Media Press The Aquarian
Interview with L. Gabrielle Penabaz of Saint Eve
By Jimi Shultz
Published: February 18, 2004
The Aquarian/East Coast Rocker
How long has your band been around?
GP: Saint Eve has been around officially since 1999. I started recording in '98. First performance was in Feb 2000.
How many CDs have you released?
GP: Two. Demonstration, the EP (video enhanced) and now ELIXIR, the full-length, enhanced cd
Have you ever done any radio promotions?
How many CDs have you sold (or estimate Saint Eve CDs in circulation?
GP: Only about 2000 worldwide, but that is about to change.
Where did you record your latest album?
GP: At home and at Grand Street Studio*.
Who mixed the CD?
GP: Several People. I am always here for the mix and make the decisions, but definitely had help. Primarily AJ Tissian (The Wave Lab, NYC), Chris Flam, Geo Greene and Chris Ianuzzi as well, on different songs. Brian Gocher co-writes and produces the songs that I have done with him.
Did you work with a producer?
GP: I produce my tracks, inherently, because production is a part of how I write (sequencers, synths, etc) but I also collaborated with Brian Gocher, AJ Tissian, and Fred Ditman.
If you had to fill out a resume as an Artist what would your current job title be? (Im talking to Gabrielle the editor, film-er, singer, designer, et et et )
GP: My business card says instigator. I have had an eclectic past, to say the least, but that would be a whole interview, in and of itself.
Whats Becs day job?
GP: Bec is a successful video artist. (honeygunlabs.com)
What is Eve the Saint of?
GP: There is an article called pondering on my archive site, sainteve.net, that deals with this. In a nutshell, she is the saint of the iconoclast, martyred for bucking the system (like most saints, really). I see her as the active principle in receiving creativity and knowledge, which is so often forbidden when strong systems are in place (a kind of Western Tara (Tibetan, BonPo goddess). However, the Tibetans revere Tara, and we have some things to learn from them.
How did you get your bands name and what does it mean?
GP: Honestly, it was kind of a joke at first. An email handle that went berserk. Saint Eve evolved and I remain only Eve N. Stevens, in emails. ;->
How did you and Bec meet?
GP: Through AJ Tissian, her neighbor at the time I first met him. I came to him to work on some tracks in his studio.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists?
GP: Yes. The list is long and includes everything from musicians to costumers, make-up artists. etc the sainteve.net site has a page dedicated to them and it grows all the time.
Or worked with a full band?
GP: Whenever I can.
Experiencing a St Eve show is entirely different than simply listening to the CD, what type of stimulant do you project with the video imagery during your performance?
GP: The trick with the video is to provide some meaning as well as a light show that goes with the music, which unifies the experience into a complete thing not just a band with blinky stuff going on.
Is it a rock opera style show?
GP: No. If I do that, one day, it would be a separate project. Its really just a rock-n-roll show.
When did you start incorporate projections and visuals into your performance?
From the beginning. Performance art allowed me to do shows by myself or with just one other person. It freed me of the ordinary four piece rock band cliché. I just needed to get out and sing andvisuals made the presentation more complete and fun for me, at least :->.
What inspiration sparked the fusion of mediums?
GP: I worked at Mother with Michael T. on a night called Heroes. I loved what the drag queens did it was so liberating. In many ways, Im often a drag queen.
Whats your educational background? Have you ever studied music performance, or any other fine or graphic art?
GP: I graduated college in Comparative Literature 20th century English Spanish and French. It seemed a better use for college. I prefer private music and art lessons.
Who are some of your favorite artists (musicians, painters, sculptors, et?)
GP: I love so much everything from the dregs of Pompeii, to Andy Warhol. Check out dollhaus.org, Madeline Von Foerster should be hugely famous (baphomatty.com) and I really like Alex Arcadias work, plus I also just purchased a tantric Thangka, which is amazing.
Who/what are some of your musical influences?
GP: Oh, the usual suspects, David Bowie, early Elton John, most New Wave (especially the women of that era), punky stuff, PLUS industrial bands.
If you could play one venue or event where/what would it be?
GP: I would be great to take over a gorgeous Villa, no?
What Band would you want to play with, and who would you want to open for you?
GP: Im really digging The Faint and Goldfrapp. Either would be a fun double bill. If you dont know who they are LOOK THEM UP, FOLKS!
Have you ever done any sound track work or movies with Saint Eve?
GP: Some local indie films here and there use bits. I have some music coming up in a show called Faking It.
If you could drink your Elixir, (metaphorically speaking) what would it be like?
GP: Absinthe, actually. Even the album cover is meant to look like an art-deco liqueur label.
How would it make you feel?
GP: Like youre taking in something now that has some history, with a depth that includes some sweetness, some bitterness and makes you keenly aware even while it intoxicates. Thats the idea, anyway. hahaha.
Are there any meanings in Elixir or a message from Saint Eve?
GP: While it really is just a pop-rock record, I cant help but touch on transmutation whenever possible. Im into resolutions for the better.
You guys just got back from the Bacardi Limón Tour. What was that like?
GP: It was great driving around the country Vjing for Bacardi Limón. It really helped to pay the Saint Eve bills on the road, that long away from home.
How long was it? Four months
How many cities? 15 or so
How many shows? 38 for Bacardi Limón
And have you been on any other tours? I went on a short tour with Gary Numan in the UK and some unofficial tours but where I did a bunch of dates at one time in Europe.
What was it like to be with your band and the road crew for four months? Any crazy stories?
You dont have space here. Lets just say that by the time we got to New Orleans, we were ready for that type of decadence.
You guys played Lollapalooza?
What was that like?
GP: Actually, it was hell being one of the smaller acts. I want to say it was fabulous, but it just wasnt. The crew was nice, but the event is not set up well for this aspect of performances.
What type of gear do you use?
GP: I record with Digital Performer and a few other pieces of software. Hardware? I love my Waldorf Pulse and the Access Virus, as well as my macs. I have some regular outboard gear, a Rode NT2 mic, and a decent wireless mic. Live, I may start playing some samplers. Come out and see what I come up with. Bec has a nice Strat and a Gibson Les Paul, and plays through a Line 6 pod amp simulator, which rox IMHO.
Do you have any endorsements?
GP: Edirol have been a video godsend
Whats the performance art party scene like now-a-days on the Lower East Side?
GP: With the increasing conservatism? Not good. The days of the Gargoyle Mechanique are long gone, Surf Reality died a landlord death and The Collective Unconscious (http://www.weird.org/) are currently searching for a new space. FEVA is doing what it can with the HOWL festival and all (howlfestival.com/feva/). Check out earthcelebrations.com. They do the Winter and Spring pageants in the gardens here, but lost their funding this last winter.
Whats your take on the State of the Union in regards to the Goth scene?
GP: I think Goth music is a little stuck as a genre, but the actual people are quite open minded to new music. The scene could evolve faster than promoters let it.
Nightlife in general
I actually like SONGS and thats so missing from the typical house/techno club fare. My FAVORITE thing is the combination of solid rock tunes when mixed with dance beats. The DJ at 10009 (NYC) blew me away just like when I went to this club in Barcelona and you didnt even feel like the songs were sped up, but you found yourself dancing to Nirvana, Blur, Queen, mixed in with all kinds of clubby rhythms. This is rare, but worth seeking.
The S+M Dungeon scene
Is a private thing. If you mean parties with this kind of theme, theyre just parties with people in fetish clothing, mostly. Its getting a little formulaic, but its still thrives in Europe. The Black & Blue Ball in NYC is always well attended.
And the state of the music industry?
GP: Is sad. Record Companies lost sight of building catalog and greed has up and forced the industry to eat itself. Support internet radio. Buy band merch. Buy my album. hahaha.
What s your best stalker story?
GP: You mean like the guy who would leave love notes on napkins outside my apartment door? VERY creepy.
Ever have any outrageous fans?
GP: I have yet to really benefit from Groupie Darwinism. My fans are still single celled creatures, going about their business. One day I hope they evolve into full-on Zappa style beautiful wackos. Its hard for female fronted bands, too. Guys are so shy after a show. All it takes is a slightly sensual show to clear the room of available men when you get offstage.
Where do you see Saint Eve in 5 years?
GP: I have ordinary fantasies about this kind of thing. I would like to be a strong enough force to inspire copycats.
What inspires you?
GP: Striking imagery. Sex. Other people who are really good at what they do.
Is their any particular message, advice, or shout out that you would like to say to the 14-16 year old young women, growing up in todays Society, reading this interview?
GP: Individuality is the only thing that makes you special. Feel free to explore things even if you think your friends might laugh at you, you will be richer for it. Travel, check out movies, websites and books that seem beyond you theyre not. You are amazing RIGHT NOW. Anyone who doesnt appreciate it, isnt worth your time. Learn from everything