Chatting up Jen Foster and Antigone Rising
Ideal musical chemistry hits the road.
Lesbian Texan singer-songwriter Jen Foster and all-female rock band Antigone Rising launch an East Coast tour in November. It's a collaboration born of serendipity and musical chemistry, as Foster and Antigone's Kristen Henderson explain.
How did the tour come together?
Foster: The whole thing started at National Pride [Nashville] this past June. I played it, Antigone played it, and after my show Kristen and Nini [Camps] came up and just said, hey, we should all do a show together.
Henderson: Honestly, I think Nini and I were sitting up in the beer garden watching Jen play and I turned to Nini and said, "Why haven't we ever done a show with her? It would be the perfect co-bill." I love it when it's that easy.
What made you think that the co-bill was a good fit?
Foster: We compliment each other. They're great performers, high energy; I'm a little more of a mellow, song-based set. They're balls-to-the-wall rock and roll, so I think we'll compliment each other pretty well. The female artist world is kind of small and we've all got a huge female fan base, so I think we'll both walk away with some new fans. It's going to be a good marriage.
Henderson: As artists, our sounds are very similar and it just makes sense stylistically. There was a time when I tried to define what we do, but now I'm just about letting it be what it is: It's country, and rock and pop, it's its own thing.
Foster: No one is just one thing. [I try to] balance being home in Nashville and being in the country world and then coming out to LA and being in the pop world. It's a double life.
Henderson: Being a mom, having twins, and Nini has kids too, when we're off tour we'll just be hanging out with families, and then when we go on tour we shift into band mode, so our double life is suburban mom and then touring musicians.
Jen Foster (far left) photo credit: Howard T. Ezell
When you're sharing the marquee with another act, how do you plan your set? Do you try to play off or around each other?
Henderson: I guess it depends on the tour. The great thing is I don’t think either one of us needs to think too hard [this time]. There are definitely tours where we've toned things down, stripped things down, but I think with an artist like Jen we don't need to do too much.
Foster: I try to be conscious of the energy of the set. I want a dynamic set that keeps people guessing a little. I always try to throw surprises in there. The tour is more about the songs that I write from my heart. It's going to be a high-energy, emotional, because you're kind of vulnerable on stage, you're transparent. I'm known for wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Henderson: Honestly we're probably going to be learning a lot of her stuff. [Excited] I'm going to be learning Jen Foster stuff!
Kristen, what Jen says about wearing her heart on her sleeve, does that tie into what you've said about [Antigone Rising's new album] 23 Red?
Henderson: I totally agree with Jen. I think it's our most honest album. We raised the money ourselves through Kickstarter and we were able to do it on our own without having to worry so much. We didn't have to answer to a lot of people in business suits; we were the suits on this one. So I can listen to it and not want to crash my car. [Pause] Not to say that I'm listening to myself in my car.
How do you gauge the audience at a show? How do you know if you've done a really great set?
Henderson: You just know when you've got the crowd with you. What I noticed when Jen was playing [in Nashville] was that she had the audience completely captivated. It was a hot day and the crowd had a million things to do with a lot going on, but while Jen was playing the entire crowd was focused on Jen. When we played it actually started raining, but the crowd stayed with us.
Foster: You can feel that energy. They're lit up, there's an energy, a connection that you feel between the crowd when you know that it's gone well.
Foster and Antigone Rising's first show together will be at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, Nov. 8th. Tickets are on sale now.
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