|photo: Travis McCoy|
Alison Chesley, aka Helen Money, is a classically trained cellist, who has made a name for herself in the loud rock world. Whether contributing to other bands works or on her own CDs, Chesley is an enthralling musician, crafting dark and somber music that has the ability to move the listener.
On her most recent CD, "Arriving Angels", she is joined by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder on a few tracks, as well as performing solo. Regardless, of whether she's joined by a guest musician or performing solo, it's another captivating listen.
Since she will be performing at BAR this coming Wednesday, we sent her some e-mail questions and here are her answers on a variety of subjects including recording with Steve Albini, the evolution of her playing and why the cello has an appeal to loud rock fans, among many others.
What made you choose the cello? And what do you think is its appeal to fans of loud rock?
I think my mom might have chosen it. I was eight. But I do think I really loved it right away. I loved the sound. The great thing about the cello is that it appeals to pretty much everyone. And people who listen to extreme music I think respond to anything that is done well, has something to say, and has a great sound, whether it’s a cello or a guitar.
How has your playing evolved over the years?
I started as a classical player. I was in grad school when I had the opportunity to play rock music on my cello. I met guitarist and singer Jason Narducy and we ended up forming Verbow together. It was very aggressive music that demanded a different type of playing from me – simpler parts that fit in with the structure of the songs and with the voice and guitar. I liked it immediately and felt an affinity for it –the sound of notes on a cello without vibrato - the emphasis on rhythm. It’s more visceral in some ways which I like.
You recorded the new album with Steve Albini. What does he bring to the table, that makes you want to record with him?
He’s wonderful to work with – knows just how to give you the space to get your best performance on tape. And he knows how to use mics and live spaces to achieve a the best possible recorded sound. It’s not easy to do. And he’s just a great person. Steve and Bob Weston and Todd Trainer have been great friends to me – asked me to open for them on the road many times and have been very supportive of my music. It really was a no-brainer to decide to do this record with him.
How is the new album different from your last one? How is it similar? How do you feel about it being on Profound Lore?
As far as the writing, I feel like it’s a continuation of where I’ve been heading. Darker, Sparser while exploring new sounds like the Piano and the Drums. I feel like I’m refining what I want to say and how I want to say it. And I love being on Profound Lore. It’s a good home for my music. Chris Bruni, the owner, is very involved and supportive and the other bands on the label, while maybe more traditionally metal, I feel are coming from the same place as me. I’m really happy to be in their company.
What are your future plans? More touring? Recording?
Yes and yes. I see myself doing short tours more frequently – developing audiences in certain places without spreading myself too thin. And I’m really looking forward to getting back to writing. I feel like I’ve past a hurdle with the record – it’s freeing and I’m very excited about the future.
Manic Productions Presents:
Sea Of Bones
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
254 Crown Street
New Haven, CT 06511
21+ - 9:00pm - Free