Snippets of Feeling: an interview with Kathleen Mary Lee

14 Nov

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a delightful new folk artist, Kathleen Mary Lee. I discussed her latest single, “Hours Gone By,” and now she is back with a video for the track. I was also privileged enough to virtually sit down with Kathleen (we were both at computers in our respective homes), and ask her some questions about her music and the new video.

Music Court: Hi Kathleen. You make some very beautiful folk music. When did you realize you wanted to make music for a living?

Kathleen Mary Lee: Thanks! It’s really only this year that I realized it’s the main thing I want to do. Before that I was making films and going to film school. I gradually started writing songs in the evenings and recording them on whatever was available. It didn’t sound as awful as I was expecting so I kept doing it. It crept up very gradually and timidly but now it’s my main thing.

MC: How would you describe your sound to someone who hadn’t heard your music? How would you describe it to your grandfather?

KML: To someone who hadn’t heard it I’d probably say it’s gentle and simple; the words are sad but the melody is sort of happy. Not sure about my Grandpa, I’d probably be embarrassed and say as little as possible; I have a quiet voice and he was hard of hearing – but maybe he would have liked it. I reckon I would have liked him to hear it – as long as I wasn’t in the room whilst he was listening!

MC: You directed the video for “Hours Gone By,” your latest single, where two old acquaintances reunite. Their relationship is very ambiguous, leaving most of the story up to interpretation. Was that intentional?

KML: Not exactly intentional! The song’s about a past relationship and the music video is basically a collection of the imagery that lingers in my mind about that time. It is what my memories look like, I guess. So it doesn’t necessarily make sense, it’s just little snippets of feeling.

MC: You have said that “Hours Gone By” was made with a very new friend and a very old friend. Describe the filming process.

KML: The day of the shoot was the first time I’d seen Molly in eight years! But I thought of her for the part because I remembered her nature and her gorgeous face. I only met Anton last year but he fitted the image I had for the guy in my mind – handsome, tall, thin and something special in his eyes. I like using friends in my films because I am usually familiar with their natures and know how they’ll come across. Also, if we’re comfortable together we can relax a bit and try things out and often get moments that are really natural.

MC: I also looked up some of your other videos and found “His Eyes are Closed.” What I noticed immediately was that, in contrast with “Hours Gone By,” there is nudity. “Hours Gone By” avoids any sexual innuendo, but “His Eyes are Closed” embraces the natural human body. Am I exaggerating these aspects of your videos?

KML: No, not at all. His Eyes Are Closed definitely embraces the human body but I wouldn’t say it was sexual! It’s more about vulnerability. I did actually consider having nudity in Hours Gone By too because I wanted it to be really intimate – I had this image of a girl walking into a shower – but I guess I chickened out!

MC: “Hours Gone By” is a lovely track. Is there an album coming along with it soon? If so, do you have a release date yet?

KML: Yes there will be an album but not until well into next year. Until then we are going to try and release a few more singles and videos.

MC: Thanks, Kathleen. You’ve been a delight.

KML: Thank you!

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