Interview: Alec Coiro
Photo: Maria Baranova
The first thing that strikes you upon listening the new album by Anne Malin is the depth and the soul of the mood your presented with. This mood is deftly constructed by having every aspect of the recording working toward a unified end: the exquisite lyrics, the music, and integration of sound all combine to form a well wrought whole. The quality and depth of the lyrics will make it come as no surprise that Anne Malin Ringwalt is completing an MFA in poetry. Indeed it was on the move from Massachusetts Indiana to pursue poetry that the signs for “Fog Area” were first witnessed. Of course, “fog area” signifies broadly, and such clouds of unknowing are something that we can all relate to.
Anne Malin recorded for some time as Fawn before taking on their current mantle. The artists involved are Anne Malin Ringwalt and Will Johnson. We were able to speak to both of them about the new album and their plans for the future.
How would you describe the mood you’re evoking with Fog Area?
AMR: I worked with simultaneous emotional opposites for my lyrics and vocal delivery. I found playfulness in the potential for being oxymoronic or self-negating. Vulnerability and empowered-ness were big for me. Ambiguity and clarity (it’s in the name: Fog Area). And love.
What inspired your move from Massachusetts to Indiana?
AMR: I’m an MFA in Poetry candidate at Notre Dame—thus the move. Indiana isn’t as lovable as Mass., but we’re doing our best. We’ve met a lot of really good people.
WEJ: Not wanting to be apart from Anne Malin. Cheap rent.
How did Elio DeLuca become involved?
WEJ: I was helping out at the Soul Shop a lot when we lived in Boston, helping with repairs, assisting on sessions and occasionally sweeping the floor, etc. He recorded an EP of ours in 2016, and when we were on tour in the fall of ’17 we did a secret show at the studio and recorded it all for use on the album. He’s been really supportive of our work and we definitely hope to work with him again.
We were intentional about Fog Area being a kind of sonic and emotional map.
I like the way the album moves in and out of sections that seem inspired by noise music, and sections where the lyrics are very much foregrounded. And yet the album is extremely unified and has an unmistakable and consistent identity. How conscious were you of creating the album as a whole were you when you were working on the individual songs.
AMR: Thank you! As we wrapped the album, we were intentional about Fog Area being a kind of sonic and emotional map. While we were recording and mixing, we were embodying the sounds but didn’t yet see the geography.
WEJ: We knew when we set out that we wanted something that travelled a long distance, so to speak, and we thought we could do this with production. We definitely set out trying to get lots of different kinds of sounds, and then it all came together when we sequenced the record toward the end of the project.
Why did you move away from recording as Fawn? Or is the Fawn project still going on in parallel?
AMR: We got a cease and desist from a previously-existing-Fawn at the beginning of our summer tour this year. After a lot of deliberation, we decided to go back to my name. Since I had a lot of material there already and Will collaborated with me on many of my older albums, it was a natural transition.
You are on tour through October. What do you have planned for a follow up after the tour is finished (if you’ve thought that far ahead)?
AMR: We’re currently wrapping another album. I can’t wait to release it, but we’re being deliberate about letting it steep since we have a lot of life transitions going on. A poet-friend of mine, Abraham Smith, once described our music as “mesmeric myrrh,” and that really resonated with me. In part inspired by that quote, we decided to create our next album as very grounded in one space, and digging deeply into that.
WEJ: The new album magnifies and stretches out the darkest parts of Fog Area, and is simultaneously much more organic. We really hope to have that out by late 2019.