Bunny West - Ebullient sounds for your ears!Story and interview by Chris Koppers, photo courtesy of Bunny West
You may have heard her before - her captivating and outstandig voice conveyed Iron Maiden's 'Run to the Hills' song to the next higher level.
Bunny is a lady who comes along with the stuff you need to succeed.
She cultivates inimitable lyrics with highly skilled band members.
Artful Bunny West talks about her debut album, her band, female singers, and more.
--- Interview ---
How did you get into being a musician?
Well my dad is a musician and I've been around clubs and loud rehearsals since my ear drums could stand it. I suppose I've always loved to sing and when I got my first guitar at 13, everything just made sense. It was an outlet and I'm lucky I found it when I did.
What has been the inspiration behind your songs?
In writing the new record, my inspirations came from a different perspective of songwriting. I like to tell stories and take people to different places and times like the old cowboy songs did. I really got into George Jones, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams over the past few years and I just appreciate the simple perfection behind classic country songs. I also wanted to find a way to incorporate the styles of music that brought me to where I am now with my new found love of country. The Blues, Soul and Southern Rock have been ingrained so deeply in me musically, that finding a way to create a home for all of these was extremely important to me. I love the quirky underdog, I love traditional beauty and I love doing things that people tell me I can't.
I read your debut album merely took four days for completion and all the tracks were recorded live. Can you tell us more about it?
Well budget was a huge factor but in a way we took it as a challenge. Ultimately I've always wanted to make a record as pure as I could and when you work with such talented people who have such long standing musical relationships, you don't need more than that. We were able to record at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, which was probably the most amazing and surreal experience I could imagine. All these guys know each other so well and are the best at their craft. We had a plan loosely laid out so we knew what we were doing when we went into the studio, so we started off by laying the drums and bass out with Deacon Marrquin and Jonathan Flaugher the first day and a half. Along with Brother Sal on piano and a lot of my scratch vocals that we ended up keeping down the road, everything just fell into place. It was amazing because we were all set up in Studio 2 in different rooms with windows so we were able to play live together and see one another. That was really special for me because I feel like you can feel that connection on all the songs. The following days we added theremin and hammond with Brad Gordon, guitars with David Immergluk, Eli Wolfweier and Shiben Bhattacharya, and fiddle with Michael Starr. The whole thing was produced by Brother Sal and Geoff Neal and they really just had an amazing communication. In the studio and there was never a waisted minute... besides about 10,000 cigarette breaks.
I truely believe in your remarkable voice and it is going to open tons of people's eyes to your music. What kind of collaborations could you see yourself doing in the future?
Oh man, if I had my pick I would say Jack White, Dan Auerbach and Robert Plant. I can't tell you how much I respect these guys and how their contribution to music has inspired me. The list really does go on and on though.
Tell me what it is like to be a female singer in this genre?
Well it's always a little hard to categorize what the genre is for starters. Certain songs are straight up Country while others are soul and some are just alternative. Over all I feel like it's timeless but it's also a throw back and I suppose it's just really exciting to be able to put something out there like this. As a woman, I feel like you have to work a little harder to be taken seriously as an artist in this business and I appreciate the ladies with some serious huevos. Etta James, Janis Joplin, Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline have more balls than most dudes I know in day to day life when they sing, so I can only hope to be able to aspire to such things.
What is your latest project?
The latest project is our Kickstarter that we've got coming out in a few days to fund the tour/merch/ musicians/reproduction of CD's and vinyl for the new Bunny West record. I love the idea of Kickstarter and I feel like we are in a really exciting time for artists being able to take control of their art. I've got some pretty insane backer packages too that you'll have to check out. For $10,000 I'll get you're name tattooed on my arm. Now that's love.
Where will you see yourself in 2014?
I see myself touring and getting ready to release another record for sure. I just can't wait to get on the road. I love playing live shows and it's the thing that really makes me happiest in life.
What makes you happy?
(Please see previous question) It really is! A good live show could cure cancer as far as I'm concerned. I never feel as high as I do after really connecting with people on stage with my badass band. We've worked so hard together and these guys are so great and tight, that feeling the rewards from all that work with a good show is pretty indescribable and untouchable.
On the other hand, my family is my everything. My mom is my heart and my dad, brother and sister are my body. Without them I wouldn't be doing what I do the way I do.
How do you define: this is my gig of a lifetime?
Gig of a lifetime= The lifetime gig
Basically, when you start off doing what we do as musicians and songwriters, you're in it for life and for every gig. You enjoy and appreciate the ride and hope one day you can say you've made it in whatever capacity that is. You don't do it to be famous, you do it because you don't have a choice.
That's not to say at that The Hollywood Bowl wouldn't be a gig of a lifetime because I'm sure I'd loose it standing on that stage. It's the one place that might make me cry from shear overwhelming happiness.
For more details for behind the scenes, please watch this video: