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On the Record with Dessa 

"There are so few constraints when you sit down to make a song where three-and-a-half minutes of silence used to be."

Photo courtesy of Isaac Gale

Minneapolis freedom: Dessa

Photo courtesy of Isaac Gale

Singer, rapper and Doomtree collective member Dessa started out as a slam poet, but some of her output now is more like that of a torch singer. A longer version of this interview is available on our music blog, FFW>>.

I read on Twitter that you're going to be rapping in Esperanto. Is that true?

Absolutely not. That was nothing more than coy Twitter flirtation.

On 2011's Castor the Twin, you recorded with all live instrumentation rather than produced beats. What made you want to do that? 

It felt like there would be an opportunity to have a more compelling live show if I toured with a live band. It was in that touring that I thought, the arrangements we're coming up with are continuing to depart from the recorded versions of these songs. And I thought, it probably warrants some studio time, to capture these arrangements.

Writing some of the music for your upcoming album for the live band, do you feel a kind of freedom you didn't when you wrote to a backing track?

Totally! Horrible, horrible, freedom! I think my role was so much narrower as a lyricist and vocalist; now, being asked to bear some of the weight of the music writing and production feels like a very different job. It's exciting. But there are so few constraints when you sit down to make a song where three-and-a-half minutes of silence used to be — whereas I used to sit down and write a song where three-and-a-half minutes of music used to be.

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