CMJ NEW MUSIC REPORT
April 20, 1998

Artist Spotlight: Sixpence None the Richer

The band's been head-butted by Wesley Willis and opened for Daniel Johnston at this year's SXSW conference, but Nashville's Sixpence None the Richer shares nothing in common with those oddball artists. The trio's self-titled third album is an enchanting, poetic pop gem that has been receiving high critical praise. We recently caught up with the band before a show in New York City.

CMJ: Matt, did it feel like a huge undertaking to take on everything from the songwriting to the arranging and production of the album?
Matt Slocum:
I'm just really interested in all that stuff. It seems like, back in the day, writing a song meant arranging it as well.

Bands with a strong religious foundation (whether or not it's evident in their music), like you and Jars of Clay, for example, seem to instantly get pegged as "Christian music" before they're listened to as artists. Have you found it to be an issue among your critics?
Matt:
There's no subversive thing going on -- we're not trying to convert the world. We wanna make really good art and be excellent at what we do. It has come up.... We're in a middle ground because we get people from the Christian community who say we don't preach -- most Christian music is expected to do that -- so we kinda shy away from that. Then others in the mainstream community say 'Oh, you're Christian', but we just wanna make cool stuff. Richard Gere may be into the Dali Lama, but you don't see or not see his movies because of that.
Leigh: Either the Christian community has brought on a bad reputation and not represented itself well or there's this fear from people on the outside of knowing something is true and not being able to confront it. I could be very offended by bands.... Chumbawumba, aren't they some crazy kind of communists or something?

How have your musical influences affected this record?
Matt: For me, U2 and the Sundays are two huge ones. XTC, Innocence Mission....
Dale Baker: There's two Red House Painters-ish inspired bits, but I don't think you can notice them.
Matt: Actually, you can sing "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" to ["Kiss Me"]. It's the same chords. I didn't know until the last minute, I swear.

-Glen Sansone


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