Loene Carmen - No More Tears

Loene Carmen - the rock and roll songstress with the voice that is simultaneously razor-sharp and endearingly vulnerable has officially launched her new album Rock n Roll Tears. She took a few moments to discuss last years' international tour, vocal classifications and the interaction between music and motherhood.


How does it feel being back in Oz after so much time abroad? "Its always good to be home, and always great to get on with getting an album out, after all the necessary organisational messing round that precedes it. I was really excited to release Rock n Roll Tears after living with it so long - and mainly because we're all really proud of it - it really feels like the album I always wanted to make and doing the launch shows with Jed and Cec and Sam is really inspiring. That said, I'm now pretty restless to get on with the next chapter."


She has every reason to feel proud of this record, as an impeccably well orchestrated collection of moody, classic rock and roll pieces that highlights Loenes' vocal strength and range. While I have not yet been fortunate enough to hear the group live, it is clear that these are songs perfectly suited to the stage. And Loene has been very busy on that front- touring through Paris, New York, Greece, London, Berlin and beyond. What was her favourite city? "They all had their charms, but I think Paris stole my heart. And New York is a great place for making rock n roll, you can just feel it in the air."


In true rock and roll tradition, are there any horror stories from the tour? Cockroach infested tour-buses, scary fans etc...? "Berlin was pretty tough to begin with. I didn't know anyone there and had to borrow amps and beds from friends of friends - it was a fairly scary exercise in relying on the kindness of strangers - but its that kind of city..."


Borrowed amps and couch-surfing aside, as with your first two records, the new album has received glowing reviews. A common note in these reviews is the sheer sexuality of your voice; compared to Marilyn Munroe, Barbarella, a femme-fatale and the list goes on. Has this been an developing evolution over the three records? "Yeah I guess I've got a bit bigger and braver each time - born funky was basically recorded alone in my bedroom, still trying to work out how to use the machine I recorded on and most of the tracks written and recorded simultaneously...for slight delay I had a pretty good home studio setup, by my standards anyway, and a tiny little room, which I think really impacted on the 'intimate' sound of that record - when Jed and warren did their parts it was a matter of setting 'em up, shutting the door and waiting in the kitchen while they did their thing...it was all pretty haphazard in a way and we just recorded a bunch of stuff and then whittled it down to what worked together .. then finally with rnrtears it was a big affair with us all traipsing out the country, knowing what songs were gonna be recorded, having a professional (Jordan Brebach) to record them well which left me to concentrate on getting the performance right instead trying to work out what buttons to push....and it was really inspiring to be working with a whole band who just knew precisely where to take a song without a word being spoken." This synthesis that Loene describes is a key feature of the new record- with the sense of group cohesion playing no small part in developing the sense of old school authenticity that makes it such a delight to listen to.


On that topic of atmosphere, to what degree has this record been a thematic departure for you? Was there a particular motif in mind? "Atmospherically I had key words of 'dirt and air and heat and night' that I somehow wanted to capture in all of the songs. i like to think of this album as a love song to rock n roll. Although it's not really a thematic departure for me, it's the first time I've attempted to make an album that's cohesive by virtue of both theme and atmosphere. But all of my songs are love songs to something or other, its all I can write."


I saw on your blog that you recently mentioned that your daughter, Holiday, helped you freestyle some lyrics for a song called ‘Love Assasin'. Does she often play a hands-on role in your work? "Yeah my daughter writes great songs, a really inventive and beautiful lyricist and has been since she was a toddler. But we mainly do our own thing.


We listen to a lot of music together and she's inherited my love of girl groups and weird stuff and old soul, though she's not so into the 70's rock stuff and old Nashville country I'm a sucker for. I try to keep motherhood and rock n roll pretty separate - and I don't think either one is especially helpful to the other...I'm not a fan of soppy songs for your kid. .." This pragmatism may well be informed by Loenes' ‘showbiz' longevity- she emerged as an actress at a very young age in the quintessential film The Year My Voice Broke.


Do you ever feel a creative pull to return to acting, or are there other prioritized goals on the horizon? "I feel a creative pull in general. It all comes out of the same well. Next record I guess is first on the cards, though I still need to decide which way to go - there's just so many sounds I want to make and places and songs to record. But I'm tinkering with the idea of branching out into making films too - and I'm certainly always keen to be in good ones."


With her current winning streak, I have no doubt that whether it's another tour, a new record or a new classic film for Loene Carmen, it will be epitomized by talent and success.

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