May 10, 2003

Interview: The Owl & The Pussycat

How did the two of you meet, and, more importantly, what made you decide to collaborate?

Lois: It's a really long and convoluted story, but basically, Greg handed me a cassette of his music about seven years ago and I loved it and sang along with it all the time. So I decided I wanted to make a record with him. The trouble was, I didn't know him, or his address or anything else about him. Cut to six years later, a couple of further Greg Moore sightings and I finally get around to asking him to record with me. Gracious fellow, he accepted.

Describe the writing process for this album, please.

Greg: Lois and I both wrote individually. Then we'd work out harmonies and arrangements together. "Tigers" and "Don't Play Me" are both pretty old, but they seemed appropriate for this project because they owe a lot to Lois. I became a big Lois fan around the time I saw her on tour with Heavenly. The other songs were all written in the last couple of years. "Blinds" and "Time of Day" were the only ones written specifically for this project. Lois helped me with the words on "Time of Day". "Blinds" was kind of worked out while we were recording it. I initially envisioned Lois doing the lead vocal, but I'm really happy with the trading off vocals. "Curtains" owes a lot to my friend Peter Ford, who once helped me record it on 4-track.

Lois: Although Greg and I each wrote separately for the album, we really crafted it when we were recording. We added harmonies and piano and bass parts and changed a bunch of stuff around. Almost all the non-acoustic guitar parts were written while we were recording. Totally on the fly.

Any fond memories about recording?

Lois: We recorded in a cabin on a quiet island in British Columbia. So we did stuff like dug clams and watched whales and eagles. It was rad. We had to take all our recycling off the island on the ferry and there was tons because everyone drank a lot of beer and spirits. I missed the 4 a.m. recording session of "Time of Day" that was done by Greg and one of the engineers, John Collins (New Pornographers). They got trashed, took a microphone outside on the deck and recorded a track. You can hear the waves washing beneath the deck and John saying something like "that was killer" in the background.

Greg: Many fond memories- Lois and Jon and Dave (the engineers) are really funny and interesting people. I laughed a lot. We ate really well. Usually, Lois was the head chef and the guys would run around and try to be useful somehow. In general, those guys made the whole recording process very enjoyable and relaxing. I saw a whale off the side of the ferry. I thought it was a killer whale but it may have just been killer.

When the two of you got together, were either of you particularly inspired by any particular albums, or was there a record that really made you think, "I'd like to do that!"?

Lois: What's interesting about my list of inspirational records is that none of them are particularly great. Leon & Mary Russell's Wedding Album; British singer Judie Tzuke's first album; Pablo Cruise, Worlds Away, Silk Degrees by Boz Skaggs. It's pretty embarrassing to admit, actually.

Greg: I didn't really have a specific idea of what this record would sound like. I was more concerned with personally rising to the challenge than chasing a certain sound. I did listen to that latest Softies record (also recorded with JCDC on Galiano) on Lois' recommendation and I really loved that.

What's the story of how you two became the "owl" and "pussycat"?

Lois: I like to read and Greg likes to be petted. It was a natural.

Greg: We were patiently waiting for the right name to reveal itself. I was 4-tracking with Lois at her place in Olympia and I was looking at this little wooden Owl and Pussycat lamp or painted wooden toy of some sort. Lois said, "that's the name- the Owl and the Pussycat." She was right. Somebody gave me Edward Lear's Complete Book of Nonsense when I was a kid and its still one of my favorites.

Pussycat, what's your story? What else are you working on? Greg: I play in a band with my brother Thom called the Moore Brothers. We have a brand new cd coming out in May on Amazing Grease records. We live together as well in Oakland, CA. I am working on my undergraduate degree in Art and German. I'm working on 2 songs too.

It's been a few years since your last "Lois" record. Have you retired the one-named "Lois" project, or are you biding your time before releasing another Lois gem on the world?

Lois: If Heather Dunn would play drums and George Michael would produce it, I'd put out another Lois album in a heartbeat. (Let me know if you know anyone in the George Michael camp.)

At times, it seems like your songs are bursting at the seams and are eagerly awaiting a full pop orchestra accompaniment. Is a orchestral pop record something that's not too far off for you, Owl?

Lois: I am 100% uninterested in orchestral arrangements. I like simple tunes, played simply. It's like the difference between classic and nouvelle French cuisine. One is full of cream and sauces, the other one just relies on the basic flavors of the food. I'm nouvelle cuisine. Maybe when I write the songs: "Caught in the Folds of Your Gown," "Oh, Marble is Cold" and "How Do I Get The Lice Out of My Wig?," I will reconsider.

Are there plans for a second Owl & The Pussycat record, or is this a one-off?

Lois: "Owl & the Pussycat Take Manhattan", "Owl & the Pussycat II: Electric Bugaloo" and "Owl & the Pussycat: The Prequel" are ALL in the works. Stay tuned!

Greg: I hope we record more. We've got a little week long west coast tour in a couple of weeks and some shows later on in the year- so we'll see what happens


---Joseph Kyle

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