An interview with Kristin
Kristin Diable, a singer/songwriter/guitar player from Baton Rouge, possess a strong yet sweet voice and a fine sense of interesting song structure. She used to be 1/2 of Meridian Jane, along with her sister, but in early 2001 the
sister combo parted ways. Below are her thoughts and feelings on touring, Baton Rouge and cereal.
For more information, please visit her wonderful website: http://www.meridianjane.com/
This interview was conducted via email.
Where are you right now?
In my bedroom, in Baton Rouge, LA.
Did you have a healthy breakfast? What did you have?
I'm eating a bowl of cereal right now. Apple cinnamon cheerios. Not the
healthiest breakfast, but it's not too bad for me.
What is your favorite part about creating music?
Being able to put an emotion/thought/feeling in musical form- being able
to get it out and express it.
What is your least favorite part?
Finishing a song. I always write a verse and a chorus, and it takes me a
really long time to finish the rest of it.
Do you have any sort of formula when you are creating songs?
Like do you usually write a melody then a structure chords around that
melody -- or do you start off with lyrics or an idea for lyrics and create
the chords and melody off of that?
It totally depends on the song. Sometimes I'll be playing around and come
up with a cool chord progression and lyrics along with it. Sometimes I'll
have some lyrics I wrote previously and put them to a guitar part later on.
The vocal melody almost always plays off a guitar part though. On occasion,
I'll think of a melody at random without playing guitar, but usually it
happens with the guitar.
When writing lyrics, what areas of life do you like to focus on?
Everything. I end up writing whatever I'm feeling at the time. That can
range from finding happiness, loving someone, struggles, purpose, expressing
who you are, and anything in between. I try not to write about the same
things over and over. Life's to interesting for that.
Are there areas of life or topics you find yourself avoiding?
I'm really honest and upfront with what I write. I don't try to
candy-coat or avoid anything. I wouldn't enjoy writing as much if I did
Who are some of your favorite lyricists?
I'm big on lyrics. So, naturally, my favorite lyricists are pretty much
going to correspond with my favorite bands/musicians. Here are a few:
Brandon Boyd from Incubus. His lyrics are beautiful. He touches on so many
really important aspects of life and can express a thought/feeling by
painting a picture in your mind through words. Ani DiFranco is so clever with
her writing. Now she is someone who is infinitely honest and upfront with her
writing. John Mayer, who I've discovered more recently, has a very sincere
writing style, which I love.
I have never enjoyed trying to explain 'what my band sounds like' or
'what kind of music i play' - but how would describe the kind of music you
Recently I've resorted to simply telling people it's
"mellow-alternative-rock," but I have to say, depending on the song, there
are definitely elements of underlying jazz, roots, rock, folk, etc.
Are you a big fan of the Baton Rouge Blaze arena football team?
I think the BR Blaze is actually a Hockey team. I'm 99% sure of that.
Shows you how much I know/care about sports, eh? So back to the question, no
I'm not a big fan. I'm fairly apathetic about sports. I don't dislike them,
but I don't particularly like them either. LSU games are HUGE here. Today we
are playing Auburn and there are hundreds, and probably thousands, or
campers/RVs parked all over campus. I've never seen anything like an LSU
football game. It's almost religious.
I read that you are booking a tour for the early months of 2002.
Tell me a little bit about it:
Actually, the tour plans have changed a bit. I decided to hold off until
early summer of 2002. There are multiple reasons for that decision. Overall,
a tour in the summer would make more sense. So, I'll just answer the
following questions in regard to the summer tour. :)
Will this be your first tour?:
Yes, it will.
How many shows are you planning on playing?
That is somewhat up in the air
right now, but it should be atleast 10 different venues at minimum.
What will you miss most from home during your time on the road?
My Mom and little brother. Oh yeah, and the roaches that have recently decided to grace
my apartment. It's nice to see familiar faces every morning when I walk into
Tell me about some of your concerns and fears about going on the road.
biggest concern is vehicle problems. I took a road trip last summer, and my
car broke down- it was a mess! And a very expensive mess at that. So, we'll
definitely be taking a dependable ride this time. Stopping to get gas in
really backwards, obscure towns really freaks me out sometimes too. I've seen
too many stupid scary movies.
Are you taking a full band with you?
Most likely not. It's very expensive
to go on tour , especially if you're just starting to build up your fan base.
So, talking 3 or more extra people adds a lot to the expenses. I may,
however, go on tour with another band and possibly work with some of their
members at the shows.
Where and when can we go see you play?
E-mail me and I'll try to come see you. :) May 2002.
Now that you and your sister have parted ways, musically speaking, have you
grown closer in other regards?
We were actually closer when we played music
together. Both of our lifestyles are much different than they used to be.
We get along fine when we're together, but we have both been really busy with
different aspects of our lives, so we don't get to spend as much time
together as we used to.
Do you sometimes look to her for creative input or constructive criticism?
Definitely. She's a really talented musician and she has a good ear.
When I'm working on a song I'll record really crappy MP3s through a little
computer mic and send her the files. The quality of the recording can be
terrible, but she can still hear through it and let me know what she thinks.
Sometimes we'll play new stuff for each other over the phones , but we're both
online much more often.
Have your parents been supportive of your musical aspirations?
Yes. My Mom has always been supportive, but more so just because she
believes in me in general. I don't know if she really considers being a
professional musician feasible though. We're from a relatively small town, so
the concept of music being someone's career isn't commonly acknowledged. Once
she heard the new CD she was pretty excited though. She called me up and said
"You know, I've been listening to your CD and I really think you could do
something with this. You're as good, if not better than stuff on the radio."
I just kind of laughed because that's what I'm trying to accomplish and she's
just now discovering that. I don't really talk about music stuff too much
when I'm around my family. I'm not sure why. It's like a secret side of my
What bands/CDs have you been listening to lately?
I'm really picky with bands. My top two right now are Incubus and John
Mayer. Their styles are completely on opposite ends of the musical spectrum,
but they both have two very important things in common: 1. They are both
extremely melodic. 2. They both have meaningful and intelligent lyrics that I
really connect to. I'm big on lyrics. I'd probably like a lot more bands if
they had better lyrics. Aside from those two I've been listening to Jimi
Hendrix, Pete Yorn, Ani DiFranco, Travis, etc.
How would you describe the state of music culture in Baton Rouge?
Mmmm... Interesting. Basically, if you want to make decent money in Baton
Rouge, you have to be a cover band. There are some excellent cover bands, but
it's really boring after a while. There are a lot of local acts, but the
acoustic rock/pop scene here isn't that big. Most of the original bands are
more heavy rock/alternative/metal/punk bands.
Do you have any musical horror stories?
I have a few. The first one that pops into my mind is a show I played a
few months ago at the Caterie. I was really excited because I was offered an
opening slot for another band, and the caterie is one of the biggest places
to play in Baton Rouge. I got together with another guitarist and drummer
and everything sounded really great at practice. We were supposed to play
earlier in the night, before everyone was drunk and ready to see the 80's
cover band that was headlining the show. We were supposed to play when
everyone was mellowed out. But as fate would have it, we didn't go on until
about 2 hours after planned. This being so, there were a bunch of drunken
rednecks and middle aged professionals who were getting quite impatient and
were irritated their 80s cover music wasn't playing yet. So we already had
that working against us. Then, we didn't get a proper sound check b/c
everything was so backed up and the levels were AWFUL when we finally went
on. It took half the set for the drums to get miked properly, the other
guitarist was plugged into an electric amp which made it sound like some
drunken KISS member was playing in the background somewhere, and my vocals
were either blaring or not loud enough. It was such a disaster. I seriously
considered just stopping and walking offstage. We didn't get booed off stage
though and a few people did actually compliment me after the show. So, I
guess it could have been worse, but definitely not much worse.
What are some of your other aspirations aside from music?
I have too many to list, but I'll name a few of them. I want to open up a
really chill music venue that is also a coffee/tea bar/art shop/independent
movie theater; write a book; manage a band; go on tour with a band (my band,
preferably); have something I've painted be in an art show; act in a
play/movie; learn a second language; find purpose in all that I do; and of
course, to be happy.
Do you have a day job?
I did a few weeks ago, but I'm in between jobs right now. I'm currently
looking. It's depressing how many lame, minimum wage jobs there are in the
world. My life is worth a lot more than $5.15 an hour. That's insulting.
Want to hire me? I gots gud ritin skilz.
Tell me a little bit about your arsenal of guitars?
Unfortunately, it's hardly an arsenal. I'll start from the beginning. I
started playing guitar on my dad's old acoustic gibson. It has such a smooth
tone, but really high action, which made it VERY difficult for me to play
when I first started learning guitar. Then I shared the great Ibanez acoustic
with my sister. I don't know what model it was, one of the cheaper ones, but
it's the most incredible low-end guitar I've ever touched. Then came the red
Epiphone PR6-E DLX. I played on that one for a while and then realized it was
a fairly crappy guitar. I shopped around for a new guitar, but I really
couldn't afford what I wanted/needed. But lucky for me, on Christmas last
year I was given a Taylor 314-CE as a gift. Erin actually has a the same one,
with different wood on the back. I love the Taylor. They are such great
guitars. That's my baby. The Gibson and the Epiphone stay nice and comfy in
their cases behind my bed these days. I've also been playing around on
electric a bit lately, it's an Ibanez EX series. When Erin and I played
shows, sometimes I'd switch to elec. guitar and play her dad's GIbson Les
Paul. Now that's an electric guitar!
I saw that you are running a poll to help decide your new name. The results
are tight, has the poll help sway your thought process?
I need to take that
poll down actually. For months I went back and forth over what to go by. I
love the name and concept of meridian jane and I didn't want to give it up.
But at the same time, it was too confusing going by that when I was playing
by myself most of the time. So, I am going by Kristin Diable and we're about
to set up kristindiable.com. Meridian Jane will now be my record
label/publishing company and we'll keep that site up as well for those
purposes. I got to have my cake and eat it too. Yay.
Where do you stand on your name?
Are you going to make a final decision
before you hit the road?: Kristin Diable, that's me!
Do you feel that technology has aided your musical career thus far?
how?: Immensely. I definitely wouldn't be at this point in my musical career
without the internet and our website. The net is such an incredible tool to
allow people to hear your music and make contacts. You wouldn't believe! I
started up our web-site before we even played our first show. I won't babble
forever about it, but the majority of the big opportunities we've had with
music can be accredited to the fact that someone was able to go to the
website, hear our music, read the lyrics, see our dorky pictures, etc.
Written By: Geoff T.