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Rufus Wainwright

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HISTORY - RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
 
Born 22 July 1973, Rhinebeck, New York, USA. The son of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Rufus was raised by his mother in Montreal, Canada, following his parents' separation. He began studying piano at the age of six, and by his early teens was touring with his mother, aunt and sister in the McGarrigle Sisters And Family. At the age of 14, Wainwright earned a Juno nomination as Most Promising Young Artist and a Genie nomination for his performance of his own song "I'm A-Runnin'" in the television film, Tommy Tricker And The Stamp Traveler. He attended Millbrook school in upstate New York and briefly studied piano and composition at Montreal's McGill University, before electing to try his hand as a performer on the Canadian and American club circuits. A recording contract was soon been offered after his demo tape found its way to Lenny Waronker at the fledgling DreamWorks label. Wainwright spent most of 1996-97 in the studio recording a prodigious amount of material with producers Jon Brion and Pierre Marchand. His highly stylized 1998 debut album revealed a striking talent clearly influenced by classic American songwriters such as Cole Porter and Brian Wilson, with the piano-driven melodies augmented by lush orchestral arrangements courtesy of Van Dyke Parks. The album was warmly received by music critics, with Rolling Stone magazine naming him Best New Artist Of The Year.

Wainwright spent over two years completing the follow-up, employing five different producers including Alex Gifford of the Propellerheads. Although Poses included typically florid statements such as opening track "Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk" and "The Consort", it also took in more unexpected musical turns such as a stark reworking of his father's "One Man Guy". The sombre mood of the album also reflected a more mature artist.

More about Rufus.....

WORKS BY RUFUS YOU MUST LISTEN TO
 
Dinner at Eight
Go Or Go Ahead
Rebel Prince
Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
Poses
Oh What A World

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INTERVIEW WITH RUFUS WAINWRIGHT - ON WANT ONE

So how did you end up recording two albums at the same time?
It was very unintentional. I just started recording and ended up with two records. We got about 30 tracks in 6 months all with production, edits, vocals and stuff. I was definitely on the rebound from something. Originally I was going to release it all at once as a double record. Because of my work and the human brain I thought I would release it in increments.

Did you have them all written?
A lot of them were written and some I had recorded a while ago that I was itching to release, that was about five songs. A lot of it was just newly written stuff.

Do you take raw ideas to the studio and it grows into this giant production?
A lot of this has to do with Marius deVries (producer). We just had this large, symbiotic relationship from the get-go. Maybe it was my WASPy background and his British background and became these imperialists. We became these conquistadors in the studio. The times were pretty intense. I went in the studio a few weeks before the Iraq war and our engineer was really a conspiracy theorist. I didnt think I could make this record because of the worldly climate. The tenor of the time was to get it out while I could.

I was reading the bio about the two records being different, was it one styles-
No we didnt record them like that. I didnt want Want Two to knock Want One down. There is a 9 minute song and a Latin song on Want Two, its the weirder stuff. I want the first one to at least land in Wal-Mart.

Want One flows.
There was that element. The next record, Im not as concerned with the flow. Each piece is a record in itself. I wanted this one to be, I wanted to kill a lot of birds, well see if I kill them or not. I want the first one to be seamless.

Its striking from the first track until the end. I didnt even know there was a Want Two until this morning, so what is left I wasnt sure of the plan.
I do believe in a divine plan and I think the ones I left off belong together. The best thing about this record was that not much thought went into it. It came really off the cuff and whatever worked at the time. I think that is the key to a great record.

The tracks really build and build and takes time to climax, that seems really against the grain because today everyone seems to want to hit the chorus within 30 seconds. What is the construction of a song like for you?
They want to hit you with the chorus right away and continue to rape you. (Laughs) I have a different musical sensibility. I like to withhold the evidence.

Are you always working on songs?
I always have three or four songs on the burner. I think as a songwriter you have to be working on songs, and you do need time off, with the intention of going back. Thats how I approach it. Im really happy that Im on my third record and that this one is two albums. I think we really have to get the music out there. Time is of the essence. People need to hear music. I would like to make some kind of rally call. We are musically constipated.

Have you seen anyone lately that you liked?
Ween was amazing. I saw my friend Beth Orton and Radiohead. But I have this on going addiction to classical chords. Im a chord addict. You people really like how these songs sound solo and acoustic. I think this record production enhances the songs a lot. I wrote them with a lot of production in mind. I didnt have a piano or guitar part and just song them to a guitar player. I think this record is more precise. I think they are songs that stand up on their own. There was a real wedding between the production and song.

Is the production experimental or well planned?
Experimental. Ill get a classical attack, but this time around Marius was all for it. Sometimes it worked and other times it wouldnt. With past producers it would be a battle to get something on it. There was never any disbelief in my vision.