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Interview with Michael C. Hall, Matt Katz-Bohen and Peter Yanowitz of alternative rock band Princess Goes

Meet Michael C. Hall’s band Princess Goes, who talk about their new album ‘Come Of Age’ and their European tour.

Princess Goes is the name of the alternative pop-rock band led by actor and singer Michael C. Hall, famous for his roles in the series Dexter and Six Feet Under. He is joined by keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen, a member of Blondie since 2008, and drummer Peter Yanowitz, formerly of The Wallflowers and Morningwood. Together, they form an eclectic, innovative trio that boldly and creatively explores the boundaries of music.

Previously known as Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum, the band has shortened its name for greater simplicity and efficiency. But it has lost none of its singularity or richness of sound. On the contrary, he’s back with a second full-length album, Come of Age, due for release on October 6, 2023. An album that blends a variety of influences, from glam to new wave, and features catchy, intoxicating songs.

Princess Goes is a band that defines itself as ‘weird‘, but in a good way. They don’t hesitate to experiment, reinvent themselves and surprise their audiences. Independent, the band writes and produces its own songs in its studio in the heart of New York. Their first two albums (an EP and the first full-length album ‘Thanks for Coming‘) were released as self-production on their own Morpho Music label. For their second album, ‘Come of Age‘, Princess Goes collaborated with UK label SO/Indegoot.

More demanding, but also more accessible, this second album is a success from start to finish, filled with innovative songs that traverse an exciting and often surprising sonic and lyrical landscape. The album also features guests such as singer Chantal Claret (Morningwood) on « Beija » and Grammy-winning opera singer Anthony Roth Costanzo on « Saving Grace« . Colombian poet Maria Peña Paris became the Spanish voice of « Whatever Whispers« .

As the band prepares to embark on a tour of the UK and Europe from September 20 to the end of October 2023, Michael C. Hall, Matt Katz-Bohen and Peter Yanowitz granted me an exclusive interview in which we look back on their artistic vision, their world and their journey.

Read the Princess Goes interview below, or click on the link to read the interview translated into French.

Peter Yanowitz, Michael C. Hall et Matt Katz-Bohen – Crédit Photo Tim Richardson

Hello Michael, Matt and Peter. I’m delighted to interview you on the occasion of the release of your second album, « Come Of Age ». Before talking about your music, couldyou tell us how Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum came about and what its originsare?

Peter : The universe conspired to bring us together almost 10 years ago when we all met and bonded when we were performing in the incredible, award winning Broadway show ‘Hedwig & the Angry Inch’. Mike and I were in the show together as the drummer and singer of the fictional band. We often shared a ride back downtown and bonded over our love of Bob Dylan and bands like Kyuss.

Matt and I went on the Hedwig tour across the US and ate a lot of tacos (laughs) and when we got back to NYC we started hanging out more, making instrumental music. Mike heard some of the songs and offered to put some vocals on them. the rest is history.

What difficulties and opportunities have you encountered as an independent, self-producing and self-distributing band?

Peter : We 3 are very independent. We write and produce our own songs in our own studio in downtown NYC. The first 2 records (EP, and debut full length ‘Thanks for Coming’) we’re self released on our own Morpho Music label. It’s been both very challenging and very rewarding to be so DIY. With our managers we set out to get as many eyes and ears on our stuff… and we even released music right in the thick of the pandemic. We’ve fought to be heard every step of the way… and that’s the frustrating part.

There’s so much fucking music from all over coming at everyone all the time… and there’s only so much that can break through the noise… even with the quality we have. But we faithfully believe we have something to add, or something to say, and we’ll keep plugging away trying to find our audience, but the rewards way out weigh the pitfalls.

For our new record Come of Age (coming out on Oct 6th) we have teamed up with UK label SO/Indegoot, and we all have high hopes to literally come of age and break through to another level.

Michael C. Hall, Peter Yanowitz et Matt Katz-Bohen – Crédit Photo Alexander Thompson

What is your assessment of the critical and public reception of your debut album « Thanks for Coming », and what are your goals and ambitions for your second album « Come Of Age »?

Peter : We put everything we had into Thanks For Coming… including the kitchen sink. It’s eclectic, and a little all over the place stylistically, but our ethos is on full display: to create records in an old school way… that are from start to end filled with quality songs throughout… no filler.

Our debut EP was the same. Because we released in the heart of the pandemic it was both a blessing and a curse. We felt like it was well received by the ones who paid attention… but for all indie artists, it’s hard to get attention.

How would you describe the evolution of your musical style from your self-titled debutEP to your second album? Who are your biggest influences?

Michael : I’ll leave it to other people to describe our evolution, if that’s something they’re inclined to do. We will endeavor to keep showing up and let the evolution be what it will.

Peter : Our debut EP, and our first full length, Thanks For Coming, are more combo platter stylistically. Our new record, ‘Come Of Age’ We went for a tighter concept… still crossing genres, but maybe tonally it hangs together more than the first 2 records, and lyrically it seems more of a piece as well.

What are the main musical or artistic influences you explored or discovered during the creation of this second album? The guitar and bass are more present than on your previous tracks. How do you explain this musical evolution?

Peter : I think our main musical influences are each other. i’m lucky to have 2 brilliant collaborators in Mike and Matt. We 3 are all very different, but the combination of all our talents is enough, and it fuels all our creation. We’ve all been around for a minute so our influences and what we each bring to the table is diverse enough to keep us riding this creative wave together.

What was the creative and recording process like for « Come Of Age »? How does it differ from your first album?

Peter : We are always chasing songs. Our process is hard to describe in words, but we usually start with one solid idea. And then another… pretty soon u have 3 or 4 good songs and u can start to see where it is all headed.

We follow the inspiration where ever it takes us and use our collective intuition to shape our records. we are very devoted to our ideas… if a song isn’t quite right we won’t give up on it, and sometimes we’re not afraid to start over and try another treatment of production, or direction on an idea. It’s liberating, and we each give each other a lot of space and trust to roam in each others pastures.

What is the role of each of you in the band’s creative process, and how do you divideup the tasks?

Peter : Mike handles all the words and melodies, and matt and i handle a lot of music making… but mike also makes music and he came up with the chord progression on ‘Floating’ on the new record.

How did you choose the title « Come Of Age » and what does it represent for you as an artist and as a person? What themes and messages do you want to convey with thisalbum?

Michael : Im inclined to let the songs, individually and collectively, speak for themselves. As far as the choice of title, it intuitively felt right. A nod to our progression as a band, another album title taken from one of the albums tracks, and another three word album title. With the first word of the second (come) being a form of the first’s third (coming).

Peter : It felt like we arrived at something very special with this group of songs.. not to beat a metaphor to death, but it felt like we had grown our wings and were ready to leave the cocoon.

Peter Yanowitz, Matt Katz-Bohen et Michael C. Hall – Crédit Photo Alexander Thompson

You have succeeded in creating a coherent and captivating album with « Come Of Age ». Among the 12 tracks, I also greatly appreciated the songs « Glasswing », « SavingGrace » and the last track that closes the album, « Floating ». Some of the soundsreminded me of David Bowie’s « The Man Who Sold the World », especially the cover by Midge Ure. Did the worlds of these two artists have an influence on you?

Matt : Bowie has had a tremendous influence on all of us, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. The common musical element that comes to mind from those 3 Princess songs is the use of floating string sounds, and in particular, the mellotron. The mellotron can’t help but add a layer of the otherworldly, a ghostly nostalgia, to anything it touches. Bowie flirted with, perfected, and subsequently revelled in this mood. I like to bathe in it in the form of « Blackstar« .

All three of you have different, complementary personalities, which are reflected in your music. For each of you, which song from the Come Of Age album fits you best, whether personally, emotionally or artistically, and why?

Michael : Whichever song we’re playing. Because that’s all there is then.

Peter : I think the music of ‘Beija‘ or ‘Saving Grace‘ or ‘Shimmer‘ really embody my soul. i tend to write simple ideas because i’m mainly self taught. my ear really groves to more simplicity. if i can get away w using the same chords for the verse and chorus (like in Beija) i’m a happy writer. But thankfully i have mike and matt to help complicate some of my ideas and keep them from being too boring.

You’re about to embark on your 2023 European tour, which will be an opportunity to meet your fans in different countries. What’s your state of mind before hitting the road? And how would you define your relationship with your fans?

Peter : Pure excitement and thrill. We love our fans… they fkn rock!

Michael C. Hall, Matt Katz-Bohen et Peter Yanowitz – Crédit Photo Shervin Lainez

Do you see artificial intelligence as a threat or an opportunity for human artists? Have you ever experimented with or used artificial intelligence tools to create music?

Michael : It all has a distinctly Luciferian whiff.

Peter : No… until a machine can trash a hotel room i think we’re ok.

What role did Tim Richardson play in the creation of the Shimmer video clip? How did you work together to bring a science-fiction universe to life?

Michael : The vision for the video was very much Tim’s. Fortunately his instincts were intuitively in line with our sense of the yes song. Without being at all literal.

Peter : Tim was a godsend. To get such a high caliber artist to take an interest, share their very original vision and to collaborate with us has been the blessing of the record. The artwork and videos are next level. The shimmer video is all out of tim’s sublime imagination.

Michael, who between David James Fisher and Dexter Morgan would listen to PrincessGoes? Which of the band’s songs would best suit them, and why?

Michael : I have no idea. I imagine David would listen to classical stations on the radio. That Dexter would listen to… Nothing. Or maybe marching music (laughs).

Eklecty-City is a website dedicated to pop culture. What’s the latest work you’ve discovered that’s made the biggest impression on you?

Michael : ‘The Matter with Things‘ by Iain MacGilchrist. Mindbendingly erudite ambitious and comprehensively brilliant.

Matt : My favorite new-ish artist is Hania Rani from Gdansk, Poland. She is a brilliant pianist/multi-instrumentalist who lives in the world of modern indie/alt classically-inspired music without falling victim to the many tropes of said genre (boring minimalism, derivative musicality, etc).

She synthesizes her classical and romantic influences with something entirely new, yet related to the darkness of Princess Goes-esque dreaminess and soundscapes. is a blessing and we are lucky to have her. She is also on tour this Fall; I am going to see her at Elsewhere nyc (coincidentally, where we are playing September 20th).

To conclude, what question would you have liked me to ask you? And what would your answer be?

Peter : – NY Yankees or Ny mets ? – Definitely NY Yankees!

Interview by Thomas O., for, with thanks to Michael C. Hall, Peter Yanowitz and Matt Katz-Bohen for their time.

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