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Interview: Doe Paoro

Sonia Kreitzer is emerging from a profound personal transformation. At the beginning of 2011, she had been helming a lighthearted neo-soul 9-piece, complete with horn section and backing choir, but had hit a creative logjam. Her solution was an overseas trip that brought her through the political upheavals in Egypt and Athens, landing her in India where she briefly studied at a yoga school, and then into the mountains of Tibet.  She returned in the Spring, her voice reinforced by Tibetan opera methods which she demoed first by blipping them onto a BandCamp site tied to a new moniker: Doe Paoro.

Kreitzer took to recruiting collaborators by posting solo piano-voice renditions of her new material onto Youtube, and she linked up with Adam “Rhodes” Rosenwach who has been serving as co-author and producer. Her cover of Future Islands’ “Little Dreamer” was the first public offering of her fully realized new aesthetic. Her sound preserves the soulful vocals that liken her to Adele, while featuring rigorously introspective lyrics and melancholic accompaniment that delves into the dissonant and atmospheric. She will soon be facing the critical establishment at the South By Southwest festival, but not before dropping her highly anticipated full-length Slow To Love this Valentine’s Day, which she celebrates the night before with a concert at Glasslands alongside Tezeo, N/A and Wyndham Baird.

Aside from vocal techniques, how have your travels to India and the Himalayas influenced your musical outlook?

One thing I thought about a lot in my travels in both India and my limited time in Egypt (with the prayer calls) was music inspired from a place of devotion and of offering. This concept of the offering touched me; I want my song to come from a pure place. I spent as much time singing in India as I did in silence, meditating.The time I spent thinking about silence and sound is reflected in a newfound sense of spaciousness in the songs.

What does the nom de plume “Doe Paoro” mean and how did it come about?

Doe Paoro is a combination of myths involving women. Myth is the seed of which we create our sense of being, but myth means nothing because we are free to rewrite it. “Paoro” itself is a misinterpretation of a Maori cosmogony myth in which an English translation incorrectly attributed that word to mean “echo,” but that word doesn’t actually exist in the Maori language.

Doe Paoro is my rewriting of my own mythology and a celebration of our freedom to do that over and over again.

The contrast between Doe Paoro your previous Sonia’s Party & The Everyone’s Invited band material is stark. How has the transition into this more spectral, otherworldy sound been, and has your old audience followed along?

The transition happened naturally as I began to change a lot of aspects of my life and have new experiences. I love the Sonia’s Party music; it’s so young and sweet but when I listen to it now, I feel a sense of distance from it as though I’m listening to another person that is not myself sing.

Something I was never quite honest about with Sonia’s Party was that I find myself most genuinely inspired when I go into the melancholia… so having a party band can be a bit of a problem. I don’t ever want to be scared to reinvent the paradigm; the new sound is just where I’m at. From what I’ve heard from our old fans, most of them are more excited about this project because it hits them in a different place.

You are also an accomplished painter and illustrator, is there any synesthesia at play in your work?

Ah, wish I could say yes. I operate in separate worlds with my visual art and my music.

Your music focuses on struggling with attachments, scenarios you’ve likened to a “choir of ghosts.” But these ghosts provide such heights of beauty and pain, what of Doe Paoro when they are all exorcised?

It’s a really good question. I did feel like Slow to Love, our album coming out on the 14th, was an exorcism of this sense of pained longing and attachment and it’s sort of worrisome to work through it on some fucked up level because thats where the inspiration is.

But it turns out when thats all gone, there is a even more beautiful idea of love that has been moving me lately and that’s this notion of “sacrifice,” which is what I think the focus of my next project will be.

Perhaps you don’t want to share, but which is the illest yoga place in Brooklyn?

Haha, I get around quite a bit but right now my jam is practicing Iyengar at Greenhouse Holistic in Williamsburg and I dig on Body Actualized also.

Thanks Sonia!

Doe Paoro is playing Glasslands on Monday, February 13th with Tezeo // N/A // Wyndham Baird

Get yr tickets HERE

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