Musical Rooms

May 3, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 24: Thao Nguyen

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:56 pm


“I like any space that is void of other people and most furniture. But I like the option to sit, stand, or lay down while playing guitar. Since we are on tour much more than we are stationary, I don’t have much leeway to be specific, but the most I can hope for is that there is access to hot water for tea. And a bathroom. I like dim lighting in any situation, creative or otherwise. The last place I worked on a song was in a hotel in Carmel, California. Quality Inn. It was fantastic.

I always have my Gibson (acoustic) with me, as well as, my notebook and several good pens, because I lose them. And lots of guitar picks, for the same reason. Only when I feel a song is pretty complete will I borrow somebody’s Mac book and record it in Garageband to send to the fellows. What’s most important for me when I’m working is no clutter, no people, fresh fruit, hot tea. And wine sometimes. And a cigarette very rarely. And whiskey. Less rare than cigarette but still pretty rare.

I only write when I feel compelled to do so. I wish I wasn’t one of those people. The new record should be underway and I’m lying around in hotel rooms eating pistachiaos. I write all the songs alone and then present them to the band for their contributions and we work out arrangements. All my songs are quite autobiographical, so probably the writing starts when some shit has gone down. The songs dictate themselves – some refuse to be completed, some refuse to be good. If I do finish one, I play it over and over again, and then I walk away from it and if I still hum the melody or feel the urge to hear it again, I keep it. Then I demo the song`, or play it for the band, and we start to build it up from there. I’ll also send rough demos to Tucker our producer so he can start marinating as well.

To record, I use a borrowed Mac because I use Garageband minimally. I also use my guitar, my voice, my memory, but that is fading fast.”

US folk singer songwriter Thao Nguyen released her second album We Brave Beestings And All earlier this year on Kill Rock Stars. She plays Dublin’s Crawdaddy tomorrow, Sunday May 4th. For more information, gig dates and tracks, visit

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  1. Looking forward to that show. There’s plenty of mayhem in the next few weeks, so a nice one to ease into it on.

    Comment by Longman Oz — May 3, 2008 @ 3:46 pm |Reply

  2. She also plays tonight in Cork in Cyprus Avenue.

    Comment by Donal — May 3, 2008 @ 4:09 pm |Reply

  3. […] Journalist Sinead Gleeson has recently posted a guest blog from Thao as part of her innovative Musical Rooms […]

    Pingback by Thao (Crawdaddy, Dublin) - A Gig Review « No Ordinary Fool — May 5, 2008 @ 11:04 pm |Reply

  4. Thanks for this, Sinéad. She never made that Cork gig, she missed her flight. I was devastated.

    Comment by shane — May 12, 2008 @ 1:20 pm |Reply

  5. […] Rooms Part 21: Dawn Landes Musical Rooms Part 22: Matt Lunson Musical Rooms Part 23: Essie Jain Musical Rooms Part 24: Thao Nguyen Musical Rooms Part 25: Robotnik Musical Rooms Part 26: Xiu […]

    Pingback by Musical Rooms Full Index « Musical Rooms — May 29, 2008 @ 2:42 pm |Reply

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