Larkin Poe in conversation with FAULT Magazine

It couldn’t have been easy to release an album during the pandemic but for fans of Larkin Poe, their 2020 album Self Made Man couldn’t have come at a better time. While they weren’t able to tour the album and meeting physically with their audience, their music writing skills transcended physical boundaries and their digital performance with Nu Deco Ensemble helped bring life to their live album ‘Paint The Roses: Live In Concert’. 

We caught up with Larkin Poe to discuss their musical journey, new album and of course their FAULTs. 

While you’re both multi-instrumentalists, fans are used to hearing tracks from Paint The Roses in a more bluesy theme. Did the addition of Nu Deco Ensemble and new arrangements change the way you interpreted the meaning behind your own music?

Rebecca: Yes, performing with Nu Deco Ensemble gave us a creative jolt in so many ways. Firstly, it was a challenge to integrate ourselves into the “push and pull” of the orchestral rhythmic groove. Touring as roots rock ‘n’ roll outfit, we typically approach rhythm with a more metronomic sense of time, and it definitely took a great deal of intention to relax ourselves into a different rhythmic mindset. Secondly, I don’t think we were fully prepared for the emotional release of hearing so many humans playing our music, all at the same time; getting to hear our original songs soaring above the instrumental support of an ensemble was truly one of the most gratifying experiences of our performing career.

Was it difficult to take such personal tracks like ‘Mad as a Hatter’ and opening them up to be shared and become something wholly new to the original inspiration?

Megan: “Mad As A Hatter” is an original song that has lived very close to our artistic core for many years. We took a leap of faith in deciding to perform “Mad As A Hatter” with Nu Deco, and that leap of faith was absolutely rewarded. We are eternally grateful to Sam Hyken for his exquisite string arrangements — the arrangement he wrote for “Mad As A Hatter” literally took our breath away; it’s definitely one of our favorite performances on the album.

With the pandemic limiting the amount of Self Made Man shows you could play, does the release of this album feel like a second chance to let the music breathe again in a new environment?

Rebecca: Amen. Yes, you hit the nail on the head. One of our main motivations in releasing ‘Paint The Roses’ was to create yet another organic space for the songs of ‘Self Made Man’ to evolve and to be heard in a new light. That being said — we still plan to tour the ever-loving bejesus out of these songs in 2021 and 2022; we love them too much not to.

Looking back on your whole musical journey, what would you say was the most emotionally taxing song to write?

Rebecca: “Overachiever”; go listen to it and I think folks will understand why.

What would you say has been your biggest creative hurdle to overcome?

Megan: Time and time again: the commitment and recommitment to strengthening our bond as sisters and celebrating the fact that we each bring different creative strengths to the table.

Now on your sixth album, have you taken the time to look back on your musical journey and reflect on how far you’ve come?

Rebecca: We like to stay on your toes and keep our eyes ahead; we’re always looking for new ways to keep ourselves feeling “green”.

Has having such a unique sound made it difficult in the past to find collaborators who you can mutually compliment and musically blend with?

Megan: We’ve actually released quite a few collaboration albums over the years — I guess we dig the creative challenge that collaborations bring? However, this project with Nu Deco Ensemble has definitely become a highlight; we’re very proud to have this album standing strong as part of our musical legacy.

What are you most looking forward to for the remainder of the year?

Rebecca: Touring, touring, touring! We can’t wait to bring the music to the people once again and experience the magic of live concerts.

What is your FAULT? 

Megan: As sisters, we joke that sometimes Rebecca can mash a little heavy on the gas and sometimes I can mash a little heavy on the brakes; together, we manage to keep it between the ditches, but it can get bumpy.