Monday, June 13, 2011

5 Minutes With Kristeen Young

Originally from St. Louis—where Young started out in life as a half-Apache, half-German foster child, then was adopted by strict Christian parents—KRISTEENYOUNG is currently based in New York City. In addition to making music, Young also designs her own eye-popping stage wear.

For the new EP V The Volcanic, Kristeen Young drew upon the cinema, writing originals inspired by supporting characters—some of them quite unexpected—in seven different films: Violet Bick in Frank Capra's 1946 favorite It's A Wonderful Life("V The Volcanic"); the Angry Apple Tree of 1939's The Wizard of Oz ("I'll Get You Back"); Lucy Westenra in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 take on Bram Stoker's Dracula ("Why Can't It Be Me?"); Old Lodge Skins in 1970's Little Big Man ("Now I'm Invisible"); the android Pris from 1982's Blade Runner ("The Devil Made Me"); Sarah Jane Johnson in Douglas Sirk's 1959 melodrama Imitation of Life ("Imitation of Life"); and Cleopatra in the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton adaptation of Cleopatra ("Fantastic Failure")....the exception to the supporting character rule.

To promote V The Volcanic, the band shot its first video (for "Fantastic Failure") amongst the landmarks of hometown, St. Louis. The video was directed by (Los Angeles based) Seaton Lin. Following the album's release in May 2011, KRISTEENYOUNG will embark on series of month-long residencies in four major metropolises—Los Angeles, New York, London, and Chicago—plus side dates in nearby markets.

For tour information please visit:

Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?

A. Probably something Christian Rock. As an imprisoned child, it was the only music I was allowed to own. I did sneak Prince records, which would subsequently be broken by foster mother.

Q2. Your latest E.P. 'V the Volcanic', features the song 'Fantastic Failure'. What's the story behind the song?

A. Each of the songs on my new 7 song EP is written from the perspective of a minor character from a major film of the past 7 decades. Fantastic Failure is the's written from the lead's perspective....but, I couldn't resist. It's Cleopatra's song (from the Elizabeth Taylor film, Cleopatra). I was always so struck by the grandness of her "failure". No one remembers it as such BECAUSE it was so grand. That's the way to do losing. The music was inspired by the scene where she parades into Rome atop a giant stone sphynx. It's the most dramatic moment I've ever seen in a film. I could watch it endlessly.

Q3. You've done some great musical collaborations, David Bowie, Patrick Stump and Tony Visconti as a producer and have toured extensively with Morrissey, who else would you like to work with?

A. Someone the opposite of all of these people.

Q4. Do you feel that rapid information exchange via the Internet means that musical formats like albums and singles have been killed off?

A. No. I think that money flow regarding those formats have changed....but, not the art form. Maybe it will rid us of the leeches that were only in it for the money anyway. But, I doubt it....they'll always figure out how to use artists for their own means.

Q5. Give us a really quirky, off the wall anecdote/story. Something that not many people will know about-could be about anything related to your work.

A. Hmmm. When I was a teenager, I respected and loved Jello Biafra so much that I drove all the way to San Francisco (from St. Louis) to meet him (we had previously become pen pals). I picked him up at his apartment and we drove to lunch. In the course of all of this, he ended up teaching me how to parallel park (for just about the first time I ever did). Now, whenever I parallel park I hear his voice in my head giving me instructions. And I open-heartedly welcome his voice in my head at any time. As a follow-up note to this. A few months ago, I saw him on stage at one of his shows. His voice is still top notch and energy is beyond what anyone younger than him can muster. I kept thinking, "This is how it's done. I've never seen better."

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