An Interview with Celeste Lear

With such a storied lineage, I have to ask you: When did you first become interested in gear and electronics? Well, despite growing up in a family famous for the invention of the 8-track player, unfortunately, I was not filled in by any of my relatives on the mysterious world of electronics. My grandfather, Bill Lear, passed away when I was very young, and my father wasn't as adept in electronics. One of the first times I remember wanting to learn more about the technical aspects of electronics was when I was 19 and was cruising through my campus recording facility for the first time. I looked at the guys in there tweaking the knobs on all of that amazing-looking gear, and I just knew I wanted to do that too.

The way people consume their music these days is rapidly changing as downloading becomes more and more prevalent. What do you think of the digital delivery of music? It's the future, it's here, and musicians and industry folks are scrambling to understand how it's working, how to get on board, and how to keep it lucrative. I have mixed feelings about file-sharing. So many people are unaware of how very important it is to financially support their favorite artists. I really frown upon downloading music for free. People should just go to iTunes and pay the 99 cents per track. I think all the downloading sites should maintain a rule of 99 cents per song. So much time, devotion, and money go into making an amazing album. When times are hard and the economy is in a slump, people try to pinch pennies wherever they can, and usually, entertainment is one of the first cuts. It's really sad, but I think it's true.

Do you download music yourself? Oh yes, I love iTunes and MySpace for finding great music. I try to buy CDs too, because I love to get the whole package, with the cover art and the track order. Artwork is such an essential part of an album, and I think we're losing that aspect a bit.

You have an iPod, right? Who do you have on it? I have a tiny little iPod nano, yes. I'm afraid I'm going to lose it, it's so small. On it, I've been listening to Martina Topley Bird, Pinback, Elbow, Depeche Mode, Woven, Ekova, Goldfrapp, Lili Haydn, VHS or Beta, Tori Amos... a lot of amazing stuff.

Does the shift to downloading mean the CD is dead? CDs may be going out of style because it's easier to buy music online than make a trip to the record store. And some people want the option to buy a song or two off the album instead of the whole thing. That's bringing the single back like we had in the '50s and '60s.