(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #121: Karen Elson

By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 1:00 pm

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This set of replies comes from singer/songwriter Karen Elson, who will bring songs from her sophomore LP ‘Double Roses’ to Austin later this month. Having had the SXSW experience in the past, Elson sounds confident that this year’s festival will be a positive one. Take a listen to her current single ‘Call Your Name’ just below, then read through her Q&A.


Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Haunted, hunted and hungry.

(If you’ve been to SXSW before) What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
I came first with The Citizens Band cabaret years ago and then with my first record [2010’s ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, produced by Elson’s then-husband Jack White]. It’s always been fun and totally frantic at the same time.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Play music!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
My cats . . .just kidding, hmmmm, I basically pack a small pharmacy. No time to get sick. I have terrible allergies that make me miserable but also really affect my voice and general well-being. I have Chinese herbs, vitamins and all sorts of medicines for when my allergies are acting up.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Gin and Tonic and tequila soda with lime!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My mother playing David Bowie on the turntable.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister.

What song always makes you laugh?
Anything by Dr. Hook.


What song always makes you cry?
‘How Can I Tell You’ by Cat Stevens.

What song reminds you of a specific memory? (For example, the first time you fell in love, the first concert you ever attended, etc. It’s up to you if you want this to be nice or naughty!)
Too many to name one! ‘A Forest’ by The Cure, as my first crush was Robert Smith.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Idiot Wind’ by Bob Dylan.


Who is your favourite artist? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer, or an actor, visual artist, etc.)
Again TOO many to mention one! Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Helena Bonham Carter, Neko Case!

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
God knows . . . probably a crazy cat lady.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan.

Thank you to Karen for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Chloe for her kind assistance.

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