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What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation?

I was inspired to make music while living in Valparaiso, Chile on a hill alone in 1996. The solitude and lack of computer/phone forced me to write (which I have always, always done) and the poetry turned into lyrics,, and then shortly after taking a bus I met Christian Basso (musician/composer) in Buenos Aires, fell in love, and I started experimenting with songwriting from thereon.

My current incarnation is a band called Kal e Elin. Members are Elin Palmer (violin/vocal/multi-instrumental), Christopher Nelsen (drums and other nice additions) and Leon Gonzalez on guitar/bass.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

Well, I last released as Kal Cahoone and the Dirty Pretty, a five song e.p. called “The Sickness and the Cure.” I really liked that band and ep, we still have three of us out of the five, and with “Kal e Elin” now we are almost finished with another five song release. This year Tarantella also released “Rumley’s Garage,” which are three singles recorded long ago.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

I wasn’t very inspired to sing until I heard Mazzy Star in the early 90’s, as well as Eartha Kitt. Eartha singing in all of those languages and her story really inspired me the most. I was saved by the music of the 80’s: New Order, Depeche Mode (the dark stuff) and The Cure (the B sides). In the early 80’s in Denver we had these “underage clubs” for teens who couldn’t yet drink, and it was a real lifesaver to go out and dance every weekend all night long to the best 80’s stuff (Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Siouxsie) these songs literally helped me to understand myself and the world. Though my piano teacher as a child adored me and was very sad when I quit, my family did not encourage me as a musician nor artist in any way, and I never would have imagined myself doing this. My mother did have a fine collection of records, however, mostly 70’s folk and rock, and my younger brother (Nate Cahoone), sister (musician Sera Cahoone) and I were highly influenced by those.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

I am sure my/our music sounds different, but not sure how. It is sparse, someone said “holding back”, which I thought was interesting. Part of this, however, is that I have NO training as a musician, no “theory” background. I studied languages and poetry. Songs to me are all melody and lyrics….I love to write them, whether they are good or not, I have always needed this. Recently some of my songs as a solo-artist have been classified as “modern noir,” which I love, as a huge fan of film noir and as a woman. Tarantella was more of a “goth” influence I suppose coming from local friends in bands like “Slim Cessna” and “16 Horsepower.”

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

Albums: New Order Movement, Leonard Cohen, George Michael Listen Without Prejudice (Seriously!) Goran Bregovic The Underground and also Cesaria Evora.

Movies: Cinema Paradiso, King Kong (70’s version), Paris Texas and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Books: “The Weekend Book,” from the 1920’s, is my old strange favorite, I often dream of going away with it for the weekend,..as it has it all, old poems, folk songs, bird and star identification and stories. My favorite in the 90’s was “A Natural History of the Senses”,…and Doestoevsky (though I certainly have not read them all!). I also really like “The Way of the Pilgrim.”

kal-cahoone-at-the-ums-2011

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

I prefer the studio, just because it’s so nice to create songs and play with new parts and the process together is so magical doing it with this group. I am working on the live thing. It’s never been my thing to be “looked at,” in fact, I have had a weird phobia about it lots of my life,…as just kind of an introvert who likes the back row. I wish I had grown up performing, that would help!

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

My music ‘career’ isn’t much perhaps, though I am proud and so grateful for what I/we have done and are doing. Writing songs is not my career, it’s my soul’s food. Honestly, I teach as well, and always wanted to be a teacher. NEVER thought I could nor would be able to play music in a band. I love singing in chant, ancient Byzantine Orthodox is my favorite.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

Maybe “Build the Fire,” which was born out of a lonely dark time as a single mom. I was teaching at a camp in the mountains with teens and had to learn how to build a fire with them about five times, (still can’t do this with flint and sticks!) and then the loneliness and anger also brought me back to something that happened near Denver here many years ago…. a “crazy” lady accidently started a huge forest fire with the love letters she was burning in the woods. I thought back then, “wow! I can relate to that feeling…I must be crazy!!”

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

Yes, with “Kal e Elin” we are releasing another five songs by the end of the year. I would also like to tour Europe perhaps soon with my daughter!

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity.

What else do you like to do?

Well, let’s see, there are so many things that interest me! I like acting, actually, and was a part of a friend’s film called “Eat the Future,” and a few other projects. Recently I am working on a very somber and dark biography, a short film/soundtrack with John Rumley (Tarantella) and Melissa Rick. I also love my family. Thanks!

Photo credits: Scott McCormick (1st one), GloryAnna Breitweiser (2nd one)

Curated by: Konstantinos Pamfiliss

Recommended listening:

Connect with Kal Cahoone:

Facebook: Kal Cahoone, Tarantella

CD BABY: Kal Cahoone, Kal Cahoone and the Dirty Pretty