Mary Lattimore

Mary Lattimore

interview by Michele Corrado

Michele - Hi Mary! How are you doing? Where are you answering to us from?

Mary - Hi! I'm writing to you from a Philadelphia hotel room!


You Just released a new record titled “Goodbye, Hotel Arkada”. A record stuffed with melancholia, whose title refers to a Croatian hotel that you are fond of, that lately has been brutally renewed… can you tell us something more about how you came up with this title?

I loved how the hotel looked before it was renewed but to me, the hotel isn't as important as just the idea of holding onto the image of something before it fades away or changes, because change is inevitable, for better or worse. Everything always shifts and gets renovated, renewed, torn down, rebuilt. If it's something we love, we should deeply immortalize it in our mind's eye or in an artful way before we don't have it anymore. It's recognizing the value in the ephemeral.


Comparing the title, the titles of the songs, the cover art and of course the music of “Goodbye, Hotel Arkada” with your last previous solo record “Silver Ladders”, I perceive a more terrestrial setting, less abstract scenarios and spacey atmospheres, in addition to a darker mood. Is it just an impression?

Yes, that makes sense! Silver Ladders felt like pure emotion, a lot of it made very quickly in Cornwall where I was soaking up all of these poetic and new experiences and impressions. GHA took longer to make, was more grounded in the editing and selecting, was more careful and composed very intentionally. I think they represent different sides of my playing. I was able to let go a little more with SL because I was depending on Neil's ear to produce it, so it's a little more free. But I like to be thoughtful and in control of what I make too so GHA appealed to this careful, Virgo earth-bound brainy side that wants to craft beauty with devoted intent, like small paintings.


In addition to names you often collaborated with, in your last record we an find superstar guests such as Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Roy Montgomery and Cure’s Lol Tolhurst! How has it been to work with them? How actually were the sessions? Tell us something about the creative process behind these collaborations.

I really admire these musicians and am lucky to call them friends at this point. Working with them was remote. With Lol, I sent the song and he added to it. I received his parts on New Year's Eve when I was throwing a party, so I ran to my room to be alone and listen to what he added. It felt perfect and a good sign for the coming year. Roy's parts came as a pen pal collab, back and forth working on music. He was in New Zealand and I was at an artist residency in Wyoming. We had fun passing things back and forth. Rachel, I just asked for vocals and she happily obliged from the UK to California. I value them all so much as musicians that they really had the freedom to add whatever they wanted to. Such heroes!


The piece with Lol, most likely the most melancholic and dramatic of the lot, is titled “Arrivederci, the Italian word for “see you next time”. Why this choice of language?

This song I wrote when I was fired from a job, hired by a wonderful Italian musician to play these parts on his record. Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job at the session, so I came home, cried my eyes out, and composed something for myself. Thank goodness for this outlet, to make music when you're crushed for a moment. I'm also learning Italian so someday I'll pronounce the song title with a little bit less of an American accent, I hope!


Actually, in your last tour you played in a good amount of Italian locations, included my hometown Napoli… how has it been playing for a while along our country?

I adore Italy so much and loved being in Napoli. I hope my tours continue to take me to Italy. The most beautiful and art-filled country in the world with such nice people and just such a pure love of beauty and food and culture!! 


You play and compose for harp, quite an ancient instrument. But the use you do of it is incredibly modern, contemporary. The sound of your harp echoes in ambient and post-rockish scenarios. How did you first think that a harp could fit such genres?

I didn't know it could until I started playing with friends in Philadelphia in 2005, merging the kinds of music I liked to listen to with the instrument I actually play. It's been exciting to see how I can create different moods with the harp.

I know from your social medias that you do love cinema. Which are the best movies you watched lately? Recommend us something.

A favorite film I've watched recently is Purple Noon, as recommended by my friend Samara Lubelski. Gorgeous Alain Delon, gorgeous scenery! I loved it. Thrilling!


I think that your music is indeed quite cinematic, have you ever considered to compose more consistently for the cinema or for the series?

Thank you! Yes, I've been composing for film lately! My first two films were released at film festivals last month and it's been an interesting new endeavor, learning about the process and all of the work that goes into setting the scenes. I'd love to score more, so if there are Italian filmmakers reading this that need a composer, please be in touch!


What is now in heavy rotation in your streaming platforms account? Recommend us something new to listen to!

I have been loving Beach House's record called 7. Also music from Jeremiah Chiu, an amazing synthesizer player that I toured with for a few weeks. I'd recommend his solo record that just came out and also his record he made with his partner Marta Sofia Honer. 


With that was everything, thanks a lot for the time and see you next time Mary.

Thank you!!! Ci vediamo!

 The Withdrawing Room (Desire Path, 2013)
 At The Dam (Ghostly International, 2016)
 Hundreds of Days (Ghostly International, 2018)
 Silver Ladders (Ghostly International, 2020)
Goodbye, Hotel Arkada (Ghostly International, 2023)
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