Interview with Scout Niblett, part one

The following was originally published on Exclaim.ca.

Photo by Pu the Owl

Exclusive: Scout Niblett Sets Out to Record Her New Single in 100 Different Ways
1/22/2010 By Jessica Lewis

Scout Niblett is releasing her sixth studio album on Tuesday (January 26), but she’s currently wrapped up in quite the ambitious self-imposed project. She plans to record the title track from her newest album The Calcination of Scout Niblett 100 times in 100 different ways and sell them from the website of her new label Drag City.

“I just thought it would be fun to see how the song changed by recording it that many times,” Niblett (real name Emma Louise) said in a recent interview with Exclaim! “And then I thought maybe people could buy each kind of a progression.”

Niblett has already recorded a few alternate versions, but with an upcoming album release and a North American tour, she’s decided to take it slow.

“The funny thing about this idea is I’m obviously not going to be able to do that recording that many times without going a bit crazy,” she said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the difference between the first few and the last few are like, that’s going to be fun.”

Niblett has a practice space in Portland, OR. She’s only using one microphone to record most versions of the single, giving them a more lo-fi feel. The songs also likely won’t include the drums, though the instrument is on the version included on the album, which you can download here.

She also was considering changing locations for recording, finding places with reverb in her house or on the street. When we suggested recording a version on her March stop in Toronto or throughout her tour, she agreed.

“That would be cool,’ Niblett said. “Yeah, that would be a good idea. Okay, that’s exciting. It could be like a U.S. tour singles!”

The Calcination of Scout Niblett was recorded in 2009 over the span of six days in Chicago. It was once again produced by Steve Albini, but Niblett’s newest change was the switch from labels Too Pure to Drag City. She was dropped from the former as part of the label letting go of any artist that wasn’t “selling above a certain amount of records.” But Niblett took this as a blessing in disguise.

“I always felt like Drag City was the best label,” she said, “so when I got dropped, I just felt, okay, I’m just going to ask them and see what they say. So I asked them if they considered putting my record out and luckily they said yes. I was very pleased… I’ve never felt this comfortable working with a label as I do with them, so it’s been really great.”

Niblett will go on a month-long North American tour at the end of February. Her two Canadian stops are listed below and you can see all the dates here.

Tour dates:

3/16 Montreal, QC – Casa del Popolo
3/17 Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern

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