Interview with Faith Coloccia of Mamiffer

Faith Coloccia is one of those people whose creative output always offers something unique and sincere. Her work in the late Everlovely Lightningheart, and her current outfit, Mamiffer, has managed to marry the ideas of sound and music experimentation in inspiring ways.

Faith was kind enough to give a glimpse into her world of sound: the dissolution of Everlovely Lightningheart and the birth of Mamiffer.

What lead to the decision to end Everlovely Lightningheart? Was it just time to move on, or was there new material/ideas surfacing that didn't exactly fit the collective?

For us the end of Everlovely Lightningheart was the beginning of a difficult, important, necessary, new, and individual period of growth. We felt we had to separate in order for each of us to learn and grow as single adult persons. Our combination of ideas was becoming limiting and claustrophobic. One day in the future we will come together to create as stronger people.
The new material/ideas that were surfacing that were in conflict to our musical collaboration became the foundations for our other projects: Mamiffer and VUM

You mention that the new material/ideas surfacing that conflicted with ELLH's collaboration became the foundation for Mamiffer. That's interesting to me because the Mamiffer album sounds like a natural progression form Sien Weal Tallion Rue; especially the more dominant role the piano plays. Your thoughts?

There was conflict with Sien Weal Tallion Rue, and the conflict created by collaborating so closely with someone is what lead to the formation of 2 separate bands. I wanted to create compositions on my own instead of through partnership, and the ideas I had that were not useful in ELLH I decided to use for my own band. A lot of the ideas I began having were based on an intimate exploration of a piano and myself, instead of a more chaotic approach of push and pull and compromise within sound experimentation that happened with ELLH. I also feel like both Chris and I had to become grown up and independent on our own.

The final ELLH release is entitled, "Sien Weal Tallion Rue." What does Sien Weal Tallion Rue mean?

All that can be said about Sien Weal Tallion Rue is this:
When the title was created, a pact was in place between 2 minds. These minds were in collaboration on an ephemeral plane where time and the limitations of speech and vocabulary, and restrictions in lands did not exist. The sounds and visual of the words together, when seen and said create the meaning.also see: Valis

This is to be the last release, correct? Is there still going to be a DVD? If so, what will be included?

This was the last 'new' release on Hydra Head records. We are re-pressing the first ELLH record "I You She, The Blonde and The Clouds" on SIGE records, and releasing a tape on Dead Accents of the first song ELLH ever recorded, and a recording of the last live show in TX. I do not know if there is still going to be a dvd (sorta out of our control), there is going to be a book released on HHR of photographs and collages, and ELLH artwork, flyers and written descriptions of events, that comes with 2 unreleased songs on a cassette tape.

What is the main concept, for lack of a better term, behind Mamiffer? I've noticed that the music on the Hirror Enniffer is more song based, whereas the ELLH material has always seemed more open and loose; more like sound pieces than songs.

The main concept is to remain true to the feelings and explorations of creating compositions without rules, or focus on outcomes. ELLH was about friendship, and chaos and sound collage. With Mamiffer I feel that the music and the creation of sound is more personal, and not limited to "songs" or "sound pieces." A large part of Mamiffer for me, is connecting to listeners in an emotional way across many boundaries. One of the best feelings is making a friend on tour through music, especially people in countries I would never get to see otherwise, like Poland or Latvia.

Mamiffer has had limited performances, much like ELLH. Will performances become more regular now?

Mamiffer performances should become more regular now after we finish recording a new EP. We just finished a full length (called 'We Speak In The Dark') that took a year to make, so we will have more time for touring soon. Aaron is no longer touring with ISIS, so we will have more opportunities to tour as Mamiffer and also as House of Low Culture.

I also have severe stage fright, so one-off shows or local shows are hard for me, so we don't play them very often, I prefer touring so that I don't experience as much stage-fright.

So far, when performing live; have you had to make adaptations due to a lack of regular members in Mamiffer, or have you been able to get enough musicians together to produce all of the same layers of the songs? Do you leave room for any improvisation?

We leave a lot of room for improvisation, and often deviate from the original compositions on the recorded albums. We have had to make adaptations due to lack of regular members, which makes performing exciting. I have played shows with only a piano by myself, and when Aaron was on tour with ISIS Travis Rommereim and I would play Mamiffer songs as a duo. For our next shows we have asked Don McGreevy (who plays drums on the new record) and Brian Cook (who plays bass on Hirror Enniffer, and the new record) to play live with us. So some songs will seem more true to the recorded versions.

Has adding Aaron Turner as a permanent member affected the songwriting, and live performance of the group?

Adding Aaron as a permanent member has affected the live performances in a great way. The compositions are more grounded and I feel calmer with him on stage so I play better. Travis is my brother and best friend, so playing music with your brother and husband live is a really good experience that I am grateful for. I feel like the energy of our connection comes through in the performances.

A lot of ISIS fans come to mamiffer shows because of him so a new group of people that might not have heard Mamiffer seem interested. Because we live together, Aaron hears my writing process and encourages me to record demos or outlines of songs, and sometimes he records them. It helps me to define parts of songs that are nebulous or that I might throw away.

With Mamiffer, I write the song skeletons and Aaron adds to them and we figure out the final structure and presentation together.He is also helping me learn to play guitar which will be useful in Mamiffer as well as in some new projects we are working on.

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