AS: I think I was afraid to really express myself when I was in the band because I was so open to everyone else’s opinion. It was very difficult to figure out what I wanted to say, as opposed to what I wanted people to hear. It sounds like it could be the same thing, but it’s actually totally different. I just had to grow up…and learn to play the piano, which I just learned to play three years ago. That was a big turning point. I also just started going back to the way I was as a kid. That’s why I love fairytales and animals and nature. All of those things are innocent elements to me. It is more of who I am as a person naturally, without the weirdness or jaded attitude that comes from being in the music business and living in LA.
Flare.com: So, when you’re living in that environment, how do you get in tune with that innocence?
AS: When I was younger, I lived in Seattle and I was super aware as a baby. I really took things in. It was very green and there was a lot of animal art and representation–they’re much more in tune with nature there–and I think that has something to do with it. It’s just tapping back into where I came from. And reading a lot.
Flare.com: What do you read?
AS: Everything. Everything I can get my hands on. Mostly classics because the language is so amazing. Like Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy and also the stuff that I read when I was growing up, like C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll–those worlds that were so entrancing and vivid when I was a kid.
Flare.com: And you draw those more fantastical elements into your own song writing. Do you ever worry that people may not be able to relate?
AS: Definitely. I mean, “Minnow and a Trout” was one of those songs that I wrote and I was like, ‘Oh God…I love this, but I don’t know if anyone else is going to get what I’m trying to say.’ But I think it’s a side that people should have brought out of them and have that be okay. Adults aren’t really encouraged to [use their imaginations], in fact it’s the opposite, and as a result you lose your connection with that pure joy that you get as a kid. It shouldn’t be something you have to hide. There are enough gloomy, boring, mundane things in life that you might as well have a bright, vivid inner-world.
Flare.com: So, in keeping with that idea of fantasy, since you’re sitting on the cusp of it, if I could grant you three wishes for the rest of your career, what would they be?
AS: There was a concert that Coldplay did. I’m not sure where it was, but it was at an outdoor venue and there was literally a sea of people. I’ve never seen so many people gathered in one place. It was mad. Completely mad. People had their cell phones up and there were glowing lights everywhere. [The band] started to play Yellow and [Chris Martin] held out his microphone to the audience and everyone sang the entire first verse. Not even the chorus–the first verse. To have an experience like that where you have thousands of people doing the same thing at the same time in a joyful moment. That would be definitely one wish. Another wish would be to be able to play with a full symphony. I don’t even know what songs I would play or what I would do, but to have that energy would be incredible. And the third would be to make albums that people want to listen to, to the end. Just album, after album, after album that people are buying and listening to and wanting more of.