Category: Interviews

December 11th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Alice Merton
 
In August Alice Merton was signed to Mom + Pop Records. She has an international lifeview. Born in Canada and living both in Germany and England. She founded her own label Paper Plane Records Int where she made her own EP No Roots. No Roots is also the single off the EP. Merton is on a headline US tour before she begins a headline European Tour in February. Merton will be playing Lost Lake on December 16. FEMMUSIC was honored to get a chance to speak with her. For info visit https://www.alicemerton.com & https://www.lost-lake.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making No Roots EP?
 
AM: I would say the biggest challenge was the production. We spent many hours perfecting each small detail of every song. Whether it was perfecting the sound of the bass mixing it with various guitar sounds, or editing the percussive elements. It definitely all took its time.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your label Paper Plane Records Int.? What are the challenges with it?
 
AM: It’s always a challenge in the beginning starting a company. Whether it’s finding the right people to work with, financing everything by ourselves and then coordinating everything so we have an overview of everything that goes on is very tiring, but in the end very rewarding.
 
FEMMUSIC: You signed to Mom + Pop Records. What made you sign with them? What benefits do you see in signing?
 
AM: We liked the fact that they had a similar structure to our label. They’re Indie and therefor I feel like they care a lot about the artist and actually building them up. It was important to me that they understood that I wanted creative freedom and I think they’re very open to that.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AM: It varies. I hear a lot of melodies in my head depending on the situation. I also see sentences or words I like, write them down and often they get put into songs. I definitely write from a very personal perspective. All the songs are true events. It would feel wrong to perform something that wasn’t real in my opinion.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
AM: “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. She’s one of the reasons I became a songwriter and started falling in love with songwriting. I love her lyrics, her melodies. She knows how to write a good song.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AM: I wouldn’t say discriminated. There have definitely been times where I feel like I wasn’t being taken seriously, or that certain people felt they knew what’s best for me. It’s tough, but you really need to stay strong and stubborn. That’s what I’ve learned. Don’t let other people push you around or tell you what they think is correct.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
AM: Brandon Flowers from the Killers. I think the Killers are one of the best bands I’ve ever listened to and I would love to work on lyrics with Brandon Flowers.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AM: If I could change one thing, I would try and portray woman differently. I feel like a lot of women feel they can only be sexy or successful if they show lots of skin. I’m the exact opposite. I hate showing skin and I feel it’s time to show that success doesn’t always mean taking more clothes off.

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December 1st, 2017

by Alex Teitz

Bec Sandridge

Bec Sandridge photo by Giulia McGauran

              Bec Sandridge has made statements as much as songs with her singles “I’ll Never Want A BF” and “You’re a Fucking Joke.” She has come a long way from her beginnings in the band Mad Polly. She has been releasing EP’s the past few years with the latest being In the Fog in 2016. She is now at work on a full length album. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with her to speak about everything from government funding to the postal survey. For info visit https://www.becsandridge.com/

 

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?


BS: I like to write on things I don’t know much about most of the time. Guitar is my main instrument and i feel like sometimes i just write what I know when I’m on it so i like dabbling on a piano or using musical typing on Garage Band. I guess for me the main thing I’ve noticed that’s changed is my ability to produce and arrange instruments in my demo-ing. It’s great but also a pain because I now just sit and obsess over sounds and slowly, slowly lose my mind…

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge of making In the Fog?


BS: I think being between Australia and Scotland was the biggest challenge. I decided last minute that High Tide needed to be on the EP… Thematically and sonically it just felt right. So I came home and recorded it and kind of just tacked it in the middle…

FEMMUSIC: Congratulations on the AMP Australia grant to fund the full length album. What challenges are you facing making a full length vs another EP?


BS: Thank you! I can’t believe it. I cried on the tram when i got the phone call… It’s definitely hard to not put too much pressure on yourself. So I’m just trying to switch my serious/perfectionist brain off and switch into have fun/create like a kid mode.

FEMMUSIC: How have you changed since Mad Polly? What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?


BS: I just wish I had guts when i was in Mad Polly. I didn’t sing until I was 22 so it took me a while to be fearless or confident in making mistakes and writing bad songs. It’s cool to not have everyone like what you do. Gross things are the best.

FEMMUSIC: How has reaction changed to you’re latest single “I’ll Never Want a BF”  changed from before the postal survey and after? What is your view of the postal survey? What issue needs to be addressed next?


BS: I’m not sure if there’s been a reaction change or not, it’s kind of hard to gauge but I think the reaction has been supportive overall? My Dad voted yes which is really cool and means so much to me… I think there’s so much further to go but the yes vote overall is amazing! It’s all about slow but proactive change. Keep the conversations happening amongst your family and friends. I think it all comes back to empathetic language from all sides…

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?


BS: Big one! Hmmm… I love the song “They Weren’t There” by Missy Higgins – it was the first song to make me cry. But, i must admit I don’t really listen to it anymore. So let’s run with “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. I think it’s the best break up song of all time. There’s a video of Lyndsey and Stevie yelling it at each other and it’s just so raw and feels so vicious and real. I want to always attempt to do that live. 

FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?


BS: 100%

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?


BS: Feist. I think she’s one of the best song writers of our time. She just does whatever she wants which has my immediate respect, forever.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?


BS: All venues to be safe and inclusive spaces would be great. Everyone should have a good time at shows.

 

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December 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
 
Morgan Saint

               Morgan Saint is a steamy NY singer-songwriter who started making waves with her songs “Glass Houses” and “You.” She worked with producer Cass Dillon to make her debut EP 17 Hero. FEMMUSIC was able to e-mail her a few questions. She is on a headlining tour that includes Globe Hall on December 8. For info visit http://www.morgansaint.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making 17 Hero?
 
MS: My biggest challenge was choosing which songs to include on this particular release! I wanted to make sure each song could stand on it’s own, yet worked in harmony with the others to create an overall auditory experience that felt whole, but left the listener wanting to hear more.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Cass Dillon. How did you meet? What made you decide to work with him on 17 Hero? How is he to work with?
 
MS: Cass and I met about four years ago in my hometown of Mattituck, New York. It’s a small town on the eastern end of Long Island. Although I currently reside in Manhattan, my family still lives out there. Cass happened to be spending the summer on the North Fork to work on an EP of his own (which is amazing!) Long story short, our common love for music naturally brought us together, and we became friends. Shortly thereafter, Cass began shifting gears and opened a recording studio on Long Island. About three years later when I was graduating from Parsons, I had reached out to him with a song that I wanted to record and take beyond the confines of the equipment that I had in my apartment. We got in the studio, recorded this song that I had written, and I fell instantly in love with the process. The second song that I wrote with the intention of recording happens to be my debut single, “YOU.” Since then, we have made so much music together that I can’t wait to share with the world! Cass is incredibly talented, humble, kind, and a pleasure to work with. I’m hesitant to even call it “work,” because when we are making music, it doesn’t feel like a job at all. He is respectful of my craft and my ideas and vision without having any ego attached. I feel that our creative chemistry is really special, and I am so grateful to have him in my life!
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting techniques?
 
MS: My approach really varies from song to song. Sometimes I will be riding the subway, and a melody or line will come to me, and then I run from there. Other times, I will be messing around on my guitar or piano, and I will discover a particular chord progression that I love. I am constantly singing gibberish everywhere I go, and sometimes something will come out of my mouth and I’ll be like “oh shit, that was cool!” to myself. I see the music making process similarly to how I view and approach making a watercolor painting. The inspiration for the painting may come from anywhere, and the process of getting a painting to a place of completeness is always unique. However, the idea of layering paint on a piece of paper is the same as layering sounds. All of the little individual strokes in a painting are so important, as are all of the di6erent sounds in a song. However, they all must work together in unison to ultimately create a finished product that successfully translates the story or emotion that I am trying trying to express.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about signing with Epic. What made you decide with a label?
 
MS: The minute I walked into Epic’s office in LA, I felt a certain warmth and energy that I hadn’t felt with any other labels that I had been in conversation with. They respect me as an artist, and are very hands o6 when it comes to the actual art that I make. I write all of my own music, direct my own videos and photoshoots, create all graphics–from my cover art and physical CD,s, to tour posters and social media ads, and Epic just sort of sits back and allows me the space to be creative! The whole Epic family is incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better label to call home.
 
Morgan Saint
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
MS: Oh wow. There have been so many songs that have impacted me in such a huge way during different points in my life. I don’t think I could pick just one!
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
MS: There have certainly been occasions in which I’ve felt disrespected specifically based on my gender.  I find it unfortunate that some men can’t handle strong minded, powerful women. Nothing infuriates me more than the undeniable double standards that exist in favor of men in our society. However, being the boss of my own “company” has certainly helped me become more vocal and unafraid.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with and why?
 
 MS: At this stage in my career, I would be honored to open for any larger artist that would allow me the opportunity. When it comes to collaboration, I am not sure….there are so many artist who’s work I admire.  I guess it’s just about meeting other creative minds, and organically finding a connection and chemistry that feels right!
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
MS: I feel like I really haven’t been exposed to the industry long enough to really answer this. I guess even just as a consumer though, I wish for more diversity and authenticity. So much of the content being released and rewarded right now feels so contrived and manufactured. I want to feel someone’s soul when I listen to their music and see their visuals! I don’t feel that very often.

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November 16th, 2017

Little-Destroyer

by Alex Teitz
 
Little Destroyer is an alternative rock band from British Columbia made up of Allie Sheldan and Michael and Chris Weiss. They were in Colorado recently as part of the Canada to Colorado: Music Trade Mission. They are completing their new EP Strange Futures. They are known for fierce singles including “Rattlesnakes” and “Bad Cell.” FEMMUSIC was happy to be able to do an e-mail interview with Allie Sheldan. For info visit http://littledestroyer.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AS: Songs tend to have a mind of their own and I find come to life in a couple different ways… sometimes it starts with a riff, or a couple lines of lyric, other times its just a feel or a general concept that I know I wanna build a song around. I also keep a laundry list of song names and sometimes it’s as simple as starting with a song title. So for me there’s no one formula, with the exception of two things that are constant: I always think of songwriting like architecture and I do at least 80% of lyric/melody while driving.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What has been the biggest challenge making the Strange Futures EP?
 
AS: This EP was written over the course of a year while the band was living apart. I had moved to LA and the other members (Chris & Michael Weiss) would fly down from Vancouver every couple months to do these intense 5 day writing sessions. We’d go into the studio around noon and grind until 5am – and repeat for 5 days… we’d all start to feel crazy and delusional after about 2 days.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What is your favorite song on the EP and your story behind it?
 
AS: For a long time it was Rattlesnakes. I love the sounds & feel and the disillusionment that emanates from that track. It’s that lonely feeling of a cleared out club after last call and the houselights come up. The party doesn’t believe in you so why are you still holding on?
 
But more recently I’ve really started to love our song Mansions – which actually started off as probably my least favorite song. It’s a very personal set of lyrics that I felt very self-conscious about and embarrassed by forever. Not to mention, it’s the ballad on the EP, and who honestly likes ballads? Haha. But playing the song live has completely changed my relationship with it. I think because the song is so honest and vulnerable (dealing with feelings of failure, depression, jealousy, isolation, self-medicating) it connected with people in very real and big way. The impact it has had on our audience has had a huge impact on me. 
 
 FEMMUSIC:  What song  (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and Why?
 
AS: Impossible for me to answer but I’ll say YEESUZ had a huge impact on me and the boys right around the start of Little Destroyer. It totally blew my mind. I loved how stripped down it was, how distorted and fucked up the drums and synths were and how heavy the lyrics were.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AS: You are constantly underestimated while simultaneously being held to a higher standard. You are also constantly made to feel like there is far less space for you (because there is less space for you). I take particular pleasure in crushing the obstacles, expectations and bad attitudes (and pricks) in my path.
 
No illusions – being a woman in the music industry is so often completely fucked up but it’s important I acknowledge the opportunity and privilege I do experience being a white woman and a femme queer – Women make up only about 15% or songwriters and composers and of that less than 3% are minorities-POC, Latina, Asian, Indigenous, and of that number it’s a minuscule percentage who are LGBTQ+… And that’s just on the songwriting side – what about the business side? The tech side? We have to work together to create more space, support and opportunity for female/trans minorities; if you don’t see yourself represented and there’s a behemoth system saying you’re unwanted how likely are you to enter that world?
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with & Why?
 
AS: Collaborate: Bjork! – Bjork is a superpower, there is no one who compares, she is the ultimate.
 
Tour: Laura Jane Grace/Against Me! – Is anyone cooler? Also politically aligned and on a mission to rewrite the script! 
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AS: Dismantling the old boys club and their circle jerk feedback loop. (nothing against circle jerks, just jerks).

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November 3rd, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Blake Hazard
 
            Blake Hazard is best known as being part of the band The Submarines. She has evolved as a person and an artist since then. In November she released her 2nd full length album Possibilities at Sea. The album came about while working with producer Thom Monahan in Los Angeles. Earlier in 2017 she released a number of singles. Possibilities at Sea includes “This Heart.” FEMMUSIC was honored to e-mail with her about the new album. For info visit https://www.blakehazardmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Possibilities at Sea?
 
BH: There have been lots of tricky things about getting the record out into the world, but, the making of it really wasn’t fraught at all. I brought the songs to Thom Monahan, my friend who produced the record, and we talked about wanting to record the album essentially live in the studio. He brought together an amazing band of players, and we recorded all the main tracks and most of the vocals all at once in the course of just a few days. I loved working that way. Then we took the tracks back to Thom’s studio for minimal overdubs and harmonies. Maybe the biggest challenge for me was not getting to putting a lot of layers of sounds on the album, something I’m usually really drawn to. Thom’s mantra was ‘this record rejects impurities,’ and we kept most things as simple as we could.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Thom Monahan. Why did you work with him for this album? How was it working with him?
 
BH: Thom has been a friend since we toured together years ago — I was opening for the band he played in and recorded, The Pernice Brothers. We drove for weeks of the tour just talking and talking and later got to work on more projects together. I’ve loved his work for such a long time, it made a lot of sense to make a whole record together. The Vetiver records he recorded, the Fruit Bats, and Devendra albums, were all inspirations to me.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the trip to Istanbul. What happened there? What spurred the album after?
 
BH: I moved to Istanbul for a relationship. We had met in LA and had been going back and forth for some time, and I eventually moved there for a year. I tried to learn the language and truly loved being in Istanbul. And after that year I came back home. It was a great adventure and romance, but it wasn’t meant to be. It’s kind of wonderful to come out of a relationship feeling like you were both better off for having been together, even though it’s over, and I think that’s what it was. Some months passed between when I came back and when I started writing this new album. And in that time, I felt hopeful all over again. I wanted to make a record that I felt anyone could listen to and feel loved, the way I needed to feel when I was going through breakups or any difficult times. I wanted the record to feel good, to be like a friend or a lover who makes you feel better every time you see them.
 
Blake Hazard
 
FEMMUSIC:  I see White Sea is involved in this album. Whom else did you have come in? Whom were you most excited to work with?
 
BH: Yes Morgan (White Sea) did a beautiful, sort of orchestral, remix of the song Oh Anatolia. I felt like she made a film of the song and turned it back into a song again. It’s really lovely. Xander Singh (who I met when his band opened for a Submarines tour, and who went on to be in Passion Pit) remixed the song Before the Ice. I sort of freaked out when I heard his remix — it’s so creative, he totally took the thing apart and put it back together in this intricate, pretty way. I love it. And Arne (DJ Styrofoam) remixed the song Hey, really opened up the track and gave it this whole other modern life. So interesting to basically hear a song produced in a completely different way. I had written with Arne for one of his albums, and he did a beautiful remix for the Submarines some time ago. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
BH: Normally I really labor over a song, and it can take months to feel like the lyrics are in a good place. With this record, though, things moved much more quickly. I wrote a few of the songs in just one sitting, like I was telling a story from start to finish. It felt good to work that quickly for once. In general, I keep notebooks and write songs on just one or two pages without much rewriting. I don’t really journal, though I’m always telling myself I ought to. And I record lots of voice memos on my phone along the way.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the most impact on you and why?
 
BH: It’s impossible to choose just one! And it seems like your influences can change so much over time, or different aspects of what your musical heroes have done come into play in your own work at different times…. With this record, I thought a lot about Ricki Lee Jones’ first two albums, Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark, Van Morrison’s Astralweeks, though a lot of other influences came up once we got into the studio, as well. This song The Waters of March by Tom Jobim and Elis Regina was definitely an influence as I was writing this album, too (on songs like Safety Circle and This Heart). It sounds so simple, light, and is musically so great. This video of the two of them singing kills me, it’s so charming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBEesrdaRog
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
BH: I think it’s an incredibly tough business for anyone, really. At the moment, I can’t think of times when I knew I was being discriminated against for being female, aside from massive amounts of mansplaining when I first started out, especially on tour. I honestly haven’t noticed that as much in recent years, though, and I think that’s a sign of progress, with more women musicians and engineers being out there.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
BH: I’d love to make a new Submarines record. John, my co-Submarine, is also working on a solo record right now. Hopefully when we’ve both done our solo work we can get back to it. I’d also love to do more co-writing with people, and more remix collaborations.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
BH: I’m not sure this is in the cards, but, I would sincerely love it if more people decided to buy music again. That would change everything for the better in the simplest way I can imagine.

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November 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Me Not You – Nikki Taylor
 
            Nikky Taylor and Eric Zeller were once signed and part of the band Little Daylight. Today they are an independent animal known as Me Not You. Their new project has an EP called Reckoning 1. They are touring with Gary Numan in December. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Nikki Taylor about the band. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/menotyouband/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Reckoning1?
 
NT: The songs for Reckoning 1 were written over a fairly large period of time. The first one, “Bulletproof”, we wrote basically right after Little Daylight ended. It was the song that made us realize we had something new, something exciting to say with the new band. Second Chances, Julia, Relief and Kill the Noise were written over the next few months, but “These Streets” took awhile to come to fruition. And in the middle we wrote a bunch of other songs that will likely never see release. So, the biggest challenge was being patient and waiting until we had the right music in order to release the EP.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is your vision for Me Not You vs Little Daylight? What’s different?
 
NT: Little Daylight was a trio and we were super democratic with all aspects of the band… songwriting, creative decisions, business stuff. Things tended to move slowly, we’d work on songs for a really long time sometimes, so by the end we were a bit worn out from it. When Eric and I started Me Not You, we strove to create the music from a more elemental place… to focus on and trust our instincts and let them guide us. It has served us really well so far… we’re having fun and creating music that we can really stand behind proudly.
 
FEMMUSIC: You were signed to Capitol Records with Little Daylight. Me Not You is an independent project. What benefits do you see being signed to a label? What benefits do you see not being signed to one? Which do you prefer?
 
NT: There are certainly benefits to both. It was fun to have seemingly unlimited budgets to make music videos with Little Daylight… there’s definitely an element of creativity that gets unleashed when the sky is the limit. But, at the same time, that kind of freedom can prove a hindrance. Everything we did with the label required sign-off from many people. The bureaucracy became overwhelming. We love that in Me Not You everything we do is a direct result of Eric and my work. When we have an idea for a video or a release, we just do it. We chat about it with our team, of course, but it’s a far more seamless process than it was in Little Daylight.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What are your goals for ME NOT YOU? What would you like to do that you haven’t before?
 
NT: Our goals are simple: to continue to make music that we believe in, that comes from an authentic place and that pushes the envelope of what we can convey, emotionally and conceptually. We are pushing ourselves more and more in the songwriting and producing process and are really excited to share new music with our fans. Also, we are going on our first tour next month, with Gary Numan, so that definitely checks a huge goal off the list! We really want to tour in Europe as well, so we’re going to try to make sure that that’s on the horizon.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the most impact on you and why?
 
NT: It’s so hard to pick just one! But the Velvet Underground was my constant soundtrack when I first moved to New York. The song “Sunday Morning” immediately takes me back to that time, to feelings of hope mixed with nostalgia, and rainy mornings in the fall. There’s probably a lot of songs that are more direct influences on my songwriting but the mood of that song is one that I’ve always loved and just means a lot to me.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
NT: I’ve been referred to by a fan as the “pretty face” who fronts the band with the “real musicians” behind me, and I think that this type of attitude is pretty pervasive for women in bands or the music industry in general. I’ve had other musicians be impressed that I can play in non-traditional time signatures, for example, when I think that wouldn’t be commented on for most guys — it’s assumed that if they’re musicians, they know what they’re doing, whereas women might not.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
NT: I think touring and collaborating with St. Vincent would be pretty rad. I love her songwriting and her guitar chops, and I think it’d be really fun to see what we could come up with together. Annie, if you’re listening, hit us up!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
NT: I think Top 40 radio has gotten less interesting when compared with the kind of diversity it had in, say, the 1980s. There’s more of a drive to compartmentalize and categorize music these days. The Talking Heads had a crazy top 10 hit with Burning Down the House in the early ’80s, along with the Grateful Dead’s out-of-nowhere radio hit Touch of Grey, which they recorded 20 years into their career. It’s just hard to imagine left-of-center, genre-defying songs like those really finding a home on radio these days. There’s so much exciting, genre-bending music happening that it’d be great to if it could find more of a home on pop radio.

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October 13th, 2017
By Alex Teitz
 
 India Ramey
            India Ramey should be a common name by now. She released 2 albums prior to Snake Handler. Snake Handler is a storied album mixing outlaw country and rock. The songs resonate about loss and remembrance. The video for the title track can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jMEyd-Z6nk
 
                Ramey worked with producer Mark Petaccia to make Snake Handler. Petaccia is known for working with Jason Isbell, Kasey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega to name a small few. The completed work is a striking album of both ferocity and tenderness. For info visit http://indiaramey.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Snake Handler?
 
IR: Patience.  It is not a virtue I normally possess but I exercised Jedi-like patience in crafting each song, finding the right producer, getting the album art figured out, etc.  It took about a year longer to accomplish but it was worth the wait.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Mark Petaccia. How did you meet? Why did you decide to work with him on Snake Handler? What was he like to work with? 
 
IR: I was introduced to Mark by my good friend and very talented musician, Will Stewart.  Will had played with me before and knows my style and personality very well. He has also recorded some things with Mark and thought we would be a perfect fit.  He was right. Working with Mark Petaccia was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He got me. He spent so much time and care in making sure this album was the truest expression me and my stories.  The songs on this album are so intensely personal and he treated each one with special care.  Mark also has an incredible work ethic. He works his ass off until each song is perfect and then works some more.  He’s also one of the nicest, funniest people I have ever met. 
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like studio time with Snake Handler was quick. What made things work in the studio easily? Did you have a lot of pre-production? 
 
IR: I worked on the songs for a long time before I ever met with Mark and then we did a few pre-production meetings to hammer out the details. The rest developed organically in the studio. It was done quickly because Mark and I have obsessive focus on the work so there is not a lot of down time in the week. 
 
India Ramey - snake handler
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for Snake Handler?
 
IR: I would like for Snake Handler to be a classic like Isbell’s Southeastern or Neko Case’s Fox Confessor but then I want that for all of my albums.  That’s a high bar but you have to always be reaching.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time? 
 
IR: It varies from song to song. Some songs write themselves in 20 minutes, others take a year or two to develop. When all I have is just an idea for a song, I usually just start writing down words or phrases that are relevant to the idea and then assemble them in to bigger statements.
 
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn from making Junkyard Angel & Blood Crescent Moon that helped you in making Snake Handler? What do you wish you knew earlier?
 
IR: Patience. Again.  I was just figuring things out on the first two albums and I didn’t take enough time to make sure they were put out into the world properly.  I learned the process and the timeline for a proper release for Snake Handler and have tried very hard to make sure it was put out there in a way that would get it to as many ears as possible. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why? 
 
IR: Probably “Things That Scare Me” by Neko Case. I just have a visceral reaction to that song and it says so much in so few words.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against? 
 
IR: At times.  I have encountered my share of mansplaining from male musicians that want to tell me how to sing or write. I have also been ostracized by groups of male musicians that had a fraternity type mind-set (no girls allowed, we only help out our bros, etc.) I also really really hate it when people offering guidance on my music career want to know my age. What the f-ck does it matter?  Does my age make me less talented?   Does my age affect my writing?  No. I think female musicians are still perceived to have a shorter shelf life than their male counter parts and that pisses me off. I hope that changes.
  
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why? 
 
IR: Neko Case because she is my hero and a genius.
 
FEMMUSIC: What’s one thing you’d change about the music industry? 
 
IR: The cronyism. Relationships are important and they are a beautiful thing but sometimes folks don’t listen to anyone outside their bubble and miss out on some good stuff.

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October 12th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Shilpa Ray

photo by Ebru Yildiz

              Shilpa Ray’s Bandcamp page doesn’t have a biography. It has a simple quote that says more about the artist. It is “Nobody grows up wanting to be an artist’s artist. Appreciated by the sub sect of the sub sect is like being the beauty queen at the leper colony.” https://shilparay.bandcamp.com/
 
            Ray herself has a storied history that would make some be in envy. Her first EP It’s All Self Felatio was released on Nick Cave’s label Bad Seed LTD after she toured with him. Before that she 2 previous bands, Beat the Devil and Happy Hookers. She has opened for Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye.

           On September 22 she released her 2nd full length album , Shilpa Ray as Door Girl. The album has a gritty realism to it that recalls some of “No Wave” era of NYC music. The spoken word opening to “EMT, Police and the Fire Department” is visceral. FEMMUSIC is honored to speak with her. For more info visit  http://shilparay.net/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
SR: Maybe it’s more focused. Who knows?  I’ve always had to let things stew for a while before the work comes out. I definitely need a lot of alone time. I’m kind of like that with everything. I barely socialize unless I’m at work or practice.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Door Girl?
 
SR: Making sure I wasn’t too jaded to make it. I wrote most of the material after getting off the road from Last Year’s Savage. I was broke and having to change line ups again. The process can get really draining.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision in making Door Girl? How was that different from Last Year’s Savage?
 
SR: I wanted to say something about my life working as a Door Girl in NYC. I think the mixed emotions and observations that come with the territory are really interesting
 
FEMMUSIC: I’m curious to know about whom you worked with on the album. Who were you most looking forward to working with? What stuck out for you in production?
 
SR: I had a blast working with Jeff Berner at Studio G! The sounds were so strong and our recording sessions were magic. It was hands down the best winter I spent in Brooklyn. Brooklyn winters tend to be gross and depressing.
 
FEMMUSIC: Shilpa Ray Stars As Door Girl is the full title. I was curious about the title. When you say “stars as” it implies putting on the persona. Do you take a persona in the studio? on stage? Can you describe that person?
 
SR: That was a joke to myself. I put on a pretty aggressive persona at work for sure, but at the same time it’s a part of me. I am surly and tough. I am a brown person born and raised in New Jersey. I’ve been fighting assholes all my life. I guess I use what’s left of my brain in the studio and in writing too.
shipla ray
 
FEMMUSIC:  The role as Door Girl caught me at the right point. I’ve recently been doing some editorials about themes like “fight like a girl” and “not the merch girl.” I’ve worked as an usher and coat check. There are certain jobs that are both the entryway to the world, that also have built in stereotypes. I was curious about what you thought when you worked as a Door Girl and what the job means to you now?
 
SR: It’s wild. One minute I’m standing next to Andrew Bird, singing a duet at Carnegie Hall while the next, I’m throwing out some wasted entitled 22 year old dressed in a Santa suit for calling me an ugly fucking bitch while refusing to pay a cover charge. I find this duality hysterically funny and also revealing of the human conditon. A job is a job. They all have upsides and downsides. My door girl job helps pay my bills and allows me to tour and work with an awesome staff. I have no complaints.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’ve recently started research on a possible larger story involving Gender Neutral Booking. It based upon the experience of some friends who changed their band name from something feminine (including a woman’s name in the band name) to something gender neutral. They saw their bookings increase because of it. Have you seen other artists who have different bookings because their band name is gender neutral? Your previous projects did not include your name. Now you are Shilpa Ray. Do you have an opinion on whether this might be a bigger issue in the industry?
 
 SR: I used my name in order to establish who was in charge, since internally most people, male and female in the industry will give credit to guys for songwriting, arrangement and production over a woman. It still doesn’t work though. No one believes Shilpa Ray is my real name and just assumes it’s some pretentious boho band name with significant hidden meanings only a student at Bard College can uncover. I can’t wait to know what these findings are.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
SR: Of course. As a woman of color it’s even worse. Oh well. Gotta keep working.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with, and why?
 
SR: I’m not sure. There’s a lot of people I’d like to work with but those things happen when they happen, so I tend not to think about them anymore.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
SR: How musicians get paid. It’s pretty dismal.

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Isabel Munoz-Newsom – Pumarosa
 
            In September of 2015 Pumarosa released the single “Priestess.” The song set fire to the 5 piece London band. The band released their debut album The Witch in May. The album was produced by Dan Carey. They are doing a headlining US tour in October which will end with them opening for Interpol. They recently released the video for “My Gruesome Loving Friend” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Sr–DH7S4&list=PLpoPad4WDvyX9fUxlrQN70vs0ox517Ui7
FEMMUSIC was lucky to do an e-mail interview with Pumarosa’s Isabel Munoz-Newsom. For info visit http://www.pumarosamusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Witch?
 
IMN: The Witch was our first album so I guess the main challenge was locking down the sound. We have been playing a for a few before and the sound had gone through various phases, we had to let the songs still have their character, but find a way of uniting them also. I definitely feel like we achieved this! With Dan (our producer) it seemed to just flow. 
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about working with Dan Carey. How did you meet him? What made you decide to have him produce The Witch? How was it working with him?
 
IMN: Pretty much as soon as we met Dan we all loved him. We recorded “Priestess” with him in his studio in Streatham and we were hooked. It is wonderful working with someone you really trust. We all have so much fun together. But it’s the best kind because it’s really intense- I mean, you are making something and it has to be good! We did not want to work with anyone else. He was the person who made us feel this way, and so we wanted to be with him.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
IMN: I don’t really know if I have a technique. I keep notes of phrases or words, thoughts on my phone or in a book. I also just sit down and write a lot of words down, on paper. Sometimes about a chosen subject, sometimes just let my mind wander. Then I look through it retrospectively and pick out phrases which seem to have something about them. And then I know what I am writing about. I see what I was saying more clearly. Then I continue writing in that vein of thought.
 
With the melody and chords I work at the piano. Kind of jamming till i find a sequence that clicks, or sometimes I will have thought of something more complete before I get there.
 
Then when I have a song I play it to the band. Then we work on it, sometimes for months!! Till we come up with an arrangement that’s satisfying. Everyone writes their parts.
 
However there are a couple of tracks on the album which initially came from an improvisation and we then structured into a piece. (The songs are) ”Red” and “Snake.” With these two pieces most of the work happens together with all of us present.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What benefits do you see in signing to a label?
 
IMN: Well a label effectively gives you a loan to propel you into the world. This loan enabled us to record our music and also to be able to live and entirely focus on the music rather than holding down a full time job. We are signed to Fiction and they are a very good bunch of people. You feel supported, and you are.
 
I have huge respect for artists who can run their own label, but I do not have the energy to do that. I wish I did. I think I would have to divide my brain. However, the people who run our label love what they do, and everyone seems to know everyone in the music world, that is their zone, and they are totally focused on navigating it. Whereas I just want to b in my studio or on the road.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) had the most impact on you and why?
 
IMN: This is a very hard question. I guess during my life different tracks have suddenly exploded what I new music to be. Hearing Neil Young “Old Man” when I was really high as a teenager..I could not believe how tender and beautiful it was. Hearing “Horses” by Patti Smith. Then hearing Prince, oh man how can anyone be so sexy. Currently Aldous Harding is blowing my mind with “Horizon.”
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
IMN: Yes I think so. Its just harder to get anywhere, because so many more men have come before.
 
 FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
 
IMN: I would love to go on tour with Nick Cave, just to watch him perform those heart breaking songs and with all that pain inside him. I think it would b incredible to witness.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
IMN: I think the whole thing needs to be radically reshuffled. I don’t think it has caught up since illegal down loading and then Spotify happened. But one thing? Artists should earn a bit more from Sportify plays I recon. That would help us to keep going.
 

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Amy Shark
 
            When people speak of Australian pop stars the name you always hear is Lorde. The name you should pay attention to is Amy Shark. Shark’s songs “Adore” and “Weekend” are addictive. She recently released her EP Night Thinker and is touring the US on Vance Joy’s tour. She will be in Englewood, CO  on October 10, 2017 as part of the tour. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with her. For information visit http://www.amyshark.com & http://www.gothictheatre.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AS: It’s very simple, every spare second I get I grab a guitar and strum away until I find a chord progression I like and then I let it all out… like a therapy session.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Night Thinker?
 
AS: Just making time to do it. With all the shows and festivals etc. I was flying all over Melbourne to record in different studios.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
AS: “Ribs” by Lorde, apart from the fact that it’s just a brilliant song it gave me hope that people are over glittery pop and maybe my kind of music would finally be respected.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AS: All the time. So many times I would have guys come up to me and give me their advice and I’m like … dude I never asked!
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
AS: I’d love to collaborate with Eminem. All I want is one of my choruses in one of his songs!
 
 FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AS: I don’t like encores. They just seem so cheesy and outdated, but who knows ill probably add one to my next tour lol. 
Amy Shark

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Chappell Roan
 
            If you’ve heard the single “Good Hurt” recently then you’ve heard Chappell Roan. She is a new songwriter who has moved quickly from playing music to being signed before she is 20. She recently released her EP School Nights and is touring on Vance Joy’s tour. She will play Englewood, CO on October 10, 2017 as part of the tour. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with her. For information visit http://iamchappellroan.com & http://www.gothictheatre.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
CR: Writing for me is always a draining process. A song can take 3 hours or up to 3 weeks to finish.  I write mostly on piano, so I write the the melody and chords first then figure out what I’m feeling and that’s usually what the song is about. After that,  I plug lyrics in the melody.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making School Nights?
 
CR: The biggest challenge was finding the right sound and vibe for the music.  I was in the studio for two years working to make it perfect.  It was also a big challenge going to the darkest parts of myself to write. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Atlantic Records. What made you decide to sign with them?
 
CR: The team I have at Atlantic is the best I could ever ask for. I got signed right when I turned 17 and they gave me time to grow ,to find my sound and develop as an artist. They have been patient with me and  helped me tremendously with this EP.  I couldn’t be more grateful.
Chappell Roan
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the most impact on you and why?
 
CR: “Stay: by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko came out when I was a freshman in high school, which was the year I started writing. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I loved how it moved and the piano and how emotional it was. It inspired me to write some of my first songs.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CR: A couple times I have been put in uncomfortable situations with older men who are producers. Some were inappropriate and/or made me feel less than them because I am a young woman. I do feel like the music industry is moving forward though. The best thing to do is show love and respect for all,and for women who are artists to come together and support each other.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
CR:  It would so cool to collaborate with Khalid. I love his music and his voice. I would love to tour with The Weekend or Lorde. I look up to them so much and it would be so fun to tour with them.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
CR: I wish the business part of the music industry didn’t separate people. It always does, and relationships are ruined because of money and greed. I wish writers were given more credit for the songs they 100% wrote. It sucks and I hope one day it changes. 

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October 4th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Air Traffic Controller

               Air Traffic Controller has been flying high. They’ve been on Billboard’s Hot 100 Fest Performers, and on NPR’s Hot 100 List for SXSW in 2015. They’ve released 3 full length albums and recently released a new EP called Echo Papa.

              The core of Air Traffic Controller is Dave Munro, who started the band on his own​ when he returned to Boston after serving in the Navy,​ and ​Casey Sullivan joined after their debut album was released.  ATC is a 5 piece band from Boston that has been on FEMMUSIC’s radar. We are pleased to interview Sullivan prior to the First Chair Festival. For info visit http://www.airtrafficcontrollermusic.com/ & http://firstchairfestival.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
CS:  My songwriting technique has changed a lot over time.  I think it has become much more collaborative than it used to be.  A lot of my first songs I just wrote on an acoustic guitar by myself in my bedroom.  So over the years, writing more with the band has made me more comfortable sharing ideas with people and it’s almost made me rely on their feedback at this point.
 
FEMMUSIC: You released 3 full length albums before the Echo Papa EP. Why did you want to release an EP as opposed to another full length album? What benefits were there for it?
 
CS: I think it was really about how excited we were to get the songs out into the world.  We wrote and recorded the EP in a pretty short amount of time and felt like it had a very cohesive sound.  So rather than forcing an album, I think we just all kind of easily decided “This is done.  We want to show it to people now.”
FEMMSUIC: What was the biggest challenge making Echo Papa?
 
CS: I think part of our biggest challenge was knowing when to stop.  The writing and recording process can go on forever if you allow yourself to go down rabbit holes, and so deciding when a song was done and also deciding the it was just going to be an EP was a bit of a challenge
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (by another artist) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
CS: I go through phases with songs and styles and artists, so it’s hard for me to choose a “favorite” or “most important” song to me because it always changes.  I guess within the past week I’ve been really drawn to the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell.  I’ve always loved her vocal phrasing and of course her lyrics.  This song has kind of a sad hopefulness and innocence to it that is really hitting me hard right now.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CS: Yes, but I don’t think that it’s something that’s unique to the music industry.  I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt in danger and alone and almost forced into working with people that frightened me.  As a young woman, it was a really difficult world to navigate, but I’ve learned that it’s important to do what you love and most importantly surround yourself with people that lift you up and don’t make you feel “less than” just because the industry can be a boy’s club.  It’s also important to a have a community of people that can be honest with you and warn you to steer clear of certain people.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with and why?
 
CS: I’m a big fan of Miya Folick’s songwriting.  I discovered her music when I first moved to LA and she’s super talented.  If you haven’t listened yet, go check her out.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
CS: I think the music industry is going through a strange transition right now.  I think since people are not really paying for music anymore, musicians are having difficulty making money.  It creates this odd atmosphere for creation, where you have to look for other outlets for making money, which tends to be commercials and writing music for television and movie.  I think it’s strange for me that it seems to dictate certain music trends, and I guess if I could change something, I would love if that didn’t have an effect on musicians’ creative process.  If people could just write whatever they found interesting, I think we would be hearing more boundaries being pushed.  That’s just something I find really fun in music.

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October 3rd, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Frankie Rose
 
            Frankie Rose has played with Dum Dum Girls, Vivian and Beverly. She has been known as a New York musician for years. For her 4th album, Cage Tropical, Rose went to Los Angeles and worked with Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, No Joy) and Dave Harrington. The result is a sublime album filled with a dreamscape of voices. It feels like ocean washing away the world. The album includes “Red Museum” which has a striking video directed by Geneva Jacuzzi. Rose is on a headlining tour. For info visit http://www.frankierose.info/
 
FEMMUSIC: Cage Tropical is wondrous creation. What was your vision for it when you began?
 
FR: I ever really start with a vision. Projects develop as I move forward and become ” a thing” starting an album is a bit like being at the bottom of my Everest , knowing you are going to climb it. Eventually you get to the top and you have created something!
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Jorge Elbrecht. How did you meet and what made you decide to work with him on this album?
 
FR: Jorge is a cool wizard. He likes supplements and can slay pretty much any instrument. I knew he would be perfect for getting the album started. He’s quick on the draw.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Dave Harrington. Again how did you meet and what made you decide to work with him on this album?
 
FR: Dave made a remix of pair of wings and I really liked darkside. He helped to arrange the record and challenged me to make choices I wouldn’t normally make.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cage Tropical?
 
FR: Getting the resources together to make it happen… that happened by sheer will I would say…
 
FEMMUSIC:  In Cage Tropical you return to Slumberland Records for the first time since Interstellar. What made you decide to work with them again? What benefits do they bring to this project?
 
FR: I trust mike from Slumberland records with my life. Being on Slumberland records is like going home.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I happened to see Geneva Jacuzzi live at the same time the “Red Museum” video came out. Please tell me how you came to meet her and why you choose to work with her on the video?
Frankie Rose
 
FR: Actually Jorge suggested her as a director. I was already fan so he didn’t have to sell it to me.  I have actually never met her! I hope to!
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
FR: It’s been the same as long a short I can remember . Someone recently described it as sculptural I think that’s true. I have about 5 different versions of each song.. all with different elements , different speeds, I will carve away at something until it’s ” finished”
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
FR: Well. I think that’s obvious. Yes. It’s a completely male dominated industry most music writers are men most bands are full of men, most sound engineers are men. I think things are changing however. I’m happy to see it.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
FR: Robert Smith. The Cure. He’s amazing.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
FR: How male dominated it is. And maybe we need to figure out how to pay our music makers better. This Streaming business is not working out so well for us.

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October 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Lucy Rose
            Lucy Rose went through some life changing experiences to make her 3rd studio album Something’s Changing. She changed labels. She toured Latin America with the help of her fans. She went into the studio in a different way. The result is an album that reveals the artist’s true heart. Lucy Rose is on tour with Paul Weller in the US this month. For info visit https://www.lucyrosemusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like you went through some profound changes before recording Something’s Changing. How did that effect your own goals for recording the album?
 
LR: I think my whole perspective for music and making records changed after really getting to know my fans. I understood what they had taken from my music and the importance of songs and making music. During that trip I reconnected to my guitar and writing songs began to feel natural again. I guess you can put a lot of pressure on yourself when you’re making something and worry that no-one will like it but I was just thinking about those fans I had met and was writing the record for them so I wasn’t worried and enjoyed the whole experience.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Something’s Changing?
 
LR: It really doesn’t feel like a challenging project, in many ways it was the easiest record I’ve made yet. I’m sure with more experience that helped but I had a very clear vision in my head about what I wanted to make, I had all the songs written and had been playing them for half a year or so so I felt confident in playing and singing them. The only challenge I can think of is that I was self funding this record and managing myself, so it was a lot to take on but it all worked out in the end.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Tim Bidwell. What did he bring to the project and what did he bring out of you?
 
LR: A lot of laughing. Tim is one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes when you’re recording, things can feel quite serious. You’re in a studio, the clock is ticking and you know it’s costing money so there rarely feels like there’s time to mess around, be silly or just have another cup of tea and relax. And weirdly this record was so quick to make. In making the environment so relaxed, we did less takes and caught real performances. I think he brought out the best in me, sometimes I can be quite serious so it was nice that fun Lucy was out making this record.
 
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like the production time of Something’s Changing was both really quick (17 days) and relaxing at the same time (I read you were attending some shows as an audience member then). How did that differ from producing your other albums? Were there any benefits or downsides you weren’t expecting with it?
 
LR: We clocked off most evenings around 7pm, so it meant I had the evenings to myself. I live in London, so don’t know that many people in Brighton which is were Tim lives, so I spent most evenings on my own going to see gigs. I not great on my own but I love it at the same time and it gave me lots of time to think about the record and the songs. Honestly I really enjoyed making this record, like I did the other records, they were all such different experiences, the first at my parents house in their living room, the second in a proper studio in London and this one in Tim’s house in Brighton. I did find it hard being away from home so much but it meant I was determined to work hard and get the record finished quickly. And the biggest benefit from making the record is the new friends I’ve made, Tim and Laura (Tim’s wife) are now great friends of mine and the musicians that Tim introduced me to are now by band who I love.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Arts & Crafts Records. How did you come to sign with them? Did you have any reservations about signing to another label after leaving Columbia?
 
LR: I’ve always loved Arts & Crafts and it’s been a dream of mine to be able to release my music with them, I still can’t really believe it’s happened. After being set free from Columbia Records, I was a little nervous about my next step and I knew I would never do a regular major deal again, so I’m licensing my music, which gives me a lot more control and freedom to make the music that I want to make and put it out in the right way. I more involved in every step now so it feels much more authentic.
Lucy Rose
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
LR: It’s like waiting for a bus, you can be waiting for ages or two buses come at once. Last night I sat down at the piano and somehow wrote something and then picked up my guitar and wrote something else. But this last month I’ve written nothing because the moment wasn’t quite right and the feeling wasn’t there. When that feeling of inspiration comes I make sure I make the most of it and if it’s not there I try not to worry.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LR: There’s been the odd moment here and there where I’ve thought ‘if I was a man would you have said that to me? Or asked me that? Or treated me that way?’ Some people treat men and women so differently and don’t even realize it. I’ve had the odd comment on a radio show, when I was talking about living with my fans where the male presenter has said ‘oh you can come stay in my house’ and there’s a joke that’s slightly inappropriate that follows this and I feel like all my power has been taken. If I laugh along then how can I be taken seriously as a musician and if I say something I’m an uptight bitch who can’t take a joke. It’s really hard sometimes and I pick my battles but it’s never easy.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
LR: Neil Young, 100%. Because he’s my hero and I’d like to think his fans may like my music.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LR: Tough questions but if I could change one thing I’d love the industry to not be profit driven.

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October 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Elizabeth Ziman
 
            Elizabeth Ziman is a Berklee graduate who first came to prominence with the release of the Elizabeth and the Catapult EP in 2006. She was signed to Verve Records in 2008. She has worked with Esperanza Spalding and Ben Folds. Her songs include “Race You”, “Taller Children”, and “Underwater.” She released her 5th studio album Keepsake in October. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak her about her songwriting and process. For info visit https://www.elizabethandthecatapult.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
EZ: My songwriting process has always been an idea first, whether it be lyrics on a napkin or whatever I can write on at the moment, followed by rushing to a piano to flesh it out. I learned guitar in recent years, specifically so that I didn’t have to find to find myself a piano everytime I was exploding with an idea.
 
FEMMUSIC: What were your visions and goals when you started on Keepsake?
 
EZ: I wanted to make something that showcased all the stylistic sides of what I do– from classical piano to folk to indie rock — and then somehow unite it all with an underlying theme.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Keepsake?
 
EZ: The biggest challenge is always choosing which songs to record. I think I started recording about 30 songs for this album – maybe more? I ended up choosing mostly the songs that had a “forgotten” or “nostalgic” quality to them, as they most genuinely tied in to the way I was feeling while recording the album. They’re all a little dreamy, a little contemplative, and always searching for meaning.
 
FEMMUSIC: How did you choose Dan Molad to produce the album? How was it working with him again?
 
EZ: I love working with Dan. We have a long history of working together – almost 10 years now. We’ve worked together on all of my albums. He’s incredibly talented and just released a wonderful album of his own music, his self titled “Chimney” – check it out!
 
FEMMUSIC: Both Like It Never Happened and Keepsake you used crowdfunding. What do you like about crowdfunding? What benefits and downsides have you encountered with it?
 
EZ: There are no downsides to crowd funding, except that you don’t want to keep supporters waiting too long! Otherwise, it’s a miracle that artists can find a way to fund their own music through their fans instead of searching for labels or investors—its a huge luxury, actually. I don’t take it for granted for even a minute.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I’ve recently started research on a possible larger story involving Gender Neutral Booking. It based upon the experience of some friends who changed their band name from something feminine (including a woman’s name in the band name) to something gender neutral. They saw their bookings increase because of it. Have you seen other artists who have different bookings because their band name is gender neutral? Do you think your own bookings would change if Elizabeth and the Catapult was Catapult? Do you have an opinion on whether this might be a bigger issue in the industry?
Sidenote – This is something that I’m researching as a bigger story. If you have any recommendations of whom I might want to speak to, I’m seeking any help I can get.
 
EZ: I haven’t experienced discrimination too much in terms of my band name, but I’m not surprised to hear. Sometimes I encounter sexism in my composition career — I’ve noticed there’s a lot less recognition for female-identifying composers and film scorers although it’s getting better. So, people just expect composers to be older and male. Its frustrating for sure, but there’s something much larger than myself at play there.
Elizabeth Ziman
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
EZ: Have I had unwelcome attention and/or made to feel small because I’m a woman? Have people told me to lose weight? Have I found myself in situations where it feels like a boys club? Sadly, yes. That said, I’ve also had the good fortune of working with many female PR agents and managers at many points in my career. That’s been rad! I always make sure to surround myself with strong smart feminist humans, of all genders, whenever possible. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
EZ: Ah! This is such a hard question. There are so many artists I’d love to tour with and collaborate with on any level. A couple off the top of my head: David Byrne, St Vincent, Tom Waits, and Danny Elfman to name a few…they are all beautiful, wildly imaginative artists who have somehow carved out a world that transcends music and exists in its own unique plane.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
EZ: I would make recording equipment less expensive so everyone can learn to record themselves in their home recording studios at an earlier age! Here’s to home recording — yeah!
 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 26th, 2017
by Alex Teitz

 

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

 
            Ruth B released The Intro EP in 2015, and her full length album Safe Haven this year. She is known for her lyricism and creativity as expressed in the single “Lost Boy.” She is a Juno Award Winner and is currently on a headlining tour including a date at Globe Hall in Denver on September 28. For info visit https://www.ruthbofficial.com/ & http://www.globehall.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
RB: Writing a song is different every time. I try to write as inspiration hits.  Even if it’s just a word, I like to keep it honest.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Safe Haven?
 
RB: I don’t think there was a challenge. Writing these songs came naturally, and once I found the right producer things flowed well.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one song (not written by you) has most impacted you and why?
 
RB: I love Ed Sheeran’s album (+). I think a lot of the songs on there were a big part of my teenage years. “Lego House” in particular was the first song that made me think about writing.
Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
RB: I think it’s discouraging when you walk into a songwriter award show and see hardly anyone that looks like you. But that inspires me to keep going and shine light on the fact that anyone can do anything so long as they are given the opportunities.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
RB: I would love to one day work with Stevie Wonder. He’s always been a hero of mine and just to watch him do his thing would be amazing.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
RB: More female and people of color writers. Equal opportunity for all.

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September 15th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
tokimonsta

 

TOKiMONSTA is the multi-talented producer, and record label owner Jennifer Lee. Originally a graduate of Red Bull Music Academy, she was signed to Brainfeeder Records where she remained until 2013. She then founded Young Art Records. She works frequently with Garen Tauk. For her new album, Lune Rouge, she collaborates with IO Echo, Selah Sue and more. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her about her process. TOKiMONSTA is on a headlining tour including a September 30 date the the Bluebird Theater in Denver. For info visit https://tokimonsta.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision in doing Lune Rouge?
 
JL: I didn’t create this album with any strong intentions or expectations in mind. I just wanted to create a body of work that brought me joy and allowed me to express my creativity without pressure. In the end, I’m left with this celebratory piece of art that brought me peace and
therapy after a very difficult time in my life.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Lune Rouge?
 
JL: Initially, it was that I couldn’t make any music.  Right before I started working on this album, I had to get two emergency brain surgeries that left me unable to talk, walk, understand speech, and create music.  The recovery was difficult, but eventually all those
faculties came back to me. So the first few attempts at writing music were not successful.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about some of the collaborations on Lune Rouge. I see you’re working with Selah Sue, Yuna and IO Echo to name a few. With those 3 specifically can you tell me how you met them, and how it was working with them?
 
JL: Selah Sue I met over email.  She lives in Belgium, so we still haven’t met each other in person. Be that as it may, we have had deep and personal email exchanges that really create a more personal bond, which was necessary for our songs.  IO Echo is actually one of my best
friends.  We had made a cover together, but this is our first time actually working on a full song. Yuna and I were introduced by our managers, but we were both big fans of each other.  She an amazing musician and person.  We’ve been able to work on several song and stay
in contact with each other.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve now been running Young Art Records for 3 years now. What is the biggest challenge with it?
 
JL: So far the label is doing fairly well, which is a relief. It is still difficult to find new artists to sign because I’m so particular about the artists I want on the label. There haven’t been any major surprises. I think I’m fortunate because I have an amazing friend managing the label and doing the hard stuff. I get to A&R and do the fun stuff. I’m sure if you asked him, he’d have tons of things to say.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What is your perspective on signing to record labels? Do you advise friends and other artists to sign? Why or why not?
 
JL: It depends.  For example, when I sign an artist, I am not stripping them of their rights to release on other labels and I am not taking a % of their touring, merch, etc.  I just sign artists so I can give them a platform to get their music heard by a larger group of people.
However, sometimes signing to record labels does involve giving a % of your life to them too.  It’s tricky, but always read the fine print before signing and weight the pros and cons.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I was reading one of your past interviews that asked about festival booking. I’m beginning to explore a story on Gender Neutral Booking based upon the experiences of some friends. They said that their
booking opportunities increased when they changed their band name from something feminine to something Gender Neutral. If you were performing as Jennifer Lee vs TOKiMONSTA do you think you would have the same bookings you’ve had now? Why or why not?
 
Sidenote – I’m exploring this question as a larger feature so if you have any recommendations on whom I should talk to, I’m seeking any help I can get.
 
TOKiMONSTA – Jennifer Lee
 
JL: I guess I do not have much to say on this because I’ve only gone by TOKiMONSTA.  In order to give a fair response, I feel like I’d have to know what it’d be like to be a touring artist with a feminine name. It is very unfortunate that the experience people have had to go
through and I’d be curious if “BUFF STRONG MAN 5000 BAND” would get booked more. Overall, I think it’s silly how a band’s “name” is referenced more strongly by bookers than their music and their following.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
JL: I think it is very likely, though it hasn’t been presented to me in a way where I experienced a situation where it was in my face.  I have heard from others that some peers undermine me saying they didn’t believe I made my own music, my boyfriend taught me everything I know,
I only get attention because I am a female producer, the list goes on.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I’ve read from other interviews that you would be interested in working with Missy Elliott and Bjork. Whom else would you most like to work with or collaborate with and why?
 
JL: Timbaland, Pharrell, Thom Yorke, MIA because they are all artists who create music that always challenges the norm. To be honest, I just want to see how they create and being a part of that would just be icing on the cake.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
JL: Equality. Meaning gender, race, orientation, all of it.
 
 
 
 

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September 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Zolita
 
            Zolita came to our attention in August when we received the video for “Fight Like A Girl (see Unfinished Mail).” She is a singer-songwriter who’d previously released Immaculate Conception EP. She is working on an unnamed new EP and is working with Paige Duddy of xylo and xylo’s producer Lee Newell. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about the songwriting and process. For info visit http://zolitamusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
Z: It definitely varies. I write a lot of song lyrics in my notes and record melody ideas on my phone that I refer back to when I actually sit down with a guitar or keyboard.
 
When I actually sit down to write a song I’ll start with a title or concept, usually write the chorus first and then the rest.
 
FEMMUSIC:  With your new EP I understand you were co-writing with Paige Duddy and Lee Newell. What did they bring to the writing? How was it co-writing vs songwriting by yourself?
 
Z: Yes! Writing with Paige and Lee was so awesome. It was actually only my second time co-writing. I’m so used to writing solo, so it was refreshing to write with them because we’d all bring our experiences to a concept we’d be working on. Paige and Lee both have great ears for pop so they really helped me condense my ideas and lyrics in a way that was best for the song. I hadn’t worked with that kind of structure before. It was also really great to have three sets of ears, because when we were writing the melodies we’d all hear something so different and then all the best melodies came together. The best thing about co-writing is you have to finish the song even if it sucks! If you’re by yourself, there’s no one else pushing you but yourself so you can just put your guitar back in the case and call it a day.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making the new EP?
 
Z: I think the biggest challenge was finding resources and the right people to work with. I’m an independent artist so it’s not that easy! I’m glad it took me the amount of time it did though, because it allowed me room to write more and explore different sounds before I reached the sound the EP has now.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What do you think the biggest differences were making this EP vs Immaculate Conception? What lessons did you learn in the interim?
 
Z: Immaculate Conception was more of a collection of songs I’d written and gotten produced over a long stretch of time. This next EP was more planned – I flew to LA to work with Paige and Lee for a week, brought a notebook of ideas, and we banged out five songs.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about “Fight Like A Girl.” First the songwriting. How did the idea originate and how did you develop it?
 
Z: Fight like a girl was the first song we wrote together. I knew I wanted to write a feminist power anthem and I wanted it to be catchy but also smart and meaningful. Lee came up with the idea “Fight Like a Girl,” wrote a dope melody, and then we filled it out from there to be more directed towards the current White House administration.
Zolita
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the “Fight Like A Girl” video. Did it bring the vision you wanted to fruition or would you have wanted to do more? What was the biggest challenge making it?
 
Z: Yes! The video is everything I wanted it to be and more. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to tell their stories. The hardest part was probably the amount of locations – we crammed a studio shoot, outdoor shoot, and nine storylines into 4 days! I don’t know how we did it.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
Z: The best part about being independent is that I haven’t dealt with too many “industry” people. I’ve definitely been discriminated against by publications and people I was hoping to work with, but never by the people I’ve worked with directly.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
Z: I’d love to collaborate with Kehlani or Halsey! My dream would be to open for Lady Gaga. They are all bad-ass trailblazing women in the industry who I look up to tremendously.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
Z: It would be amazing if there were more female CEO’s! 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
 
STACEY by Laura-Lynn Petrick

STACEY by Laura-Lynn Petrick

Stacey is a Toronto based singer-songwriter releasing her 2nd EP called First Move. The EP was produced by Alan Day and Derek Hoffman. It includes the singles “It’ll Be Alright” and “First Move.” The videos are theatrical story productions driven by the emotional honesty in the songs. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/staceymusic
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
S: I write everything on piano first then build up the instrumentation together with a producer. I’m usually humming a vocal melody and letting that improvisation lead my fingers on the keys.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making First Move?
 
S: The biggest challenge was finding the right producers and being patient. I had made the EP once and scrapped it. I feel lucky that everything (eventually) fell into place very naturally with Derek & Alan.
 
FEMMUSIC: Your Facebook has a wonderful description of how you met Alan Day. How did you meet Derek Hoffman?
 
S: Yes! The power of the internet. I had actually corresponded with Derek very briefly years prior to this but never met in person. The Toronto music community is small so I think I had seen him around but we were never formally introduced back then. I met Derek and Alan in person both on the same day – the day we recorded First Move, at Derek’s studio, Fox Sounds. Alan was in town on tour with his band and we had decided to try and do one song together. I love them both so much and feel lucky to have built this EP with them.
 
FEMMUSIC:  How were Alan Day & Derek Hoffman to work with?
 
S: The best. Both had great ideas and are very talented music minds. Being in the studio can be pretty emotional for me because I take it quite seriously – they made it fun and were constant sources of support and encouragement.
 
5. How did you approach First Move differently from your first EP?
 
S: My songwriting approach was more or less the same but I think I had a better sense of what I wanted the songs to sound like this time around in terms of instrumentation and overall vibe. I invested more in the overall team and execution.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
S: There are things that have happened to me that I think would fall under the umbrella of “discriminated” against as a woman, certainly. That being said I also recognize that I am privileged in being a white woman. Whether it’s happening directly or systemically, I think we know that this is an ongoing issue but it’s heartening to see more and more people shouting down misogynistic behavior.
 
FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
 
S: Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). He’s been a long time musical hero of mine.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
S: I wonder what it’d be like if artists were paid a consistently salary to create. Seems like that’d be pretty great.

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August 31st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Pussy Liquor
 
Pussy Liquor is a 5 piece punk band from Brighton. It includes Ari Black on vocals, Kristen Grant on guitar, Hannah Villanueva on guitar, Tallulah Turner-Fray on bass, and Victoria Lewis Piper on drums. They just released a “Pretty Good For A Girl” and are in the studio working on a 7 inch. They are playing the Loud Women Festival. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/pxssyliqxor/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
PL: We’d describe our songwriting technique as circle time or show and tell; when we write songs we normally start off by asking each other something like what’s made you angry recently or seen anything in the news, had any unwarranted comments in the street lately? And we write lyrics using the topics we discuss together eventually building up the instruments as we go along. We use our music as a platform so we feel it important to include all of our voices. 
 
FEMMUSIC: I was seeing on your FB and elsewhere that you have been recording. When can we expect some tracks, EP or album?
 
PL: We recently had a session with Third Circle Recordings where we filmed the session and recorded our track Pretty Good for a Girl (available to view online by Friday 29th August).
Alongside this we’ve been working on a 7 inch for a while now which will include 2 tracks to be released on our own label Revulva Records, we’re in our final stages so expect to be hearing dates and seeing releases very soon!
 
FEMMUSIC: Are you working with a producer? If so, whom? How did you find them? How did you find the studio?
 
PL: We’ve been working with the wonderful Republic of Music, they have been helping us manufacture our 7 inch through contact of our manager. The studio we recorded our tracks in was our college Access To Music Brighton (rest in peace) where we worked with a former teacher Kevin Ling in the studio whilst we still studied there. The studio wasn’t anything fancy as it was just a college studio, but we had everything we needed to be able to progress by ourselves, without the college’s help it would’ve been difficult.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
PL: Unfortunately yes, we’ve encountered situations where we’ve felt we weren’t being taken seriously and been sexualized. We come off stage and have men tell us we look hot or sexy, as if they’d not listened to a single word of the lyrics. We’ve had bad experiences with promoters and such making unsolicited advances at us and we’ve cancelled on people due to this very reason. It can be rather belittling, but it does give us more songwriting material. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with and why?
 
PL: Well firstly we’re very excited to play at  Loud Women fest as we’ll be playing with bands we admire such as Petrol Girls and Hands Off Gretel, it’s very exciting to hear strong female voices in the industry, we look forward to seeing all the lovely people play! If we could just get all the riot grrrls and make a big angry collaboration that’d be perfect really, we’d like to share the voice of everyone.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
PL: The industry is very male dominated, there aren’t many women working behind the scenes leaving a great sense of inequality, even though they’d like to. We’d like to see more job opportunities, support and more platforms for women seeking work in the music industry. Loud Women is a great example of this. We also feel female artists value can be determined down to how hot they are or how they can be sexualized, we’d like to see more labels and companies working against the sexualization and discrimination against women and working towards equality in all areas of music for people of all genders!  

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