Today I’ve got Palmyra Delran with us for a chat. We talk about how she’s holding up during the pandemic, what got her started in music, working with Little Steven and Debbie, and a whole lot more. Palmyra has a couple of great new singles out, which we will discuss in further detail below, so I won’t ruin that for you. All that being said, if you would like to learn more about the music of Palmyra Delran, head over to her Bandcamp here and dig in. Once you’ve done that, check out this interview with Palmyra. Cheers.
Palmyra, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been
rough, right? How are you holding up during this seemingly ever raging dumpster
Hi! Thanks for having me! I’m doing Ok considering all the craziness! I’m actually
getting used to hanging close to home with my puppies, but I’m sure once things
start getting a bit back to normal; I’ll bust out and go see bands, book gigs, and get to
hug my friends again!
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway, so to speak?
I clicked with sound as a young geeky kid. I loved music so much and would escape
to my room where I had an old Technics turntable. The headphones were a mind-blower for me. I loved picking out all the different instruments and where they were
placed in the mix. But I listened to anything that was going on around me – I still
love the sound of lawnmowers and prop planes. Even tinnitus doesn’t bother me so
much. It’s like silver noise.
As an artist, who are some of your earliest and most important influences?
Influences can come from anywhere, and it doesn’t even matter where it comes
from. Pay attention and take it. I remember seeing the film Fahrenheit 451 as a kid
and realizing there was more out there than Disney flicks – not that there’s anything
wrong with that! Hearing the Brian Jones period of the Stones hit me hard, as did the
Beatles and Kinks. It was later that I started digging!
Let’s jump right in and talk about your new singles, “Lucky in Love” and “Who’s
Been Sleeping Here?” Tell us about the recording and inspiration? Can we hope for a
full-length album soon?
“Lucky In Love” dates back to my old band, The Friggs. Our bass player, Mitzi Dodge,
wrote the song in the final period of the band before the implosion. It never got
properly recorded but kept popping into my head through the years. I figured now
was the time for a sweet love song to shine through all the weirdness. Kind of like
showing that there can be a happy ending.
“Who’s Been Sleeping Here” is a cover of a song by The Tuff Darts from the NYC
CBGBs days. Our drummer Mark popped in a CD on a ride home from a gig one night,
and I remember how much I loved them. I think the Doppel Gang fellas – Michael
Lynch, Mark Brotter, and Bob Wojciechowski really nailed the vibe of the song!
As a songwriter, how do your lyrics come together? Are they intensely personal
or are you merely telling stories, so to speak?
A little of both, actually. I have an easier time writing songs that are not super
personal – maybe a made-up story coming from eavesdropping on other people’s conversations, then exaggerating a bit to finish the story. Sometimes, it can be scary
to disclose my own personal experiences, but I think it’s important for others to be
able to relate to the songs in their own way. It may not mean the same thing to
someone else, but they can take what they want from it and make their own
meaning. I love hearing what my songs mean to others.
How about the production side of things? These were recorded and mixed by
Geoff Sanoff, right? Tell us what it was like working with him? How did he hone
yourself and align with your vision?
Geoff is fantastic! We’ve worked together for years and have our thing down pretty
well. I usually demo my stuff at home on GarageBand and send it to my fellas to
make everything better with their parts; then, we have pre-production rehearsals to
work everything out as a band. My production notes for the sessions are a bit
obsessive – with overdubs and arrangements planned out. Geoff is a huge part of
how the records sound. He is detail-oriented from the start – mic placement, etc.…
and really knows the equipment at Renegade Studio, where we work.
As I am sure you are aware, women are greatly underrepresented within the
music industry, but hopefully, it’s getting better. That said, in your opinion, how do
we enact positive change and flip the script, so to speak?
I really think that has been changing for the better for years. Women have always
been part of every aspect of music – from songwriting, musicians, photographers,
label people, publicists – really every part of the biz. The “boys club” still exists, but I
think it’s impossible to deny women’s roles. Of course, they’ll always be the asshole
that thinks he’s complimenting us when he says, “You’re pretty good for girls,” but I
guess that’s comic relief.
In the past, you’ve had the opportunity to work with the likes of Debbie Harry
and Little Steven. What were those experiences like for you?
I love them both very much! They are both spontaneous yet unbelievably focused
and a lot of fun. Debbie is always up for a great time, and she loves collaborating with
her friends. Absolutely joyful when she’s in her zone! Steven is maybe the fastest
creator I’ve ever seen in action! Ideas seem to come to him like he’s just breathing
them out. I’ve learned a lot from him through the years.
Touring is usually a huge part of a working musician’s proverbial machine, but as
we know, COVID has disallowed it. What do you miss most about touring?
I miss hanging out with my band so much! We have fun even just rehearsing. I miss
seeing my friends and catching up with them at our shows. I miss seeing the bands
that I love and checking out new ones. I miss visiting new cities and returning to
places I’ve played in the past. What a strange and unimaginable turn of events! I
think once everything safely opens up, people will flock to live shows again.
One disturbing fact I’ve learned over time is that Spotify doesn’t pay artists well,
if at all. Meanwhile, Bandcamp seemingly goes out of its way to take care of its artist.
What are your thoughts on that issue? How do we as fans do our part to help?
That’s, unfortunately, where we are at this point. Call it evolution or de-evolution.
The most important thing is for people actually to buy music! Buy the vinyl, the CDs,
or the downloads. Buy the 8-Track if you can find it! Once the shows start up again –
visit the merch table and invest in the band. It will keep them going. Think about
all the dumb stuff you’ve blown $15 on! You could have a great piece of music that
will make you happy forever!
In a world dominated by big business and social media, can artists truly get ahead? How do we keep the playing field level so that everyone has a chance to succeed?
In a way, it’s easier because new bands can make records or videos and promote themselves via social media. They’ve even figured out how to pull off live shows that
people can watch at home sittin’ on the sofa. I’m impressed with how creative people are these days. The challenge is bringing it to bigger audiences and actually being able to support yourself with your music – which has always been a mystery. You never know what will take off in a big way.
Are you into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music? What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?
I do love vinyl! But I also buy CDs, and occasionally, I’ll get a download. I’m a collector and I just love looking at the album art and reading the liner notes. There’s definitely a bit of nostalgia that figures into it too. You’d be horrified if you saw my apartment!
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ones that mean the most to you.
Without naming names – because there are too many and my head would explode, my favorite genres are Trashy Pop, British Invasion, Garage, Freakbeat, Power Pop, Sleazy Instrumentals, Northern Soul, Mod, Beatnik Jazz, Ska, hmmm…did I forget anything? Probably!
Last question. What advice would you have for other indie artists just starting? How do they stay afloat in a world that seems to be so abhorrent to creatives?
Work hard at your craft and make sure you love the result. I hear people making excuses about the mix, or this or that, and I wonder why they released it. Maybe they
just needed one more mixing session to bring it over the top or a great mastering job. Don’t skimp. It’s your work, and it will be there forever. Listen and learn from others who know more than you do – without losing your identity. Always be true to yourself. Cut your nails.
Interested in learning more about the work of Palmyra Delran? Check out the link below:
Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview