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THE INTERVIEW, with Christian A. Korn, founder, songwriter and incendiary guitarist of SONGSTORE
Lyric / Amy UK site

Lyric: Hi Christian!! You have no idea, I'm so stoked to have you with us, just back from your tour. This may sound like I'm blowing smoke up your arse, but have you any idea that I cannot get my day started without listening to your cd's? They are my inspiration for carrying on when I'm struggling, and set a positive tone for my day….lets jump into the past for now….What first reached into your soul and enticed you to pick up an instrument and develop into such an accomplished musician?

Christian: As long as I remember when I was a child I played my parents 45's on an old record player. When I was a teenager I bought my first K7's , or as more commonly known, cassettes. (I have used them to record in a 4 track portable... some of the basic tracks on the Extinction album are recorded with it, later copied and overdubbed in the 1/2" reel to reel 8 track tape recorder….) and vinyl records and used to record tapes singing along over Pet Shop Boys, A-Ha and 80's music, then I wanted to play bass! There wasn't any guitar in the 80's pop music…One day whilst waiting on a friend at the tube, who ran late, I bought a magazine because there was an article about Madonna but there was a man on the cover that I didn't know… it was Tom Waits!!!

Lyric: Tom Waits has that kind of affect on musicians-and writers~!

Christian: Yeah, that magazine opened my eyes and ears to new music, I was very curious and bought three records: REM's "Dead Letter Office" (that was reviewed by that magazine), Tom Waits' "Blue Valentine" and "The Velvet Underground" with 'Nico'. 'Sonic Youth' was the next step and then I decided to play guitar rather than bass! I must say I still love some of the 80's records I bought when I was a teenager, in fact there's an A-Ha cover song "The Swing Of Things" on our second album.

Lyric: I mentioned this in the introduction, and I have restate it, your voice reminds me in a fashion of an early Jim Reid, (Jesus and Mary Chain) with an far more ethereal feel and your own signature sound, naturally~! Then there's your songwriting, your extreme talent on the guitar…..Who on earth taught you to play that instrument, and if you tell me you are self-taught I will faint dead -away???

Christian: I love Jim Reid voice and The Jesus & Mary Chain (thanks for the compliment) because I was too young to get punk music, 'The Jesus & Mary Chain' showed me a similar attitude in the 80's. About my guitar playing I must say I'm self-taught, some artist friends showed me the basic chords and then I started to play guitar listening to a 'Yo La Tengo' acoustic show on a Spanish radio station I had recorded on tape. I spent a lot of hours and a whole summer holiday in Hamburg, Germany, listening to it and trying to get the chords and the lyrics by myself. On the radio show they played Gene Clark, Ramones, Cat Stevens and many other covers, some of them were recorded and released on their Fakebook album and I had the opportunity to see them 'live' that summer in Hamburg!!! I couldn't have had a better 'inadvertent' teacher than Ira Kaplan! (from the band 'Yo La Tengo') He wasn't an actual instructor of mine, it was more of a metaphore, because I did learn to play the guitar listening to a show on 'Yo La Tengo' from a Spanish radio station that I had recorded on cassette... I did learn from him, and of course he is one of my guitar heroes! That's how it started, playing in bands was the next step...

Lyric: Damn....talk about learning brilliance by ear??? I mean, my father had over 6,000 standards in his head that he learned by ear, so I do hope that other artists reading this grasp the gravity of your talent, all by ear.....How would you say that audiences have received your solo act, are chicks swooning, dropping to the floor, and are they handing out fans and spirits of menthol to revive your fans??

Christian: Ja, ja. I wish it could been that way but it isn't!

Lyric: I find that difficult to believe.

Christian: I usually play in small clubs and it's more like having a relaxed and sweet time listening to pop songs.

Lyric: Your sound is so versatile, suitable for an intimate cozy setting as much as for a larger venue or a festival. That's rather unusual….

Christian: In the older line-up of Songstore, we did a lot of noise playing with the band before, and after we quit summer 2006 I didn't really play the guitar seriously over a year, I was only strumming. But now that I'm playing solo, I'm digging playing guitar again ! Listening to rumba, boss nova and soul music helped me to improve my guitar playing and my singing… I never wanted to be a "virtuoso", I'm more emotional and passionate than effective, and now I play the acoustic guitar thru my amp without stomp boxes.

Lyric: Ah….now its all making sense to me. Anytime you expose yourself to Boss nova, you're giving yourself an extreme advantage. I wish more artists realized this. The very mention of emotion and passion, its evident in all of your remarkably poignant material! You've had this amazingly talented band for some time, there's always more inside that anyone with your flair and genius can do in their lifetime, now that you've gone solo what's the plan for you next?

Christian: I don't know what the future's gonna be, I'm looking forward to trying different things from now on, perhaps more into the groove than pop…Now I really enjoy performing solo , playing the songs of "Songstore's" last album "Permanent Victim Syndrome" (produced in the decade of 1996-2006)" because some of them were recorded long ago , however, they were never performed 'live' and I'm at this point, I'm really having a lot of fun with the tunes, they are fresh and new for me as I restyle them a bit playing to an audience, and that's a great sensation! 'Songstore' has always had a transient line-up with various members coming/going. However, some of my musician pals are joining to play some shows. I wish you could see 'Songstore' live someday!

Lyric: Are you serious? I would flip out totally if I knew that I could fly over and attend one of your gigs. I have a Euro trip planned for later this year or early next, and Spain is my second stop, I am a freak for the culture and Portuguese is my fave language, been studying it for five years!

Christian: Hopefully you come to Barcelona! And be sure I will play one of my fave tunes , dedicate it to you! It is entitled, "How Insensitive" , but naturally that does not apply to you, just the melody!

Lyric: (Swooning now) I'm dying now.....thanks for dedicating one of your fave tunes to me!!! Then the trip is set, so long as I can stay with you, or at least, up the avenue, so do check with your loved ones first, see if they mind having a rock journalist crashing at the hacienda? I would at the very least expect to be serenaded for hours every day if I am to travel all those miles, right?! (Lol) Christian, what's the most fave venue you've played as a solo act, and what made it a great night for you?

Christian: Yesterday I've played in Newcastle at the 'Ouseburn Boat Club' on the Tyne river shore (I'm answering your questions on the fly before returning to Barcelona). This has been touring, a great experience, I've had a wonderful time and I must thank 'Pale Man Made' who hosted the gig and turn the 'Boat Club' into a really nice "fiesta", made me feel at home- they are an amazing band as well ! There were more great bands playing: 'Shin Jin Rui', 'The Bubble Project' and 'Ghost Fleet' But my favourite place is the 'Heliogabal' in my hometown, I've played a few times solo and with band and I can always find "amigos" there.

Lyric: That would be in the Gràcia neighbourhood of Barcelona , I study my Spain!!! They feature small concerts, jazz sessions, as well as fabulous exhibitions, 'live' poetry, spoken-word, etc. I looked those bands up that you gigged with at the OuseBurn on the Tyne shores, and could not locate a word on them, they must be extremely obscure talent, if you say they were talented, then we know that they were. !! With your band entitled, "Songstore", how many tunes do you have in your repertoire?

Christian: The Songstore published stuff (including demo tapes and excluding covers) would be about 35 songs. There are also a lot of songs I composed that are only on demo tapes and could be easy over 30 real songs, also ideas, instrumental passages, I don't really know...near one hundred I suppose…. I have a lot of cassettes recorded on 4tracks and perhaps some day I'll have the time to listen them and do some recycling!!!

Lyric: Yeah, I think you better do that, my dear, who knows what greatness awaits us on those tapes. Don't make us wait long, will you? And we love you and we thank you for taking time with us, Christian. We're always honoured to interview humble and brilliant artists at UK Artists "LIVE" ! For future gigs, contact Christian A. Korn at www.myspace.com/songstore . You can treat yourself, and I do mean TREAT, to a purchase of most of his brilliant and extensive material from his project, "SONGSTORE" now available on CD Baby, and I not only encourage you to do so, I highly recommend it !