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Eleni Mandell : une femme qui s'en mêle

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We have a mixed image of Los Angeles : one the one hand, there's Malibu Beach and on the other hand, gangs in some parts of the town. How is it living in LA ?
Los Angeles is kind of a difficult town for music because people are very jaded and cynical. And there's so much movie industry. It's not the same when I perform in Canada, or in New York. I'm more excited to go out. There aren't really very good clubs in Los Angeles that I love. not like in Chicago, or New York, where the clubs are really great and the audience is very supportive. But over the years it's been a lot easier because now i've got a following in LA and I get played on the radio there and stuff. And there's starting to be more of a community of musicians. It's getting a lot better. I just don't think there the perfect club to play there. But as far as the musicians go, there's a lot of interesting good stuff going on. And I live on the East Side, very far from the beach, far from all the "glitzyness". It's Silver Lake/Echo Park area. And there's a lot of artists there. And we sort of walk around instead of driving everywhere. So it's pretty good, it's getting better.

To what extend does LA influence your writing ? Do you think you'd write differently if you were living in Chicago or New York
I think so. I'm from Los Angeles so it's very much a part of who I am. Although I'm different from the stereotype of what most people perceive someone from Los Angeles to be. But I'm influenced by a lot of people who wrote about Los Angeles, like Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits, X. These are all bands musicians and writers that wrote about Los Angeles, and lived in Los Angeles. There's Ramond Chandler... I guess I'm inspired by sort of the ugliness as well as the beauty. You know, it's harder to find what's beautiful but that makes it more special and I like that. I've written a little bit when I was travelling in Europe in November. I like those songs too but it's definitely a different perspective when you're away from home.
Beck, another popular musician from LA, once said that New York chewed him and spit him out...
New York ? i don't think I could live there. My father and my grandmother and grandfather, they're all from New York. But it's really a hard city, not soft, not easy (rires). And Los Angeles it's easy. I like the sunshine, I like space, I have a big apartment. So I guess I'm a bit spoiled. I think people in LA get a little lazy cause we don't have to try very hard for anything. In New York, walking in the street is an effort, climbing the stairs, getting your groceries and things like that. But it makes life really exciting.
We hear a lot about gang problems in LA. Is it just in certain parts of the city ?
Los Angeles is so huge and probably like most big cities you have to know what part of town to stay away from. It can vary from street to street. I definitely feel safer in New York than I feel in LA, because in New York everyone's out on the streets walking around, and in LA if you're walking, you're the only one walking pretty much (rires.). So yeah, I think crime is not great. You have the sound of police helicopters a little too often. I used to live in a really bad part of town where there were gun shots all the time. I moved away from there.

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