AE: Merrill and Thao I think you can organically think of their sounds as separate artists coming together but having your sound be able to blend in there pretty seamlessly is just incredible. Was there ever a time in the creative process where someone was like, “Forget this! I’m going to my room!”?
M: Doing anything for that many hours in a row, for that many days in a row in a small group of people you think they are going to come up. That’s why people are in a relationship together so that things can come up. People brought their moods into the studio or their menstrual cycles and their stresses from other things that were going on and their excitement from other things that were going on so it’s kind of like, you become a little family unit and you just kind of ride it. Ride it out and there was never anything that came up that was like, “Oh man, this sucks!” [Laughs]
M: Nothing anywhere near that.
AE: So this might sound a little weird but I consider myself to be a little psychic. Remember when Johnny Carson used to hold an envelope up to his head and know what’s inside? So I did that with your album.
AE: The image that I got was couscous. Like a delicious bowl of couscous salad. Does that mean anything to you?
M: That is hysterical! Here’s what I think you were seeing: quinoa salad.
AE: Yeah, that might have been it!
M: [Laughs] You might have seen quinoa salad because Thao and I were eating a lot of quinoa at the time.
AE: I knew it!
M: [Laughs] Wow, if you’re that psychic can I ask you some questions about what I should do with my life right now?
AE: There is a very obvious answer for that which is, “I don’t know” because I still don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up. [Laughs]
M: [Laughs] Ok, that’s a good answer. I’ve actually come up with that answer many times myself.
Photo by Wayne Bremser
AE: Well, obviously I’d tell you to keep doing music because I’ve been a fan for a long time. But really this has been my favorite.
M: OK, if you say so. It’s a hard weird job and so much of it depends on “How am I? I don’t want to do this. I’m just going to just go move to the family farm and live in a cabin by myself.” Or like “Maybe I should go to grad school and be an academic.” Honestly I’d be a terrible academic.
AE: I know how you’re feeling. You know how they say celebrities are just like us — that would be you! You’re just like us.
M: One of my favorite quotes of last year — and I think it was in Rolling Stone — and Lady Gaga said, “You know sometimes I wake up and feel just as sad and insecure as any other 24-year-old but then I look at myself in the mirror and I say, ‘You’re Lady Gaga! Get up and walk that walk today!” [Laughs] Oh my God, I love her. [Laughs] I think about that quote a lot. It’s very inspiring to me.