Rachel Zeffira’s Next Big Adventure: Her First Solo Album

Rachel Zeffira photo courtesy of Wildcat PR.

Becoming a liar can have its advantages, at least in Rachel Zeffira’s case. Fibs and resourcefulness eventually led to the Cat’s Eyes (a duo with The Horrors’ Faris Badwan) member’s solo debut effort, The Deserters. And though the album’s not completely autobiographical, Zeffira knows something about desertion. The classically-trained singer and multi-instrumentalist left her home country of Canada at age 17, and since then she’s been deported, faked her way into teaching, and made a living singing opera, writing orchestra scores and choral arranging before setting her sights in the baroque pop music realm. Hive spoke to Zeffira about the haunting, orchestral-tipped Deserters, which she wrote, scored, self-produced and recorded at Abbey Road, and how a single event changed the course of her life.

With the songs on The Deserters, you seem to explore metaphorical and literal desertions.

There’s a theme of leaving Canada, here’s like definitely some nostalgia in there and some of the other themes of desertion are things like people giving up old ways, like the way they used to be, and some of the things are not about me. I don’t really like spelling it out too much, but nothing’s about lovers, for example. Some of them are about other people that had sort of a really brutal type of desertion in their life, but there’s different types of desertion on the album — both good and bad. So the good kind would be maybe you know someone changing, giving up really bad personality trait or something, like in the song “Star,” and then some classic cases of desertion like leaving home [“Silver City Days”].

As a multi-instrumentalist, is there a particular instrument you gravitate towards when writing? Do you have tons of instruments laying around?

Our living room is just like silly now because there’s a massive organ in the middle of the bloody floor. And I mean, any hopes of having a nicely decorated home are just completely ruined by the amounts of amps and instruments and wires and stuff it’s just ­ I mean, I have to climb over the organ to get to the kitchen and stuff now … Not only that but I bought an Olympic sized ping pong table with the hopes that I’d be able to set that up somewhere near the organ. For songs like “The Deserters” I start on the piano and I sort of came up with the piano hook and then the songs sort of grew out of that. [For]“Goodbye Divine” I went into a church with that one and wrote it on cathedral organ.

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