Rockin’ The Stove has been enormous fans of the Baltimore band Celebration since the release of their 2005 self-titled debut on 4AD Records. The band creates mystical soul stirring music that in a live setting can put you into a trance, making you feel like you are attending a secret ritual. After releasing their fantastic 2nd full-length, The Modern Tribe and touring the hell out of it, Celebration has been keeping quiet for the past couple of years. They’ve been sneaking out a song or two here and there via their website as part of their Electric Tarot project. We caught up with vocalist/percussionist, Katrina Ford, to talk about the band’s upcoming LP Hello Paradise on Friends Records (December 22nd) and how she rocks the stove when they are on the road.
RTS: Hello Paradise will be your first album in three years, you’re no longer with 4AD and now on Friends Records. Can you tell us a little about this transition and how the new record differs from your previous work?
Katrina Ford: With 4AD, we had had a few years of touring and making records with our friends which was awesome, but because of their size and prestige, we had to do things we didn’t like so much. We come from the old school you know, ridin’ around in a dirty van, playin’ some kid’s mom’s basement selling 7″s and homemade patches. So, we were like the Beverly Hillbillies when it came to the business. We’d show up to these fancy places get fed and talk to lawyers, negotiate budgets with the behemoth, get our picture taken, go on press tours, it was all part of the package. We did that and we were given some great opportunities and had some fun.
At times, it was a challenge to my aesthetics and ethics and as an artist that is all you REALLY have. We didn’t spend as much time playing music as we did talking about it with people who were getting paid and didn’t give a shit about music… or us. For 4AD, we didn’t sell enough records to continue the contract option. They offered a contract re-negotiation and we declined. For us, in the end, the benefits did not outweigh the cost. The whole business bummed me out.
It’s been three years. We weren’t sure if we were gonna make another record. After Modern Tribe we came home from tour exhausted and unsatisfied with our venture. It took its toll on me and my health, so I had a nervous breakdown. I didn’t leave my house for almost 3 months. The only thing that pulled me through was music. We started writing having no goal in mind. Just playing, and it slowly started forming into something we thought we should share.
Anyway, in my mind, the record business is dying, so we decided to just give it away digitally. At some point, we were convinced by our fans to release something, so we started to put together a full length not knowing who, how or when. We decided that we weren’t going to pursue any labels. We were done with that world. We wanted to own our music and have no contracts. Friends Records came to us and asked if they could put out a limited edition on vinyl and we agreed because here were music fans that just wanted to be a part of making our next record— simple and sweet.
KF: Working with these guys has been great, I love them. I’ve learned so much about singing by working with them. It challenged me to be a better singer. Dave and I have worked together for many years. It’s incredible to see how much he’s grown. He is such a talented cosmic soul! I’ve watched him make not only his dreams, but the dreams of others come true. I also have, because of the exposure of working with these guys, had the opportunity to sing on some other great records/songs too — Foals-”Red Socks Pugie,” Dead Science – “Villainaire,” UNKLE – “Caged Bird” and Future Islands – “The Fall”
RTS: Are there any plans to take this new record on the road? If so, when can we expect to see you?
KF: I’ve been slinging amps on ramps for 20 years. I’m tired. If the ideal situation presents itself we will consider. We may do mini tours but no more of those 2 month back cracker soul stealers.
RTS: Speaking of touring and dealing with the road, especially eating on the road, tell me how you guys deal with having vegetarians and vegans in the band? I remember you cooking a brown rice dish in a crock pot at a club while you were sound checking once. Do you still travel with a portable cooking device?
KF: Road warrior style. In the States, we always travel with a rice cooker, a cutting board, knife and salad bowl. We have a virtual pantry as well: extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, tamari or Braggs liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, pepper mill, spices, hot sauce and brown rice. We stop at health food stores and get vegetables, we can make salads, sandwiches or rice dishes. It’s way better than the shit you can eat on the road, which by the way is all corporate GMO’d hate food, made by people who are exploited and underpaid. We don’t want to support it. I got enough salt sores in the cracks of my mouth from living off potato chips years ago, I learned my lesson.
RTS: What’s your bands favorite veggie/vegan comfort food to make?
KF: At home, everybody likes when I make Korean-style spicy miso. The vegetables depend on what’s in season. The last one we made had acorn squash and brussel sprouts loaded with garlic and ginger. I make big pots of soup on practice days sometimes. I don’t like to see hungry boys. On the road, the most popular thing is a protein salad. I make the dressing from squeezing lemons and mixing it with either EVO or sesame oil, chopped garlic and nutritional yeast. I put that directly on top of chopped avocados, sprouted beans or raw peas, pumpkin seeds, carrots, apples, maybe jalapeno…really whatever looks fresh. Toss and serve with good bread. Loaded with vitamins.
RTS: What’s your band’s favorite cuisine? (ie: Asian, Indian, Mexican, Italian, etc…)
KF: Everyone in the band has different tastes, but we all tend to go for any Asian food… Burmese, Tibetan, Thai, and Korean.
RTS: Thanks so much Katrina for answering these questions. RTS wishes you and Celebration much success with the release of Hello Paradise.
KF: THANK YOU!! MEOW MEOW!!
Check out some of Katrina Ford’s vocal magic on these tracks:
Celebration – “Great Pyramid”
Maximum Balloon (feat. Katrina Ford) – “Young Love”
UNKLE (feat. Katrina Ford) – “Caged Bird”