'Recollecting the Ethereal Voice of Shauna'
'Anamnesis' is pianist/singer/songwriter Shauna Burns' just released work under Red Rock Music. This 5 song EP is the continuation of The Moon and the Fire Circle and the next step in her musical journey.
Anamnesis, which means 'recollection' or 'remembrance', focuses on the senses that live in our memories. 'Music is a trigger for things we remember,' Shauna explains. 'Each of the songs on Anamnesis represents one of the senses.'
The first song on the EP is titled 'Smell' ...its reference is obvious. 'A Letter' embraces the gift of sight, 'Wind' references touch, 'Driving Far' taste, and 'So Tell Me...' our sense of hearing.
The new album is full of Shauna's trademark piano and vocals, James Clark on drums and percussion, Steve Lemmon on guitar and bass, Ryan Tilby on mandolin and dobro, Kiley Astle on violin and Steve Nelson on cello.
Taking some time out recently with Shauna, I first wondered what had been her musical influences growing up and how many still factored into her music today? "Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths/Morrissey, Tori Amos, U2... and they all still bring me to my knees. Luckily they still produce music today (thank goodness!) and I feel I really lucked out with that; being drawn to artists that have survived the test of time and are still tearing it up in their own way."
"Depeche Mode was my first love and I wanted to be in their band... I really did. So maybe I'm just living out my fantasy of being in DM. Ha! I graduated High School in 1993 so it was the grunge time, it was Nirvana heaven everywhere and I'm rocking in my Chevy Blazer to DM, Tori and Robert Smith. They all made their mark. I think I'm fortunate I was influenced by bands that were true to their art, their songs felt real and came from a real place. I take great care with my music, these living breathing entities, so that they are representing their truth. It's all in the details."
For the Average Joe who (amazingly) may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your upcoming new EP, how would you yourself describe your sound? "I always thought I was alternative rock but some people close to me have gently said that "alternative rock" is now different. That always makes me laugh... I'd still say rock with a peppering of Celtic flavor in it."
"This was done completely unintentionally, I guess it came out naturally because I didn't consciously decide that was going to be in there, but I'm glad it is. I love Celtic and native music very much. My "artsy" answer would be: Haunting piano and ethereal vocals in the Celtic sea."
The EP title is quite a one word mouthful, 'Anamnesis' ... so, why choose it over, say what it actually means, 'Recollections'?! "Good point. I like to keep everyone on their toes. Ah, just kidding. I really liked the look of Anamnesis, you have to work a little bit to get inside (and to pronounce it!) but I wanted a word that would connect the idea of memories and senses. When I read the classic definition it just felt right."
"Later I found out deeper meanings that seemed to fit as well; like in Platonism (from Plato) it means the recollection of ideas which the soul had known in a previous existence. All very thought provoking ideas."
Most of the press on you has you labeled as "for-those-that-love" Tori Amos, or Loreena McKennitt, or Marie Brennan, but is this a fair assumption on who you are? And, do comparisons like those help or hinder your progression within the business? "I think it's fair, I don't mind a bit. I love these gals so it's extremely flattering. I don't think about it so much, the comparing part, but I can see how it's a natural thing to do. I think of it as we're all making our own thread in the tapestry of music (how's that for an artsy answer?)."
"But of course I'm my own person and approach the music a certain way, like Tori and Loreena are their own people with their individual differences. I don't think being compared hinders really in the end (at least I've never felt it) and it might be because I don't mind that much. At the end of the day the music has to stand on it's own, I'm just a translator of sorts. These women are warriors and I respect them immensely. I'm a great fan and admirer and I wouldn't hesitate a millisecond if any one of them asked me to tea."
'Anamnesis' is also a continuation of 'The Moon and the Fire Circle,' and is claimed to be the next step on your musical journey. But, ultimately, where are you hoping that musical journey takes you? "Firstly, the reason Anamensis is the continuation of The Moon and the Fire Circle is because the songs were all written together (fairly close together) and I felt that they had the same story line and completed this narrative. But in the big scheme of things, I would love to have my own working professional studio. To live and work creating music and putting it out to the world. This has been my dream for as long as I can remember."
"Right now James Clark (my husband and drummer) and I have recorded all the albums at Spiral Studios with our friend Steve Lemmon in southern Utah and it is a dream working and recording there. One day James and I will have our own Red Rock Music Studios and produce the music in a super-cool environment. But in "music land" to continue to record and put out music."
"I'm always scheming... always planning my next move, my next work. Channelling the music. Being a steward for the songs and making sure they are represented truthfully. Since I heard my mother play when I was just a little girl I have dreamt about being a musician and playing piano and I'm so grateful that the puzzle pieces are falling into place. One piece at a time."
Knowing that each of the songs on this new EP represents one of the senses we possess, which one of your own senses are you the most fond of, and couldn't do with losing; for no matter how long or short of a time?! "I think it would be hearing. I could hear the music, hear and play the piano... that is my life line. It's my reset button. Music is what heals and transports us. It's how I view practically everything around me. There is always a song waiting in the wings, just ready to pounce."
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Well, this may be a naughty answer but the music that comes doesn't have motives. The songs are what they are. I know this sounds slightly weird, but as long as I feel I'm being truthful to them, meaning the sound is right, then I'm over-the-moon happy and it does feel easy. I have a few people around me who lend me their ears and I value what they say and that does help. But when we go into the studio the songs are structurally done and we just add extra flavor (instrumentation) to them."
"That doesn't mean I'm not thoughtful of what works and what doesn't. But the songs have pretty loud voices, if something is off they'll let me know. It's a feeling. I like this idea of letting the music be the guide, pushing new sounds and opening new boxes with each work. I think if you trust the music and think outside your comfort zone then you will grow as an artist. Don't be afraid to experiment. Push up and good things will come."
Do you believe that your bachelor's degree in Anthropology will ever come to the fore and become your day-to-day money earning gig? "I'm not sure. I've worked in the field briefly and Anthro influences me in songwriting and researching of why we do the things we do in a cultural sense. But I get what you're asking, I don't like saying "never", because you really never know. I'm so consumed by music but have this love of history and cultural identity so I hope to continue to fuse them. I adore Anthropology and could easily live in the British Museum. I'd live behind the Rosetta Stone."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "This is the best question ever! Okay, my first choice would be "Shake the Disease" by Depeche Mode. I cover this song live and it's one of my favorite DM songs. If that isn't cheesy enough I'd say When in Rome's "The Promise" or "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics. But that really isn't that cheesy is it?"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I do love Penguins! Who doesn't love Penguins? I cried watching 'March of the Penguins.' I cry at just about anything..."
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future. "Thank you! I truly do appreciate all the kindness! :)"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Shauna Burns on MySpace
If you would like to win a copy of this brand new CD ... AUTOGRAPHED ... and you think you know all there is to know about the lady, just answer this easy question: When Shauna went into the studio in March of 2005 and recorded 'Every Thought' with James on drums, Steve Lemmon was on guitar and some bass, Ryan Tilby on guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, Caroline Kemper on Celtic Harp ... but who was on the Irish Whistle?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before June 1st with your answer and the subject title SHAUNA BURNS SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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