On the eve of Pleasure, Feist’s first album in nearly six years, the Canadian songstress, 41, recalls the pop stars and punk icons who shaped her.
My first musical obsession
“When I was about 6 years old, it was Elvis - like, the early rockabilly Elvis. My mom says I declared I was going to marry him, and when she told me he’d died, I collapsed on the floor weeping. [Laughs]”
The first album I bought
“My early ’90s were kind of dominated by Sinéad O’Connor, so I think it was The Lion and the Cobra? The college paper in Calgary, where I grew up, and the local punk scene that I was a part of were pretty much my only exposures to new music.... And my brother, who’s five years older, didn’t really introduce me to stuff on purpose, but I heard it through his bedroom door: the Eurythmics and the Police and Kraftwerk.”
My first concert
I’m so lucky that it was Tina Turner in the Private Dancer era. I mean, where do you go from there, right? The scene in my hometown was pretty amazing, too. My [first] band got to open for the Jesus Lizard when I was maybe 16, and I thought I was gonna melt. We actually got to open for a lot of people who came through: Suicidal Tendencies, Nomeansno, and a bunch of Canadian greats that you probably wouldn’t know about. [Laughs]”
The music that reminds me of my first crush
“2 Live Crew. I know, it’s so inappropriate! And Deee-Lite’s Groove Is in the Heart.’ I can also hear Beastie Boys and George Michael’s Faith’; it’s sort of a mixtape in my head. But then a bit later, more like late teens, early 20s, when I got into [seminal indie-rock trio] Dinosaur Jr., I used to dream about J Mascis and [Afghan Whigs frontman] Greg Dulli, that both of them were going to take me away on a white stallion into the sunset.”
My comfort-food music
“Immediately I think of Paul Simon’s Graceland. I can listen to it 15 times in a day when I get into that mode. In fact, I have a car that has a cassette player in it, and that was one of the first tapes I got for it - maybe one of the only ones. I think I have [Beck’s] Odelay in there, too.”
The album that wrecks me
“I actually cried yesterday! It’s Molly Drake - the song I Remember.’ It gets me every time. She’s Nick Drake’s mother, and they found these tapes from the ’60s. There’s only one album, but you can hear her voice change because she recorded them over 20 years, and it’s almost Joni Mitchell-esque. Her voice goes from this super-high clear crystal to deeper as the decades pass, and it’s spectacular.”
The song I want played at my funeral
“There’s a song from the Library of Congress field recordings - they’re, like, field-workers and coal miners and farmers, just real Americans through the early 20th century - and there’s a guy, Bozie Sturdivant, who sings a song called Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down.’ If my friends could form a processional choir and sing that song in that arrangement, I think that could be it. But also my best friend, Chilly Gonzales, claims he’s going to write a requiem for me, and I almost want him to do it before I die so I can hear it. [Laughs]”
Pleasure arrives Friday, April 28.