Interview: Tipsy in Chelsea
When pop becomes entangled with boss-a-nova, you magically come up with, Tipsy In Chelsea, the collaboration of Trish Thompson and Dean Falcone, and the celebration of their new release, entitled Gaslighter.
Louder Than War’s Eileen Shapiro interviews.
Gaslighter is a collection of haunting and intriguing modern bossa nova music infused with easy listening pop, sonically written and arranged by Dean, and lyrically created via Trish. The interesting aspect about the duo is that they live almost 1000 miles apart. Trish is based in Atlanta, Georgia, while Dean calls New Haven, Connecticut home. They met by way of a tragic event and formed something very positive together. However, according to Trish, a long distance relationship can be tough, but, “it makes it hard to get sick of each other. ”
Louder Than War: Your music is very different and unique.
Dean: Is that good?
Yes, it’s very good. Why did the two of you decide to record that type of music?
Dean: We basically met because Trish and I had a mutual friend who passed away. I didn’t know Trish, but when he passed away, she contacted me to do a memorial with her in Georgia. But, the connection was, and the soft spot between the three of us was, pretty much this kind of music. We all liked The 5th Dimension, The Carpenters, the contemporary rock stuff, but we all kind of met in that place, with The Carpenters and Burt Bacharach.
Who writes the songs?
Dean: I write the music and arrange it. Trish writes the lyrics and the melodies.
How do you manage that long distance?
Dean: So, I’ll write the music and try to start the arrangements on it. I’ll send her a track, pretty much a kind of finished demo, and then she comes up with the melody and the lyrics that she is comfortable with. We have a couple of guys that we use all the time, and then we go down to Atlanta, and record the basic tracks. Either in New Haven or Georgia will do the overdubs, and add the strings and the horns.
Trish: For the album we only spend a few days in the studio together. Maybe three or four total together. Then we do a lot of overdub separately in our respective homes.
Dean: It keeps it interesting.
So I guess you don’t have to fight and argue a lot?
Dean: We probably will by the end of this conversation.
How do you perform together, and rehearse?
Trish: It’s not as much as we’d like of course because we live in different cities.
Dean: The base of the band is from Georgia, so Trish will rehearse those guys down there. Then I kind of know my niche and we meet up, and have a quick run through, and then do the shows. That’s how we have done it in the past. Which is kind of a drag because we don’t get it the way we want to get it, I mean it always turns out OK, but you always hope for more. Hopefully next time around will have more time to get it straight.
Trish: We are planning to do some performances in the late summer down South. The last time it was in the North East.
What kind of audiences do you play for?
Dean: For homeless people ……We go around the city with the van, we’ll play for the left overs outside Rockefeller Center who can’t get in…..(we laughed a lot). You have a great radio station there, LIRR. Do you listen to it?
Sometimes. I don’t really listen to the radio that much. Do you hope to get your single played on that station?
Trish: Yes, sure.
Dean: They are one of the few radio stations that plays that kind of stuff.
Are you two a couple besides being musical partners?
Trish: Oh, no no no…
How did you decide upon your unusual name?
Trish: When we first met face to face, we were in New York, in Chelsea. We’re trying to come with a name. We had thought about Tipsy, and then I brought up Tipsy in Chelsea, and we said, ‘that’s it’.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Trish: I think my favorite song on the album is You Are The Sun, I think it’s the most positive song I’ve ever written lyrically, and I really like performing it. It’s up-beat.
Dean, I’m sure you favor a different song?
Dean: I love that song. I like most of them, but my favorite one is Laugh Until I Cry. I like the mood and feel of it. It’s the first song on the album and we have a video coming from it. There’s just a vibe to it. It has a nice chorus and it has a kind of dark boss’s nova feel to it. Sometimes boss’s nova’s are very ridged. This is a softer, very melodic, like putting honey on top of it. It’s a little smoother.
Trish, how is your personality reflected in your music?
Trish: I think that it’s less my personality, than my current circumstances. I write pretty much of what’s going on in my life in that moment. When I start writing a song I find myself sort of purging, emotionally purging.
Dean, what kind of impression do you hope to leave on the earth, musically?
Dean: I’m not really good at impressions, I could have given you a very bad Johnny Carson impression. You know what, music is something you can listen to and escape where you are at for the moment. Music is a great escape, and hopefully it will move someone enough to make some kind of difference in their lives. Even if it’s just about forgetting their problems for the minute.
Tell me about somebody that you envy.
Trish: I think they both passed away this year. I was a big fan of David Bowie and Prince. I think that those two where the two I envy because of their amount of performance and songwriting pallet and their persona. I think maybe Christine McVie. I’m envious of Christine McVie, with a perfect voice, great songwriter, and she’s been able to live her own life and be a megastar.
Dean: Pretty much anybody who does it on their own terms and follows their heart. David Bowie is a good example, he never wanted to be stuck in a box, just do what he wanted. He did pretty positive stuff overall.
You guys are out of the box with your very unique music.
Dean: Wow that’s really nice to hear, thank you. You never think like that when you’re doing it, you just doing your work. It’s nice to hear something positive back thank you.
So then what are you thinking when you’re doing your songs?
Trish: That’s true. We eat a lot when we’re together. We’re always thinking about the next meal. I think that when we are writing the songs, there is definitely influences that we are thinking about, and emulate in some ways, there are so many of them within one composition. I think that’s what makes it different.
Trish, your answers are really good too, much better than Deans.
Trish: Girl power!
Dean: I just woke up and I’m main- lining coffee right now. Call me back in an hour!
Dean, what dreams have you been sitting on?
Dean: Wow! I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve had a lot of my dreams come true. Just releasing music and getting it out to people. A lot of people I have been lucky enough to perform or record or play with that heroes of mine. There were things that I just never thought would happen. Sometimes you end up on the stage with someone that you’ve idolized your whole life, or with somebody you can’t even believe you’re in contact with. That’s always amazing. It still happens. Every time it does it’s very dreamlike, but you have to be a professional at the moment. But you take a step away and you say ‘wow, I cannot believe I was with that person’. I’m talking about Trish of course.
Trish: He’s a little kid on the inside, he might be professional on the outside, but on the inside he just wants autographs.
Is there anything that you would like to talk about that we haven’t discussed?
Dean: No, just hopefully some people will buy the album and listen to it.
Trish: We have the video coming out next month. You can buy our music from iTunes, on our website, CD baby, Amazon, it’s pretty much everywhere.
So you didn’t fight.
Trish: This is the nicest conversation we’ve ever had.
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.