Category: Interviews

December 6th, 2018
GLASSS Records
Amanda Gostomski
Princess Dewclaw is a band to be experienced not watched. A clash of art rock, glam rock and alternative with the fronting performance of Amanda Gostomski. Princess Dewclaw has one album out called Walk of Shame, and is working on its sequel.
In addition to Princess Dewclaw Gostomski is co-founder of Glasss Records, an independent label with a growing roster of artists in all genres including RAREBYRD$, Pearls & Perils, and Gold Trash .TheGlasss Records label is a collective where cross pollenization is having from studio to stage.  Glasss Records has been doing Glasss Records Presents shows all year which showcase their artists to a wider audience. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Walk of Shame?
AG: Having the ability to play an instrument. Half of Dewclaw came into the band with never having picked up an instrument to play. So having the patience to learn how to play, write a song, and listen to each other, while having a fully formed vision that had to go on the back-burner. Like we could hear the songs and we could describe what we wanted but we didn’t have the ability to produce the vision.
Honestly, our new album that we are working on will be much closer to what we collectively heard in our heads.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Princess Dewclaw. How did the band form? Do you get into a persona to go on stage?
AG: Amanda Baker (synth player and vocals, Brandon Reyes (guitar player), and myself wanted to start band after seeing so many lackluster performances. Also, a bunch of guys kept telling me that I couldn’t. A lot of my personal motivation comes from proving men wrong.
Then Will Schaaf was asked to join cause of his musical talent and bright-eyed enthusiasm. We have had the “drummer problem”. Each one of three has brought their flavor to the band. Vahco Before Horses has now filled the role. His intensity (passion and machine-like rhythm) has been pushing us to grow.
When I am on stage, my persona is just myself exaggerated. I try to always perform with a raw and true emotion. An authenticity of feeling is important to me as a front person.

artwork painted by Veronica Gene Nichols

FEMMUSIC: I understand you met Vahco Before Horses in 2016. What made you decide to work with him on both your own album and forming Glasss Records?
AG: Vahco is a builder. He is also obsessive and a workaholic. A perfect partner in any venture. When I feel too exhausted to put out any more creative pursuits, he’s conjuring up the next show, the websites, the tours, the zine, etc.
I’m a burst of energy and I burn out real fast.
I felt like Princess Dewclaw was over, and he got us into an abandoned school house and we recorded an album with him.
I have a lot of ideas that could of just died, but Vahco made them into Glasss Records.
FEMMUSIC: Glasss Records has so many areas of collaboration and overlap. What was your vision for the label?
AG: Musicians cannot just be musicians in 2018. You need to be a visual artist, a website designer, a filmmaker, etc. in order to stand out and to sell your music. I wanted to bring together a group of musicians/artists so that they could commiserate over the pressure, and eventually collaborate through any obstacles.
FEMMUSIC: I’ve been noticing a lot of Glasss Records’ Presents shows at various venues. Tell me why you wanted to do them? What do you get out of them?
AG: A lot of venues will not ask an artist they are not familiar with to open for a national  touring act. You have to get through that door to even open. By using Glasss’ name we are able to bring visibility to artists who may of only been able to play the underground scene or are just newer, working on their craft.
FEMMUSIC: It is one thing to be an artist and bandleader, in running the label, you’re also signing other bands. What do you look for in signing a band? What are your criteria?
AG: Pro-active artists. You need to know what you need to do and what you may lack. And be actively pursuing ways to better your art, and to put it out there to the best of your personal ability. That to me is more important than talent.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
AG: I write lyrics that fit thematically into a larger narrative. Walk of Shame‘s song loosely base around a teenage girl who gets attacked and changed into a werewolf; think Gingersnaps, the Canadian horror film. We used the theme to even choose textures and scales to write the songs in.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
AG: “Not in Lov” by The Crystal Castles Feat. Robert Smith. Just the simplicity of the concrete lyrics makes me super melancholic. Alice Glass is good at writing deceivingly simple lyrics.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
AG: There are external pressures that I have internalized from our culture that have held me back. I was really worried about being a shitty band cause then I would let all of fem-kind down. But I was able let that go real fast, and be okay with sucking for a while. More fems need to be okay to be in a beginning band and not worry about have that pressure to be the best, the prettiest, the most political. Shitty guy bands saturate the scene, and we give them the time to develop. When you’re in a band with fems, more eyes will be on you and people will want you to fail. Just keep sucking in spite of everyone.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
AG: HMLTD. They are the future of rock music.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
AG: More fems working in venues; talent buyers, sound people, door staff, bartenders, etc. It would make the environment more comfortable. A lot of times it’s all men with one fem on staff when we are touring. The numbers need to change.

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November 23rd, 2018
Lea Luna, Queen Beats and Ginger Perry at Larimer Lounge
Denver, CO 
November 18, 2018
Lea Luna
By Justine Johnson
FEMMUSIC: Do you think there is any positive light of promoting an all female event?
LL: I did want. I tried. I feel like for Valentine’s Day, we (women) are pretty and feminine, there’s some sort of Aphrodite… Something going on, I just tried to do it the right way. Show love for women by women; that was right after the #metoo movement, and Valentine’s with messages I was trying to be supportive.
FEMMUSIC:  How do you feel about women that capitalize on being a sexual object?
LL: When we live in a culture that continues to buy into that and we live in a booking structure where image is still a huge thing… Where you win, or don’t win. There are always going to be people that say, “Alright, well I can do the sexy thing”…And it’s a ballsy thing to do. A lot of people will say it’s career suicide… Some people say it’s a fast track to the top.. I’m here to say we should change the narrative entirely. Stop picking it a part in that way, and say this woman is a sexy woman, who DJ’s! Not this sex branded DJ.
FEMMUSIC: I’m talking more about women who aren’t in it for the music. Like prerecorded sets, totally back there to be another model.
LL: See, That’s another thing I’m going to put right back on culture. Honestly, if it’s even possible for someone who doesn’t care about music to get gigs, we need to look at what is selling, and pull that apart instead. It’s not a great intention for someone to want to be a DJ and they don’t truly care. But consistently bringing up this idea that being talented, and being sexy are mutually exclusive traits in women is a healthy conversation. And I’m going to stick to that. 

Posted in Interviews, Live Photos Tagged with: , , ,

November 6th, 2018
Heartthrob Chassis
Margaret Dollrod
Nicholas Winding Refn presents….Heartthrob Chassis’ Arrthmia. In late September Refn, known for such films as Drive, presented an album by a Detroit band. Heartthrob Chassis is the latest project from Margaret Dollrod. She is previously known for the Demolition Doll Rods and Heartthrob Chassis naturally takes off from there. The album is called Arrythmia. Although no singles were released you can get a look at their raw band performance at:

FEMMUSIC spoke with Dollrod in a blunt interview about the album. For more info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Arrythmia?
MDR: Finding an artist for the album cover who could create an intergalactic girl out of my face and Ben’s.  Once we found Ava East, BAM! The fun began!
FEMMUSIC: You are known for the Demolition Doll Rods, what made you decide to start Heartthrob Chassis? How is the band different than the Demolition Doll Rods? 
MDR: My heart is still throbbing with such a passion and without sharing that music I’m just an empty chassis. 
I am who I am, I haven’t changed so much.  Ben has a completely different sound than Dan.  I think it will be more fun if you discover the difference.  Christine still sends all her love to us and with each drummer and drum beat I feel the love!  Drummers are like heart beats!  The music still takes me where I need to go when I need to be there with more than I could possibly imagine
FEMMUSIC: Please tell me about how Nicholas Winding Refn both met you and became involved in the project.
MDR: I still haven’t actually met Nicolas.  We have had just a few potent and exhilarating phone conversations.  I love his movies’ colors and intensity–and he feels strongly enough about our music to share it with you.
FEMMUSIC: The album was released by Milan Records. What made you decide to work with them as opposed to other labels you’ve worked with in the past?
MDR: Milan is amazing!  We love what they do, the music they put out!  Music is the soundtrack of life and we are very fortunate that they are sharing Arrhythmia with you. 
Heartthrob Chassis
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
MDR: My song writing technique is so easy.  We play–and record what we play.  It flows through us, we listen to the recording and write down the words that came through me.  It is so fun and sometimes wowing to realize what I said!
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
MDR: “Real Cool Time” by the Stooges. A little bit of love goes a long way.  I feel having a real cool time is a political stance one can only dare and dream to take.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
MDR: It is challenging for people to hear somebody without a penis.  Maybe it is an antenna or something…and even though I have never seen a man play an instrument or sing with his penis, it is hard for people to understand it possible without one.  Also sex appeal has been confused with freedom of expression.  It feels so good to laugh.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
MDR: When I first began playing the thrill of discovery was everything, and I still feel that way.  I don’t know who is out there, but I believe we will meet each other soon and create and share a thrill beyond our wildest imaginations! 
If I ask my band mates this what they say…
Tame Impala
Foo Fighters
Queens of the Stone Age
Kendrick Lamar
Nine Inch Nails
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Arctic Monkeys
Joe Walsh
ZZ Top
Joan Jett
Snoop Dog
Stevie Wonder
Robert Plant
John Fogerty
Black Lips
Willie Nelson
Bob Dylan
Mavis Staples
Tina Turner
Thee Oh Sees
Billy Childish
Eric Clapton
Travis Scott
ASAP Rocky
Rocky Erickson
Damo Suzuki
Wolf Eyes
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
MDR: I would like music to be for everyone.  Relax a bit and let it flow through you.  It’s odd–somehow those two words don’t go together for me: “music industry.”

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November 6th, 2018
Mariko Justad
When FEMMUSIC first met Tangerine, they were a 3 piece band from Seattle touring on their EP Sugar Teeth. They are still a 3 piece of sisters Mariko & Miro Justad and Toby Kuhn. On October 19 they released their new EP White Dove which brings Tangerine into a whole new world of big producers in their new LA home. The latest single is “Cherry Red”

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Mariko about the new EP and their process. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making White Dove?
MJ: The biggest challenge in making White Dove was learning how to release it totally independently in a new city. In the past we have released music independently but with either more structure provided by someone or with the help of our home town.
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Sanj & Luca Buccellati as producers on the album. How were they to work with? What did they bring to the project?
MJ: Both brothers have a very fluid and easygoing way of working in the studio- ideas that we would bounce off each other seemed to come together very quickly. We worked with Sanj on three out of the four tracks. He’s good at creating an atmosphere where you feel comfortable being vulnerable creatively and trying out new ideas which is really important to us.
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the White Dove EP? How was that different from Sugar Teeth?
MJ: For White Dove, we wanted to take our favorite elements about our old music – some of the 60s doo wop, some of the surfy twang, and mix that with some of the vintage 80s and 90s music we’ve been listening to lately like Kate Bush or early Ray of Light era Madonna. I don’t know if it’s the kind of thing that fits perfectly into a playlist algorithm but it feels right to us (: 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the move to LA. How did that change your music & the band? What has been the good and bad?
MJ: Some people say it’s good to leave home and we think that’s true. We’ll always love Seattle and who knows maybe we’ll live there again someday but right now it feels like the right decision to try something new. The water tastes bad here and it never rains but there’s a certain energy in the air.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
MJ: Most of the time, I’ll think of a melody and play it for Toby and Miro and we’ll figure out the composition from there. That’s how most of White Dove was written, although in the case of “Local Mall,” Toby created the chord progressions and bass line first. It was actually kind of spooky because he showed me the chords and I had just written a melody that fit perfectly over it while driving home late the night before. That’s how I write a lot of my melodies lately actually- during long drives between West Hollywood and our home on the east side of Los Angeles.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
MJ: Probably “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush. Her drums, the treatment of her vocals, the weird and wacky way that she approaches pop music all had a huge influence on us while making this album.
Tangerine-White Dove Album
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
MJ: As women in music we face all the usual challenges- sound engineers who assume we’re not even in the band let alone know what we’re doing, feeling unsafe on tour, people talking over us or not respecting our authority over our career, people pigeon-holing our music as though “female” was a genre. Being mixed-race, we also often feel unsure of how safe or welcome we will feel in different spaces on tour. I don’t think it’s possible for individual women to overcome the obstacles that we face- for things to be different, it really requires more of a sea change and it requires that men change more than women. We’re seeing some of that in the world right now but we obviously have a long way to go.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
MJ: Oh man so many artists inspire us. It would be a dream to go on tour with Lykke Li, Japanese Breakfast, St. Vincent, and so many others.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
MJ: Festivals should book more female-fronted bands.

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November 6th, 2018
Grace Pitts
Grace Pitts
Australian singer-songwriter Graace released her EP Self Sabotage on October 19. The artist, real name Grace Pitts, has evolved quickly with a pop sound as characterized by her song “Last Night”

Graace is singed to Song Music Australia and has worked with Hayden James on his song “Numb”, a turning point in her career. FEMMUSIC is enthusiastic to present this interview. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Self Sabotage EP?
GP: The biggest challenge making ‘Self Sabotage’ would have to be coming to the realization that I had been doing it for 5 years subconsciously. It’s a different thing bottling up your feelings and interlining then compared to verbalising all your flaws for potentially a lot of people to hear and judge you for.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Hayden James and “Numb.” How did you get involved with song? What happened to your life after the song came out?
GP: Within about 2 weeks of randomly uploading the track on Triple J Unearthed I had found Falcona, my management company, who happened to also take care of Hayden James. I was always a huge fan of him so when he sent a track over to write with him I freaked out. No joke on the way to the studio to meet up with him I ended up writing the whole top line in the taxi, thinking nothing of it. By the end of the night the song was ready to go and was released just a few months later. I can’t even describe how much it’s changed my view and confidence in myself as a writer. Hayden is also like my big brother in the industry now and having him for advice now is something I’ll never take for granted.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your signings to both Sony Music Australia & Falcona Management. What made you decide to sign as opposed to being independent? What do both groups bring to the table?
GP: Leon, from Falcona believed in me when I didn’t even back my own talent. It was crazy how nurturing he was to me in the industry so early on. Getting me sessions with amazing writers, honestly I wouldn’t have grown so much in the past year with my writing if I had signed with any other manager.
Signing to a major was something that Leon and I didn’t put much thought into as we initially were thinking to sign independent. The independent label was incredible for so many things but I think seeing where I wanted to go within the next 3 years musically. I see myself venturing into the pop world so I wasn’t much like the artists on the roster they had which kinda scared me cause I’d be putting all my eggs in their basket. Sony’s enthusiasm from the get go was pretty crazy though. I met with my A&R who had actually wanted to sign me since I was 18 years old, so everything came together too perfect not to go with them because it felt like a family already who really do believe in me, which is hard to find.
FEMMUSIC: Let’s talk about the singles from Self Sabotage – “Last Night”, Kissing Boys” and “SOS.” How did the songs evolve? What happened to them in studio?
GP: I actually wrote half of “Kissing Boys” and “Last Night” in my room not a studio. I find a lot of my songs come out more genuine when I’m alone with no barrier of somebody else’s opinion since most of the time I’m just singing about how I feel. I ended up finishing them both with Xavier in my bedroom not long after which turned into my second home the whole making of this EP. I wrote “SOS” purely alone in my room one night within about 20 minutes. I was so sick of being in situations where I was forced to ‘be happy’ ‘be presentable’ and inside be wanting to scream out like ‘FUCK IM NOT OK’ haha.
I struggle to verbalise a lot of my emotions to loved ones so it was my first time kinda saying stuff out loud. It all flowed out so quick because it was just a genuine rant about society’s expectations to act ok all the time in public.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
GP: It’s evolved a lot from when I was 14, from guitar to piano. I find now I have a pretty solid foundation for myself that works a lot of the time. Candles are the first step, always. Then I start by finding chords on piano I like, followed by usually riffing some lyrics and melody to see what my brain wants to write about and get off my chest that day. I’ll keep doing this while recording on voice memo and then writing down and tweaking what I’m singing as I go.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
GP: “Worst in Me”- Julia Micheal’s. This woman is CRAZY at song writing as we already all know. But when I heard this song in particular I connected so hard. Whenever I write honestly is the one thing I always stay true to and this song just slaps you in the face with raw emotion without covering it with glitter and crazy production. It gave me so much more confidence to own my story and music without cutting corners.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
GP: Meeting a lot of people in the industry I’ve gotten mistaken SO many times as ‘an artist’s girlfriend’ at all of these music events. I just have to laugh a lot of the time that people assume that girls at a concert are groupies. It’s funny to jump up on stage after and be like, nah I’m an artist too bro haha. 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
GP: Someone I’ve wanted to collaborate with for the past year is Daniel Caesar. I’ve abused the repeat button on Spotify way too many times listening to his album Freudian. His voice, writing and production is literally heaven to my ears.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
GP: Having to wait so long between writing a song and releasing it because of all the behind the scenes work is something that always makes me sooo impatient. It of course always ends up for the best because a good song should always have love behind it to make sure you can maximize how many people get to experience your music. But damn, sometimes I write a song one night and wish I could release it an hour later because I’m so excited by it.

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October 17th, 2018

Mr. Atomic Band

Denver band Mr. Atomic is a wild ride of alt rock with a hint of 80’s retro. Their songs have social meaning such as their single “Made For TV”

The band recently released their full length album Spectator Sport.
Mr Atomic - Spectator Sport Album Art
The band is led by Boneth Ahaneku, who does double duty of also running At Night Group, an artist management company. At Night Group has a small roster that is growing. For info visit &
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Spectator Sport?
BA: The biggest challenge we faced in making Spectator Sport was time.  The whole process took over a year, and we recorded everything in three separate sessions.  I think this led to the songs sounding like they could have each individually been a part of three separate albums.
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
BA: Our vision for this album was to touch on the topics that we saw people argue over all the time — shitty friends, discrimination, fighting “The Man”, etc.  To be honest, the idea behind Spectator Sport really stems from Facebook and Twitter comments.  I spend a lot of time, more than I care to admit, on social media.  One common theme that struck me during my browsing was that many of the individuals who would make these comments always seemed to stop replying when rebuffed on their negative stances in relation to topics like these.  My thought was, “Maybe if we actually question these people more, they’ll stop talking!” The whole album is a response to that idea.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Mr. Atomic. How did you find your bandmates? Where did the name come from?
BA: Believe it or not, we actually all met on Craigslist.  I put out an ad looking for people to play with, and Matt answered.  It turned out we both went to the same university and had some mutual friends, so we bonded over that as well.  After that, Mitch came along and we spent quite a few weeks as a three-piece working on stuff I had written years ago in order to get a feel for how we all worked with each other.  These songs ended up basically becoming our demo, save one song that Matt wrote (“Heading Out”).  After a rotation of drummers, we added Mike into the band and recorded our first EP, Avert the Skies, with our friend Nick Schmidt.  Mike left for Japan later that year and we found Ryan!
A month or so before we played our first show, we realized we had enough material to open for another band and things actually became serious.  One night on the way to practice, we all came up with a list of band names that we thought would work well with our sound and style.  Mr. Atomic was added to the list because of our collective love for comic books (Captain Atom) and my personal love of the band Blondie (stemming from their 1979 single “Atomic”).  We sent out the list to some of our friends and “Mr. Atomic” was the name that was most consistently on everyone’s list, so we chose it!
FEMMUSIC: You’re currently an independent band. Would you ever sign to a label? What criteria would you have to sign to one?
BA: I think remaining independent so far has allowed us to have more freedom with experimentation, something that I think at this stage is very helpful to us.  I do believe that if the cards were right and it made sense, we would be open to signing to a label.  As far as criteria go, I think the biggest point would be not signing to a label that we would feel like 1 in 1 million in.  I personally would prefer if we signed to an independent label because I think the idea of getting lost in a corporation is less likely with those types of labels.  Additionally, many of the labels that run off of values that we hold important are independent.  Signing on to a label that has the same vision and ethics as we do is extremely important, as I think it should be for any musician.
FEMMUSIC: Besides running your own band, you’re also co-owner of At Night Group Artist Management. How did At Night Group start?
BA: When At Night Group started back in 2014, it was just my friend Bryan’s idea of a company to house his EDM project, Hyperion, and eventually add more artists too.  He and I worked together throwing shows at CU and I asked to be the manager of his project Hyperion.  He said yes.  Not long after, our friend Nyall joined on to help us brainstorm ways to create ANG into a more solid business and push it past just an “idea”.  The company itself formed in fall of 2016 with three artists — Hyperion, Jerney, and Mr. Atomic.
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest challenge managing bands in At Night Group?
BA: The biggest challenge is scheduling. My calendar right now is pretty hectic and some days I find myself with no social time. I think Google Calendar can probably be credited with saving my life and keeping me sane because I don’t know how I’d keep everything straight without color coding and such.
Something that can be a challenge for us, partially due to our scheduling being so crazy, is keeping up our social media presence. We try to do as much as we can for our artists on the backend and sometimes Nyall and I forget that people also need to know about these cool things our artists are doing. We are definitely working this fall to find someone who can dedicate their time to our brand and put our artists out there.
FEMMUSIC: What are your criteria at At Night Group for signing a new band? What do you look for?
BA: We look for bands that have a sense of direction and vision. I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to work with individuals who have that insight and just need some help accomplishing it. It really sets the tone for the relationship and also helps keep us on task. Additionally, we love good music with some sort of focus. I’m huge on “concept projects” and I think it is cool to see the headspace that an artist is in with projects like that.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
BA: I usually start with a riff in my head and work in a chord structure to go with it. It’s kind of crazy but most times as I’m thinking of the chord structure the melody comes automatically. I typically write the lyrics for the first verse and chorus next and then take a break for a day or two two let it sink in. I’ve found that sometimes if I write a song in one sitting it can turn out sounding very repetitive so I need that space from it to rethink what still works aka if I still like what I wrote. I usually have a bass line in mind and a drum beat that could work with it. Once it’s brought to practice, we usually play through it as is and then the guys add their own flourishes and parts to it! It ends up being a cool way to workshop the song and has worked for us so far. I’m not above writing in a different fashion though and sometimes I like to challenge myself by doing things outside of my comfort zone.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
BA: This is a very hard question to answer! I tend to have many different influences during my stages of writing. Most recently it has been Paramore’s most recent album After Laughter. I love the idea of an 80s-esque dance beat with some rock. That’s a feel our band as a whole has always loved.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
BA: I feel like I could give you the same generic answer that any female has to this question, which would be yes. I think it’s something that won’t change until people realize the worth of femme artists. I was listing to the radio station the other day and noticed that in a single two hours session of me having it on in the background, not a single female artist was played. I hate that. I go to a venue and have individuals chat with our band about the music and are always surprised that I write the songs or play an instrument. I had someone who I told about my band ask me if we played “chick rock”. What is that?
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
BA: I would love to go on tour with Speedy Ortiz. They are one of my favorite bands and I had the pleasure of meeting Sadie Dupuis a few times when they toured through Denver and San Francisco. I really like the off-kilter with hints of pop vibe that they have and their most recent album is amazing. They are also incredible humans and seem like they have a lot of fun with each other!
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
BA: I think the biggest thing for me would be to change the idea in people’s heads about how women should be represented in music. I love the idea of making the music industry an equal sum game when it come to gender representation and it seems like for some individuals it sounds like too tall of a task for anyone to ask them to do. My answer to that is to think outside of the box! I think we should give as much respect to women for their talent and ability as we seem to give to their outfits or to men. We aren’t all just here for the show.

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October 16th, 2018
Fickle Friends

Photo by Daniel Harris

Fickle Friends is a 5 piece pop band from Brighton consisting of Natassja Shiner, Jack Wilson, Jack Herrington, Sam Morris, and Chris Hall. The band formed in 2013 and released EP’s Velvet in 2015, and Glue in 2017 before releasing their full-length album You Are Someone Else this year. You Are Someone Else includes the recent single “Say No More”

Fickle Friends has a pop sound that is fun and bubbly with lyrics that stick with you The band just completed a US tour and now European dates through November. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making You Are Someone Else?
NS: I think it was how ping it took. We went to record the record in LA quite early on and ended up writing loads more when we were out there. This meant when we came back to the U.K. we only had half an album recorded because we wanted to put all on the new songs on it. We did the rest either by ourselves or with various producers and it was all quite stressful and chaotic ha. But we got there in the end.
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album vs your EP’s?
NS: Because the songs in the album range from 6 years old to 2 months there wasn’t a specific vision from the get go. It’s just a collection of songs about life over that time period. Being a millennial, the shit you go through in your 20’s ya know?
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Mike Crossey, Mark Ralph, and Mike Spencer on the album. What do you look for in a producer for a song? What made you choose these producers?
NS: They’re all amazing producers. It was all collaborative and tbh it was a lot about who was available at the time. Was great having each of them put their on spin on things, especially mixes. There are other people who worked in the record with us too, Andy Hall Hall, Dan Lancaster…. we just look for people who are passionate about our music.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Polydor Records. What made you decide to sign to a label? What benefits has it given you?
NS: We actually left Polydor and have started our own label Palmeira Music. Polydor was great for a while but we didn’t wanna have to compromise on stuff anymore. Doing things DIY is a lot less stress and more rewarding.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
NS: We record and produce up a track as we write it on logic normally. Sings usually start with a beat or a loop we find. Splice is super great for songwriting. I keep loads of voice notes and lyrics/poems on my phone so there’s always stuff to draw from.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
NS: Ha not sure we could pick just one but “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore is been a big influence, particularly on our song “Swim.” The rhythmic words and overall sound of the track is awesome.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
NS: I don’t think so. The only thing really is that people assume you don’t have anything to do with the writing process etc. I’ve been made to feel that because I’m a girl, obviously I’m just a singer and nothing more. I hate that.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
NS: Paramore to tour with. Matt Healy to collaborate with. I think he’s a genius.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
NS: Would be nice to get paid more for streaming ha. And for radio to be much more open to playing new up and coming bands on daytime other than just “what’s hot right now” and the big names. It just gets a bit boring hearing the same stuff all the time.

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October 16th, 2018
Eloise is Eloise Flora, a UK artist with an affinity to pop culture and horror. She has released 2 singles in the past few months:

She is working on her follow-up to her debut EP Marie Antoinette with an assortment of producers. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about her process. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: Let’s begin with “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”  I’ve heard you describe the song as both a reaction to violence against women and also taking the role of the damsel in distress and making her the murderer. How did the song evolve for you both lyrically and musically? Did it change working with Mikko Gordon in the studio?
E: The song is built from ideas and phrases that I’d been playing with for a while, I keep a list of ideas I want to work with on my phone and often they are more aesthetically driven. When I went into the studio with Mikko and started writing, the ideas kind of merged into one, I found links between things I hadn’t seen at first and it was only listening back to the song after the session that I was struck by what I was really talking about, it was more than a bunch of phrases inspired by vintage pulp illustrations.
FEMMUSIC: Your previous single “Suckers” takes on vampires. How did that song come about? How much did you change it in the studio working with Lewis Gardiner?
E: I hadn’t seen it that way but I guess it’s about emotional vampires haha! I first wrote the chorus for Suckers on piano and it was quite light, I originally saw it as being kind of happy and sarcastic, but when Lewis made the dark beat in the studio Suckers just fit.
FEMMUSIC: I understand you’re working on a new EP due out next year. How has working on this EP been different than Marie Antoinette? What is your vision for this EP?
E: I think my life and worldview has just shifted a lot, I wrote most of the tracks from my last EP when I was 17/18 and still at school. I think Marie Antoinette was much more trapped in other worlds and metaphorical concepts, my music is becoming far more personal and honest which I hope comes through on the EP.
FEMMUSIC: I’ve already mentioned Mikko Gordon & Lewis Gardiner. What other producers have you been working on the EP with? What do you look for in a producer?
E: When I was out in LA I had a great session with AG, writing a track which is due for release at the end of October. That was a fun session because working with women is often very different, not to say it’s better or worse, it just brings out something different I think. I definitely look for people who are open to my ideas, a lot of the stuff I come up with is weird and nonsensical so I definitely need to work with people who are willing to stick with me when I’m coming up with weird imagery and help tailor it.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
E: It’s not very structured! I am a bit all over the place creatively, I get very excited and inspired by things visually and sonically so songs come to me from different places. Sometimes I’ll see some vintage picture online and think of 50 phrases I want to write about and other times I will hear a song and want to replicate the way it made me feel sonically. Mainly though, lyrics are at the forefront for me and that is usually where I start,
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
E: Definitely ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey, I just remember the first time I heard it and how much it struck me. I’d never heard something that sounded so much like the inside of my own brain. It influenced me through my admiration for her dedication to the imagery and visual worlds that she loves, which is something I can see in my writing from when I first started in my early teens.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
E: I think it’s just tricky sometimes when it comes to writing, I’ve definitely worked with men who saw me as a voice and not a writer which is frustrating as someone who puts their lyrical agenda first.
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
I would love to write with Kate Bush. She has such a dominant presence in her own music and I can imagine writing something really weird and nuts with her which is my plan most of the time. I also love how successful she’s been as a woman writing intellectual songs, I am a fan of anyone who writes a smash hit named after a C19 novel.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
E: For me it’s more that I’d like to change the way people consume music. I think like social media people like things to be easily accessible and fast and that makes the more creatively indulgent and offbeat music elitist; people stick with the weird music from major artists but they don’t give as much of a chance to artists starting out with things that are a bit offbeat and not big radio tunes.

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October 16th, 2018
Jess Abbott
Globe Hall
Denver, CO
October 31, 2018
Tancred came to our attention with the track “Queen of New York”

The video and the lyrics drew us in like a bee to honey. Nightstand is Tancred’s sophomore album and it has a musical maturity that stands out. Produced by Lewis Pesacov, the album had ups and downs before production. Jess Abbott, formerly of Now, Now, is the voice of Tancred. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her about the album. For info visit
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Nightstand?
JA: Picking which songs to release as singles was so tricky because the album contains a few different themes, and I was concerned releasing certain singles might give the wrong impression of the album overall. Honestly sometimes I still lie awake at night wondering if we picked the right ones.
FEMMUSIC:   I understand you had the songs chosen before going to the studio. How did you go about your song choice? What else did you do for pre-production?
JA: I spent about a year writing songs for this album and I went through so many revisions within in each song, and ultimately scrapped half the album and started over. I guess what ultimately decided the songs was the theme of vulnerability. It cut a lot of more aggressive songs I had written before settling on that theme. We had a few days of preproduction before we started tracking where in the studio we played through the songs and discussed them all.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Lewis Pesacov. How did you meet? Why did you choose him to be producer for the album? How was he to work with?
JA: Lewis and I were set up to cowrite together but we hit it off so well that we decided to have him produce the whole thing. He felt so open to my creative direction and aesthetic ideas it made working together so easy. But he also challenged me where I needed to be challenged in the studio. It was a great balance.  
Tancred album cover
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about some of your backing musicians. I noticed the names Samira Winter & Jenny Owen Youngs. You’re doing more instrumentation with the album. How did you choose these artists? How was the studio experience?
JA:  Kevin Medina and Terrence Vitali recorded bass and drums on Nightstand and on my previous album, Out Of the Garden. Samira is a mutual friend of Lewis and I (I was also subletting her apartment while I was tracking Nightstand) and we thought it would be fun to have her do some vocals on the album. Her band Winter is incredible. Jenny and I had been friends for awhile and we’d collaborated around that time on some of her work, so while I was in LA in her neck of the woods I asked her to come sing on something of mine. I carried around a disposable camera the whole trip and I have some great photos of them singing in the studio. Working with friends is so fun.
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
JA: I basically just pick up a guitar and lie around humming things until I find things I like. Or if I’m out in the world and an idea pops into my head I’ll write it out in a note on my phone or record a voice memo for later. Once I have the basic outline for a song done I’ll record each track in a demo and layer on programmed drums and bass and strings so I have an image of my vision for the song to take into the studio.
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
JA: “Demon Rock” by Letters to Cleo shook my world. I’d already dreamed of playing music professionally almost my whole life but listening to that album (Demon Rock is track one) was the first time it felt like it was something I could make real. I connected to the guitar lines, the vocals, the lyrics. I remember lying down in bed and listening to it on repeat all night. I couldn’t sleep.
FEMMUSIIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
JA:  Yeah, of course. But I think communicating calmly about things that make me uncomfortable and having some understanding for the context of the moment are tools that have helped me ensure I’m working in a comfortable environment. It took me awhile to not get so mad about it. It’s fair to be mad, shit sucks. But I think it’s detrimental to not leave room for some understanding in any situation.
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
JA: I have been deathly into Chelsea Wolfe’s new album Hiss Spun since it came out. Her live show is so sick, her Audio Tree was sick, her tones are sick, her Instagram is sick. I dream of a CW collab or tour.
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
JA: The cost of making records (recording, distribution, PR, management, booking) hasn’t gone down but record sales have, so it becomes incredibly difficult to be an artist making everything yet with little coming back financially to support it all. It’s like inflation isn’t accounted for. Making music isn’t about money, but music, like anything, takes time and work. You still gotta eat and pay rent. And then you have people who think it’s ethically wrong to want to profit off your art.. It becomes a snake eating its own tail. At my career peaks I was still scraping by. The infrastructure of the music industry is broken. Short answer: I wish there was enough left of the pie for artists, the people actually creating the music, to support themselves comfortably.


Posted in Interviews, Previews Tagged with: ,

October 1st, 2018
Gina Chavez
Gina Chavez
Goostown Tavern
Denver, CO
October 12, 2018
Gina Chavez is an 8 time Austin Music Award winner whom the city declared a “Gina Chavez Day” in 2015. She is bilingual singer-songwriter with multiple albums and a new EP called Lightbeam. Her latest single is “Let It Out.” The latest video from the album is “Heaven Knows”

FEMMUSIC is honored to speak to her before her Denver appearance.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Lightbeam?
GC: We ended up having to re-imagine the beat for the first single, “Heaven Knows.” The first one we laid down was solid, but landed a little too far on the folk side and I wanted a more contemporary feel. Dwight, who used to tour as the drummer for Enrique Iglesias, ended up re-recording the drums for the track, something he hasn’t done in years!
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the EP?
GC: The past couple years I took some time off to write. My only vision was to dive into the art of songwriting; to let go of boundaries, genres, and just spend time with pen, paper and my guitar. I was pretty surprised when these soul-tinged love songs bubbled up. It was exciting to explore a different side of my sound and lyrical themes of faith and love, sacrifice and wholeness as my wife and I approached our wedding day after twelve years together.
FEMMUSIC: Dwight A Baker was your producer for the EP. How did you meet him? Why did you choose him produce? What was he like to work with?
GC: I had been impressed with Dwight’s work from afar (MISSIO, Alpha Rev, The Wind and The Wave, Josh Abbott Band). We were introduced through a mutual friend, and I had these five tracks in need of production, so it was a natural fit. I liked his vision for the EP, mainly keeping it tied to the live sound with simple instrumentation featuring the vocal. He enlisted some of Austin’s finest — Conrad Choucroun (drums), Steve Terebecki (bass) and David Boyle (keys) — and they knocked it out of the park! We tracked bass and drums in two days, barely running each song more than 3 times before David added his magic on keys and synth. Dwight is a great vocal coach and so beast on the mix! I had a finished EP in eight days. Boom!
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn making Up-Rooted? How did that change how you approached Lightbeam?
GC: I consider Michael Ramos, who produced Up.Rooted, a true mentor. He taught me how to write to my voice, especially that there is more depth in the lower-end of my vocal register and empowered me to trust my instincts in the studio by listening to my ideas and helping me bring them to life. The recording process for Up.Rooted was a true labor of love, and one that lasted 10 months on and off. That experience and everything I’ve learned in the years since, prepared me to head into the studio with Dwight and bring Lightbeam to life with few challenges.
Gina Chavez
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your songwriting technique.
GC: I tend to start with rhythm and melody. Many times, I’ll sing nonsensical words or sounds over a chord progression and then find the words that seem to fall into place. That’s what happened with “Heaven Knows.” 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
GC: Ooh this is a tough one. I feel like I take little, subtle things from so many songs that it’s hard for me to think of one that’s had a huge influence. The third song on this new EP, “Let It Out,” is a fusion of Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Blondie and I had no idea those influences were even in there!
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
GC: Honestly, I have been very blessed in my career. I mean there have definitely been moments where men have mistaken me for someone’s intern or a “merch girl” or don’t take me seriously until I’m ready for the show in contacts, a dress and makeup. The double standards are annoying and frankly ridiculous, but I tend to put that energy into my show instead of getting upset. And the men in my band are truly thoughtful people, constantly working to better themselves as musicians and in their personal lives. We have some great conversations on the road.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
GC: I would love to tour with Natalia Lafourcade! She is a Latin Grammy winner with incredible songwriting, musicality and uses her platform to speak for justice. We had the chance to open for her in Austin and I had the chance to hang out with her backstage. She is pure grace and class and has built a career on her own terms.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
GC: Ooh another good one. Hmm… I’m struggle with questions like this because I’m a pretty practical person, so I know I can’t just change inequities or lack of access with a magic wand. I also know that I myself am very privileged and I’ve had incredible opportunities to tour the world and share music with people’s everywhere. But if I did have that magic wand, I’d want to change something that permeates music and every other sector, that is present in every culture throughout the world — the fact that women and girls who speak up are seen as “bossy” and “difficult,” whereas men and boys who do so are seen as “leaders.” Women are expected to be quiet, subservient. It’s the one thing that every culture in the world shares and it’s time for a change.

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October 1st, 2018

Moda Spira

There are few times a song comes across our desk that has an instant visceral reaction. Moda Spira’s “Bang” is one.

The song has is a painful narrative wrapped in a soulful package. The pain and process is the focus of Moda Spira, real name Latifah Alattas, sophomore album Divorce. The album and podcast focus on her end of nearly a decade long marriage. The album has a richness in the arrangements including layered vocals that add a majestic property to tracks like “Four Letter Word.” The album begins with a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” that morphs the song into a wonderfully different creature. It ends with a song named “Forgive.” The 11 tracks resonate with emotional power. Divorce will be out on October 26, 2018. For info visit

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Bang.” How did that song come about & evolve?
LA: “Bang”, is the second track on my album. I was up late one night, restless, staring at the walls of my quiet and still home grieving. I was oscillating between shock, anger and sadness. As I was staring the imagery of a gun shot came to mind as I was recounting the moment my ex and laid it all out there. It was after 11pm and I walked to my piano and the lyric “It went off like a bang…” popped into my mind and verse one and two came right out. I captured that moment in my Instagram if you scroll back and watch the videos.  It wasn’t until February that I finished the last section of the song. I waited ‘til I had its lyric and melody mates because I didn’t want to force it, I know it would reveal itself if I was patient and it did.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Divorce?
LA: Living the experience to be honest. Writing about it was cathartic, healing, hard and helpful.
FEMMUSIC: How did you approach Divorce differently than your self-titled debut? What did you learn from making your first album that helped on the 2nd?
LA: Divorce was a true outpouring from beginning to end. I didn’t write anything unless it felt like it had to flow out of me, like a caged bird I had to set free. The first album had a lot of that, but I was also exploring a lot of sonic guilty pleasures as I was making the first one. This album was only about writing and then producing a record that married the sounds to the sentiment of the lyrics. Nothing else mattered. The main question was, “Does it communicate clearly what is being said?” Whether it was a guitar tone or a drum beat. I also almost solely used all analog sounds as compared to the first record which relies heavily on synths and sounds in the box.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me how making Divorce affected you? The breakup of a relationship is always difficult but you were processing one that had gone on for nearly a decade.
LA: Making this album was a true capturing of my process in real time. It was helpful to articulate the deep well of emotions as I was having them. Emotions are energy in our bodies that need to be moved. The actually act of singing painful lyrics helped to move that grieving energy out of my lungs into another space and so on. When things get stuck it’s easy to feel trapped and hopeless. Any movement, even the smallest can create kinetic energy which then creates more and more movement. This album was a grace to make for the grieving process of the first year of loss. If I tried to make it today it would be a totally different album and I felt convinced to capture the real time process of the initial year of grief. I am glad I did it.
Moda Spira
FEMMUSIC: How do you think you are the most changed by making the album?
LA: I feel more free. I feel more at peace. I feel grateful.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
LA: I believe in the craft of songwriting, but in the last few years I only write if I am first inspired. If a song isn’t finishing out instead of forcing it, I table it and wait for inspiration for the other part later on. Trusting it will come.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
LA: In the last year in particular it’s been “Solitude” by Billie Holiday. The honesty of her despair. The sense of it in the tone and quality of her vocal. The simplicity. It feels comforting and sad and like a sonic hug.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
LA: Sometimes for sure. Not all the time. I have been championed by wonderful people as well. But yes. The general reality is when I walk into a space the baseline assumption is that I do not understand engineering, signal flow, sonics etc. So I have to come up from behind my male counterparts who don’t function under that same assumption.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
LA: Imogen Heap. I think she is a genius. She inspired me to originally learn about engineering.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
LA: I would like to continue to be able to find better formats of listening to music that truly support artists getting the financial benefit of who listens to their music and how much. This would grant more freedom for indie artists to keep dedicating more time to their artistry.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

October 1st, 2018


Denver band Wildermiss has exploded this summer from a local act to a national act on the rise. They’ve appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, played Hotel Café and festivals nationwide. Wildermiss is Emma Cole, Joshua Hester, Seth Beamer, and Caleb Thoemke. They started off as a synthpop act and have evolved quickly into the pop field with songs like “Carry Your Heart”

They have released an EP called Lost With You. Their live music is as infectious as their recordings. They are an independent band who will quickly be making label appeal. For info visit
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge in making Lost With You?
EC: The biggest challenge in making our first EP Lost With You was knowing that there was a certain pressure of this being our first recorded music that would “define” our sound. The recording/production process as a band was fun and a great learning experience.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Joe Richmond & Caleb Thoemke. How did you choose them to be involved with the EP? What did they bring to the project?
EC: Joe Richmond is someone we’ve known in the scene for a while. We asked him to be a part of our first EP for producing, recording, mixing, mastering and he was such a gem to work with. Caleb Thoemke is the drummer of Wildermiss. He has a degree in Audio Engineering and helps run a studio, so it made perfect sense for him to lead us into recording our first single Keep It Simple.
FEMMUSIC: I see you’re now signed to 7s Management. They are a big name. How did that happen? What benefits does management give you?
EC: 7s is a great team of people. In addition to day-to-day management, there are touring departments, marketing departments, etc. Our manager joined their team brought us into this new circle of people who are helping us launch into this new season of Wildermiss. We are very excited and grateful.
Wildermiss - Lost with yhou
FEMMUSIC: You’re currently an independent band. Do you have goals to sign with a label? Why or why not? What would you look for in a label?
EC: We are happily independent, but if the right contract from a label comes along we will happily consider it. We are not looking to be a radio band with a short shelf life, but develop the band to create a sustainable musical career for us.
FEMMUSIC: his summer has been you’ve blown up. How has the added attention and national shows affected you? Good & Bad?
EC: This summer has been one for the books. We are excited that hard work and dedication keeps showing us that anything is possible. The attention gain has been great and we can’t wait to get back onto the road to meet new fans.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
EC: Our songwriting process is very collaborative and is different every time. I personally tend to begin writing songs with a drum beat or with a rhythmic element – something that makes me bob back and forth. I experiment with melodies over rhythms.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
EC: I absolutely love anything by Born Ruffians, one of my favorites is their song “Needle”. I am heavily influenced by drums like I said in the question before. I love how this song hits but still has space.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
EC: In my experience so far, I usually do not feel discriminated against. However, I have encountered some rude jaded men that just don’t get it.
Also, I do notice a general over-awareness of female fronted bands. Does that make sense? I appreciate those who are trying to make things better and more equal, but sometimes it comes across as a hot commodity… like “let’s place only female fronted bands/artists on the same stage” at festivals. Why?…
Overall, there are plenty of things around this topic I could talk about. I would not be surprised if I have been discriminated against without knowing it.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
EC: I do love Young The Giant and Sylvan Esso and would love to tour with either of them. They are two currently-touring bands that I really enjoy and I think their fans would connect with our music too.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
EC: I want people to understand the value of music in this world. Music is such an integral part of our lives: in the car, in the store, funerals, celebrations, evoking emotion, etc… yet it is seen as a lesser-valued job or as something that is unimportant by so many. Which leads to changing the monetary value of music. Streaming platforms are a big part of that. These platforms have decreased the monetary value of music and have made it harder for musicians to keep afloat. Of course, this industry is always evolving so I am intrigued to see where we place our value in the future.

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October 1st, 2018

Folly Rae

British performer Folly Rae has followed up her debut EP with a new EP called Karma Club. The EP includes the song “Sniper”

Rae has a pop sound with a touch of brass highlighted in “Sniper.” Rae is signed to Black Butter, who also handles Zara Larsson. She comes from Norwegian descent and has a history of dancing. She is still a new and emerging force. Look for more to come. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Karma Club?
FR: If I’m honest, the biggest challenge was finding a happy medium between my musical sound and the poppy direction in which I was travelling…   it was a natural progression just one that I wasn’t used to. I was scared about the musical world I about to enter!
FEMMUSIC: How was your approach different in making Karma Club vs From Money to Power?
FR: I was going through a toxic relationship that consumed me at the time of working on the Karma Club EP.
It was like I needed to write this EP too make myself feel better.
I wanted to have fun with it, instead of feeling sad.
It was a care free and fun experience- like a therapy session really. I also had a co-writer on 3 of the songs, which I haven’t really done before.
FEMMUSIC: You worked with Jake Gosling writing songs for other performers. What did that experience teach you about songwriting for yourself?
FR: I worked down at Sticky Studios for a while, yeah.  It was great to see how others worked.
I learnt that the best songs are written from an honest place.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
FR: I starts with chords, the melodies come while I’m mumbling random words and I recording everything because I find the best melodies only come once, so you need to capture them or they are lost forever.
Then we subtly add to the production to add to the vibe.
Lyrics come last, usually ideas come from the mumbled words I’ve been singing.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Black Butter. What made you decide to sign to a label? What benefits do they bring?
FR: Even before I signed with them, I loved what they did and what they stood for. They let the artist express themselves and they help enhance that. They often say no to my outrageous ideas, they keep me grounded! haha
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
FR: Wow, there are so many. At the moment, “Depth over distance” by Ben Howard reminds me that music can be simple and beautiful and not too over complicated.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
FR: Discriminated against, no, not that I can think of.
I am quite dismissive of people’s negative comments but no, discrimination I haven’t dealt with.
Tho, there have been people who tried to take advantage of my ‘newness’ to the industry, but luckily I have a great bull shit radar and a great team around me now!
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
FR: I would love to tour with Ann Marie or Dua they both have such great energy and I think we’d have lots of girly fun.
I would love to collaborate with Lana and Sia (queens) also and 6lack, Kendrick Lamar.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
FR: The one thing I would change about the music industry is… hmm ask me in a few years!

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September 26th, 2018

Photo by Ollie Ali

Lost Lake
Denver, CO
October 1, 2018
Lucy Spraggan’s latest single “Stick the Kettle On” is a joyous mixing of folk and rock, and a collaboration with Scouting for Girls.

Spraggan is an industrious songwriter with 4 studio albums and a compilation album to her name. Her latest albums are I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing and Introducing Lucy Spraggan, a compilation. She is already working on her next studio album. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about her process.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Stick the Kettle On.” How did that song evolve?
LS: I’d wanted to collaborate with Scouting For Girls for a long time, I’d met Roy at a few festivals and he’s a great guy. I sent him a text one day asking if he’d like to write together and that’s what we did!
When we got into the studio we decided we wanted to write something about the importance of friendship – there are many duets that revolve around love and relationships but we decided to keep it real and honest, and STKO is what came out of it!
FEMMUSIC: I see you signed to Cooking Vinyl this Spring. Why did you decide to sign after running CTRL Records for so long?
LS: I think it was a natural progression; running my own label had lots of pros but also cons, in the way that I had a lot more work to do. I learned a lot about the industry and it’s given me a great deal of knowledge for moving forward and being involved in the work that CV do.
I feel like they can offer that added extra that I couldn’t reach on my own, I’m excited to see what happens.
FEMMUSIC: I hear you’re now working on your 5th studio album. What have you learned over time on making albums? Pre-production? Song choice? Producer choice?
LS: I record the demos initially when I write the song, I tend to play them live for a while to get the tempos right and make sure any final changes are done before getting into the studio. Song choice is down to me, as I am 100% my biggest critic, so I end up ‘trimming the fat’ pretty early. I have a huge catalogue of songs that never made it.
Jon Maguire will be producing this record in Newport, Wales – he produced my last one and I felt it really captured exactly what I asked for. He’s a great friend of mine too, so working together is always a great deal of fun.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
LS: See it, write it! I often get a line or idea and throw it into my iPhone notes. From there it’ll either naturally develop into something else or stay floating in The Cloud for the rest of time.
It’s always lyrics first for me.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
LS: “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. She wrote that song when she felt her band had taken another hit, another failure and she didn’t know whether to stick at it or settle for something else. It really speaks to me; I’m glad she didn’t give up.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
LS: Yeah, I think so. Rates of pay, not being taken seriously, or described as ‘twee’.
It’s frustrating, and I’ve read comment threads on the topic from other male musicians who just don’t get it, which pisses me off.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
LS: I’d love to tour with Watsky. I just love his music. Lyrically he is a genius.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
LS: The politics and elitism. It’s boring. The majority of the industry is run by cliques, and it doesn’t matter how many tickets you sell, or if the public like you, if the industry doesn’t like you they’ll make it very difficult for you.
I know this from experience!

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September 14th, 2018

XYLO – photo by Nikko Lamare

We were first introduced to XYL0 in 2015 with their EP America. At that time the band was the siblings Paige and Chase Duddy. They toured nationally.
Now XYL0 is a new creation marking the solo career of Paige Duddy. The music is a fun synth pop that is highly addictive. She’s been releasing singles recently including “I Don’t Want To See You Anymore”, “Heaven Only Knows”, and “Don’t Panic”


She is releasing her new song “Tears and Tantrums” this week. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about the new songs, solo career and connection to another artist we know.
FEMMUSIC: I know XYLØ as you and Chase. I wanted to ask what made you want to go solo and keep the same name?
PD: It was an awesome experience being in a duo with my sibling and learning so much about an industry I had no experience in, but ultimately we are 10 years apart and wanted different things in our life. I was lucky enough to continue ( because I was not ready to stop what I had worked so hard for) and he was able to move forward with new things he had been wanting to do for a while. XYLØ is how I’ve always identified myself as an artist. When I decided to release music back in 2014 I knew I wanted to go by XYLØ because I had that name set aside to use for a project for years Chase and I decided to stick with the name when we became a duo. When we parted ways… it felt natural to continue with the project as it is a big part of who I am. Its become my entire life.
FEMMUSIC: I see Zolita directed the “Heaven Only Knows” video. I know you were also writing with her. I interviewed her here ( ). As I recall you were sharing the same management. What has Zolita contributed to your music? What have you taught her and what have you learned from her?
PD: Yes I met Zolita when my manager asked me and Lee Newell (who has written/produced most of my music with me) to write a badass confident anthemic song for Zoe and that’s where “Fight Like A Girl” started… Then from there she flew back from New York to work more with us for her project and we ended up writing most of her EP Sappho with her! From that we became close friends and I asked her to direct some videos for me since her own are so amazing! Since you asked, I texted her and asked her to answer for me haha-
She said, “Working with you has taught me so much about the songwriting process and musical collaboration. You’ve also set an incredible example of how to be a self-made female in the music industry.” (Very kind of her to say).
I have also learned a lot more from Zoe about the LGBTQ community than I did before and that has been really amazing and eye opening. She is a really hard working female who isn’t afraid to go out and make something happen. That has inspired me a lot because she is one of my only female friends who is trying to pursue a career as an artist. It’s nice to be able to confide in someone who understand the
FEMMUSIC: How has your songwriting changed being a solo artist?
PD: As a solo artist I am free to talk about whatever I want. I feel so much more confident in the studio and opening up about topics I didn’t feel so comfortable talk about before. It also feels really great to show my feminine side. That was something I was afraid of doing too much before.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve now released 3 singles, “Heaven Only Knows,” “Don’t Panic,” and “I Don’t Want to See You Anymore.” What’s coming next? EP, Album, Tour?
PD: More singles, music videos and some tour dates up soon!!
I would love to release an album next year (:
FEMMUSIC: Who produced the songs? With “America” you produced yourself. What do you look for in a producer?
PD: I worked with some amazing producers :
The Electric/ Lee Newell- IDWSYA,
Jimmy Harry/ Lee Newell- Don’t Panic,
Lee Newell- Heaven Only Knows,
Tears and Tantrums- SIBA
and another song called “Freak” that is coming out later, produced by:Frank Colucci/ Lee Newell.
I look for someone who is willing to experiment and step out of their comfort zone in the studio with me. I totally want the song to reflect their own style but I also don’t want it to sound like every other song they wrote that week. Also a clean studio is a PLUS!

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September 7th, 2018
grace savage

Photo by Jade Anouka

UK Beatboxer, actor and singer-songwriter Grace Savage has the dual privilege of having the life you want as a musician, and the life you would never want. Before 2016 she was trapped in a deal with a producer. After 2016 she was reborn first with her EP Savage Grace which received critical acclaim, and then with Control Freak. One of her latest singles is “Running Under Water”

Grace Savage will be appearing at the 3rd Annual Loud Women Festival on September 15.
The Dome, Tufnell Park, Boston Music Room
London, UK
FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her as a preview to the festival. For into visit
FEMMUSIC: Reading your own bio it sounds like you’ve become 2 different people. One before 2016 and one after. How do you think your legal battles changed you as a person and a musician?
GS: It was a horrible situation to be in at the time but I see it as a blessing in disguise now. It was one of the scariest and best decisions I’ve ever made…it’s kind of like leaving a relationship that isn’t working – it’s so hard to rip yourself away from your comfort zone, even though you know deep down it’s not good for you. I didn’t know if I could do it alone but I knew I had to try. Once I walked away from that deal and all those songs I finally started to write music that was really and truly from me, I was turning into the artist I wanted to be – a much wiser and savvy artist too.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Control Freak?
GS: The biggest challenge was making a follow up EP to my debut – kind of like “second album syndrome” but on a smaller scale. I was surprised by how well received Savage Grace was and so really felt the pressure on the second EP. So the biggest challenge was not listening to the critical voice in my head and worrying about what people would think of the music.
FEMMUSIC: How was making Control Freak different from making Savage Grace? What lessons did you learn in-between?
GS: Control Freak has a bit more of an solid sound stamp than the previous EP. I feel like it’s a collection of songs that show how I have grown in confidence in every aspect – production, lyrics, vocal delivery, concepts. I had no funding for this EP and I couldn’t bring myself to crowd fund again so I had to be a bit more savvy with my finances and ask for a lot of favours! I learned how to create, market and release an EP with Savage Grace and definitely made a few mistakes, so the second time round everything felt a lot easier and smoother.
grace savage

photo by Jade Anouka

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Running Under Water.” How did the song come together?
GS: This song is about falling for someone with depression and feeling apprehensive about the emotional difficulty that might entail but at the same time, knowing there is nothing you can do about it as the love is addictive and the falling, inevitable….all under the guise of a summer banger you can dance to 😉
I wrote it with Ben Cartwright and Jason Julian at odd child studios and I had the lyrics pretty much written before I went into the session, the whole thing happened really organically and we wrote it in a few hours.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
GS: I write poetry and lyrics on my laptop, I create little melody ideas in my iPhone and I create little musical sketches in logic so that every time I go into the studio I have a concept, a beat or a melody to get things going. Sometimes I topline to an existing beat but usually I like to work from scratch and be in the room with a producer so we are all on the same page and it sonically suits my savage style 😉
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
GS: It’s hard to pin it down to one song but growing up I listened to P!nk’s albums religiously. My parents split up when I was 13 and that album was very therapeutic for me. Some grungy emo pop bangers was exactly what I needed and every time I listen to those songs it take me right back to that time.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
GS: Nothing I can pinpoint but if you watch my TED talk – I go into some of my experiences as a female beatboxer 


 FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
GS: I’ve recently discovered this band called Sylvan Esso and I’m obsessed with them. I would love to collaborate or tour with them.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
GS: Opportunities and support at grass roots level for emerging artists – funding is extremely competitive, and the system is currently designed to benefit those who have access to money and can finance their own careers. It’s seriously hard to maintain a steady full time career in music and there are a lot of people out there willing to take advantage!

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September 7th, 2018
Brynn Elliott
What do you do after graduating Harvard University? Dive into the music world full force. It helps if you’ve been touring through college and music has been part of your life. Ask Brynn Elliott whose debut EP Time Of Our Lives comes out today, September 7, 2018. Elliott worked with Nathan Chapman to make the EP which features songs “Miss You”, “Internet You”, “Tongue Tied” and the empowering anthem “Might Not Like Me”


Look for her national TV debut on Live with Kelly and Ryan on September 28. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making “Time Of Our Lives”?
BE: That song came from a pretty challenging session where I was really trying to hone in on what my “sound” was. I concluded that my “sound” is just writing good songs and seeing where the production takes us from there. The song is about embracing the moment and not worrying about the future – and I think one some level that’s what you have to do in songwriting – not overthink it but be in the moment and write from your heart and let all the other stuff work itself out.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Nathan Chapman. What did he bring to the project? How was he to work with?
BE: He is an incredible producer and songwriter. And he was truly passionate working with me to write my story into the songs. He’s family. I love working with him.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Atlantic Records. What made you decide to sign with them? What benefits to they bring to the project?
BE: My junior year of college some labels started to reach out to me. Nothing was really fitting. And then last year I met Carla Wallace of Big Yellow Dog Publishing, who published Megan Trainor and Maren Morris. She just really understood me and where I was coming from and she introduced me to everyone at Atlantic and we did a joint publishing/label deal all together. Atlantic is just terrific. I feel so supported as an artist. They really want to promote my voice and my art. And so I felt like I could really be myself and find a home at Atlantic. My team is full of the most incredible people and I feel so honored to be working with them! Julie Greenwald is my hero.
FEMMUSIC: You’re newly graduated from Harvard. Tell me about how your education has influenced your music? Tell me about the choice to jump into music as the career after graduating?
BE: School and music have always gone together for me. In high school, I was learning about the California Gold rush and I wrote a song called “Gold Dust.” And when I found out I was going to college I was really adamant that I would take those four year to build up a bank of songs. And many of my songs have really been inspired by what I was learning in the classroom – for one class I wrote an entire EP for our final project. It was a science class called “The Einstein Revolution” and I wrote an entire EP as if Einstein wrote pop music.
I really made the choice to pursue a career in music before starting college. I applied to Harvard twice – didn’t get in the first time. And after that experience I took a year off from all things school to pursue my music and I got an opportunity to open on a tour and after that experience there was really no going back. I committed to being an independent artist throughout college – I literally took every opportunity I was offered to play and I ended up playing over 260 shows in college. So I was pretty determined to still pursue that after college – and I am so grateful to be doing that now!
Brynn Elliott
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
BE: Sometimes the melody comes first, sometimes the lyrics – but it always starts with an idea or a concept. I think that’s why I draw so much inspiration from philosophy because philosophy and pop music are really after the same thing – concisely explaining those universal ideas and experiences that we have as human beings.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
BE: “The Story” by Brandi Carlile – the first time I heard that song it changed my life. It is just such a powerful song describing the experience of being in a relationship and Brandi’s voice truly changed my life and opened up this whole world to me of what a voice could do.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
BE: I am grateful to say I haven’t. I have worked really hard to work very hard to surround myself with true professionals who are passionate about my music and career.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
BE: Ed Sheeran! I am such a fan of his songwriting and I would be so honored to open the stage for him!
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
BE: I would say that this business is constantly changing and I am are trying to be as adaptive as possible.

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September 5th, 2018
Elise Davis
Elise Davis brought us back to country music in 2015 with her album The Token. It featured songs that emulated the country trope of one night stand & hot nights in songs “I Go To Bars And Get Drunk”, “Make the Kill” , and “Motel Room.”
Davis released her new album Cactus on September 7, 2018. It is a different mature creature based as much in rock as country with songs “Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “Hold Me Like A Gun”, “Married Young”, and “Lone Wolf.”

Cactus brings a larger soundscape of instrumentation. It is a welcome change to standard country. For info visit
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cactus
ED: To me, overall making an album doesn’t feel like a challenge. Don’t get me wrong it is a lot of hard work, and stressful in moments, but the task of making an album is one of my favorite parts about being a musician. Because there are no rules. I guess I would say the biggest challenge of it for me before recording- making sure I have chosen the exact right songs for the record. When it comes time to make an album I look at the collection of songs written since I last recorded. Then I choose a group of about 20-25 songs and whittle it down until it feels like the right songs for the album. Saying what I want to say. That can be the most challenging part because I am so particular. But, after I solidify and feel good about the songs, the actual process of recording is so much fun to me. Because like I said there are no rules, and if you try something and it doesn’t work, you just try something else. It’s fun to hear things different ways even if you don’t end up going that direction.
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?
ED: I had been obsessively listening to Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, and Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness, before going into making this album. I was very inspired by elements of both of those albums and referenced them when working with my producer on the direction. I wanted heavier harmonies, more acoustic guitars (than my last album), and for the first time ever full string arrangements on most the album.
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn when making The Token that changed how you made Cactus?
ED: Every time going into the studio I feel I come out in the end having learned more about myself as a singer, a songwriter, and artist. The Token was exactly what it should have been. I call it my late night boozy mid-twenties album. Raw electric guitars, mostly recorded live, more elements of rock throughout the whole album. With The Token I wanted to make an album primarily electric guitars, bass, drums, keys, and something I could emulate live with a 4 piece band.
By the time I was getting ready to make Cactus I realized I wanted to go a totally different direction production wise. Not worrying myself with something I could exactly pull off live. Making The Token the way we did was right for the time and for that album.  What I learned was that I didn’t want to make another album in the same way. And I know in the next album I make I will want to go a different direction than both The Token and Cactus. That’s part of the fun of it! 🙂
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Jordan Lehning. How did you meet? Why did you decide to have him produce the album? What did he bring to the project? What do you look for in a producer?
ED: My last manager introduced me to Jordan Lehning. He had known him for years before and been a long time fan of his work. He sent me several records he produced. I was looking into several producers at the time but there was something about Jordan’s work that I was especially drawn to. In particular Jasmin Kaset’s (of Birdcloud) album Quiet Machine.  I must have listened down to that album 200 times. I love the way her vocals sound, the quirky and creative production, just all in all a great album.
We decided to meet for drinks and talk music and I knew by the end that he was the guy. He pointed out a couple songs I had sent him (Lone Wolf, Man) that I wanted to record and made comments about them that let me know he understands me as an artist.
In a producer I look for someone who is creative, not afraid of trying out different things, someone who thinks outside of the box and doesn’t feel there is any format we have to try and stay in. On top of someone who I vibe with and will drink whiskey with me and be patient if I end up asking to do 25 vocal takes of a song.
Elise Davis
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
ED: I wrote my first song when I was 12 years old. I didn’t plan on it beforehand, I had never thought about being a songwriter, I had been learning guitar and knew a handful of chords. My parents grounded me from going to see a rock concert (Bush) in downtown Little Rock, (I was really just wanting to go drink beer with 16 year old boys), and I was so upset I ran away. Eventually I came home to realize no one had cared or even noticed I had left. I was so angry I ran up to my room and my guitar was on my bed. I locked myself in the bathroom and wrote a song called “Big House” about feeling alone in a big house. (haha).  And truly from that day on I was hooked. I had found my outlet for emotion and its never changed. Since I was 12, anything I am feeling or going through, the main way to feel better or cope with my crazy brain is writing songs. So, I would say my technique really just revolves around trying to get truths out that I experience, to tell stories, and to express how I feel about a certain situation. That’s my main rule to myself as a songwriter. Trying to write what’s real. 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
ED: This is a really tough question because there have been so many. So rather than messing with all the songs that have influenced me as an adult, I am going to say the one that I remember as being the very first. When I was 10 I became obsessed with Jewel’s hit album Pieces Of You. I know it was an influence to me as a 12 year old writing songs. But in particular I will never forget as a kid hearing the song “Daddy”on that album. It’s dark and weird and intense, and funny that I loved it so much at that age. I was in awe over the way someone can express such deep emotion in the words and phrasing of a song. Hearing that song and realizing I could let out my emotion that way too was a beautiful thing.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
ED: Yes and no. I’ve just chosen to not think about that too much. I am sure I have been more than I realize, haha, but I am just going to say what I want to say and make the albums I want to make. My albums talk a lot about sex, and in particular the freedom in being a sexually liberated woman. When I put out The Token I got some flack on the internet about a song called “Penny” and some dude calling me a slut, having daddy issues, etc. A man could literally be singing the line “I screwed her, and then another chick the next night, and I’m awesome because I have sex all the time” and that same dude criticizing me would be like “Hell yeah!”.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
ED: There are a lot of people I would like to collaborate with but the first one that comes to my mind is Blake Mills. He is an incredible guitar player, producer, singer, and I love his albums. I think it would be awesome to hear him play guitar with some songs I have written.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
ED: I would like the new age of streaming music to be more fair in paying the artists for their work.

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September 5th, 2018
Kristine Leschper
Mothers lives in a world filled with dreampop, ethereal, and rock. Listening to their music is a dive into an ocean of images and dreams. Originally from Georgia, Mothers released their debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired in 2016. They are now back with a sophomore album Render Another Ugly Method due out September 7, 2018, and a new tour. It features songs like “Beauty Routine:

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Kristine Leschper about the new album. For info visit
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Render Another Ugly Method?
KL: I was writing these songs during what I would consider a time of general personal upheaval – suddenly we were touring really extensively and I wasn’t taking my health seriously, because I didn’t really know how to do that yet in the context of constant travel. I’m a person who is easily overstimulated by crowded or noisy environments, so I found myself feeling totally overwhelmed most of the time. At the same time, it was extremely positive, in that I was being introduced to a ton of new music (mostly by my bandmates on long drives) which absolutely informed the record. There was a lot of discovery. I just mean to say that during this time I felt extremely scattered – influenced by a ton of disparate sources and experimenting to better understand how those sources could inform and interact with my own sensibilities. This record was decidedly more deconstructive than the first record, in the sense that whatever was initially written went through many stages of being torn apart and reassembled. The process was much more visual, like collage, than earlier songs which were written very quickly and intuitively. It was sometime difficult to visualize the locus of the collection during the process of constantly cutting things up and reimagining them.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about John Congleton. How did you meet? Why did you decide to have him produce the album? What did he bring to the project?
KL: From the handful of records I was familiar with that were produced by John, I could tell that he was perhaps as scattered as I was – or that he wasn’t interested in any one particular thing. I was most familiar with the self-titled St. Vincent record, To Be Kind by Swans, and Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen, which all exist in totally different sonic environments. This ability to adapt made sense to me and felt especially relevant to the attitude I had while working on the songs that would become Render Another Ugly Method.
FEMMUSIC: What do you look for in a producer? What has your experience been working with 2 (John Congleton & Drew Vanderberg)?
KL: For When You Walk, I was really looking for guidance. It was my first recording experience (outside of quickly-assembled home recordings) and there was a lot I didn’t know about production. Drew has an ear for nuance – he always worked towards bringing out these small beautiful moments within the greater whole. For Render, I was looking for someone who would challenge my ideas – I sort of hoped to collide and that the music would come out more complete on the other side, having been put through the wringer so to speak. There were several things that John and I disagreed about, so there was this push and pull that happened, shaping the music as it went.
FEMMUSIC: You’re releasing the album through Anti Records. This is not the same label you released When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired on. What made you decide to sign with Anti? What benefits do they bring to the project?
KL: What I first noticed about Anti was that their roster was sprawling and diverse – there are a number of strong women, and especially women of color, who have put out records with them. I like that they don’t try to curate a specific sound as a label, but rather release records they’re really passionate about, that are super different from each other and shine in their own ways. Consequently, they’ve released music by the likes of Kate Bush, Mavis Staples, Elliott Smith, Busdriver, The Locust, Os Mutantes, Tom Waits, Yann Tiersen, etc. I get the feeling that their work is hugely intuitive – it’s definitely a label run by artists, for artists, but they’re also going on 20 years as a label and have the benefits of being quite established. I’ll propose an idea of how I’d like to go about something, and they’re like “ok great, it sounds like you totally have a vision for this, let us know if you need anything to facilitate that”, so they’re supportive with their resources but are simultaneously accommodating to artists who want to have total control of their work, representation, etc.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your songwriting technique.
KL: It’s always changing. The songs on When You Walk were written extremely quickly, without much fuss. I’ve always been interested in abstracted structures, so those songs are quite linear. Writing Render was much more about challenging whatever was initially written, perhaps discarding the majority of the song and rewriting it around one particular section. I feel that it relates back to the cut-up techniques of the Dadaists and William Burroughs. It’s a practice I’ve used often in writing poetry, as well as in my visual works.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
KL: “Nothing On” by Flaming Tunes, and really the Flaming Tunes music in general. They’re incredibly raw, human songs from Gareth Williams, who recorded music as Flaming Tunes after he left experimental rock canon This Heat. I feel that Flaming Tunes has been the impetus for this shift I’ve been experiencing in my songwriting recently (post-render), sort of away from dark postmodernist cynicism and towards something more like new sincerity. I suppose I have been feeling generally less skeptical – ready for tenderness to take over.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
KL: Sure, I definitely have memories of being condescended to – but I do feel really hopeful about the language that’s being developed to discuss the complexities of racism, sexism, transphobia, etc within music and within our culture at large. There seems to be this structure of accountability that is forming as more people refuse to be complacent with these issues.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
KL: I would love to collaborate and/or tour with Cate Le Bon – I think she’s such an incredible writer and player. I feel that her songs are an example of perfectly married noise and pop/songwriter sensibilities. I find it really special when artists are able to do this – it’s one thing to be entirely experimental, or exclusively a good songwriter – so few artists can do both. “Love Is Not Love” is masterful. There’s also a totally lovely video on YouTube of her performing a cover of a white fence song, “Chairs In The Dark” that I recommend.
FEMMUSIC: What is one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
KL: I feel that I’m still trying to understand how I exist in relation to it, or how being a part of it impacts what I do and similarly, the ways in which I can interact with the industry to hopefully shape it in some small way. It seems that change is about accountability, and about grassroots revisions – that interpersonal relationships are some of the most realistic and important in harnessing revolution. I think any industry that operates within the confines of imperialist capitalism has to contend with that existing structure, and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that people who are consistently marginalized within capitalism are not silenced or discredited. I think that this means making a point to collaborate with, hire, recommend/speak highly of, buy records from, go on tour with, ETC, artists who are women, people of color, gender non-conforming, disabled, etc, who tend to be marginalized and ignored by the industry.

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August 17th, 2018
Madison Cunningham by Alex Teitz
Madison Cunningham is on tour with Punch Brothers even as we speak. This 21 year-old country artist has been attracting attention with her songs “So Long Frank Wright”, a Paul Simon cover, and “Beauty Into Cliches.”
Madison Cunningham

She released an EP in 2017 called Love, Lose Remember and recently signed to Verve Forecast. Cunningham brings a storied canvas to her lyrics with a voice that has a hint of Alanis Morissette. She released “All at Once” today:

FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright.” What attracted you to cover that song?
MC: I was asked to play a song for a Paul Simon tribute and I figured all of the hits were already taken, so I chose from the B-side.  When I gave it a closer listen I realized the lyrics were simply profound. The chorus goes, “architects may come and architects may go and never change your point of view”
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Beauty Into Cliches.” How did the song develop?
MC: I was driving to Walmart and the first line of the song jumped in my head.  Then I finished the rest of it that day on my parent’s piano.  It was a quick one.  Songs don’t usually come that easily for me.
FEMMUSIC: With both “Song Long Frank Lloyd Wright” & “Beauty Into Cliches” you worked with Tyler Chester. How was he to work with? What did he bring to the project?
MC: Tyler is one of my favorite people on the planet to work with.  He’s been my producer since I was fifteen and has proven to be one of the most talented folks I know over and over!
FEMMUSIC: You’ve recently signed to Verve Forecast. What made you decide to sign? What benefits to they bring?
MC: When I first met the A&R at Verve (Mike Viola), I felt like I already knew him.  Being an artist himself he seemed to get it and bring a perspective from the label side that was in favor of the artist.  I was persuaded to keep the conversation going. And then when I met the rest of the team and the president of the label (Danny Bennet) and saw how genuine they all were I was convinced.
FEMMUSIC: You’re touring with the Punch Brothers. What are you most looking forward to on the tour? Tell me about working with Chris Thile?
MC: Working with Chris is totally inspiring.  He’s a hard worker, inclusive, genuine, and the truest form of talent there is. Glad to know him! One of the things I look forward to every night is watching their set.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
MC: The technique is: wake up, coffee, give it your best, sleep, repeat.
Making a routine out of song writing seems to be the only thing that truly works for me.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
MC: That’s a hard question.   I think I’ll name a body of work.  Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell was the first record I was able to see myself in. Still my favorite to this day!
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
MC: I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been discriminated against in an overt way.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful men and women who care about my well being more than my music, which I know isn’t everyone’s story.  It’s reared its head in more minor ways. In the instrument store employee who can make you feel small for being a woman asking for guitar strings, or in the expectation an audience can subconsciously project onto you for walking out with an electric guitar.  All and all it’s a male-dominated industry which can be discouraging for any woman, but I have many men to thank for building me up and believing in me more than I ever believed In myself. It’s a two sided coin in the end. We all still have plenty of room to improve as both men and women on how to treat each other as equals. It’s not an easy feat, but we need each other.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
MC: Rufus WainWright or Fiona Apple.  I’m a huge fan of both.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
MC: There will always be a good and bad side to the industry.  I wish it wasn’t designed to be a product to consumer type of business, but more of a gift to the receiver.  Maybe I’d rather have a life of music where it wasn’t just money making but simply for the joy of it. That may be wishful thinking.  I try to focus on making honest music myself and hope that it will land on the right ears.

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