When you first see what this band looks like you cannot help but wonder what they sound like. Giving you an almost Enya sort of feel from their website/MySpace design and their photography you assume you will get hit with a soft ambient sort of sound. But you will get pretty much the exact opposite. This band that I am sitting with today takes a sound like what you expect from Evanescence, tosses in some almost techno beats, and then dishes out some polished and educated lyrics to produce a sound that is hard to replicate. When I first introduced myself to these guys I couldn’t help but want to get to know them better. It is rare to find a duo like this and even more rare to see a duo perform at such a high skill level. These two actually met over the Internet (seems to be a popular way to meet people these days) and their passion for music goes simply unmatched So take a few minutes, sit back with me today and get to know the group that is Lorelei.
Where did you come up with that name?
(Chris) Shannon and I both read a book called, “The Dogs of Babel” by Carolyn Parkhurst. It’s about a man and his dog, which was the only witness to his wife’s death. The dog’s name was Lorelei, which is fitting since Shannon has some dog features.
(Shannon) Funny, Chris! The story was very beautiful and we were both inspired by it. Then we discovered that Lorelei comes from a German myth. She’s a young maiden who haunts the Rhine River and lures in sailors with her song. I used to be in an all-female a capella group in college, the USC Sirens. Lorelei is the German equivalent of a Siren. We both liked the idea of a female seductress enticing men to their doom.
Actually, speaking of the name; how do you pronounce that?
Lore – uh – lie.
Where are you originally from?
(Chris) I grew up in Port Orchard, a suburb south of Seattle. Same stomping grounds as many of the famous Seattle musicians, like Kurt Cobian for example.
(Shannon) I grew up in Gig Harbor. We realized that our childhood homes were only a few miles a part from each other!
How did you meet?
(Chris) I posted an ad on Craigslist, believe it or not. I had been searching for months for the perfect singer, and Shannon responded. The rest is history!
(Shannon) Yep, I had just moved from LA to Seattle and was looking for some creative outlets to get involved with in addition to my solo project. I saw his ad and emailed him. He listened to my music and he contacted me. He sent me some songs that he had recorded with a previous singer who didn’t work out. Chris was obviously very talented. We met up, started collaborating really well together…and here we are!
What are your thoughts on MySpace?
(Chris) MySpace is a great network for artists/bands who may never get heard outside of their home town. It’s a nice place to create a following and be able to communicate directly with fans. There have been many artists who have found success from MySpace popularity, like the Arctic Monkeys.
(Shannon) Honestly, I’m not a big fan of MySpace, but I do feel we should have a page, since most bands do. It has gotten so filled with spam lately and it’s hard to weed out the real fans from the ones trying to promote themselves. But it’s still a great tool for promoting our music and connecting with fans. I’m more of a Facebook gal.
Are you on Twitter?
(Chris) I think so…Shannon, are we on Twitter?
(Shannon) I have a Twitter account. It’s: shanrockeileen. Hit me up!
Who are some of your biggest influences?
(Chris) I have always have been heavily influenced by UK music, and musicians. Radiohead, Keene, and David Gray for example. I grew up in a musical family and I was exposed to a lot of blues and bluegrass music. Daryl Hall from Hall & Oats shagged my mom on one of their tours, so that is where a lot of my talent came from. Eric Clapton is one of my biggest guitar influences. I started playing guitar while listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.
(Shannon) One of my biggest influences as a singer and songwriter is Sade. She crosses all genres. Her music is soothing, soulful and timeless. Other vocal influences are jazz and soul singers, like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield and Eva Cassidy.
Do you guys have a favorite venue?
(Chris) Not really any favorites. I like venues where you are up close and personal with your audience. I also really love playing outdoor venues as well. It’s my dream to play at The Gorge in Eastern Washington someday
(Shannon) One day, Chris! My dream venue would be the Hollywood Bowl.
Do you ever tour outside of Washington?
(Chris) We played a showcase at the Viper Room in Hollywood last year.
(Shannon) And we’re planning a northwest tour in 2010, which will include Seattle, Portland and San Francisco.
Who is the ringleader of the band?
(Chris) Shannon and I work equally on Lorelei. Decisions, direction, and ideas.
(Shannon) Yeah, we’re both the ringleaders. We write the songs and record them. The rest of our band mates just perform with us.
Who writes all of the lyrics?
(Chris) A few of the tunes on the album I wrote with a co-writer that I had been writing with for years. However, Shannon changed and re-wrote a lot of those. All the other songs Shannon had lyric duty.
(Shannon) I’ve always felt it was important that I write the lyrics I sing. With the exception of covers, it’s hard for me to really get into a song that someone else writes. I think it comes across better emotionally, both on the recording and while performing live.
Where do you get inspiration for a new track?
(Chris) I’ll send Shannon music tracks that I feel great about, and she’ll work with the songs that inspire her. Once she gets a melody and lyrics down, we’ll work out the final arrangements together. It’s a great way to write songs actually.
(Shannon) Yeah, it works really well for us. Sometimes we’ll discuss the type of sound and vibe we want based on a certain song we’ve been listening to at the moment. But it usually ends up turning out completely different from the original idea. That’s why I love songwriting. The songs take on a life of their own.
If you could be any cartoon character, whom would you be and why?
(Chris) Being Shaggy from Scooby Doo would be cool. He is the 70’s version of Ghost Hunters. Plus he has a pet dog that talks.
(Shannon) You kind of look like Shaggy! For me, it’d be Wonder Woman. Because she kicks some butt and I already have her costume.
What is the biggest crowd that you have ever played for?
(Chris) My old band, Dead of Winter, opened for Stone Temple Pilots at the OK Hotel in Seattle. It was packed! That was a great show.
(Shannon) Mine was when I was flown out to perform a holiday concert for US troops and civilians in Guantanamo Bay. I felt like a celebrity there. That was an experience I’ll never forget.
(Chris) We set up a show opening for Alice In Chains, and only forty people showed up. A majority of the people were our friends and family. It was a big venue and it looked even emptier.
(Shannon) I got you beat. My smallest show was for five people. One of who was a drunken old man with a floor-length white beard swaying off beat. Granted, I didn’t promote the show, and it was technically just for practice. But for morale purposes, I still had to be reminded multiple times that night that every band has to start somewhere!
If you could tour with any band out there right now who would you chose?
(Chris) U2 would be a great band to tour with, as they have such a huge fan base. Also, the Fray would be great. For “awe” purposes, I would love to do a song with Eric Clapton.
(Shannon) I think I’d choose Radiohead. Or No Doubt.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
(Chris) Well, I must say Seattle is one of the best places to live in the world. So I’m happy where I’m at. My second choice would be on my own vineyard in France or Italy, living peacefully making wine and music!
(Shannon) Yes, I’d live right where I am. I want to travel all over the world and always come home to Seattle.
How long have you guys been performing together?
(Chris) Almost two years?
(Shannon) Yeah, just about two years now.
What is the last movie you saw?
(Chris) I saw the Hangover.
(Shannon) “Up In The Air” with George Clooney.
Did you like it?
(Chris) Yes, I thought it was a very funny movie. I would recommend seeing it, but not with children around!
(Shannon) I loved it. I was tearing up throughout.
What would you be doing if you were not performing?
(Chris) I can’t imagine not performing music. That is a hard one, because I can’t really picture myself doing anything else. I think music keeps me out of trouble! Perhaps I would paint oil paintings.
(Shannon) I’d probably be a visual artist and blogger. I recently started my own inspiration and design blog about things that make me happy.
What are your thoughts on the passing of Michael Jackson last year?
(Chris) I always loved MJ’s music. He was such a great pop songwriter. His influence is everywhere in modern music. I believe he had a hard life and was greatly misunderstood.
(Shannon) I was pretty distraught. I grew up with Michael in the 80’s and would create dance routines to his songs as a child. I’d be lying if I said he didn’t influence me musically. I was always a supporter of him throughout the sketchy years.
What is the last album you bought?
(Chris) I haven’t bought an album in a long time! I buy and download individual songs, but haven’t bought a full length CD in awhile. I haven’t felt there has been a full album that I must have.
(Shannon) Yeah, I feel the same way. But I’ve bought entire albums off of iTunes before. The last one I purchased like that was Adele’s album, 19.
What are you drinking on stage?
(Chris) Bud Light and goat’s blood!
(Shannon) Yuck. Water.
Pepsi or Coke?
(Chris) Coke. I like Coke better than Pepsi any day, especially Coke in a glass bottle.
(Shannon) I’m right there with you.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
(Chris) With a few Lorelei records under our belts, a large fan base and great tours. I will be satisfied knowing that we are sharing our music with the world.
(Shannon) Lorelei will have multiple #1 hits. Perhaps we will have a Grammy nomination or two. Dream big!
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
(Chris) I’d like to be remembered as a creative guitarist /songwriter. I’d like to make some kind of impact in the music world.
(Shannon) The reason why I sing and write songs is to be able to inspire others. If I can touch other people’s lives in a meaningful way, impact them, uplift them, I will be happy and will know that my purpose on this earth has been fulfilled.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
(Chris) 2010 is the breakout year for Lorelei! We will put out our full length CD, shoot a video, and complete a west coast tour. We are planning many big things for the band and we want our friends and fans to stay tuned! I believe that all creative people out there should stick to what they believe in and stay confident in their art. Even when it gets tough, it will pay off in the end. Love and persistence is the key.
(Shannon) Thank you so much for interviewing us, Ricky! Everyone, please come listen to our tunes on MySpace sign up for our mailing list. Fans are our top priority and we always respond to genuine emails and comments. Big things are happening and we’d love to have you along for the ride!