego boosted from being sexually objectified. A woman's ego would be better boosted from accomplishments that come from brain power and not what we have all been doing since the beginning of time. And did you know that the porn industry is recession proof? That and pet food! I know that porn stars are consenting adults, but something about the whole porn situation makes me feel sad. Someone is clearly getting taken advantage of."
"Second, porn is not loving. It's just screwing. And it teaches men to just screw....not caress, have eye contact and really love a person for her soul. But that is just my opinion. I could be wrong."
"Finally, the quality is not great. They need better cinematographers, make-up, actresses, better looking men and interesting scripts. I want high quality! Something along the lines of "Caligula"! Something where they spent some money! Spielberg where are you on this one? Just kidding!"
'Don't Wake Up' - Do you ever have a recurring dream or nightmare that you can tell us about?! "The dream feels like awake life, but I can't move and there are ghosts, monsters and intruders surrounding me and I can't wake up to escape. It's the worst! Do you think it's from eating salty foods before sleep?"
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "I'd like to surprise people on this one. I have a lot of ideas that I intend to manifest in another CD. No, It's not going to be Sister Christian! Even though that is the cheesiest and the most fun to sing. Especially the chorus! What's that song about anyway?"
Please tell us more about that pose of you in the water on the inside casing of the new CD! Where was it taken and why are you smiling so much?! "That is actually a candid shot! Notice I don't have any make-up on? That smile is out of nervousness. Actually, there are exotic naked girls swimming in the background and walking around at the party. Isn't it a shame you can't see them? But don't get the wrong idea! It's not Playboy mansion beauty nor overt sexuality. Just real natural beauties. All the girls make a living as artist's models. I got invited to the party because the models used to pose for me on a regular basis. There are more photos where I let loose....But it's more Helmut Newton fun than sleazy....maybe part of a nipple shows."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Absolutely! Any animal that has a built in tuxedo I think is precious. My first dog had a built in tux. Oh, and aren't they a monogamous and loyal bird?
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Larkin's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: According to her website bio, Larkin's father, a Shakespeare and Lit professor, had a particular affinity for classical, studied to be a composer and once met which famous Russian composer? (FYI - This composer died in New York, April 6th, 1971)
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'LARKIN McLEAN SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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