Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval On American Honey, The ’90s & Her New Album

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There's a scene in everyone's new favourite film, American Honey, in which Shia LaBeouf's character, Jake, picks up our heroine, Star, in a stolen convertible. As they drive into the desert, Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" plays out, providing one of the stand-out movie soundtrack moments of the year. What is quite remarkable, however, is that a film which draws on some of the most talked-about current artists chose to accompany this bit of youthful reckless abandon with a song from 1993. But, then, there has always been a timeless feel to Mazzy Star. Love, longing and hope are hardly assigned to decades, after all. Now the band's frontwoman, Hope Sandoval, is back with a new album, Until The Hunter. This time she is joined by just one of her Mazzy Star bandmates, Colm Ó Cíosóig, under the alias The Warm Inventions. At 50 years old, Hope is not quite the checked skirt-clad ingénue that Tumblr and #tbt still obsess over. But that haunting voice is unmistakable. It has barely changed in over 20 years. Refinery29 spoke to Hope about her new record, her appearance on this year's hottest soundtrack and why, even now, she's still terrified to go out on stage.
How does Until The Hunter's story resonate with your life over the last few years?
This is a collection of songs we have been working on over the last few years and so the album reflects that journey the music takes us on. Like most writers, we write about things that we are surrounded by; good experiences and sometimes bad experiences. You release music quite sporadically. Is this because you like to take time away from music and do other things or is it for other reasons?
We like to take our time experimenting with different ideas and creating new sounds until we feel satisfied that we've accomplished something mind-expanding. What do you like to do when you’re not in the studio or on the road?
I like to hang out in restaurants and cafés, eavesdrop on people's conversations and collect new stories. Then I go home and spend the evenings embellishing them. How did you team up with Kurt Vile? Who approached who?
Myself and Colm were in a drum store in Dublin and Kurt's music was playing in the background. We fell in love with his music and when we wrote "Let Me Get There" we thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a duet but we needed the perfect male velvet voice and of course that was Kurt. We were very lucky that he agreed to it. I can't imagine the song without him now.
How did it come about that you directed the video for “Let Me Get There”?
The video was a collaboration between a few different people. My brother is an artist and he created the sculptures. The video naturally came together with everybody's individual ideas. We were very much inspired by Maya Deren's films. Who have you been enjoying listening to recently?
I have been listening to a lot of Erykah Badu, Ora Cogan and Marlene Dietrich. What is your reaction when people say they are influenced by you?
We are all inspired by each other. That's the great thing about music; it's one big collage of everybody's interpretations of each other. How do you find performing these days?
I still have difficulties performing on stage but it has always been important to me to play the songs in person for the audience. There is nothing like the energy that is exchanged between the music and the people in a live show. Is reaching a large audience something that interests you?
I've always been more comfortable being the unpopular girl at the party. It's about the music and remaining true to yourself. If some people like it, that's always a nice thing. Your voice still sounds the same as when you were in you 20s. What are your secrets to keeping it sounding so fresh?
No smoking, no unnecessary chitter chatter, plenty of sleep and a lot of sign language... Have you seen American Honey? It seems to have introduced you to another generation of fans. Your music has also appeared in Stealing Beauty. How do you decide what films to allow your music to be used in? Do you get many requests?
We usually say yes as we like to be supportive of filmmakers and artists. I have not seen American Honey but I have been hearing a lot of great things about it and will definitely check it out. It's always flattering when a director wants to use our music in a film.
You so often work with men, is this a conscious decision? What have your experiences working with women been like?
I work with a lot of great women and a lot of great men – a good artist is a good artist. I don't focus on gender; I focus on talent. Many people still reference your style in the '90s. Do you find that flattering or is it something you’re a little uncomfortable with?
No not at all, the '90s were a fabulous time and a lot of great bands emerged from that era. Until The Hunter by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions is out now on Tendril Tales.

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