Musical Discoveries: So how did you get involved with the Balligomingo project?
Colleen Coadic: I'm a Cape Breton girl living in Alaska. I came here to Alaska some years ago to write an album, and four CDs later, Alaska is still home. I have been an independent artist writing songs, recording, and performing worldwide since 1994. Previously I lived in Vancouver, home of the Balligomingo studio and Vic who is a mutual friend of Thom Christiansen, the former bassist Econoline Crush.
Well, Thom suggested to Garrett that I would be a good choice of singer/writer for Balligomingo. We spoke, hit if off, and since both our studios have compatible recording formats--Protools--Garrett sent me music ideas, and I sent back melody and lyrics to complete the songs.
And what about your musical and vocal training?
I have been singing since I could speak, and writing songs since age fourteen. I do have some formal voice training, but largely, my musical experience and knowledge comes from touring and performing in a variety of bands, styles and circumstances throughout my career which has been exclusively of music.
How would you characterize the songs that you have done on the Balligomingo album?
"Escape," my initial contribution to Balligomingo, came very easily. Late one night, Sean Cobb--my bassist, engineer, co-producer--literally began to 'run tape' and about an hour later, "Escape" was both written and recorded. The bonus track "Being" was actually born from the chorus of "Escape." Both song ideas, as originally sent, challenged me to write with much space, of evoking sensual feeling between the lines, of spacious mood. This was easy to accomplish in that the music sent to me was beautifully representative of these qualities. "Escape" in particular was such a sensual pleasure to become immersed in.
Did you share any of the writing duties?
Yes. I wrote the lyrics and vocal melody for both "Escape" and shared the lyric writing credit with Garrett on [the chorus for] "Being." The original skeleton "Escape" and "Being" were strong and confident, and really allowed me as lyricist and melody writer to 'lean into' the mood, for the end result. Garrett and Vic gave me quite a bit of leeway with regards to subject matter and delivery. I don't recall them asking for any changes lyrically, or melodically. So I guess their trust in my ability was warranted.
That "Being" was written around the strength of the "Escape" chorus was a wonderful compliment from Garrett and Vic. Garrett really made me feel comfortable throughout was largely a long distance and online writing relationship. In person, the fact that he is so personable, enthusiastic and, well, just plain cute really helped!
How would you compare this material to that you have done on your own or with others?
I have always wanted to explore this style of writing and singing. My third CD, Scream Of Consciousness has some parallel elements of world beat and vocal ethereal meets trip-hop trance--as in Balligomingo--but with someone else seeding the song, as in my work with Balligomingo. It it was fun to explore the moody, dim lit, sensual singing. Balligomingo songs demand that the listener get sexy. We can all use a little more sexy.
And how was the project put together?
I remember telling Sean [Cobb] to just 'roll tape.' We had the musical tracks on CD, which we imported into Protools at our studio. It was very late one night. When you put ego aside, and tap into consciousness, songs come quickly, powerfully, and with almost no effort.
"Escape," complete with all the backing tracks and effect ideas, came in a quick and powerful rush. It helps that Sean is an absolute wiz in the studio. There is no time wasted between having an idea and getting it to tape with him at the console. I did not work on "Escape" prior to the night we recorded. In fact, I didn't work it over in my mind or in the studio as I will sometimes do with a song, because I wanted the raw, freshness of it to be represented 'to tape.'
Just as Sean would set up a new track, the idea for the next part would come and we would record it. The melody line for "Escape" was literally recorded in one take. Since that is a rare occasion, I knew to trust there was something magical about it.I re-recorded the vocals in Vancouver at the Balligomingo studio, but ultimately the final CD version of "Being" came from much of the original session at our studio here in Alaska.
"Being" was a bit more of a challenge to write since the chorus was already established from "Escape." It proved to be a little harder to draw a new energy from that idea to create something new. That, and the key of the song was in a challenging place for my full-voice to head voice transition.
We sent both "Escape" and "Being" to Garrett and Vic in the mail. I later flew to Vancouver to finish the final details of each song some months later--Christmas Eve in fact. Arriving from all night flying, with no sleep, to sing in the AM. Poor Garrett and Vic--I think they were very concerned that I has not slept and would be singing for the next eight hours. I think it all worked out as needed.
What kind of music do you find yourself listening to all the time?
Cold Play really has my ear at the moment--easy escapism. Peter Gabrielšs Passion CD will always have have a place in my cd player. It's just an incredible body of work.
Do you do anything outside music?
While music is my career and my passion, I also practice Reiki--energy that heals and balances all aspects of spirit, body, mind. It is excellent for use in music and everyday life.
What are your future plans as a soloist and with Balligomingo?
I've just shot a video for Splashpoint, the first single from my fourth and current CD The Opposite Only Better. I feel like I've just gotten the hang of this song writing thing.
I've already begun production on my fifth CD Becoming A Picasso and the video and I have plans to tour. Garrett has asked if I would interested in touring with Balligomingo as singer. I told him yes.
Why do you think it has taken so long since the early promos were recorded to release Beneath The Surface?
To market and sucessfully break an artist can take years. Good song transcends time and style. Balligomingo songs have been in the fine-tuning stages, as have the plans to introduce the world to Balligomingo. Fortunately the label has been very supportive, very personable and very accessible.
Do you think the internet has been of any value?
Absolutely. Living in Alaska isolates me musically from the world at large let alone the music industry at large. The internet is the great equalizer, especially for independent artists. I have a hugely supportive fan base online that can sometimes only access my current news through the internet. Balligomingo fans can get to know the various artists of the project through their solo voices in music as well.
Thank you for including me, and for your support.
Best wishes to you.
and HTML © R. W. Elliot 2002