Our first audio post and photo session are dedicated to this very lovely woman. We talked about her creative process, love life and being in touch with nature. She is such an inspiring soul!
Get insider info on the new things to come for Cillie Barnes (Full audio interview below)
LLL: So who is Cillie Barnes?
Cillie: Cillie Barnes is me, there is no real difference between them. It is not like I have a stage person versus Vanessa. But Cillie Barnes is me so, I live on a hill with a dog and a bunch of roommates and I like fast food and I like eating, taking vitamins and herbal supplements. I like Disneyland and I also like The Cure and I have a lot of battling forces. Light and Dark sort of thing.
LLL: So in that light and dark inside you, is there any feminine or female energy?
Cilie: Definitely, yeah, I’m Wicca so I worship triple moon goddess in general which is mother, maiden and crone. So a lot of feminine energy. Isis is probably my favorite of the deities. So I look up to her a lot but a lot of feminine energy. That’s funny because we had a full moon last night which is the full buck moon. That’s what it’s called. So this month is actually supposed to be more masculine projects and things so I’m going to start taking the hammer from my boyfriend and start building. A lot of feminine worship but also knowing that masculine balances it all out.
LLL:In your art, in your music how would you say that energy comes about?
Cillie: It depends. I have a window in my home studio you can see the moon on the side when I am recording initially with my demos and stuff. So I am always looking at her for guidance. It could be something that is esoteric or it could be something small. Have you ever read “The Yellow Wallpaper”?
It’s a short story, she was one of the early feminist writers and I read this story that is really cool, so I took that and applied it into one of my songs lyrically just make a little yellow wallpaper reference and things like that will just seep in. Or, I have a song that hasn’t come out yet, but it’s like about the women of Juarez and you know that sort of thing. So there is definitely some undertones to, to that can creep up just by reading an article or looking at the moon or gardening. Nurturing the earth and that sort of thing.
LLL: So what else inspires you to write your music?
Cillie: Well, articles or podcasts. Then on the other scale of things like reality television shows and sort of the decline/fascination with, watching that drama is so nice sometimes to just check out and just focus on something horrible about watching these women fight with each other or whatever. But in terms of the energy… Well, crystals. I have a lot of crystals, and I use a lot of different ones for different things. If I am stuck on a certain or need motivation or I am stuck on clarity or something like that I bring different crystals into the studio and the moon of course obviously again. Sometimes if I get stuck I’ll pull a tarot card and read that and be like oh okay this is a good way of looking at it.
I do a lot of dream work also, were it’s like the Jung theory were you wake up and you do a lot of free writing based on your dreams and then that will carry you, carry with me to later on just free rambling, free writing, you know, spew it all out first and then edit later. It’s kind of my approach.
LLL: Now, being a woman brings a lot of really good things to your life but you know, it’s been said that it also complicates things a little bit. So how has it been to be a woman and trying to navigate the music industry?
Cillie: Well, I guess it’s interesting because I feel like there are a lot of women right now, and this is not to knock them, they are all very strong females but they hate the term woman like they are very much like, “I am a musician, you don’t say male musician, you say…”, but to me, even though I am feminist in all other regards, I like being called a woman musician because I am different than guys, and then maybe that means that we should call them male musicians. I don’t know, but I think that in terms of that there is definitely a boys club, like there is in every industry, but there is also a girls club it’s pretty cool too, and I’ve been really thankful to not playing.
I am terrible at instruments also. I have the ideas and have all of these sorts of things. I know the sounds I like. But, I have been really thankful to work with males that saw me as a poet and an artist and so I have been let into that sort of world in that way when it comes to guy talk about analog and bla, bla, bla I am completely bored. So, it’s nice to have that retreat back into femininity that sort of thing for me. And that’s just, that’s not necessarily because I am a female. It is just the way that I am wired. So, it’s hard but also I probably wouldn’t if I was a guy musician I probably wouldn’t have as much success as I do because I am a female. So, I am also thankful to being a female, and being able to do this but, it’s cool. I mean the good thing is that at least in Los Angeles, it is a very coed super nurturing place where everyone does really respect each other and look, help each other out musically and all of that sort of thing, you know like colors or male, female isn’t as important.
LLL: Love, I think, plays a big part in how an artist writes and how an artist expresses themselves… I was hoping you could tell us some about your love life. The love life that has been a part of your creative process.
Cillie: Well, it changes, because my love life changes. Right now I have a wonderful man in my life and we write, we started to write music together which is really, really fun but like I said like before when I first started getting into music it was my boyfriend who introduced me to playing with it. And I have had in terms of the bulk of my songwriting stuff there is about two years where I would obsess over what I called binder crushes right? Where it was like these unattainable objects, I am calling them objects, but it was because I painted them into such light, they were my muses so to speak.
Even I knew if I hung out with them even for a day, I would be completely annoyed and sick of them but I turned them into these fantasies sort of like Pegasus. And, so that I would have, and I knew it was a thing that I was doing on purpose so I would have more material to write about with that and what is interesting too. I was thinking about this the other day, with my old band that I was in, because we were together at the time we wrote, you know, hundreds, not hundreds of songs but lots of songs maybe a hundred songs, none of which were about love at all, maybe one of them. So then when I started going out on my own, I started being able to write about love again which was cool. I am now because I am totally in love therefore, the love in terms of writing love songs I think is an interesting point too because I think that in general artist tend to do that to themselves and torture themselves so that they have more material.
LLL: Well, you know also with love comes intimacy, and we’ve asked some questions on the blog before about sex life…There is this general idea that a life in the music industry brings with it some sort of liberation, like in terms of your sexuality so have you had that experience?
Cillie:Well, no. But it might be the chicken or the egg thing where I was already pretty sexually liberated before I started making music. I have never had any, sorry mom and dad, they already know. But I have never been…I am an Aries and I am very I need what I want when I want, I got to get it kind of thing. And so I have always been liberated in that regard. I think if anything it maybe sort of to the opposite were it made, it gave it more sort of sanctity like the idea of that intimacy.
Instead of sex leading into intimacy that intimacy leads you into sex. And I think that sort of has changed for me where I am you know and that’s just growing older, and that’s just being sick of terrible dudes along the way but yeah I guess I have always been open sexually, so it hasn’t changed me in that way.
LLL: Is there a specific song that you would say is your pride and joy?
Cillie: Right, some of the new songs that are going to come out in the next couple of months I am hoping. I really, really love. It was just a really cool time when I went to Omaha and recorded with Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott and it was always a dream because I grew up listening to saddle creek records and just loving that whole scene and just sort of be out there and actually working with these people that I really looked up to was so cool. I had no lyrics written before I went out there so I flew out there and just started writing, so everything that happened it all happened in real time.
It wasn’t like “these songs are four years old and now we are trying to recreate them and the magic’s lost” and because that can be frustrating and I finally just finished those. I started recording them two years ago I just finally finished some last month, and I have been carrying the mixes and, “Oh my God.” So those, I really like. And I don’t like, when I hate my voice. I hate listening to myself. I know that sounds crazy, but I don’t like listening to my stuff. When I have to go through mixes I want to die, I keep putting it off, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to it.”
But it’s cause these songs, these are the songs I can say I love these songs I can believe that they truly took what I wanted and just made it so much better and exactly what I wanted but so much better somehow. So those songs that are coming out are really I think going to be special, I hope.
LLL: We are very excited, I know I got a little bit of a VIP preview. If you want to learn more about Cillie, listen to the full Interview.
Special shout out to Jason Bentley and KCRW for playing her music!
Add Cillie’s music to your summer playlist! These are our favorites:
(We are working on improving our audio quality)
All photos by www.michellerubio.com