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Ellie Vee - conducted by Alex Goldberg  

Ellie Vee (The Charms) Interview

July 2006

MVRemix: Let’s talk about performance. When you perform, what makes a great show and what makes a horrible show, something that would make you regret it?

Ellie Vee: Well, we don’t really regret anything that happens on stage, we usually just laugh if it’s not a great show. I mean, stuff can just go wrong on stage. But a bad show, is when you just don’t get that feel—that energy in the room. Sometimes you’re in the room and it’s just not happening. But when stuff breaks or blows up on stage, you get used to that stuff happening and you learn to work around it. A great show is when you feel as though you are not yourself when you’re on stage, and in that case, the audience goes with you—you feel that loss of control.

MVRemix: How often do you feel that loss of control?

Ellie Vee: Often, if not all the time.

MVRemix: So there’s a dependency between you and the audience…

Ellie Vee: The thing is, people are there for a reason so you can usually bring them along with you. So, yeah, you are dependent on the audience, but it’s part of the thing about performing, you have to get people to go along with you for the experience.

MVRemix: Tell me about the Boston garage scene. Does Boston garage overlap with any other garage scene, like Detroit, or is it unusual for The Charms to bridge that gap between Boston and Detroit?

Ellie Vee: The thing is, Boston is known for garage rock. One of my favorite bands of all time, The Lyres, are from Boston and there are a lot of pretty well known garage bands from around here, but there isn’t really any resurgence of garage bands in Boston. It’s a pretty local scene. I wouldn’t say that there are a lot of ties with other cities. So, I guess I feel like we are a little unusual, because we get out of here so much and we tour a lot, and we’ve become friends with a lot of bands from Detroit, and Atlanta. Detroit definitely has the largest garage scene right now. A lot of Detroit bands tour, whereas in Boston, most of the bands stay local. So there are a lot of great bands in Boston, and it’s a big enough scene that you don’t necessarily have to leave, but we wanted to.

MVRemix: Do you think that a city can have a sound? That is, a Boston sound, a Detroit sound, etc. Do you think there’s a unique Boston garage sound?

Ellie Vee: Yeah, I think so. Last time I was in Detroit I noticed that there is more of a blues sound in Detroit, and there’s more of a punk sound in Boston garage. Believe it or not, there’s also a little Irish influence in Boston garage, you know, like the Dropkick Murphey’s sound. Boston is also influenced by power pop, more than I would say blues. Detroit has a very strong blues influence.

MVRemix: How would you describe “power pop”?

Ellie Vee: Power pop is really catchy songs, really poppy hooks, but are usually presented in a rock and roll format. It’s not like synths and drum machines, it’s usually a band situation. I would even go as far as to say that Kiss is a power pop band, but they’re a metal band, so they have heavy guitars, so that’s the trick [she laughs].

MVRemix: The Charms have shared the stage with The Stooges, Blondie, The New York Dolls. Who else would you like to work with, tour with, share the stage with?

Ellie Vee: I would really like to tour with The Hellacopters, they’re a Swedish rock band, and they’re getting air play on the Underground Garage too. I also like the Sahara Hotnights. I would definitely like to work with either of those bands.

MVRemix: Are any of these in the works? Is it going to happen?

Ellie Vee: Well we’re supposed to do a big tour in the fall, but the lineup hasn’t been confirmed yet. So I can’t say exactly.

MVRemix: What can we expect in the next year for The Charms?

Ellie Vee: I definitely think that more people will start hearing about us. And the new record is awesome and it’s coming out in October and you’ll hear a whole records worth of new songs. And we’ll be touring. We just did our first national tour of the whole country last fall and we’re going to do more touring.

MVRemix: What could I ask you that would tell people something about you or The Charms that I haven’t already asked? What do you want people to know about you, or The Charms?

Ellie Vee: I guess one of the reasons I write songs is because they explain things a lot better than talking about myself. So, it’s hard to come up with what I would want people to know about me, because, I’m a musician, and musicians are boring [both laugh]. To other people, they’re more interesting, but, I’m always thinking, ‘why do people want to know about musicians?’ [laughs]. I guess the most important part about being in a band for me is the writing part and the recording part. I mean, I love playing live, it’s really fun, but my true love is writing. That’s why I say if we could put out two records a year I would love to do that, because I write all the time, and if I have a reason to write, I write more. Right before a record is going to be recorded, I go into a writing frenzy, and I have a lot of material to record. I guess that’s the thing, when you do a lot of touring and a lot of shows, people just hear the end result, but the writing is definitely the most fun part.

MVRemix: Well, I think that’s all I got.

Ellie Vee: That’s fine, you have plenty of information.

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