Interview: Charlotte Cornfield

Charlotte Cornfield @ The Rivoli, 10-12-10

I had the chance to sit down with Charlotte Cornfield, brand new to the Audio Blood family, on the eve of her first big Audio Blood showcase. Cornfield is a Toronto native, but she’s been living in Montreal for the past 4 and a half years working with a number of different projects, such as Bent By Elephants and TAKK.

Cornfield grew up with music, as her father is a professional cellist. She had started off playing steel drums and then fell in love with the drum kit. She started taking lessons at the age of twelve and has been hugely influenced by her teacher Ryan Granville Martin, who actually played with her at The Rivoli. Cornfield has also been working with him on her record. She describes her drumming as “such a huge part” of who she is and says, “I think my singer-songwriter stuff is super influenced by percussion and rhythm.”

With two EPs under her belt, It’s Like That Here and Collage Light, Cornfield is currently recording her debut full-length. She’s mostly been in Toronto for the fall and she’s “super excited.”

“I feel really strongly about these songs and I’m really excited about it.”

When describing her songwriting themes, she said, “My songs are basically autobiographical, but in a way that I think a lot of people can relate to. There’s a lot of stuff about moving to a new place, growing up, dealing with space and relationships.”

She also added, “I like fun. I like funny stuff, so I like to integrate lots of fun into my music.”

Her passion is clear when describing her music. “My songwriting has been completely coming from my heart and ear and myself. I think it’s my purest form of musical expression.”

At the same time, Cornfield is technically trained, having studied music and jazz drumming in school. This training, in addition to the many different bands she works with, is something that Cornfield prides herself on.

“For me, versatility is a huge thing, so being able to play a bunch of different instruments and being able to play a bunch of different styles and with a bunch of different people, it feeds my musical soul so much because I feel that because of it I have a deeper understanding of how much works and I’m more adaptable to different situations. I just have a really deep love for all kinds of music, and so my music is influenced by not just pop and rock but by a broad spectrum of stuff and people. I just like exposing myself to everything I possibly can.”

Cornfield maintains that the singer-songwriter aspects of her music have been inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, but she also makes clear, “I love hooks. I love driving melodies.” She’s been influenced by a lot of rock and roll, as well, such as Talking Heads and Velvet Underground.

As much as she likes the classics, there are some modern influences to her music as well.

“In terms of new stuff, I have some friends who really inspire me, like my good friend Lief Vollebekk is really inspiring. There’s a band called Dr. Dog that I really love right now.”

Cornfield clearly has a good head on her shoulders. She’s passionate about music in general, and serious about her own.

When pressed for a drunken story, Cornfield offered up an amusing story involving a band she plays with called TAKK, which is an all-female jazz quartet. They had played the jazz festival in the summer and then playing again at a bar later. They were getting scammed for money at that gig at the bar, but they ended up getting an unlimited bar tab. After leaving the bar, they took a van cab back to Cornfield’s place with all their gear. While hauling the gear up, their saxophonist Avril announced, “I found your cat.” Well, it wasn’t Cornfield’s cat, but they were in a hurry to get out to a party and left the cat in the place. Upon Cornfield’s return, all sorts of furniture was shredded and her neighbour was freaking out about the lost cat. Lesson learned: unlimited bar tabs are trouble, especially when finding cats.

When asked what her shot of choice was, Cornfield didn’t hesitate: Jameson.

We went on to hear her start off the night for the first night of Audio Blood Media’s two-night stand at The Rivoli. Look out for her debut full-length sometime in the New Year.


Categories: Interviews


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