ECLECTIC ARTS

ECLECTIC ARTS

Friday, June 27, 2014

Dinah Cancer - Forty Five Graves (45 Grave Interview)

Greetings all!

With this interview we are now back on track releasing weekly new material/interviews.  This one comes from Ms. Dinah Cancer - singer for death rock pioneers 45 Grave!

This interview was conducted in 2012.

Cheers!
Mark
EA

***


EA:  Greetings Dinah!  What a thrill this is for me to be interviewing you for EA!  I remember buying 45 Grave's debut album, "Sleep In Safety", at my local record store way back in the day (and I, of course, still have it).  And here, almost 30 years later, I'm interviewing the one and only Dinah Cancer!  A thrill for sure for me!

I know you just played the Double Down in Vegas.  How did the gig go?  Did you play a lot of new tunes off the new album, "Pick Your Poison"
===============================================================
DC:  Well, thank you for the interview! The show at the Double Down was great! We always have a good time in Vegas. This was our second time there since Frank has been in the band. I had not played there since the Grave Robbers did about 8 years ago. This time we played a few of the new songs…including “Akira” and “The Sorceress”. It's been a long time for some new music.
============================================================

EA:  Being one of the originators of the death rock/goth/punk/psychobilly/surf genres - when you look back on your career - what events or moments stand out?  Did you think back in the early days 45 Grave would be so influential?

DC: At the time, we were just having fun going to shows and making music. We had no grand plan to be this influential band. We were just having fun. We were just surviving the times.
I’d say opening for the Damned was big moment. It took us from being a club band into a band that could play bigger places. Adding Paul Roessler on keyboards changed our sound a lot. It became more ‘goth’ and less punk rock. Also, doing the soundtrack for Return of the living Dead. That was such a treat for this horror fan. And I wouldn't change it.

===============================================================

EA:  I want to ask about the new album, "Pick Your Poison" but if we could go back for a minute.  When the original band got together, you all played in other bands.  Did the band set out to play a certain style of music or did you just play whatever came naturally?

DC: Well, we started by playing a lot of Consumers songs that Paul Cutler had. That was from the release "Autospy". the songs started to evolve with songs like Wax and Black Cross. We always stay on the darker side of the scene. We were just doing whatever we wanted. Most of the styles of music, such as Surfbat, Partytime and evil were the perfect reflections of who we were at the time. In Vox Pop we played a lot of 70’s glam influenced music. But, Vox Pop is another story.

“Pick Your Poison” is much more of a ‘concept’. A fan had written about my infleunces that made me who I am.  I wanted a record that had all the types of music that make up  “Dinah Cancer” . It's what I grew up with. Some of the the songs are brand new. 6 of them in fact. Others songs were were written at various times in my life. We recorded Akira and Sorceress, that were written in the 80'swith Paul Cutler and Don Bolles. Those were on the Only the Good Die young CD. and didn't have a studio recording on disc. Also. Night of the Demons and highway 666 came later when i was working with L. Ron Jeremy on music. So there is a funk song, a metal song, even a country song. I felt like archiving some of the songs as I continue to write more.

EA:  Once "Sleep In Safety" was released, what happened to the band back in the 80's?  45 Grave stopped, came back, stopped again, and then came back again.  Is that about right?  There never was a second full length album of new material released, only the "What Is 45 Grave?" album and the "School's Out" 12inch single.  Then a few other releases when the band got back together such as the live album "Only The Good Die Young".

DC: We were all really young! It was easy to be in bands when it was just us, playing in clubs and recording in my Aunt’s garage. When we got on a major record label, it became much more like a job. Paul Cutler was always rebelling against that. He never wanted to play the same thing twice! Part of being ‘punk’ was the freedom to play what you wanted, when you wanted. Suddenly that was gone.
I was also married to Paul Cutler at the time. That was not easy either. After a while people just were not getting along. It was a lot to handle in our 20’s. we had promblems, the usual things.. sex, drugs and Rock N roll took it's toll on us. We weren't speaking to each other.
When we came back several times in the 80's. in 1989, we were just getting going again. Paul was touring in “The Dream Syndicate” so it was hard to do things. Then Rob Graves died in 1990, and then we stopped. I went on with my life, more like running away from music. Just a bunch of damage to shuffle thru.

     (1983 "ROTLD" promo photo - Bob Siderman.)
===============================================================

EA:  You recently self released your new album "Pick Your Poison" - the first new album in over 20 years (maybe longer)!  What can you tell me about the album?  How did the new band come together?

DC: I am VERY HAPPY with the new album. The guys all did a great job. I went through a lot of people and worked for almost 8 years to get this CD done. Once Frank Agnew joined and I had a musical partner who could play as well as Paul Cutler had in the 80’s it finally got done.

The line up on the album is Frank Agnew on guitar, Tom Coyne on drums and Brandden Blackwell on bass. For live shows we have a second guitarist, Marc Bolten. He was also the engineer on the CD.

Like I was saying earlier, the songs on the CD represent all of the styles of music I like. They are the ingredients that make my style. Two of the songs were actually on “Only The Good Die Young” (“Akira” and “The Sorceress”) but were never recorded in the studio. the country song " Johnny", was written back in 79'. One of my first songs that Paul helped me write on a dare. A few of the other songs are brand new, that I wrote with Frank. Child of fear was a song I wrote also, in the 80's. It never came to light until I started to work with Frank. The song “Pick Your Poison” was completely written in the studio. Tom and Frank just played it in one take, and then we built it from there. It was a great time being in the studio and i can't wait to get back there again.
============================================================

EA:  Do you have any plans to tour for the album?  Maybe a west coast tour?  I'm up in Seattle so that would be awesome to see you guys up here!

DC: Yes…we are planning lots of things. The CD just got picked up by Frontier Records, so it will be easier for people to find it. Hopefully that will get us better shows. Right now we are only playing around LA, but we hope to be on the road a lot this year. We did a horror convention in Texas last year, and I want to do more of that.
==============================================================

EA:  What do you think of the state of music now in 2012?  Digital downloads overtaking physical music sales, social media like Facebook and Twitter being outlets for many bands these days, etc?

DC: We do a lot of promotion on Facebook, (https://www.reverbnation.com/45Grave ) Twitter (twitter.com/thereal45grave) and Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/45GraveVideo) We are going to film a video for the song “Night of the Demons” next month so we can have more of a presence on Youtube.

If you think about it, what we have today is exactly what the early punks wanted. Johnny Rotton wanted to destroy all of the record companies, but it took the Internet to do it.
===============================================================

EA:  Outside of 45 Grave and the music world, what do you do for a living?  For fun?

DC: I live with my two teenage daughters, Ilse and Eirika. I like to hike in the Hollywood Hills with them.
 I love watching horror movies and doing creative things. I'm a internet radio co host for Rob Delamorte's Dungeon of Deadly Delights from Dread Cental and Jackalope radio. I guest host for Stench Radio too. I continue to write songs and poems. I'm working on my first book. So I keep myself pretty busy these days. When we did the pre-sale for the CD, I made each person that ordered a “Death Certificate” by hand. Each one was filled out and painted by me. I love doing things like that.

I really like to play music! If 45 Grave isn’t playing, I sometimes sing with my friends bands. I sing sometimes with Kelly Kaos's band, the F@gZ OC. Last year I sang “Black Cross” with the Yeastie Boys. I dressed like a clown, and we changed the words to the song! We called it “Black Clown”. My stage name was “Dinah Clowner”.
After the original 45 Grave stopped working, I worked in Childcare for 9 years, along with teaching. I also had an Occult shop on Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood during the 1990’s.

These days 45 Grave is a full time job.
===============================================================

EA:  Do you foresee a day when you will retire from the music scene?  Lay 45 Grave to rest for good?  Or will you continue to rock (ala the Stones) as long as the music and shows are quality?

DC:You’re going to keep hearing from me until I am a little old lady! LOL, I love the studio and there are soundtracks to be done. As for 45 Grave it's hard to say. We are doing a few videos this weekend. And with Frontier Records, I can't say what will happen. But, there is always a new project to jump into and especially now that I have a band that is able to support me, I want to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

EA:  Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me Dinah.  The parting words are for you:

DC:  Do whatever makes you happy. It's a long life. Make the best of what you have!

    (the band live in 2014)

45 Grave Booking

THE NEW 45 GRAVE CD, "PICK YOUR POISON" is available now at:

   45GRAVE.NET

Follow 45 GRAVE on Twitter @thereal45grave

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tia Tanaka Interview - Beyond Adult

Greetings!

So, for those that have a copy of issue #3, they know that the most popular interview in that issue was with adult star Tia Ling.  I say popular based on the feedback I got on the issue.

What many don't know is that I had three interviews lined up with adult stars and, of those, Tia Ling happened to come through with her interview first.  Approximately 6-9 months later the second interview was completed:  former adult star Tia Tanaka.  The third interview never materialized (I'll leave it to your imagination who that interview was with - all I'll say is that I had already sent preliminary questions and then got a lame excuse back as to why she couldn't answer them just now - and would it be alright if she did them about 9 months later - yeah 9 months later - wtf?).  But I digress.

Tia Tanaka's interview took a long time to complete.  After many unsuccessful tries to contact her, I finally got a "yes" to do the interview.  Then she disappeared for many months.  One day, on a whim, I tried contacting her again and, much to my surprise, she replied back.

The following interview was conducted between December 2011 and February 2012.  So, yes, it is dated BUT it is also probably the only "recent" interview she's done for print/web in a long time.  I left everything as is (dates etc were not updated or altered).

Much thanks to Ms. Tanaka for taking the time to do this interview!

Cheers!
Mark

*Warning - some of the content is graphic in nature - adults only*

 ***
 
EA:  What's keeping you busy these days, Tia?

TT:  Well I’ve been going to school, working a regular job, and a few photo shoots here and there.

EA:  Do you plan on keeping your stage name alive via photo shoots and such then?  Or do you just want to live a normal life and let your old "Tia Tanaka"  persona fade into obscurity?

TT:  It’s weird because I’m not sure what I want to do. I’ve always been a very indecisive person and I base my decisions on my day to day feelings. Which I guess isn’t really a good thing.

EA:  What kind of work are you doing now (retail, education, hospitality, business)?  Is it something you're happy with?

TT:  Education wise I’ve been in school finishing up my associates and I will continue to go for my bachelors. Yes it makes me very happy to be back in school because I was always saying that I was and I kept procrastinating and I’m just so glad I finally got the courage to make my education a priority. It’s really hard it’s not easy going to school and working full time. There are days when I’m happy and days when I’m not. School is a big challenge for me.

EA:  It's good to hear that you're continuing your education.  It's  important in my opinion to make it in this world.  Has school always been a challenge for you (i.e. your public school years)?

TT:  No school has always been fairly easy for me and I was always a good student. I always got A’s in English or History but I did poorly in Science and Math. I think it was because I just didn’t like it.

EA:  What type of work do you do (not specifics but in general)?  Is it a job you like or is it just a job?

TT:  It’s just a job…I don’t really like it. *laughs*


EA:  Where were you born?  Raised?  What was life like for you growing up?

TT:  I was born in Indonesia but my mother left very shortly after I was born so I have no recollection of Indonesia nor I consider it my home. We first came to New York when arriving to the US and moved to California when I was around 4.  I would have to say my home is Los Angeles because we’ve moved all around the area. My life was pretty confusing growing up without a father and living among only white people or Hispanics. I didn’t know many people like me and was teased a lot for being the only Asian girl in the complex I lived in. Most of my friends were either white or hispanic.

EA:  Do you know why your mom moved to the States?  Do you have siblings that came with you and/or other family?

TT:  My mom came to the states to be with a man that got her pregnant and he ended up being married to another woman and had several children of his own. My mother came to the states alone with me when I was less than a year old.

EA:  How would you describe your childhood then?  Confusing?  Happy?  Bad?

TT:  Confusing I guess. My mom always had a new boyfriend. They always came and went. All my friends didn’t have fathers either. I was always teased for looking different but when I looked in the mirror I didn’t understand so confusing would be right.  *laughs*


EA:  I read in another interview that you had a fear of dating Asian men due to your dad's reputation of being a "player".  Is this true?

TT:  Yes, I did say that and I got so much hate mail for it so I just wanted to clear that up that I don’t think Asian men are gross or undesirable. I’ve had many of my friends say that they wouldn’t date their own race because it’s like dating a brother or sister.   

EA:  You received hate mail for saying that?  Really?

TT:  Yes it got, I guess, many “asian men” upset. But obviously it was taken the wrong way. Thank you for seeing what I meant!

EA:  Do you feel your dad's behavior indirectly influenced your decision to go into porn - the stereotype about not having a father figure, acceptance, etc, leading a girl into the porn world?

TT:  I don’t know.  I always ask myself that. I think growing up without a father has definitely given me some issues but I don’t think that applies to all girls who have entered the industry.

EA:  How long have you been out of the adult industry now?  When you look back on it now - what comes to mind?  Glad you did it?  Regrets?  Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. 

TT:  Most people don’t know but I was only in the industry for about a year and a half. I left the business very early and I read up online that I was active in the industry for 4 years but that’s not true. I started in 2005 and quit late 2006 or perhaps early 2007. I think that a lot of these porn companies put my old content as new for sales or they counted compilations as new content. So I’d like to clear that up. I’ve been out of the adult industry video wise for about 4 years.   

When I look back at it I see a girl that just stopped caring about what people thought of her. A girl that just was giving everyone she knew a big “FUCK YOU.” Am I glad I did it? Yes and no. Yes because in the industry I learned so much about people and myself and it was one hell of an adventure. It was really, really fun. No, because I am too sensitive. And to be in that business you can’t be. I think those porn veterans and porno super stars are actually some of the strongest people in the world. You kind of have to be meant for it. I don’t know if I was.

EA:  That's interesting - about the amount of time you spent in the industry.  You're right - every site I went to to do research for this interview stated something along the lines  that you had been active for about 4 years.  If you had to ballpark it, how many scenes would you say you shot, total?

TT:  I’d say around 150 scenes? I think if I was in the industry for 4 years I would have a lot more money right now, hemorrhoids, and fans. *laughs*  Just kidding.


EA:  So it sounds like when you entered the industry, you were rebellious, yeah?  Just doing what you wanted, didn't give a shit what others thought, and went for it.  Would that be accurate?

TT:  Pretty much. Sometimes I wish I still had that mindset.

EA:  The average person has this misconception that every porn star is a star - making big money, living large, etc.  What was it really like working in the porn industry for you? 

TT:  In the beginning yes. I was this 18 year old with everything I ever wanted materially.

EA:  And the longer you stayed in the industry, then things changed?

TT:  You can say that.

EA:  Did you have a manager that handled your business - like which companies you'd be shooting for, what kind of scenes, etc? 

TT:  Yes, I had an agent at the time. He got me work with a lot of companies. I worked for almost everyone you name it. I did b/g scenes, g/g scenes.

EA:  How do the contracts work?  Is it X amount of money for a particular scene - what you do in the scene, etc?

TT:  Yes you get a certain amount for what you do. There are always contracts that you sign to make sure you know what you’re there for and how much you’re getting paid.

EA:  Did you ever work with any talent (male or female) that you were like, ewww, I really don't want to work with them but you didn't have any choice?

TT:  Not really. I mean if they were ugly and you got to talk to them and they seemed super cool then you’d forget about it and most of them were pretty cool.

EA:  Were you ever high or drunk when filming a scene?

TT:  High but never drunk.

EA:  Drug of choice?  Do you still get high these days?

TT:  I smoked a lot of weed.  When it becomes legal I can’t wait to see the commercials!

EA:  What were some of the memories you have - good or bad - from your time in porn?

TT:  Good memories let’s see. I liked the money and sometimes making cool friends. Bad memories yes. Maybe at the time they didn’t seem bad but when I think about them now they do.


EA:  What variables influenced your decision to leave the business? 

TT:  I’m just an indecisive person and I didn’t know what I wanted any more. But at the time being a regular person sounded better.

EA:  Do you have any plans to return?

TT:  No.

Switching gears……

EA:  You're tattoo collection has grown.  I remember reading you got the dragon on your back early on when others were getting small tattoos - so you went for something big.  But, also, that you don't like it.  True?

TT:  Yes I hate it and it’s in the process of being removed. And yes it is painful!

EA:  How many sessions have you had to remove it so far?  I've heard not only how painful it is to get one removed, but the price, too!

TT:  I’m on my fourth session and yes it’s ridiculously expensive. It really makes you think out your next tattoos and to not get something you won’t like later.

EA:  And now you have:  The animal print on your outer thigh….and a piece on your shoulder, yeah?  Others?  Is there any special meaning to each piece?  Where did you get your work done?

TT:  A friend of mine does it and when I’ve traveled I added little things here and there. The leopard print on my thigh was to cover a scar I had made on myself. I was really upset one day and did something really stupid. Now the tattoos I have are just things that I like or when I look at make me smile.

EA:  I'm sorry but I have to ask - what did you do to your thigh to make a scar?  Cut yourself?

TT:  It was an accident in the kitchen.

EA:  I remember seeing a few things on Twitter that were like Now Playing things - the music you were listening to.  Do you have any music background (instruments you play)?  Who are some of your favorite bands?

TT:  I played piano when I was younger but I’m sure I forgot most of everything. I’m a huge Nirvana fan. I love the XX,  Korn, The Smiths. I love dubstep, house, rap, everything.

EA:  Nirvana - cool!  I'm based in Seattle.  The EMP museum up here had a whole exhibit dedicated to the band in the Fall.  I checked it out - had Kurt's guitars and other assorted items.  Have you ever been up this way?

TT:  No but I’d love to visit one day.

EA:  Any music that you don't like?  Classical?  Jazz? 

TT:  I love classical especially when I’m studying. Love jazz too! I love all music I think it’s hard to say what I don’t like.


EA:  I saw a photo recently of you at a convention with a fan (probably over a year ago now) - not sure which kind - maybe anime?  Are you involved in the convention circuit?

TT:  Yes I was hired to be a spokes model at an anime convention which was a family event by the way!

EA:  That's cool.  Do you have an interest in anime?  We have a large convention up here called Sakura Con every year. 

TT:  I don’t know much about anime but I’d love to look like one!  *laughs*

EA:  You've done some glamour type photo shoots since you left the adult business.  Have these been for websites or print or both?  Have you ever thought about putting a book together of your favorite images?

TT:  Yes I’ve done print work and for websites. I’d love to put a book together someday.

EA:  You were also doing club work at times yeah?  Like making appearances at night clubs, etc?  Are you still doing this?  How did you like it when you did make appearances?

TT:  Yes I was doing many club appearances and club hosting gigs. No I don’t do it anymore because I’m too busy with school to be traveling so often.

EA:  Have you ever had someone give you a hard time because of your porn background?  Like - they see you at a club and are like "hey that's Tia Tanaka - the porn star - she thinks she's all that, blah blah blah"

TT:  Nothing I’ve heard to my face. But I have heard that a lot of people think I’m a bitch but you can’t make everyone like you.

EA:  What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions about you?

TT:  That I’m mean? Or snobby? I think I’m just misunderstood because I’m really shy and socially awkward so people can mistake that for something else.


EA:  Are you looking to brand your name - as you have quite a following - especially considering how many years you've been out of the business.  Your own website, etc that could keep fans current with what you're doing - more as a celebrity site than anything else?

TT:  I was thinking about making a website but I’ve been saying that ever since I started.

EA:  It can be a pain in the ass for sure.  Either doing it yourself or finding a webmaster that you trust (big thing), that can keep up with the content, news, emails, etc.

EA:  Set The Record Straight:

*You left porn because you got married?  (Are you in a relationship or single now?)

TT:  No I was never married! I left for many reasons. Currently, I am dating someone.

*After you left porn, you started working for a pay webcam company?

TT:  Well I did this pre-recorded webcam thing and I think they just sell it like it’s live when it’s not.

*After you left porn, you were working as a high end escort?

TT:  No. I know there are a lot of escort companies using my photos.

EA:  Can I ask you about the film Teen Line (from Original)?  Did you know ahead of time that the scene would be that rough?  

TT:  Yes I knew. I didn’t care at the time.

EA:  Not to get too personal, but do you think you were struggling with self esteem issues during your time in the adult industry?  

TT:  Well, yes, I think most girls at a young age have self-esteem issues at some point. But, if your question to why I did such rough scenes has something to do with it, then, no. I probably did a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do because of bad friends.

EA:  Switching gears again…..What kind of things do you like to do for fun?

TT:  I love reading, watching movies. Currently obsessed with “The Sookie Stackhouse Novels” which the show True Blood is based on. My favorite show by the way.

EA:  Have you ever been offered a part in a mainstream film?  Even a small part?  Is that something you would be interested in doing if the offer(s) came?

TT:  I get inquiries for reality shows but never a mainstream film. I would love to work in a mainstream film.  I’d be so happy!

EA:  What goals or dreams do you have for yourself?  What do you want from life before the show's over?

TT:  My goals and dreams are to just be happy. Excel in everything I put my mind to.

EA:  Happiness is always a good call.  Plans for a family down the line?

TT:  Not anytime soon.

EA:  Anything coming up that you'd like to promote?

TT:  Not at the moment. A lot of things are in talks this year and I hope they all fall through.

EA:  You hope they all fall through?  Is that because you like where your life is right now and want to keep it that way?

TT:  Like, I just hope I succeed in everything that I do.

EA:  Thanks so much, Tia! 

All photos provided by:  Tia Tanaka (copyrights to the respective photographers).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ahn and Ahn - The Ahn Trio Interview!

The Ahn Trio are an incredibly talented trio of sisters who are internationally known for their interpretation of classical music.  Juilliard graduates, they are both musicians and teachers of the art.  I was fortunate enough to see them perform a few years ago.  The concert was inspiring.  The level of mastery of all three Ahn sisters was just amazing.  

All three sisters agreed to talk to me about their music, what inspires them, and what they would be doing if they weren't performing classical music.  - Interview by Mark


EA:  Greetings Angella, Lucia, and Maria! Thank you for doing the interview. What is the latest with the Ahn Trio?

Lucia:  Our latest concert was at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a great honor to have our very first concert in Argentina at this incredibly beautiful and famous hall!

Until the last moment, we were still discussing if we should change a Piazzolla piece we had on the program, since he is the great Argentinian composer.  We told the audience about this, afterwards people told us that they were crying when we played "Oblivion" and we were very touched. Our touring continues and we also see ourselves as doing more teaching in the future.

EA:  Your last album "Lullaby For My Favorite Insomniac" came out in 2008. When will we see a new album?

Lucia:  Yes, we are working on the next album, we would like to record Pat Metheny's Yu Ryung, Kenji Bunch's Danceband and David Balakrishnan's Skylife.  We hope to make it this year so hopefully it will be available in the Fall.

EA:  Is there any particular rhyme or reason to your touring schedule? It seems the trio plays whenever the opportunity arises. Is that correct? I think it's great that you play so many shows.

Lucia:  Yes, in the world of Classical music, we go wherever there is a concert. It is not always logical geographically, we may fly to South America for 3 days, go to Shanghai for 48 hours, in June we go to California twice!

EA:  How do you balance touring with your personal lives? Do you ever grow tired of the road?
Lucia:  We love to perform our music and connect with the audience but the time spent on airplanes and airports are not fun, so yes, we do certainly get tired of that. That's why we would like to combine teaching with the touring life.  We will always play as long as we can but we also crave to sleep in our own beds! Personal life is always there with our professional lives, the touring life does not stop us from having a personal life. Yes, we do have a life other than music!

EA:  Being Korean American, has being Asian ever impacted your career, in a positive or negative way? How about on a personal level?

Lucia:  It has not ever been negative, when you look at the musicians out there, there are all different nationalities and ages. On a personal level, I really appreciate having grown up with two cultures. Korea has the strong family values and the best cuisine in the world, America has allowed us to be very independent persons and free spirited artists.

EA: When you look back on your earlier albums, what are your thoughts on them now?

Maria:  I love making albums, because, they reflect the different phases we went through as artists, it's a recording of our music, but, also a recording of that particular time-period for our group.

But, we hardly ever listen to our own albums, because, I hear things I would do differently, play differently, interpret differently...even the design of the CD packaging.


EA:  Do you ever see a time in the future where the Ahn Trio will cease to exist and each of you will pursue your own individual careers?

Maria:  We always said that we will just quit if we get bored with what we are doing. But, so far, we keep doing new interesting projects, keep facing new challenges, so, I don't see us getting bored anytime soon, but, we may also do more as individuals, too.  We never decide too much in advance.

EA:  I've read some criticism of you. The journalist was stating that the Ahn Trio has gained their success partially through their look (attractiveness).  What do you say to that?

Maria:  "Funny." Because, look around at all the incredibly beautiful singers and musicians out there..we don't exactly stand out.  I think even classical music world is changing, critics no longer speak so much about artists' looks and the opera singers are not always large-figured anymore.  Attractiveness is not a negativity anymore.

EA:  Eclectic Arts features musicians, actors, photographers, etc from all walks of life. What would you say to someone that has never heard of the Ahn Trio?  Why should they check out your music?

Maria:  Everyone should checkout every genre of music out there, not just ours. But, okay, ours. too.  People should checkout the Ahn Trio, because, we are not your average, traditional classical group.  We showcase a different side of classical music and play a lot of great music that are written specifically for our group.


EA:  With MP3's, social media networks like Facebook, etc - what are your thoughts on the current state of technology as it relates (or doesn't) to classical music?

Maria:  Everything in life influences music and every composer draws from all
that is surrounding his/her ears.  All the technology and networks, I think it just helps music spread more and more and further, I look at it in a positive way.  It makes live music performance that much more rare and desired.

EA:  What careers would each of you have now had it not been music?

Maria:  I know all three of us change our minds everyday, but, maybe today...I would like to be a shoe-designer

Lucia:  My dream job would be the food critic of the NY Times, OR even just work for the Zagat!  And a journalist who goes and reviews fancy spas/hotels all around the world!

Angella:  I would have had a career in the culinary world.  A chef, a food critic, or a restaurant owner.  I love everything about food.  Eating of course but also growing, harvesting, and cooking. Maybe I'll have a small cafe some day where I can cook some dishes using local produce and meat and invite some friends to play music with me.


EA:  Lucia -  I have a few questions for you if I may?

Lucia:  Sure.

EA:  Wow - the concert in Argentina sounds beautiful.  It must be incredibly rewarding to see how much of an affect your performance/music has on your fans.

Lucia:  It is a privilege to be able to connect with the audience at these moments and it adds so much to our lives. We really feel grateful to be able to share our music and it is a very rewarding and moving experience.

EA:  While piano is your main instrument with The Ahn Trio, are there other instruments that you play?  Have you ever thought about each of you switching instruments for one song - just for fun or to confuse your audience?

Lucia:  My sisters can both play the piano as badly as I can play the violin, sometimes during workshops for students, I would pick up the violin and play the twinkle twinkle little star for them for a good laugh. This teaches the students that learning an instrument takes lots of practice and dedication and that just because I can play the piano at a certain level that doesn't mean I can play another instrument without practicing it.  I really do sound squeaky and out of tune on the violin that all the students burst out laughing, it's great!

EA: You mentioned your dream job of being a food critic for the NY Times or writing reviews of luxurious spas/hotels around the world.  Having traveled around the world with the Ahn Trio - what spas/hotels stand out to you?

Lucia:  Touring as The Ahn Trio doesn't always mean we get put up in the fanciest hotels around the world at all, but sometimes we do get spoiled and one of those places we still remember is Halekulani in Honolulu.  Other times, it's not the fancy hotel, it's about the city.  We love Istanbul when we stayed at a hotel that has views of Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque. It's one of the most stunning views ever.

EA:  Thank you Lucia.  Maria - your turn.  What drew you to the cello all those years ago?

Maria:  I was drawn to the cello, initially (when I was very young) because, it was bigger than the violin, so, clearly I thought, it's gotta be better than the violin.  And I was right!, cello IS better!

Seriously, I love the cello, because, I find it more expressive, most like the human voice, and deep and bright at the same time, so versatile.

EA:  You mentioned a career in shoe design.  Dare I ask - how many pairs of shoes do you own?

Maria:  I do have many pairs of concert shoes, and I keep them all so it seems like a lot, but, mainly because, I ONLY wear them on stage, they don't get worn out fast enough and I am bad at throwing things away.  Being women, it IS nice that we have the perfect excuse to buy very beautiful and fancy shoes sometimes...we don't have to justify them.

EA: Are you very fashion conscious?  Who is the most fashion conscious of the group?

Maria:  I am not very fashion conscious, but, at the same time, does anyone wear something
they don't like? Or doesn't have a taste/style of their own? I won't care if something is out of fashion, if I like it, I will still wear it.            I think all women are a bit fashion conscious ...to a certain degree.  We all try to care a little bit about how we want to look or present ourselves, but, we're not obsessed with it nor care too much. By not caring, by not following the 'rules', though, we get comments that we're 'different' or stylish, which is great for us.

EA:  What is one of your favorite pieces of music to play currently?

Maria:  Depends on which day of the week...yesterday may have been Nyman, today may be Kapustin, tomorrow might be Kenji Bunch and so on, it really depends on my mood on a specific day, kind of like what I wish to eat that day. Today it is Bach.

EA:  Thank you Maria.  And now Angella:  I agree that, while practice is important, it is not the only factor for a new musician to consider. When you work with other musicians and just plain experience life outside the practice room, it adds so much more to the growth of a musician.  Who do you site as influences and/or people that helped expand your growth as a musician? As a person?

Angella:  The person that influenced me the most as a musician is my violin teacher, the late Dorothy DeLay.  I studied with her from when I was 11 years old until I was 25. I learned so much from her. She gave me a great foundation for playing the violin, but I also learned about the American culture (our family had just moved from Korea), to being assertive and having confidence, and being a kind and thoughtful person.  She called all her students "sugar plum" and never raised her voice. Never even really criticized.  But all of us students wanted to do our best for her!

My growth as a person comes from so many different factors. I'm inspired by my mom. She in her 30's brought 3 young girls to a completely different world.  She is the strongest person I know. I think inspirations come in small and large doses every day. You could watch an brilliant play or hear a moving concert.  The sun could be hitting a particular tree in a magical way. You could be having a conversation with a friend and hear something that he/she is saying that is inspiring. It's hard to list them all.

EA:  Your answer about being involved with food (alternate career question) reminds me of another artist I interviewed, Vienna Teng. She's an amazing singer/songwriter (who is Chinese American) who has a distinct interest in sustainability issues as well as a love of all things culinary. What is it about the food world that you love so much?

Angella:  My sisters and I grew up in a household where we didn't even know what "fast food" was. Our mother, a phenomenal cook, made every single delicious meal for us. From scratch. I think food is a form of art.  From the subtle (or strong) flavors coming together to all the different colors and textures to the beautiful presentation.  I'm a big fan of "slow food".  It makes perfect sense to be involved in every step of the meal in a responsible way.

EA:    Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? Either by performing a piece of their music or perform with (studio/stage)?

Angella:  We have collaborated with the David Parsons Dance Company in the past. Right now, we're doing a collaboration with another wonderful dance company, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. I love working with dancers.  I find their movements so inspiring and  beautiful. I would love to keep collaborating with dance companies like Pilobolus, Alvin Ailey, or the American Ballet Theatre. I recently saw "War Horse" in NYC. It would be amazing to collaborate with a director of a play such as "War Horse" or with a director of a movie, like Pedro Almodovar.  The idea of mixing different art forms is very inspiring to me.


EA:  For those musicians starting out, what advice would you give them?


Angella:  To have perseverance.  A musical career is not always the easiest route to follow. For example, if you go to a school to be a doctor, your chances of being able to make a living as a doctor are quite good.  I think a career path in music is more difficult.  Know what you want to do (play in an orchestra, be a soloist, teach, be in a band etc...) and don't give up if you don't win the first audition or get the first gig.  Remember to have fun and experience life, rather than locking yourself up in a practice room for hours and hours.  These experiences will help you become a better artist.

EA:  What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?

Angella:  There are so many memorable experiences we have had. Just starting out our careers fresh out of Juilliard, and winning the ECHO award (highest musical award in Germany) was surprising and encouraging. Playing in halls with the most profound history, such as Musikverein or Gewandhaus are definite highlights.  Being invited to be guest
"speaker" (performer) at TED was a huge honor. But the highlights in my mind are not necessarily single events, but more where we have arrived at.  We are grateful that we are able to make music, especially with each other, and have so many people interested in what we have to say.

EA:  Thank you so much for doing the interview. The last words are for you.

Angella:  There are so many great musicians and artists out there with so many different voices. It's important to find your own voice that's unique.  We feel very lucky to be able to travel all over the country and to different parts of the world and tell stories that are our own and feel passionate about.