HOOK AND LINE MAGAZINE

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Diane Cluck Interview

So back in May, I got wind that Diane Cluck would be playing a show at the Fullhouse Gallery in Philadelphia. Fullhouse was nothing short of – someone’s house.  A really messy house with really gross bathrooms…but that’s not the point! The point is it was one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever been to. People were sitting on the floor of a “living room” while looking into a “dining room” that was really a “stage”. It was all wonderful. And the best part was getting to hear Diane pour her heart out. -Keba, Photo by Diane


-Keba: Where did you grow up?
Diane Cluck: Lancaster, PA.  It was suburban, with lots of cornfields around it.
 
-K: Describe your first encounters with a guitar.
DC: I played electric guitar for awhile when I was twelve. I think I did it because my friend wanted to play drums. I took lessons for a few months, had a little Gorilla amp, and joined 'guitar club' during club period in seventh grade. There were only two of us in the club. Lessons didn't go very well — guitar felt painful and clunky to me, then.
-K: How do you write a song?
DC: Any which way.  Moving and not thinking seems to help the process along.

-K: Do you remember why and when you got into playing music?
DC: I just always liked it.  I had a crush on my friend's kind-of-big toy piano when I was four.  One of my favorite moments in childhood was when I got to be in the house alone ( which was rare )— then I would sing until I was hoarse or until someone came home. 
 
-K: What do you do when you're not playing music?
DC: I cook a lot.  Really, a lot.  I make everything from scratch.  I like learning new old-fashioned skills in the kitchen. Making food is definitely a form of play, of care.  I don't have any babies yet so I try to feed my friends and family when I can. I spend time noticing plants and making plant medicines.  That started about ten years ago, when I got tired of the dead-end, violent advice I was getting from doctors.

-K: What's the best thing about playing for an audience?
DC: I like hearing what 'landed' for people, afterwards.  I like being quiet with people, together.  I know, I'm the one with my mouth open, but singing actually feels very quiet inside.


-K: You're on Voodoo Eros, right? 
DC: Well, I released an album with them.  I think one is only 'on' there are current or future commitments, which I don't have.  Melissa & Bianca's label was for them at the time, with all of us learning as we went.seems to be dormant.
 just now.
-K: Do you know Sierra and Bianca well?
DC: We are friends.  We don't spend lots of time together, but I like feeling them out there.

-K: Do you feel like you're part of a family of musicians?
DC: Yes, I suppose so.  But it feels more like a family of people.  The fact that my friends make music isn't something I notice so much anymore.  I used to be more inspired by external creations.  I'm more interested in people now, in what we're being, in what we're saying.

-K: What's your life's soundtrack?
DC: I used to listen to recorded music a lot, but now, almost never.  I might be sensitive to how jagged digital media sounds and how computers have been turned into stereos.  But I also soaked in so much music earlier in life that now I'm pretty much okay only hearing it live, on occasion.  I sat in a subway station today and listened to a man named George play harp with amazing skill, honed for fifty years.  I make a lot of music in my mind that I enjoy.

-K: What is your favorite sound?
DC: I like noticing when appliances, houses, etc. are powered down. That's a wonderful sound.  I think about how that sound used to be everywhere all of the time.  Maybe it's not a 'favorite', but it would be close.
 
-K: Have you ever played in a band or would you ever want to play in a band?
DC: I played in a Pink Floyd / R.E.M. / Peter Murphy cover band in high school, called Nosferatu. We played together at fire halls and local clubs for about three years.  By the end we were playing mostly original songs, which were suggestively about vampires.  We made an album in Ken Heitmueller's basement called "Agape"; I wrote and sang one of the songs called "Disciple".  I was very, very nervous during recording; my teeth were chattering; the effect was that I sounded like Natalie Merchant, whose singing I liked a lot. I've been playing with a terrific drummer, Anders Griffen, for the past couple of years.  It's kind of casual.  We are both 'busy'.  I'm not feeling wanting to play in a band, because I'm not feeling wanting to focus on that kind of relationship just now.  I think you have to be there for band mates, over time, in order to create good lovin'.  I do get lonely traveling and singing by myself sometimes.  It's part of why I haven't toured so much.  I like being at home.
-K: Last crazy dream you had?
DC: I am having so many crazy dreams lately.  I've been sleeping in a new place. I don't feel like typing specifically about the dreams, it seems wasteful. There have been some 'shame about sex' dreams, as usual.
Also some 'hey, this is a dream!  I can try things out! Which is unusual — I used to have lucid dreams like that as a kid, but not since then until just recently. Sometimes I'm trying to fly, but it's mostly floating / hovering, and it's not easy.

-K: Last crazy song you heard?
DC: Dan from BunnyBrains makes good-crazy songs all the time — I can just stare and open up and laugh at them. We played a show together recently, and it was great.  He played me some live recordings of improvised songs which were also good-crazy.

-K: Your living space is burning...what do you take with you?
DC: You're asking what 'stuff' is important to me?  I appreciate and enjoy my stuff, but it's mostly replaceable.  I like the notebooks, sewing machine, guitar, books, stones, typewriter that I have.  I have a couple of mixing bowls and a wooden spoon I like that belonged to my father's mother.  I might try to save my passport, because it wouldn't be fun to replace, and, until 2015, I still have the old-fashioned kind without the freaky RFID chip inside.
-K: What are you working on at the moment?
DC: Not rushing!  Not allowing rushing energies to rush me.]