LAST YEAR, Amsterdam record store owner Elisabeth Esselink grabbed a bunch of records that had been languishing in the used bin, took them into the studio, and sampled 11 songs worth of material. The result, Solex vs. the Hitmeister, was a clever, quirky album that got her a deal with Matador records. Solex's just-released second album, Pick Up, is another enjoyable disc of found sounds and abstract storytelling.

The Stranger: The first time I saw you play, it was one of your first shows with a band. Solex vs. the Hitmeister had just come out, and you played the World Trade Center.

Solex: (covering face with hands): Oh no! That must have been horrible!

TS: No! I wouldn't call it horrible... but you had just started playing with the band, and you didn't really know what to do with them. You were mostly playing the songs yourself. Did you ever think about going out on tour alone, just you and the sampler?

Solex: No, it would be too boring. I'd be too static, on stage behind the sampler. With a band, then there's something else going on. As it is, I'm too static. I wish someone else could drop in the samples in the right place so I could just concentrate on singing, and communicate with the crowd a little more. It's a lot to do at once.

TS: On the first album, you sampled records that no one would buy from your record store. Did you do the same thing this time around, or did you go to other sources?

Solex: Well, there were problems with getting samples (legally), so I decided to make bootlegs and sample those, because you can't copyright bootlegs. Of course, I can get in trouble for making them in the first place.... But I went to a bunch of shows and just brought a tape recorder and taped them, then took samples from that. And I did it with all kinds of music: rock, classical, jazz....

TS: Yeah, the record has more of a jazz feel, because there's lots of piano and horns and that kind of thing.

Solex: The reason is that there's always lots of security at rock shows. They search your bag, and it's hard to bring a tape recorder, but at more posh shows there's no security. So it's much easier to tape them.

TS: So basically, the record sounds the way it does because of lax security at classical concerts?

Solex: If they had made it harder, it would be a whole different record.

Elisabeth Esselink's Found Sounds

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