Mariee: When I was about 18 I wrote some songs with some friends in a little girl band we named "Gale Music"...then after that they just started flowin'. But I've always written things, whether it was journals, weird stories as a kid or even weirder poems as a kid. Then I went on this trip to Patagonia and brought my mom's guitar and just started writing some tunes down there.
Miss Ess: What are your main influences/inspirations?
The insanity of this life and world! I am a pretty sensitive person and this world just constantly trips me out...also crazy dreams...like I just had this one where I walked into a room and the floor was covered in shedded snake skins like billowing and flaky ....I guess also the sincerity in plant and animal life. I also really liked Simon and Garfunkel growing up. I used to make S&G tapes for myself in 4th grade for my car ride to school... And Jeff Mangum blew my mind/ changed my life and thoughts in high school...
ME: Mangum threw my head back too. Totally freaked me out. How do you write your songs? Words or music first?
Mariee: Usually begins with the words. I'm always scribbling stuff down while I travel or have insane dreams.
ME: Which do you enjoy more, playing live shows or the writing process?
Mariee: Well, I really love both and feel wholly connected to both parts of the trade. I mean at this point I don't know what I would do with these jumbles of songs without playing them live....and I don't think I'll ever be able to stop writing them, even if I'm not having the opportunities to play 'em for people.
ME: When you decided to create an album [Faces in the Rocks], how did you decide on the instrumentation for the songs after having played some of them solo at shows for a long time?
Mariee: I just kinda let it fall into place how it seemed fit. I knew I wanted my dad to jam on it and then kinda gracefully stumbled into Gentle Thunder who played the flutes and drums on the album. Things just kinda seemed to be how they were going to be without me making too many conscious decisions about it.
ME: Can you write a little about your record label Grass Roots Records and why it is special?
Mariee: Hmmmmm...small...Nevada City based...[owned by] Marc Snegg...
Mariee: The French people seem to really have open hearts and minds for music and art. Art is like the center of so many things here (oh, I am here in France right now)... And there are constantly state/city founded festivals all year long happening in all cities. They just have a way with receiving people's art, even if they don't know a word you're saying/singing. Plus, they are kinda fascinated with the idea of Native Americans and American folk music.
ME: I saw that you opened for Pegi Young recently. Can you tell me about meeting her? Did you get to meet Neil Young too? What was it like? Mariee: Sweet people and rad family. Rad lady. Neil is a sweet old man these days.
ME: What artist do you dream about playing with on the same bill?
Mariee: Kate Wolf /Otis Redding/REM.
ME:Paul Goble's book The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses was one of my favorites growing up. The artwork was particularly fascinating and influential for me. I know you love him too -- what influence has Goble had on you and your own creativity?
Mariee: My mom used to always give me Paul Goble books for birthdays and things when I was little and even gave one to me while I was still in her belly, so there has always been a close connection to his artwork and stories. I would love to meet that dude. Those paintings are insane. I really want to own one someday.
ME: What kind of music did your parents play around the house when you were growing up?
Mariee: My dad had band practice a lot at the house with his bluegrass band. And he jammed on the mandolin a lot. They always blasted Graceland out the windows while they were out working in the garden.
ME: When you were young, do you remember having a musical experience that changed you?
Mariee: Seeing Bob Dylan and Paul Simon sing "The Sound of Silence" together.
ME: Who were your favorite artists to listen to when you were in middle school?
Mariee: Simon and Garfunkel, Hanson, MJ, Jackson Browne, Ace of Base.
ME: Oh yeah, that must have been when Michael Jackson was at his height, with videos premiering on The SImpsons and all! What have you been listening to lately? What is your favorite record at the moment?
Mariee: Will Oldham continues to put out some pretty mind boggling beautiful albums lately/forever. A lot of random tapes I have accumulated ...a weird Otis Redding tape that is epic and a lot of REM lately.
ME: Ooh, yes on Will Oldham. I just saw him at Swedish American Hall last week and it was fantastic. Is there a song or record that can make you cry?
Mariee: "You Are The Everything" by REM. ME: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures? Mariee: Dunno...that "Umbrella" song is pretty catchy.
ME: Now that it is October, is there an album that always puts you in the autumnal mood?
Mariee: Nick Drake is about as autumnal as it gets for me I think.
ME: What's next for you? More touring? Another record soon?
Mariee: Neeeeeeed to record song new jams! Dunno how or where yet....and yeah just cruising around playing these songs, seeing how they can fit into people's lives
ME: Thank you so much for your time, Miss Mariee!
By Miss Ess on October 9, 2008