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Q&A: Regina Spektor talks about new LIVE IN LONDON release

By Andrea Narvaez on November 8, 2010


Q&A: Regina Spektor talks about new LIVE IN LONDON release

The piano playing, ever enchanting, singer-songwriter, Regina Spektor, was gracious enough to sit down and chat with FILTER about her upcoming LIVE IN LONDON DVD+CD release. You can find her first live recording and concert film captured in London’s Hammersmith Apollo Theatre out on shelves November 22nd, on Sire/Warner Bros Records. Take a little look below, and read about Regina’s Friday afternoon in New York, and her words on the new release. You might find out some interesting bits on her personal favorite live recordings.

Hello! It’s so, great to talk to you. How’s your Friday going so far?
Rainy, like yesterday I basically spent all day in wet shoes and wet pants. I have this thing, ever since I studied abroad in London, I just sort of winged myself off of umbrellas. I was 19- the weather changed so much there. You’d walk out of the house, and you look 3 seconds later, and it’d be sunny. You wouldn’t need your umbrella for the whole day. Then it would start raining. So I was like whatever, you know I’m going to be wet all the time here. I just stopped using umbrellas and never got back in the habit.


Wish I had one yesterday.


I was fortunate enough to have seen you last year at the Greek Theater, here in L.A., and this Live in London DVD+CD release just takes me back to that night. I assume most artists intend on having that effect on fans when they do these types of releases. How special was this process for you? Of doing this project?

This is really amazing, for many many reasons. One of the reasons was just because like what you said, just it’s so nice to have something that, I don’t know, on a personal level, as a memory. Thank God for the people who come to my shows, because if it weren’t for them, I would be, I wouldn’t know even half of my songs. They document stuff that… I’ve never been good about documenting my stuff. So, I think it’s really nice to know “ok cool we have this awesome memory of this time together”, playing these songs in this way. It’s makes me happy to have that. I’m kind of a perfectionist and definitely like, all the details, I have to have my hands in them.


It’s just this new, this thing, seeing this come into the true vision, it’s been insane. We planned this with my friend Adrian in November, and we went together to England.  There was this whole small UK tour leading up to this show, and then the show got shot. Then you think about the work it takes in doing the shows, but this thing was just so hard to make! I have a whole newfound respect for it. You know when you’re a kid, you don’t really think about where things come from? You don’t really think about … I never really had to consider chapter points on a DVD menu before, or what goes behind the menu, and how long it lasts? What are the sound effects? Where the edit points are, and this and that? In ever part of this, there was just so much work. Everybody worked so hard, there were so many people involved. I can’t even begin imagine what it takes to make a “film”. It still continues! We were just figuring out oh this is the vinyl, and it’s going to be a double vinyl because there’s just that much music. Designing labels for the vinyl. It just doesn’t end. You know, I bet I’ll be working on this Live DVD from London in like 5 years, and you can just catch up with me and I’ll be like “Yeah, I’ve been figuring out the print, of how to project this onto a microchip. The new technology….”. It’s just kind of crazy, but it really made me have a new found appreciation. I mean, having a film and just putting into your computer and watching it, so many things have to go right for that to happen.

Especially since you’ve seen to be heavily involved in the editing process and what not. I’m sure that working with the editors, directors, and creative directors really helped you understand the vision of the project and everything, it seems.

Yeah! Well it’s really at a certain point you just start to know. It was kind of how I always feel after my records are done, I basically scrubbed and looked over and handled and thought about every single moment of every single thing. I just know every single thing about it. This film, when I was watching it for the millionth time, I was like wow, I know every single thing about this.


Read The Rest of Regina Spektor's Interview Below!

Speaking of details, these new recordings on the new release are great. I’m curious, how did you choose these? Was there some type of formula in doing so? Did you have them on your mind for some a while? How did they kind of come about in the choosing?

Well they’ve been a part of the live show for a while, so a lot of the time when these songs that aren’t a part of anything become a part of my live show. It was just one of those things where I was like “wow they’re not anywhere”, and it would be really cool if people could have them. Not on their cell phones but better quality. I love when people share footage from live shows. A lot of the time the visual is always shaking and the sound quality is really bad, so I just figured [make it look good] and put as many songs as possible on there.

On a personal level, live CD releases have a heavy impact on my vision of the musical works. Are there any live performances/releases that have inspired or really struck you before? Any that were influential?

Of other musicians?

Yes, yes, in the past, growing up …

There’s a lot, a lot of live Beatles stuff that I always heard, and really loved. I really loved all the little in between things that you could hear, as there was a lot more of that on the Anthologies. I grew up listening to them. Also, when I first starting writing songs, kind of one of the earliest things I was introduced to was Ani DeFranco. My friend sent me a mixedtape, and I think one side of it was the live stuff. I think in some ways, it really captured my imagination… Actually in that way the DVD is more like a live record than the live record, because I have SO many songs. People were saying well you can put 13 songs in it, and put more talking in it. I said “no, let’s put all 22 songs in there”! It actually barely just made the cutt-off, of how many songs a CD could hold. So it doesn’t really have a lot of talking, nor do I really do a lot talking but I guess it depends on the show. But, I remember that feeling. I was listening [to the mixedtape] before I had ever gone to any shows. I just wasn’t that kind of kid who got to go to shows, or had records because I was broke. It was really nice to have that kind of feeling, even if you were just sitting in your room, to have that feeling that I was in on an event.

…that sort of inspiring adrenaline from going to a show.


Traveling around a place like the UK, I’m sure you had the chance to see spectacular sights. Were there any specific locations that blew your mind, or just felt great to revisit while on tour?

Well the thing with touring, which is one of the cool things that this DVD shows a little bit of, is that to me it’s kind of like two different things. A lot the time when I’m on tour I have to remind myself “this is a job, this is not a vacation”. I get really pissed off because all I want to do is basically run around and look at things. Because of the amount of work that it takes to put on a show, most of your time you spend looking at a backstage area, on stage, or you’re in a booth, in hotel, or at an airport, or you’re on the road. So the thing that you get to see the most is just like beautiful greenery. When you’re in England, you know you’re in England. There’s so many rolling hills, sheep, and all the English stuff that you can think of. It’s not like I can go to Old Abbey. Some people can figure out how to do that, but I sort of just try to get a taste for what a place is when I’m on tour. I’ll then try to go back to it when I’m a “person”.


LIVE IN LONDON will be offered in DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, Vinyl and Digital formats and available for pre-order October 14th via

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