INTERVIEW: Vespertina’s vocalist and Queen Wolf, Lorrie Doriza

5 05 2011

A month or so ago we tipped you off on a sick new music project called Vespertina, a twisted mix of trip hop, pop, and classical meticulously crafted with the kind of dramatic melodies, catchy hooks, and haunting imagery that’ll cling to your mind for days. This ain’t your classic fairy tale or even the usual tumble down the rabbit hole – acclaimed producer Stoupe (of Jedi Mind Tricks) and dynamic vocalist/pianist Lorrie Doriza have come together and created a world all their own – deranged, impassioned, eerie, fantastic – but altogether powerful and utterly unique.

The pair’s debut album, The Waiting Wolf, is set for release next week on May 10, and they’ll be playing their first NYC show the day after at Bowery Poetry Club. We spoke with Lorrie in the lead-up to these milestones in her Vespertina journey to find out just what running with the wolves has been like thus far, and what she’s looking forward to in the months to come.

Vespertina - The Waiting Wolf

Lorrie Doriza – Vespertina’s Queen Wolf. Where did this title come from and what does it mean to you?

Haha, I don’t really remember, but I think it merely started as a joke and it kind of grew from there. Besides, if you’re amongst wolves, it’s better to be the Queen rather than Little Red, right?

Let’s jump back to the beginning for a moment. This isn’t the first time you and Stoupe have worked together. How did that come about and what was it about that collaboration that stood out to you?

A couple months into working on The Waiting Wolf, Stoupe asked me to collaborate on a song for his solo producer album, Decalogue. It was a very new writing process for me, so that song was more of an experiment at the time, but turns out people really liked it. Stoupe basically sent me a 2 measure loop of a riff and then just said “write a song over this.” It was a little nerve-wracking and I kinda thought he was testing me; I’d never written a song that way so it was good practice.

It’s been a few years since then and Vespertina is the new word on everyone’s lips. How did you and Stoupe decide to work together on this project, and how did you decide on its very particular aesthetic?

Vinnie Paz, from Jedi Mind Tricks, had heard my music online and told Stoupe about it. Stoupe thought it was fitting to his style so we decided to start working on a few songs to see how it would go. The Vespertina aesthetic grew from the vibe of the songs, our mutual love for quoting classical music in our own songs and my obsession with the theatrics of opera. I’ve always wanted to sing in an opera, wear the costumes and get lost in my role, but I love writing music too much to do that for real. I really wanted to make the Vespertina shows into a dramatic spectacle, with a live string quartet, costumes, the works… I think the music really lends itself to that visual, so why not? Music should be all encompassing.

What has the songwriting and recording process been like for The Waiting Wolf?

Long! Haha! We were working on it for almost 3 years! It was a little challenging because I live in NY and Stoupe lives in Philly, so we’d kind of send each other snippets and things and work on them individually at first. I think both Stoupe and I are very similar in the sense that we’re very hermit-like in our creative processes, so it was very ideal in that sense! I already had some songs that I had written prior (“The Girl in the Basement,” “Mantis Mantra” for example) that made it to the album, and the rest I wrote from elaborating on snippets (“Devil’s Dance,” “Somewhere Else”), playing around with my looping station (“Plastic,” “Kinda Girl”) and some good old fashioned piano doodling (“Hugo,” “Down”). I recorded the vocals with Jonathan Jetter at Right Angle Recording and he was so good to me. I’m a little weird about recording and I hate that peep-window between the producer and the studio. I don’t like being watched… mostly ’cause I dance around awkwardly and don’t want anyone to see me do that… I guess the cat’s out of the bag now. Luckily the window was sealed off so I felt pretty comfortable. But it was cool because I’d tell him to roll the track just to “see what happens” and some really awesome moments were captured, like that blood-curdling scream at the end of “The Girl in the Basement.” It was a challenging project at times and a lot of songs didn’t make it to the album, but it was an important exercise in songwriting for me and I can only hope it has made me quicker and more versatile for the next album!

What should listeners know about this album before diving down its rabbit hole? You’ve said it’s a “dark Odyssey that plays like a three act opera.”

The songs are stories within an overall narrated story that spreads itself over the course of the entire album, in three acts, much like an opera. I don’t really want to say anything more than that; dive in, you’re on your own.

Your first two singles have been released – “The Girl in the Basement” and just this weekend, “Devil’s Dance.” How has the response been and how do you feel to be able to finally release these tracks after 3 years of working on them?

I couldn’t wait to release them, much like I can’t wait for The Waiting Wolf to be released! It’s taken such a long time to finally get here, and this is still just the beginning for us. Already, I’ve felt so much love and support from our fans, many of which are Stoupe’s fans who are excited to hear something completely fresh and different from him, and who supported us before even hearing any music! That’s pretty hardcore! I’m proud of this album and can’t wait for people to hear it!

What are you most looking forward to when it comes to playing these tracks live, and what can audience members expect?

The outfits! Haha, no! I’m very excited to be playing with a live band, including an all-female string quartet! There’s something really magical about being so close to a string section, I think that’s something that the usual audience isn’t exposed to or perhaps has never even experienced. I feel like we’re bringing a few opposing music worlds together and it’s really cool to see so many different kinds of people digging these songs… it’s incredible!!

At the end of the day, what is Vespertina really about, and how is it different from your and Stoupe’s solo work?

Vespertina is a storyteller and our songs are often times cautionary tales, but at the core, Stoupe and I are just two perfectionist hermits who like to make music that will move people. These songs mean a lot to me, but once they’re finished and released into the world, they can mean anything to anybody, and I like that. Stoupe is known for his intricate beats and his ear for sampling things you’ve never heard of or expected to hear before, and he makes it all work together in a very fresh and original way. He’s very passionate and making music is always at the forefront of his mind. I think with Vespertina, because all the songs were built from scratch, he really got to explore a different production process and did a lot more arranging than what he might normally do, in a variety of styles. As far as my solo work, I think it’s different from Vespertina because perhaps it’s maybe a little quirkier and random. Also, I don’t wear corsets.

The opening lyrics of “Devil’s Dance” are quite telling: “if the world is a stage, then I’m here to upstage it.” What can your little wolves expect from you going forward as you bring these creations to life?

We’re stubborn and ambitious, and with the love and support of our growing wolfpack, things can only get better from here!

SHOW DATES:

Vespertina Album Release Party! Bowery Poetry Club, NY – May 11, 10pm, ALL AGES.

Vespertina opening for Dutch at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA – May 13, 5:30pm, ALL AGES.

Code Anchor Reunion Show, opening acts: Vespertina and Bangladeafy! Ollie’s Point, NY – May 29, 8:30pm, 18+

DOWNLOADS:

“Devil’s Dance” and “The Girl in the Basement” are FREE for a limited time at vespertina.bandcamp.com and vespertinamusic.com. They’re also available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.

ALBUM PRE-ORDERS & MERCH:

merchdirect.com/vespertina

CONNECT:

Vespertina on Facebook and Twitter

interview by audrey leopard; photo of lorrie by carlos detres

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4 04 2012
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[…] of dramatic melodies, catchy hooks, and haunting imagery that’ll cling to your mind for days.. http://sugarnthunder.com/2011/05/05/interview-vespertinas-queen-wolf-lorrie-doriza/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized by admin. Bookmark the […]

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