It's safe to assume every Garden State moviegoer recalls "Let Go," the closing scene track by duo Frou Frou, of which Imogen Heap was one half. Imogen has come a long way since her Zach Braff days. In fact, she got her start prior to the collaboration that put her on the map. She released i Megaphone over a decade ago, in 1998. Her second solo project, Speak For Yourself, followed in 2005. Music from this critically acclaimed fan-favorite has been featured on everything from The Holiday to last week's episode of Gossip Girl. In August, Imogen returned to the scene with Ellipse, an album named after the shape of her childhood home, which she now owns and still lives in today. Despite lag time in between albums, she has maintained a relationship with listeners via Vokle and Twitter, keeping people abreast of her progress.
Ellipse was met with mixed reviews, but this didn't hinder Imogen from setting out on tour and dominating the live venue version of her third record. The road trip came to a close in New York City last Wednesday and Thursday, at Webster Hall and The Music Hall of Williamsburg, respectively. Both shows sold out. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEREMY COWART)
NELL ALK: How does it feel to be finished with Ellipse?
IMOGEN HEAP: It's great. This is the first time I've done it live. So, it's quite hard to let go of, 'cause I've been used to the studio version. We've been working through some of the songs and they've started to take on a life of their own. I stopped thinking about them as they are on the record. There's so many things we've done live that I really love that aren't on the record.
ALK: In the process of transitioning the album to the live setting, have there been any specific challenges you've had to overcome?
HEAP: Definitely. The hour before the curtain opened at the first show, in L.A., I was still programming a song, "Little Bird." I was so far behind. Working right up to the wire.
ALK: So you've always wanted to make music, as long as you can remember?
HEAP: I've never really thought about what I want to do. I don't think like that. I don't think about marriage or kids. I'd like to have kids, but I don't know when. I'm not planning it. I just try to do day to day. I'm really bad like that. People get annoyed with me for not thinking far enough in advance. Not having these big, grand goals. There's so much going on in the present. I have trouble dealing with anything longer than that.
ALK: What about singing?
HEAP: I didn't think I'd be singing. Didn't think I'd be on stage doing this. I wasn't into pop music, apart from Michael Jackson. I didn't have a big record collection. I very rarely listened to music and still very rarely listen to music. I love playing the piano, love composing. I never took my voice seriously until much later, when I was about 17, and my manager–he's still my manager now–heard [me]. I was at a music recording school and one of our projects was to create a piece of music. So, I recorded a song and sang it and produced it and did all the bits and played that at the end of the year. He saw me sing it and, at the end of the show, [told me] "I want to hear some more stuff from you." I just thought it was strange that anyone would want to hear more. So, I ran away from him because I thought he was hitting on me. I couldn't understand why someone would be interested. Eventually, after a few months of chasing me around, I gave in and gave him a demo. "Here's my tape of rubbish songs."
ALK: Somewhat off topic, what was your reaction to Jason Durela's "Whatcha Say," and its samples of your "Hide and Seek"? The track doesn't exist without your contribution. What's the story with this song?
HEAP: I thought it was a demo because there was so much auto-tune on it, but he'd finished the song. I couldn't believe it. He hadn't released anything before. It wasn't like Eminem coming to me. I had no idea it was going to be number one in the States. It's fantastic. I probably wouldn't go out and buy it, but I do love hearing the song in different guises. When I finish a song, I never feel like I want to restrict its life. I feel that once I've done something, it's out. It's in people's ears, cars, headphones. It has its own journey. So people do dances to it and kazoo quartets to it and marching band things and I love it. I love hearing it. And I don't think this is any different.
ALK: Are there any remixes you particularly like that are out there?
HEAP: My favorite is Back Ted N-Ted's version of "Goodnight and Go." It's brilliant. That's the only remix I really like.