Mary Lattimore is a harpist living in Los Angeles. She experiments with her Lyon and Healy Concert Grand harp and effects. Her solo debut, ‘The Withdrawing Room’, was released in 2013 on Desire Path Recordings. Mary also writes harp parts for songs and recordings, performing and recording with such great artists as Meg Baird, Thurston Moore, Sharon Van Etten, Jarvis Cocker, Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn, Ed Askew and Fursaxa.
Her 2014 record ‘Slant of Light’ with guitarist/synth player/producer Jeff Zeigler was released by Thrill Jockey, which was followed by the two collaborating on a track for ‘Ghostly Swim 2’. Mary and Jeff also composed a score to Philippe Garrels 1968 experimental silent film ‘Le Revelateur’, and debuted it in Marfa, Texas along with the film. They have since performed it Chicago, Philadelphia, and early 2015 in Los Angeles. Her debut solo record for Ghostly, ‘At The Dam’, was released in March 2016, followed by a 2017 cassette of compiled songs titled ‘Collected Pieces’.
Having performed at August’s Kiezsalon special at the Kunsthaus Dahlem, as part of the Lange Nacht Der Museen, Mary gives us her answers to our 11+3 interview:
1: Climate change is a real thing.
2: Cut fresh flowers make the house a lot cheerier.
3: Some dishes are better re-heated as leftovers.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
A combination of memories and weird feelings and landscapes.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I started playing the piano at age 5 and the harp at age 11. My mom is a harpist and I studied as a classical musician before taking a different path with it around 2007. I’ve been lucky to have been around lots of music and musicians my whole life.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
The Cure – Disintegration
Washington Phillips – What Are They Doing In Heaven Today? compilation
Growing – Color Wheel
Brian Eno – Discreet Music
Julee Cruise – Floating Into the Night
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Some great friends, staying up really late, the Ramones Museum, and now the beautiful nature and architecture out by where I played the show you booked at the Kunsthaus Dahlem!
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I love the Huntington Gardens. It’s a botanical garden with a huge cactus area, which feels like you’re on another planet, and a collection of exquisite, rare rosebushes.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would paint. Visual music.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
‘Possession Sound’ by Gun Outfit
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Liz Harris (Grouper)
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Probably seeing the Cure for the first time, with a three hour encore. I’m sure a nerd for them!
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I’m pretty primitive with technology, honestly, but I like the way pedals can really enhance the glittery nature of the harp or slow down the low low notes. Using technology even in a spare, ham-fisted way is pretty fun and opens small windows of creativity.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have a brother and a sister. My brother is 9 years younger and thinks it’s cool that I travel a lot, I think. Hopefully, my sister has respect for a career as a musician, as she has a more stable lifestyle. But I think she understands what it’s about, having a mom who works as a musician too.
Photo © Rachael Cassells