INTERVIEW: Caitlin Rose


Effortlessly talented Texan Caitlin Rose captured our hearts in 2010, then sent them a flutter again with her debut album ‘Own Side Now’ as we put it then ‘Caitlin writes the kind of country that could spin an uninitiated listener on their heels; it’s blissfully heart wrenching, sung by a woman with a voice decades older than her soul.’ She recently released a Record Store day 7″ for Domino in the shape of a cover of the Arctic Monkeys and why Piledriver Waltz it saw Rose taking the subdued melancholy of Alex Turners Ballad (Originally recorded for Richard Ayoade’s 2011 film ‘Submarine, which Turner wrote and recorded six songs for) and covering it with lashings of Pedal Steel and Tennessee heartbreak. An accompanying video which see’s Ms Rose all rodeo clowned up was a total hit with all of us! So Lisa Jenkins thought it was high time we caught up with the talented Miss Rose, for the lowdown on her recent release and exciting future plans!

Hi Caitlin, how the hell are you….it’s been a while since we last spoke!

Doing good! Hope you’re well!

Tell us what you have been up to?

Just writing and trying to be comfortable. That may sound weird, but it’s done my mind a lot of good after all of that traveling. I started reading a lot again and studying things that strike my fancy. I also started cooking. This nesting period is definitely coming to a close though.

I see you did something for Record Store Day, why did you choose the Arctic Monkeys and why Piledriver Waltz?

We were approached by Domino about covering those specific songs at the start of the year. I’ve grown into quite a fan though. His writing is wonderful. Quick flashes of fascinating details.
That’s always kind of been the main idea for me too. Mostly just so I can stay focused on an object rather than a feeling. Feelings change so much.

We featured the video a couple of weeks ago on GIITTV, tell us about the making of it?

I haven’t made many videos. I’m not brilliant at coming up with visual ideas unless prompted… It’s not where my creativity lies, plus I’m a horrible actress at best. So some of my friends wrote treatments which were great, but Will Holland, a local filmmaker, plainly mentioned that he knew some “rodeo people” which sounded wonderfully mysterious. I was immediately on board and he called up Ryan Kendrick and Andy Snyder and we hashed the thing out over a few beers.

My friend, Laws Rushing, is a minister and also does the Elvis chapel gig so it made perfect sense to call him. Everyone was amazing and it was such a perfect day, aside from my sister constantly having to touch up my make up, it was a very hot sticky rainy. It’s not like this stuff is work though. It’s busting out my dad’s old cowboy hat and goofing off in an empty rodeo all day. I’m also wearing my boyfriend’s size 13 high tops which he’s still laughing about.

Why the clown theme?

I threw out the clown idea as soon as Will mentioned the rodeo. Turned out to be a secret urge of mine. I couldn’t contain my excitement once the ball started rolling. There was a middle school art teacher of mine that went to clown college in her 30’s. She was great, but she wasn’t the friendliest person. It never made sense to me until after this.
You have to let go of a lot of things as a clown. You let go of pride and control and become a pawn for everyone else’s enjoyment. It’s freeing if you think about it in the right way…

People judge individual personalities so intensely. As a clown, all etiquette and form go out the window. If you’re hapless you can break the rules, but offend no one. I’m not that friendly either, to be honest. Not from meanness, more just underdeveloped social skills, but I’ve got my own clown face in life. Especially in performing.It’s not just artists that feel during a show. Crowds throw a lot of emotions onto a stage and they’re not all good, but you learn to take them and accept them. Not because you’re jaded, but because you’re grateful.

It’s always been that way, especially with clowns. They’re in the position of being attacked (sometimes by bulls) and loved and feared and mocked all at the same time and they appear, to the audience, completely oblivious. After hundreds of years of the same hackneyed stunts and gags, they can still convince a tent full of sound minded people that they aren’t wise to the game.

You have to have such an understanding of other people’s emotions to do that. It’s overwhelming and, to me, a more magical burden.
I’m not implying that every jerk in oversized shoes and a bozo wig is inherently good, but there’s a kindness there. Or at least a mimed kindness.
Because behind the paint you become an example, or you’re made an example of, for the everyone else. This a pretty intense latent fascination…. I’m not articulate enough for it, but it truly stirs me up inside.

I’m going to be a bit cheeky here, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that you are a bit of a fan of GIITTV, we are chuffed, can you tell me why?

I don’t really read a lot of blogs, mostly because I don’t know enough about new music to follow them, but when I’ve stumbled onto something there I usually enjoy it.

Please tell us you are working on a second album at the moment…..

I am, but probably not in the ways that anyone would be excited to hear about. I’m figuring out a lot of things. OSN is such a personal record, but personal records are so easy when you’re going thru those big life changes. The songs I’ve been writing are different in that I am apparently no longer fascinated by my own misery… There has to be a change in direction and my mind’s compass is still moving.

So, when are you next coming over to the UK?

Like I said, have to nail down that direction first. We’ll see how it goes.

Are you playing any festivals this summer?

We are playing Bonnaroo in June. It’s a 2 hour drive. I dig that.

It’s a new year, with loads of great music out there…what’s floating your boat at the moment?

I fell into a pit of Cass McCombs today. I don’t reckon I’ll ever climb my way out, but I’d be foolish to want to.
Amalia Rodrigues gets a lot of play in my house. She has been for years. I will never tire of that voice.
I try to catch the better country shows on 650AM when I’m cooking too. Ole Homebody Rose.

Caitlin Rose

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.