Category: Interviews

April 2nd, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Rich Girls – Luisa Black
 
            New York band Rich Girls is Luisa Black, August Churchill & Gavin Haag. After releasing EP’s, Fiver & Love Is the Dealer, the band is releasing their full length album Black City on April 6. The singles “Hit” and “Wayne” show an alternative band released with no constraint. The album was recorded on both coasts and begs for a headlining tour. For info visit https://www.richgirlstheband.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Black City?
 
LB: There was a ton of momentum heading into recording. We worked hard on pre-production and had this whirlwind week where we tracked basics in Brooklyn and I flew to San Francisco to finish guitars and vocals. And then two days into recording I got super sick and lost my voice. Just completely. So all that momentum came to a screeching halt. I had to cancel a bunch of sessions and there was a week there where I couldn’t see how I would finish the record. I ended up canceling my return trip to NYC and stayed an extra two weeks in California to get it done.
 
FEMMUSIC:  How was your approach different in making a full album vs EP’s? What lessons did you learn from making EPs?
 
LB: I love EPs as a format because you can’t fuck them up. You get a handful of songs to take a stand. And you can really dial in a sound and an idea. It’s an exercise in subtraction. It’s pure. Making a full album is harder. It forces you to expand. There was a lot more sonic range on Black City than on our previous EPs. New instrumentation, a bigger range of tempos. I took more chances.
Rich Girls – Black City
 
FEMMUSIC:  I see you recorded on both coasts. How did you choose Travis Harrison & Sean Beresford to record the album? What did they bring to the project?
LB: Travis we lucked out and found when we did a live session for Brooklyn Today Radio. Those mic-it-and-go things usually sound terrible but he did an amazing job and it sounded great.
 
Later when we were looking for a studio to track in, our friend Steve Matrick, the talent buyer at Piano’s, recommended a guy who he said was the engineer for Guided by Voices and would be a great fit for us. It turned out to be Travis. So that was easy. And then Sean I’ve been working with since I was in The Blacks. He’s been an incredible creative partner to me. At this point it’s like we have a secret language. Plus he tolerates my incessant call for more reverb.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Tricycle Records. What made you sign with them? How are they to work with?
 
LB: Julie Schuchard, who runs the label, was a big supporter of local music in SF.  She signed my first band, The Blacks, and I’ve been working with her pretty much ever since.
 
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
LB: It almost always starts with a sound in my head and then I try to make the sound real by writing the song. So production is a big part of it for me. With Black City the writing process was much more raw. I was pushing into new sonic territory. Also my lyric writing process is sort of bizarre. I write phonetically. Meaning I mostly start with sounds instead of words. Occasionally I’ll get lucky and start with full phrases but that’s rare. I chase feeling first. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
LB: Too hard. But the songs that have the biggest impact on me are the ones that spin me in new directions and change how I think about sound.
It’s some kind of dark magic. I know when it happens because I stop whatever I’m doing and listen.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LB: There’s so much low-level bullshit but it’s not specific to the music industry. I can’t tell you how many times a guy finds out I play in a band and immediately asks me if I play bass.
I used to explain that I play guitar. Now I say, “Why, because I’m a woman?”
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with? Why?
 
LB: Iggy Pop! I’d be honored to watch him wipe the floor with us.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
 
LB: Those right-wing country stars who tell artists to stay out of politics. Let’s shoot them into space.
Rich Girls – Luisa Black

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April 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Sharptooth

Photo Credit_James Harper

 
Baltimore band Sharptooth is a hardcore act with a political edge. Their release last year of Clever Girl was received with acclaim in the industry. Clever Girl included the track “Fuck You Donald Trump” which clearly set the stage for this uncompromising band. Lauren Kashan is the vocalist and has a history that involves more than just music. Sharptooth is one of four female acts on the Vans Warped Tour. For info visit http://sharptoothband.com/ & http://vanswarpedtour.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  I have to begin by asking how someone who was studying box turtles and reptiles became the voice of Sharptooth? How did it happen?
 
LK: Music and zoology have both always been my biggest passions, even since I was a kid. I got my first breeding pair of geckos when I was about 7 years old, and never grew out of that childhood obsession with dinosaurs that so many children share. I got involved in chorus and theater in middle school, and singing quickly became the most important part of my life. I went to a magnet arts school for vocal performance in high school, where I studied Opera in 4 languages and took intensive college-level theater classes and performed in the musicals. Being an art school, being interested in counterculture was basically a requirement for graduation, and my group of friends enveloped me into the local indie and punk scene, a place that I immediately felt at home. Once I started college, I decided that going back to my roots and pursuing a career with reptiles would be the most rational path for me. I still cherished that love for scaly critters, so why not get paid to work with them while moonlighting as a vocalist in bands, or moshing at local shows. It was never an either-or thing for me; these were passions I held dear alongside each other. Now, being involved in the local music scene for over a decade, you meet a lot of people, which was how Lance (our guitarist) came to approach me to see if I’d be interested in doing vocals for Sharptooth. At the time, my former band was wrapping up, and I was interested in writing heavier songs with more sociopolitical lyrics, and when I voiced that, Lance and the band were onboard. So we hit the ground running, writing and recording demos and playing short tours straight out the gate. I think we all knew we had something special with Sharptooth, but we never could have anticipated how things took off.
 
Interestingly, I think both my careers share some common themes. A lot of what I do at my current job involves traveling around the state, doing assemblies for kids with giant pythons and alligators, teaching them about some of the most misunderstood and feared creatures in the world. So it makes a lot of sense to me; I’m on a stage basically all the time, delving into subjects that are often shrouded in misunderstanding and ignorance, and hopefully opening people’s minds. I consider my role in both Sharptooth and as a herpetologist to be that of an educator, and an advocate for the misunderstood; whether that misunderstood being is a person or an animal. It’s about teaching compassion and understanding for all other living beings. So for me, the two go hand in hand.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Clever Girl?
 
LK: If you want that answer, you’d probably be better off asking Lance, who did SO much of the heavy lifting with recording, producing and helping to engineer the record. He was the one shouldering most of the burdens of stress and deadlines and all of the minutiae that goes into making a record. As the vocalist, it was my responsibility to write lyrics that were cohesive and explained some really nuanced concepts in accessible ways, and use my instrument to the best of my ability, and get in the vocal booth and give it my all.
For me, the biggest challenge with this record was finishing it, feeling proud of it, personally sending it out to literally 3 dozen record labels… and not hearing a single word back. You pour your soul into a record, spend hours looking up labels and attempting to connect with them, and the realization that none of these labels probably even read my e-mail, let alone listened to the record, That was pretty painful. So we took it on the chin and released it ourselves back in February of 2017. We had a lot to be proud of regardless, so by then, I was just ready for the world to hear it.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Pure Noise Records. Why did you sign with them? What benefits do they bring, and downsides?
 
LK: We signed to Pure Noise because we were offered a literal dream come true, completely out of nowhere. It’s a label that is home to most of my favorite bands in the world, run by people who were passionate about our music and our message, and willing to back what we did to the hilt. It was honestly a once in a lifetime opportunity. One of my good friends with connections to the label just put the record in front of their noses, and they jumped on it immediately. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have friends and a label that are backing what we do so passionately, and who are willing to go the extra mile for us. There honestly have been no downsides to this signing, and it’s been nearly a year. Everyone who works at Pure Noise has been so kind, and supportive and insightful and talented, and I truly feel blessed to get to work with such incredible people as one of their artists.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does a song develop in the band?
 
LK: For me as a lyricist, it’s different every time. Generally though, Lance will write and record a demo instrumental track, with all instrument parts, and send it to me and see what I think. Lance is always churning out material, I have a file with almost 20 potential Sharptooth songs in it that I just run through and mess around with lyrically. I typically keep a running list of song concepts and topics I want to write about, and I basically wait until I feel inspired about one. Sometimes I’ll have a brain wave, and grab a track, and write a whole song in one day. More often, I’m constantly jotting down lyric ideas, and pulling them into and out of songs until they feel right. I do pretty much all my lyric writing in my car, where I can play the instrumental tracks on the stereo and scream along, recording little voice memos and jotting down lines at stop lights. Sometimes I’ll just go and sit in my car in a parking lot for hours, writing and rearranging. I’m in the process of writing lyrics for some new material right now; it’s been a lot of hours spent just sitting in my car yelling. Once I get a rough idea of lyrics, we usually send the instrumental to the rest of the band for them to mess around with and make their own.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
LK: This is such a hard question. My gut instinct says “Built Upon The Sand” by Stick To Your Guns. This was a song that shaped my views of humanity, the way I interact with others, and the way I approach my life and the people in it. At its baseline, it’s a song about school shootings, and what kind of mindset a person has to be in to commit that kind of atrocity. But at its core, it’s a song about having compassion for others, the change that that compassion can create, and about seeking to understand and love one another, so as to hopefully bring light to another’s darkness, and make the world a better, more peaceful place. The song’s final repeated refrain of “I understand you” is a lyric that has echoed in me since the day the album came out, and has, I truly hope, helped make me into a more loving, compassionate and understanding person. It’s a mantra I’ve repeated to myself in times of frustration and hurt, when facing a world that so often seems dark and cold and unforgiving, and has brought me a lot of hope.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
LK: I’d love to tour and collaborate with bands full of diverse people, of all genders, races, sexualities, abilities and walks of life. We so desperately need more diversity and representation in heavy music, and having that opportunity would help to create a lot more visibility and amplification for so many different voices. That’s first and foremost. But getting to work with bands like Stick To Your Guns and Every Time I Die would be pretty neat too.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LK: More inclusion. More diversity. More visibility for marginalized persons. I guess that’s 3 things, but it’s part of the same idea.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LK: Is water wet? Heavy music in particular has always been extremely gate-keepy towards femmes. Hardcore is such a hyper-masculine environment, and while being able to express some of those more stereotypically masculine traits has been so important to me and has always resonated with me, that environment comes with a huge slew of problems as well. I know so many women who have divorced from metal or hardcore because of discrimination, and in hearing their stories, I certainly don’t blame them. There have been times I’ve wanted to bail too. But this music speaks to me unlike anything else, so it’s kind of become my mission to love this genre into being better. There’s so many beautiful things about heavy, angry music and there’s so many people who need the passion and release it brings. So I’m not ready to give up on it yet.
 
FEMMUSIC: Sharptooth is one of handful of woman led acts on the final Vans Warped Tour. In past years there have been up to 25% of the bands being women led. I’ve read in other interviews you’ve been asked about how women in heavy metal and punk are treated. I was wondering if you think there is a backlash against women in aggressive genres of music by the industry?
 
LK: Like I said, aggressive music has not been kind to women historically. But I feel so grateful for all of the bands and fans that are fighting back; by making their presence known at shows, by simply being visible, by starting bands and zines and running venues and booking shows. There’s so many women in the industry who work behind the scenes as well, and they deserve a light to be shined on their hard work as well. It’s not just about those of us with microphones. But as someone with a microphone, I have a chance to draw attention to the things that need to be changed, and the people who are fighting to make those changes. At this point, people can backlash all they want, I think the tide of inclusion is becoming unstoppable, especially with the younger generations.
 
FEMMUSIC: Sharptooth is political with songs like “Fuck You Donald Trump.” How much does the news influence your songwriting? Is the choice to go political in songs unanimous in the band? What do you hope to achieve with your fanbase by being political? Do you have any named goals?
 
 
LK: Our whole band is pretty politically aware and active, so it’s a pretty natural thing for us. All of us are on the pulse of what’s going on in the world, and in our government, most of us either listen to or read the news fairly regularly. That’s just who we are personally. Our goals are more of a social nature than a political nature: to create a culture of inclusion and visibility for diverse and marginalized voices and social issues in heavy music. Some of these voices are ours, some are ones we use our platform to draw attention to. While some of our songs take aim at more “political” targets, like the government, the president, the police force and organized religion, it’s always with the intent of focusing on how those systems affect society, culture, and people, and empowering each other to make a more compassionate and equal society for all by changing these systems. I hope that’s what our fans can take away from our shows; a sense of empowerment, agency, and a feeling that they are being represented and supported; so that they can go forth into the world and make their voices heard.

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April 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Nina Nesbitt
 
            Nina Nesbitt is a rare artist in the music world. She has her own music studio (Nightwatch Studio) and label (N2 Records). She has walked away from a music label and is still standing stronger than ever. She made her mark internationally with her debut album Peroxide in 2014 with the singles “Selfies” and “Don’t Stop.” In 2017 she started releasing singles from her new album including “The Best You Had” and “Somebody Special.’ She released “Psychopath” with Charlotte Cardin and Sasha Sloan at the end of March:
 
 
She is touring the US opening for Jake Bugg and also on a headlining tour:
04/01 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC
04/03 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
04/04 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
04/06 – The Heights Theater – Houston, TX
04/07 – The Parrish – Austin, TX
04/08 – The Kessler – Dallas, TX
04/10 – The Back Room @ Colectivo – Milwaukee, WI
04/11 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
04/12 – Deluxe @ Old National Center – Indianapolis, IN
04/13 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
04/14 – House Of Blues, Cambridge Room – Cleveland, OH
04/16 – Bogart’s – Cincinnati, OH
04/17 – Eddie’s Attic – Decatur, GA
04/18 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
04/19 – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
04/23 – Club Café – Pittsburgh, PA
04/24 – DC9 – Washington, DC
04/25 – Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn, NY
04/26 – Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
04/30 – Great Scott – Allston, MA
05/01 – World Café Live – Philadelphia, PA
 
For more information visit http://ninanesbittmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: You write and produce your own material. You own both a label and a studio. What benefits does that allow you?
 
NN: I get to do whatever I want musically which is nice. I feel like that’s the way it should be. I got to hand pick a great team around me and being on an indie label allows you to have control over that instead of being assigned to someone who is maybe not passionate about the project. It’s all about having passionate people collaborate with you. Also being able to have the option of producing my own music is great because you don’t feel like you have to rely on other people to do what you love. I definitely prefer collaborating but it’s always good to have the option.
 
FEMMUSIC: You left your first record label. I was curious to see that you signed to Cooking Vinyl. Why did you sign with another record label? Why Cooking Vinyl? What benefits do you see in being with a record label?
 
NN: I knew that I didn’t want to sign to a major at that point in time. I didn’t really know if I wanted to put music out for a while but once I worked out the songs then Cooking Vinyl came along and put their hand up when no one else did. I really admired their courage to say ‘we think you’re great’ when there was nothing really going on for me. It was all about the songs and the fanbase I’d built. I knew that I needed the funds to be able to put stuff out and also wanted to build a team around me and they seemed like the perfect fit. Any artist that works with them has made several albums and I think that’s always a really good sign.
 
FEMMUSIC: It has been 4 years since Peroxide came out. You’ve been releasing singles. When do anticipate a full length album? What lessons did you learn making Peroxide?
 
NN: The new album is written, almost finished recording. I think it’ll be out this autumn but I’m waiting for what feels like the right time. With streaming it’s all about the single song now and then I think once people have heard enough of them it’s time to drop the album which is more like a body of work. I wrote Peroxide between 17-19 so I guess it was a very confusing time for me because I was growing up and I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted. I think you can hear that in the record, but I kinda like that because it shows where I was at. I definitely wanted to make a really strong cohesive sounding record with this one and really find my sound.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest challenge working on a new album?
 
NN: It was actually a really simple experience. It was a weird period of time for me because I was very depressed while writing it but I’d get these lyrics just landing in my head every few weeks and that would be another one written. It literally felt like someone was sending songs in to my head, it was that natural. I guess actually getting to the stage where I knew what kind of album I wanted to make was the most difficult part, but once I knew it just came out.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
NN: My best songs have always started with a lyric idea prior to writing. I get a bunch of lyrics that I love and then try and fit them in. Sometimes I’ll start with a melody over a piano and then go and pick lyrics that I’ve stored away to fit. I also write for other people though and that’s a totally different experience, that’s more getting in a room with people and just having fun, seeing what comes out.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
NN: Oh I couldn’t pick one but I’d probably say in most recent years “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette because of how lyrically open it is. I love that she doesn’t hold back. It made me feel fearless with lyrics.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
NN: Yeah I think more or less every woman I know in this industry has in some way or another but I do think it’s changing and getting better. It’s more about changing people’s attitudes and subconscious I think. All the men I work with are really supportive and I feel like we are treated as equals in all the sessions we do.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with? Why?
 
NN: I’d love to write with Max Martin. He’s my ultimate pop goal. There’s so many hits he’s written. I also love the way Calvin Harris collaborates.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
 
NN: I kinda feel like the two biggest things I dislike about it are slowly changing. Artists having the control and the attitude about woman’s writing/producing ability.

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March 8th, 2018
Stella Donnelly
 
Stella Donnelly has come in like a lioness in the past month. This Australian artist just signed to Secretly Canadian and will be releasing her Thrush Metal EP in June. Her first two tracks are uncompromising attacks on the male system:
 
 
 
It is Donnelly’s conviction is both her songs and videos that attracts our attention. Her songs have a subtle pop sound to them and are lyrically unique. Donnelly will be playing SXSW and a short US Tour afterward before returning to Australia. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/stellamusicband/

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March 6th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Starcrawler photo credit: Autumn de Wilde.

Starcrawler photo credit: Autumn de Wilde.

 
            The Los Angeles rock phenomenon Starcrawler is in the process of conquering the world. This hard rock live act is touring Japan before SXSW and has been on our radar ever since their self-titled album dropped. The album was produced by Ryan Adams. Led by the ferocious power of Arrow de Wilde, this band will dominate this year. Their single “I Love LA” gives a hint of what they are like:
 
            FEMMUSIC was lucky to get an e-mail interview with both Arrow de Wilde and Austin Smith. For more info visit https://www.starcrawlermusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does a song form within the band?
 
Arrow: I don’t know about a technique. We’re not painting a landscape. We just write the songs as they come.
 
Austin: How a Starcrawler song forms is usually Henri comes up with a riff and a melody. Then when we rehearse we start to work out what we all like and don’t like. From there the skeleton of a starcrawler track forms.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making your self-titled record?
 
Arrow: Probably worrying about every single detail, trying to make it perfect. And also coming up with an album name. Which we obviously couldn’t do.
 
Austin: Never feeling like its done was creeping in the back of my mind quite often.  Like is this not polished enough? Or is it too polished?  Should we add more should we take out more? I felt a wave of relief once it was released cause after it’s all done I was happy with all aspects of the record .
 
FEMMUSIC: What made you sign with Rough Trade? What benefits do you see in signing with a label?
 
Arrow: Rough Trade was like my dream label. I think they are one of the coolest ones around and they have an amazing history of bands. And we love everyone who works at the label. It just felt right. I’m very grateful.
 
Austin: Well we all had liked bands that were with RT both of the past and currently. Also they were the kindest label we had met with at the time. It was a easy choice for us to choose such a progressive and forward label.
Starcrawler
 
FEMMUSIC: How was it working with Ryan Adams in the studio? What did he bring to the project?
 
Arrow: Amazing. I love Ryan. He is one of the most creative and spontaneous people I’ve ever met. He has so many ideas and all of them are so brilliant.
 
Austin: Working with Ryan was a good experience in understanding how to flex ones creative muscles. Always allowing us to try things and not thinking any idea was too outlandish or absurd. The one key fact he unearthed in all of us was simplicity. Keeping things easy and taking out the complexities that no one really cares for.
 
FEMMUSIC: Your live shows have caused a stir. How did you develop your stage show both individually and with the band? What is the hardest part of the stage show for you? Why?
 
Arrow: A lot of planning, but a lot of it also came naturally and in spur of the moment. I’m not exactly sure what the hardest part is, however that’s also not something I’m keen to reveal.
 
Austin: Well Arrow from the beginning when it was just her and I (Austin). She had ideas about having a truly visual show and once we have a full band these ideas came to fruition.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song, not your own, has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
Arrow: There isn’t one song. I don’t really believe in having one favorite thing because that just doesn’t make sense to me. I would never be able to listen to one song for the rest of my life and I don’t think anyone would. You would end up hating the song. But to answer the question, the album ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ by Ozzy Osbourne made me want to start making music and performing.
 
Austin: Mark Morrison “Return of the Mack.”
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
Arrow: I’ve been discriminated against like anyone in this business. I don’t know if it has to do with me being a woman, maybe it has. But I don’t really like to think of myself as a woman because that makes me sound too grown up or something. Sometimes people will have problems with what I do, but that’s exactly why I do it. If every single person in the world loved everything, there would be nothing to fight for or rebel against. And that’s what rock and roll is all about.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
Arrow: Ozzy Osbourne.
 
Austin: Mall Grab or Theo Parrish.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
Arrow: Bring back the money.
 
 
Austin: Changing the idea that radio play matters. I think that some of the music that’s impacted my life the most have been artists that generally weren’t allowed/not given radio play. Also fitting the radios format provides such boundaries for artists that I think when someone’s goal is to make radio friendly music, they are limited in what they can create.

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March 2nd, 2018
 by Alex Teitz
CLARA-NOVA
 
            Sydney Wayser evokes another reality with her music as Clara Nova. Her songs include “Echo” and “The Illusionist.” She has been working on a new EP The Iron Age with Shawn Everett. This French-American is influenced by her European roots and by the works of Gainsbourg & Brel, among others. This year she is playing at SXSW. Get a taste of her music with “The Illusionist” video:
 
 
For more information visit http://www.clara-nova.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making your new EP?
 
SW: The last few years have been a bit of a whirlwind actually. Unfortunately, my story falls into the usual category of artists losing their music to record labels. I parted ways with a label and they took my masters leaving me with no work to show after 2 years of recording 2 full length albums for them that were never released. From there I reached out to my fans and supporters and hosted a Pledge Music campaign which allowed me to raise funds to re-record the music that the label took. I ended up surpassing my goal and am now on the other side about to release a piece of this music to the world! It’s funny how on this side of the journey I’m so thankful for the label implosion. I was able to separate from a company that was holding me back and now I’m in control of my music and can decided how and when to release it. I am forever grateful to my supporters who pledged and made all of this possible.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Shawn Everett. How did you meet? What made you decide to work with him on this project? What did he bring to it?
 
SW: Shawn Everett mixed my last Sydney Wayser record, Bell Choir Coast, that was released in 2012. We hit it off right away and have remained friends since. When I moved back to Los Angeles from NYC in 2013 I reached out to him about the new CLARA-NOVA music I had written and we decided to make a record right on the spot. We had kind of a kismet moment actually of running into each other in a random coffee shop and chatting about it. He mentioned he just moved into a new studio and once he finished setting that up he was booked with The Alabama Shakes (making what would be later released as Sound & Color) but that he was free whenever they were not in the studio. We started piecing sounds together and before we knew it we had finish 18 songs. He is one of the most inventive and experimental producers I’ve ever worked with and has an unmatched ability to coax the best out of everyone in the room. By the end of the record we were reading each other’s minds and playing what felt like musical Tetris of shifting pieces around until they found their right place.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about France. I understand you visited it when growing up. What is it about the culture and music that inspires you?
 
SW: Paris is my second home. My father is French and my mother is American. My parents met in Paris in their early 20s in what may be the most romantic story rivaled only by Amélie or some witty romantic comedy. As a child, we spent the school year in Los Angeles but holidays were spent in Paris.  Growing up with a French family meant the culture and art seeped in without knowing it. Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel and Françoise Hardy were always playing on the record player. We’d go to the Louvre, L’orangerie, Centre Pompidou and small art galleries throughout the city. My grandparents were antique dealers and collected vintage gems. They loved showing us the beautiful and unique antiquity of Paris and of France. Paris has this magic sense about it that feels like we are living in parallel universes. I feel like it is 2018 and also 1918 at the same time.
 
CLARA-NOVA
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
SW: Songs usually feel like they write themselves. I’ll throw a few ideas around and see what floats up to the top. Then I take those ideas and pull on them until they reveal verses and choruses. Eventually I end up with a song. I usually don’t sit down thinking “I’m gonna write a song about X”. I sit down and think “hmmmm… I like this image, what words would I use to describe it or that’s a cool melody. What happens if a flip it? What happens if I elongate it? etc”
 
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you? Why?
 
SW: I’m not sure I can pick one only song! I’d say the album Poses by Rufus Wainwright changed my life and musical thinking. I’ve listened to that record for 14 years or so. I go through periods where I listen to it on repeat for months without listening to anything else. The musical composition, lyrics, arrangements and performances are all brilliant. It hybridizes electronic and organic elements which I find beautiful and interesting while maintaining overflowing emotion and honesty.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
SW: I think every woman in the industry has been discriminated against at some point. These discriminatory incidences are not always intentional but happen in response to peoples own self doubt, insecurity and ego. This incredible movement is breaking down these barriers and pushing people to think before they act out and react in response to their own insecurities.
 
I had the great pleasure of singing in an all women choir supporting Shirley Manson of Garbage and Fiona Apple for Girlschool LA last month and am forever in awe of those women. They were open-hearted and inclusive, kind and appreciative of everyone in the room. I hope this movement creates more writing sessions, rehearsals and meeting that feel as great as those rehearsals and performances felt. We have everything to gain and I think we gain it but loving and respecting our collaborators and team members no matter their race, gender, sexual preference or social status.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
SW: I’m a huge fan of Phoenix and would love to open up for them on tour. Maybe it’s the French connection or maybe it’s just that they’re music is so great but I’m a big fan of everything they put out in the world. Side note – Their Blogotheque video shot in Versailles is stunning as well!
 
Another person I’d love to collaborate or tour with is Karen O. I think she is just  A+++. She’s fearless and vibrant. A strong voice for women and honestly she’s just such a badass!!
 
FEMMUSIC:  What’s one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
SW: I wish A&R wasn’t a lost art form. I hope we can go back to a place where record labels love artists’ creativity first rather than their numbers. A place where labels truly help musicians find their voice and their sound. The industry moves so fast these days many artists get lost in mergers and are left with nothing.

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March 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Lucy Rose
            Lucy Rose went through some life changing experiences to make her 3rd studio album Something’s Changing. She changed labels. She toured Latin America with the help of her fans. She went into the studio in a different way. The result is an album that reveals the artist’s true heart. Lucy Rose is on tour with Paul Weller in the US this month. For info visit https://www.lucyrosemusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like you went through some profound changes before recording Something’s Changing. How did that effect your own goals for recording the album?
 
LR: I think my whole perspective for music and making records changed after really getting to know my fans. I understood what they had taken from my music and the importance of songs and making music. During that trip I reconnected to my guitar and writing songs began to feel natural again. I guess you can put a lot of pressure on yourself when you’re making something and worry that no-one will like it but I was just thinking about those fans I had met and was writing the record for them so I wasn’t worried and enjoyed the whole experience.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Something’s Changing?
 
LR: It really doesn’t feel like a challenging project, in many ways it was the easiest record I’ve made yet. I’m sure with more experience that helped but I had a very clear vision in my head about what I wanted to make, I had all the songs written and had been playing them for half a year or so so I felt confident in playing and singing them. The only challenge I can think of is that I was self funding this record and managing myself, so it was a lot to take on but it all worked out in the end.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Tim Bidwell. What did he bring to the project and what did he bring out of you?
 
LR: A lot of laughing. Tim is one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes when you’re recording, things can feel quite serious. You’re in a studio, the clock is ticking and you know it’s costing money so there rarely feels like there’s time to mess around, be silly or just have another cup of tea and relax. And weirdly this record was so quick to make. In making the environment so relaxed, we did less takes and caught real performances. I think he brought out the best in me, sometimes I can be quite serious so it was nice that fun Lucy was out making this record.
 
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like the production time of Something’s Changing was both really quick (17 days) and relaxing at the same time (I read you were attending some shows as an audience member then). How did that differ from producing your other albums? Were there any benefits or downsides you weren’t expecting with it?
 
LR: We clocked off most evenings around 7pm, so it meant I had the evenings to myself. I live in London, so don’t know that many people in Brighton which is were Tim lives, so I spent most evenings on my own going to see gigs. I not great on my own but I love it at the same time and it gave me lots of time to think about the record and the songs. Honestly I really enjoyed making this record, like I did the other records, they were all such different experiences, the first at my parents house in their living room, the second in a proper studio in London and this one in Tim’s house in Brighton. I did find it hard being away from home so much but it meant I was determined to work hard and get the record finished quickly. And the biggest benefit from making the record is the new friends I’ve made, Tim and Laura (Tim’s wife) are now great friends of mine and the musicians that Tim introduced me to are now by band who I love.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Arts & Crafts Records. How did you come to sign with them? Did you have any reservations about signing to another label after leaving Columbia?
 
LR: I’ve always loved Arts & Crafts and it’s been a dream of mine to be able to release my music with them, I still can’t really believe it’s happened. After being set free from Columbia Records, I was a little nervous about my next step and I knew I would never do a regular major deal again, so I’m licensing my music, which gives me a lot more control and freedom to make the music that I want to make and put it out in the right way. I more involved in every step now so it feels much more authentic.
Lucy Rose
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
LR: It’s like waiting for a bus, you can be waiting for ages or two buses come at once. Last night I sat down at the piano and somehow wrote something and then picked up my guitar and wrote something else. But this last month I’ve written nothing because the moment wasn’t quite right and the feeling wasn’t there. When that feeling of inspiration comes I make sure I make the most of it and if it’s not there I try not to worry.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LR: There’s been the odd moment here and there where I’ve thought ‘if I was a man would you have said that to me? Or asked me that? Or treated me that way?’ Some people treat men and women so differently and don’t even realize it. I’ve had the odd comment on a radio show, when I was talking about living with my fans where the male presenter has said ‘oh you can come stay in my house’ and there’s a joke that’s slightly inappropriate that follows this and I feel like all my power has been taken. If I laugh along then how can I be taken seriously as a musician and if I say something I’m an uptight bitch who can’t take a joke. It’s really hard sometimes and I pick my battles but it’s never easy.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
LR: Neil Young, 100%. Because he’s my hero and I’d like to think his fans may like my music.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LR: Tough questions but if I could change one thing I’d love the industry to not be profit driven.

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March 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
charlotte kemp
            Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a rare artist who is skilled in many disciplines and active in all of them. She is a model, director and multi-instrumentalists. She is most well known for being part of Sean Lennon’s band Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (GOASTT). She is part of Kemp & Eden. Recently she started Uni with David Strange and Nico Fuzz. The new band adds glam rock to insightful and humorous lyrics characterized by their lead single “What’s The Problem.” The band will be releasing an EP on Chimera Records later this year. For info visit https://www.uni-bomber.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with David Strange before. What made you decide to make Uni a permanent band?
 
CKM: I produced/arranged a solo album for David after hiring him to play guitar in my folk project, as a kind of barter system. We had so much fun that we started a side project called Uni, which recently turned into our main project because we wrote so many songs and it felt like it had a lot of potential.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the vision of the band in style and music?
 
CKM: We were listening to a lot of Ziggy Stardust, T Rex, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Beastie Boys and The Kinks at the time, so there’s a lot of 70’s glam influences with rock/prog riffs and sometimes a 90’s flavor.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting process?
 
CKM: I write most of the music and riffs while David writes a lot of the lyrics. Nico came into the picture later but he played a lot of cool overdubs and wrote great harmonies. We love music gear so sometimes we’ll get inspired to write a new song when we get a new guitar or tape delay.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Uni EP?
 
CKM: Finding the right front man was a big thing. It was a miracle meeting Nico when we did! We quickly became an Adam’s family of sorts. Another challenge was figuring out how to modernize the classic sounds we love. We experimented with Nico playing electronic drums over the real ones, and sometimes using analog Moog synth bass in lieu of real bass.
 
FEMMUSIC: What are your own goals with Uni?
 
CKM: The idea was to have a pop project, but my idea of pop is verrry odd. Guess I’m really out of touch with the current pop charts of EDM music. I still think Ziggy is pop.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with GOASTT and Kemp & Eden. What differences does Unihave in comparison? Any similarities?
 
CKM: Every group of people have a different chemistry and bring out different aspects in each other. Eden brought out the romantic Victorian quality in my songwriting and production. Sean and I were obsessed with 60’s psychedelia for the Goastt. Uni was more inspired by the early 70’s and our love of vintage gear.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the “What’s The Problem?” video? Does the final product match your vision for it, and the band’s?
 
CKM: It was our first video so my concept was to do it very cheaply in a tiny studio. Was inspired by Diane Arbus and Toilet Paper magazine. I shot it on 16 mill film so we only had 1 or 2 takes for everything. Was so fun bringing in all the different characters! Of course some of the vignettes were pretty scandalous and bizarre, so there were moments we would be duct taping up a naked girl and looking at each other like, we hope people see the comedy in this!!
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CKM: Eh, there will always be a set of stigmas and challenges every group of people have to deal with. People can be condescending to me as a woman occasionally but I never feel like a victim. It just motivates me to beat them.
 
FEMMUSIC: If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, whom would it be and why?
 
CKM: My friends? I only like to tour with people who make me laugh. But I’d love to collaborate with so many people- mostly in the classical world. Writing for orchestra is my dream!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
CKM: Everything!! It’s awful. So vapid and corporate. Kids need to be reeducated about what good music is, and its deeper function in culture to make people think/be uncomfortable, challenge status quo, and offer catharsis.

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March 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Jade McInally
 
Melbourne four piece Jade Imagine released their EP What the Fuck Was I Thinking in April on Courtney Barnett’s Milk! Records. The band is led by Jade McInally, who previously performed as Tantrums. McInally has also performed with Teeth and Tongue. She recorded many of the songs with Dave Mudie, drummer for Courtney Barnett.
 
Jade Imagine has not toured the US. We are looking forward to her following in Barnett’s footsteps in taking over the world.  We are pleased to present this interview with McInally. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/jadeimagineband/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
JM: There’s no real ‘method’ to my madness, although I have noticed a loose pattern developing lately…Usually it begins with me going for a walk, or doing something kinda monotonous (doing the dishes, riding my bike, showering, etc) and that’s about the time when a melody or a lyric or a rhythm starts working its way into my brain… next thing, I’m humming it. That’s when I’ll usually reach for whichever instrument feels appropriate, or my phone to record it. By that stage sometimes I have all the parts for bass, drums, and vocal harmonies in my brain and I have to work pretty quickly to catch it all! Very disruptive, this musical beast!
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making What the Fuck Was I Thinking?
 
JM: Having blind faith in the process and trusting that all the pieces will come together the way they should.
 
FEMMUSIC: It sounds like Dave Mudie became your producer by fate. How was it working with him?
 
JM Yes, well he produced a few of the tracks; Stay Awake and Esteem, and then did a bit of other stuff here and there (overdubs, guest percussion, piano, etc)… working with him was effortless, fun, intuitive and quick. He has a great flow and we got so much done in such a small amount of time. It was a very fortuitous thing that we met and that he was free and keen to collaborate!
 
The other producer I worked with was Tim Harvey (he produced Walkin’ Around, Tell Her She’s Dreamin’, God Is A Crown and You & I). He was really there for me throughout the entire process. A lot of the vibe of the EP is his production and playing!
 
FEMMUSIC: Given you were working with Mudie, signing to Milk! Records was not a stretch. What made you sign with them? What benefits do you see in signing with a label?
 
JM: I would only ever work with people who I trust and believe in. Working Milk! Records was a no brainer. Jen and Courtney are extremely talented, driven, intelligent and plus they’re powerful women – who wouldn’t want to work with such inspiring role models?!
To be honest I didn’t expect to release my record with any label, but when this opportunity came up I thought that I would definitely be mad to turn it down.
Working with labels isn’t for everybody – I would always assess it on a case-by-case basis!
 
FEMMUSIC: How do you think your own music and vision has changed since the Tantrums?
 
JM: I (like to) think that I have a more refined and direct creative vision. Tantrums was a steep learning curve and I think that it was important to learn some of those lessons early on in my music career.
My own music now feels more true to who I am and the music I want to make now. But that’s not to say that I wasn’t diggin’ Tantrums when I was in that band!! Just a different time and a different place… It’s good to be open to change when you’re an artist. That’s how you grow and learn and make killer art.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned that you wish you knew earlier?
 
JM: The most incredible song can start with just one line, one melody. But you’ve got to believe in that little seed of an idea otherwise you wont give it the chance to grow and be an awesome song (Sorry, so corny)!!
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
JM: Look, I think that I probably have. I know that I have been talked down to, treated as though I’m stupid, been ignored, been objectified… which, in the moment, is a horrible and angering feeling! But I also have been embraced, applauded, listened to and celebrated and I strongly believe that there are just downright dickheads out there who treat all people in a horrible way. I genuinely don’t think that me being a woman really changes anything. I like to see all people as equals. Gender issues and peoples senses of sexual-identity are becoming so fluid, broad and diverse that I really just think the best way to approach day to day life is to embrace and accept our humanity, above all else.
Jade McInally
 
FEMMUSIC: What’s one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
JM: Well for one, I would like to see the Australian Government demonstrating a higher appreciation and recognition of what the arts does for this country and for the world – and to support it more, financially.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with, and why?
 
JM: I would really love to tour and/or collaborate with Ty Segall. I really love his musical ideas – I have for years – and the one time I saw him live was such a killer performance. Seeing that for a whole tour would be a dream come true!
 
I would also love to collaborate with St Vincent… mainly just to see how she gets those EPIC guitar sounds. Haha.

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February 16th, 2018
by Alex TeitzNADINE
 
                Oh My is a different album. It mixes jazz elements and complex arrangements into a fluid dynamic sound that permeates the space between the device and the ear. Then it extends the boundaries of what is possible.
 
                Oh My is the debut album by Nadine, a Minneapolis band consisting of Nadia Hulett, Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez. Hulett has done work both as a solo artist and as part of Phantom Posse. The album took 2 years to create. It was made both in New York City and Dripping Springs, Texas.
 
                Nadine will be at SXSW. FEMMUSIC is honored to have an e-mail interview with Nadia Hulett. We have kept it in original form because Hulett responded poetically to some responses. For information visit  https://www.facebook.com/nadinemusic
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Oh My?
 
NH: emotionally:
 
The prolonged days-weeks-months of getting in my own way:
 
Excessive doubt, imbalance, inertia
 
Logistically:
 
The realities of a long distance collaboration – finding the moments & money to come together to write and record
NADINE-oh-my
 
FEMMUSIC:  Oh My was 2 years in the making. I was curious about the change from NYC to Dripping Springs. What did the change in location change with the album? How did the long production time help the album?
 
NH: After leaving New York City I lived for a bit in providence, upstate New York, and Austin. My time in dripping springs was actually quite short and came after the album was already finished. However, I visited a fair amount – whenever i could – during the making of oh my. the week we recorded there was a turning point for the record. Julian and Carlos felt much freer in the process, and we realized just how important it is for us to write outside of the city (New York City). How it influences the imagination in such a positive way.
 
Dripping Springs has always been sacred to me, an opportunity to start fresh, signs of a new life.
 
FEMMUSIC: How did the long production time help the album?
 
NH: I think I challenged how things are often done in a studio because I didn’t have everything written in full beforehand, and i didn’t desire for anything to be rushed. We did not have certain ticking clock pressures in the studio. i wanted it to be a creative place (as it can and should be). So i took my time. I also had to take my time between writing sessions in the studio with Julian and Carlos so that i could work on new songs on my own and save up money for the next session. It made sense to do it that way. The emphasis was on moving slow.
 
It’s good to have space
 
Space / time / distance can really help things – We don’t have to rush rush rush all the time
 
Some things can wait
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest change you made to Oh My that you did expect at the beginning?
 
NH: Mmm it was all unexpected ~
 
Everything unfolded as we went and most things were surprises
 
FEMMUSIC: How is Nadine different from your other projects (Phantom Posse, solo work)? What do you most enjoy about Nadine?
 
NH: This process has been transformative
Here I am embracing what means the most to me and doing what i can to serve it and share what feels right to share
The collaboration with Julian and Carlos has provided an incredible foundation for this to happen
 
I learned again and again during the process of making oh my that it is necessary for me to work with others on projects. I usually process my feelings and experiences out loud and sometimes even collaborate with close friends on decision making – not because I don’t know what I want but because i need to get what is inside of me out and it helps for me to explore ideas with others. I’ve attempted before to “do it all alone” in bedrooms and found myself in very unhealthy places. I want to recognize what works best for me and see myself grow.
 
Finding ways to communicate and connect with people is vital
 
It’s easy to float out into spacey loneliness when we aren’t regularly feeling seen, heard, held
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve signed to Father Daughter Records. How did the signing come about? What benefits do you see signing to a label?
 
NH: We emailed Jessi Frick (who started and runs Father Daughter with her dad) and she opened the email!
I met Jessi years ago and Julian and Carlos worked with her a little bit in the recent past, so it wasn’t out of the blue
I’ve wanted to work with Jessi and know her better for years, and I’m really grateful that it is happening now.
Jessi has the resources and experience in the industry that I just don’t have yet.
Releasing an album with a label is one way of doing things. I was very interested in exploring this way of doing things, and I plan to explore the many roads that exist and create my own as I continue to learn and grow.
 
NADINE-oh-my
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
NH: The process is fluid just like me
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
NH:  I started writing, saw the long list coming & had to stop
 
No one song alone – no one experience alone
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
NH: Assumptions may be made about me because of my role on stage as the performer and singer. Sometimes with men, but not exclusively, an assumption is made that I would want to work with you before I know anything about you. we may be chatting about something and it comes up that i write songs – make albums – perform, and it just so happens you are a producer, guitarist, or whatever. i may have no idea who you are or what you are about but the assumption is often that I should want to work with you or be flattered by your interest in me (and my potential 😉 ). Sometimes I do want to work with you! Perhaps,  maybe. If we connect! What’s the connection? What’s the context? Is there a foundation here or could there be? This is also inherently about choice.
 
FEMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
NH: Sean Nicholas Savage – let me croon with you
Kadhja Bonet – let me learn from you
Kelsey Lu – let me play with you
Solange – let me sway with you
Lana del Rey – let me mourn with you
Sade & Erykah Badu – let me share my gratitude with you
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
NH: More room for everybody / less exclusive / more qtpoc represented on labels, showcases, tours, and generally running things
No one should get buried in algorithms and have to pay to get their music heard
 
Pay-to-play is a thing i always associated with the acting world, and it’s awful how rampant it is here too
 
 
We can thrive outside these models
 
We can make our own pathways
 
 
We can move on our own timelines

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February 12th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
 
Holly Miranda
 
            Mutual Horse is Holly Miranda’s 3rd album with Dangerbird Records and comes out February 23. The album is filled with collaborations with other artists. Miranda has a list of credits accumulated over time and has worked with artists including Ambrosia Parsley, Craig Wedron, Chris Maxwell, Scott Matthew, and many more. In Mutual Horse she works with Jim Fairchild, Kyp Malone, and Shara Nova.
 
“Golden Spiral”, the 2nd single off Mutual Horse is a feast for the ears. It includes visual lyrics and a driving drum beat mixed with a saxophone that helps to color the track as both rock and psychedelic. Miranda is not a household name. She is a working musician who has built a sound over numerous experiences in the music world. She is a small revolution waiting to happen. For info visit http://hollymiranda.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Mutual Horse?
 
HM: The biggest challenge making this record was probably choosing which songs were going to make it on the final album. I went into the studio with 33 songs, not all were finished, some were just pieces of songs, notes scribbled on bits of paper taped into my notebook. We tracked basics (drums and bass) on 24 songs in 5 days and then I had to trim that down to 18 songs we would focus on finishing. Finally, I had to then choose which would make it onto the vinyl record and the digital record. I get very attached to each song, it’s like a baby that I want to see grow up, but with production costs and studio costs, I have to choose which babies I will carry out of the fire. That’s a hard decision.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was your vision for this album vs your other albums?
 
HM: Writing with other people hasn’t always come very naturally to me, but I think I found a sweet spot of collaborators in this mix. I really tried to allow myself to be vulnerable in the writing space and the recording studio, letting the musicians who have been playing with me for years take the reigns more and guide this horse with me, if you will.
 
FEMMUSIC: This album is filled with collaborations. Tell me how that came to be. How did you choose whom to work with? Were there any collaborations on the album you were nervous about? How did you meet the collaborating musicians?
HM: Everyone I wrote this on this record was already a good friend of mine, with the exception of Jared Samuel, I met him while working on this record and his contribution was monumental. Jim Fairchild (of Modest Mouse) who I wrote “Wherever you are”, “On the radio” and “Let her go” with has been a good friend for a while. We had planned to try and write one song and wrote about five. Kyp Malone (Tv On The Radio) has sang on all of my solo albums, but this was the first time I asked him to write with me, “Exquisite” is one of my favorite songs, ever. Josh Werner, who I wrote “Mr. Fongs” with, was actually the first bass player in my old band The Jealous Girlfriends, about 180 years ago. We sent Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond) that track when we were stumped for a chorus and she sent us back what you hear on the record. It really all happened very naturally and felt good to involve my musical family and share the work in that way.
 
Holly Miranda
 
FEMMUSIC: This is your 3rd album with Dangerbird. What benefits do you see working with a label? How is Dangerbird to work with?
 
HM: Every label has its pros and cons and no label is perfect. If you are looking for anyone to do everything for you in this age of the industry you are going to be disappointed. I think ultimately, you have to be willing to do as much as you can on your own. That being said, the perks of having help on the administrative side and financial support are greatly appreciated and needed. Dangerbird has been wonderful to work with. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Has it changed over time?
 
HM: It never really happens the same way twice, but it always involved stopping and listening to the little whisper, pulling the car over, finding that pen stuck between the seats, being still. I think it has changed, as I have changed, how exactly, I’m not sure. I still feel vulnerable and nervous the first time I have to sing a song out loud to someone else for the first time, I just welcome the feeling more now. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
Probably Nina Simone “Do What you Gotta Do”, it’s a song about setting free what doesn’t belong to you and trusting if it’s meant for you it will come back. Letting go, with grace. Something I have had to learn a lot about over the years.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
HM: Umm, yeah. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
HM: I would love to collaborate with more of my friends, Laurel Sprenglemeyer (Little Scream), Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire) and Kyp Malone, if the four of us got into a studio for a few days I would be over the moon.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
HM: Ha! One thing? I mean, everything, but if I have to pick one it would have to be how little the artists get paid by the streaming companies. I would like to change that.  

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February 9th, 2018
by Alex Teitz
Totally Mild – band
 
            Totally Mild is the brainchild of Elizabeth Mitchell. Starting out as a solo project it has evolved into a 4 piece with developed sound and style. Their album HER comes out on February 23 and Totally Mild is already due to appear at SXSW.
            Mitchell has a presence and power similar to Imelda May in HER’s first single “Today Tonight.” She gets close and intimate with the second single and ballad “Lucky Stars.”
 
 
Video – Lucy Stars – https://youtu.be/_s2ZYj1kSvA
 
           FEMMUSIC is honored to have a chance to speak with Mitchell before the album release and SXSW appearance. For more info visit   https://www.facebook.com/TotallyMild/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was your vision for HER?
 
EM: We wanted Her to be a more lush pop album, we spent a lot of time making choices in the studio rather than worrying about replicating a live sound. I wanted the lyrics to be concise and honest, they are not very masked in their intentions.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What were the biggest differences between Down Time & HER? What lessons did you learn from Down Time?
 
EM: Her is more of a considered album. Down Time feels like an artifact of where we were as a band, with Her we opened ourselves up to more elaborate production. I was very naive about the music industry and releasing an album when Down Time came out, you can only release your first album once. I feel more aware now which is positive and negative.
 
FEMMUSIC:  You recently signed to Chapter Music. What made you sign with them? What benefits do they bring?
 
EM: Chapter Music is such a staple of the Melbourne music scene, they have released so much amazing music over the years. As a local music nerd I feel very honoured to be on their label. Guy and Ben are so committed to their bands, they stay behind everything they release 100%. There is also just something special about working with other queer people. They really see you and your experiences of the world. I really feel like they understand where I am coming from with my approach to music and life in general.
 
Totally Mild – Elizabeth Mitchell
FEMMUSIC: Besides the new album, new label…your band has also changed. Tell me about the new members and what they bring to Totally Mild?
 
EM: Dylan Young is our new drummer. He is a child prodigy, so young and so talented. He can play every instrument put in front of him and is a pure joy to have in the band.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
EM: Huge question. I don’t know if I can pick a single song so I’ll pick an album Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. If ever I’m having a musical problem I look to Rumours for the solution.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
EM: Of course. I don’t like to dwell on all the negative elements of being a woman in the music industry though. Especially now because it feels like a revolutionary time for women, femmes and non-binary people coming together and changing things. I also operate with a lot of privilege within the industry. Sure I’m a queer woman but I’m also white and cis. The problems don’t lie just with being a woman in the music industry, it’s much more intersectional than that, and it’s the whole structure that really needs questioning. It’s a matter of race, gender, class, access; it’s more complicated and nuanced than simply being a woman in the music industry.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
EM: I feel blessed to tour and collaborate with my band, I’d like to keep doing that until we get tired or kill each other. As for a dream celeb, I’d love to write for a pop star like Miley Cyrus or Kesha…
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry and why?
 
EM: Things move and change so slowly. More women, more queer people, more people of colour; less boys clubs. It does feel like things are getting better but maybe it’s the bubble? I’d like the bubble to get bigger, I think it is slowly, maybe, I don’t know
 
 

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February 1st, 2018
by Alex Teitz
ruby boots
 
            When Ruby Boots sings “I Am A Woman” on her release Don’t Talk About It it evokes a spiritual bond with the listener. The song is more gospel than country and is appropriate in our times. Ruby Boots is Bex Chilcott, an Australian artist who has wondered the world and ended up in Nashville. Her new album Don’t Talk About It comes out on February 9 on Bloodshot Records and is filled with a mix traditional country themes of relationships gone bad mixed with outlaw country rebel songs. Chilcott worked with producer Beau Bedford to make the album. Chilcott has released other albums including her 2016 release Solitude. Her Bloodshot Records’ debut stands out and will be a new chapter in country music. For more information visit  http://www.rubybootsmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Don’t Talk About It?
 
BC: The songwriting process was the most challenging part, I had to place so much more weight around the songwriting this time around, and that didn’t exist on the last one, consciously thinking “this has to be so much better than the last thing I did” about everything I do can be my best friend and my worst enemy simultaneously, but as a result I am so much prouder of this record than anything I’ve done before, because I worked so much harder at it. After the songs were chosen and I was in the studio it was just like I was in a dream!
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Beau Bedford. How did you meet? What did he bring to the project? How was he to work with?
 
BC: Beau and I met at The American Legion in East Nashville when he and the gents were on their way to Newport Folk Festival to back Kris Kristofferson up as his backing band, they were doing a warm up show at The Legion on the way up there and I was one of the guest singers, we sparked up the conversation about what I was doing out here and it led to many more conversations and eventually to us both working together on the album, an element of synchronicity in this album journey that I am very grateful for.
 
Beau throws 110% at everything he does and that to me speaks volumes about someone especially when they are in the role of a producer, the energy he brings to the studio and to the project is full pelt from start to finish, he throws his heart into it in a way that is almost unparalleled with how much you are putting into it yourself and that can really do something for the healthy dose of self doubt that is ever present when making a record. He and the band cradled my vision for the songs and always had ideas to bounce off anything I threw out there that were always on point and easy to run with. I just felt like everything I had wanted out of working with someone on something that means so much to me was there this time.
 
FEMMUSIC: How did your approach to Don’t Talk About It differ from Solitude? What lessons did you learn and what did you do differently?
 
BC: The main point of difference between this album and the last was that I tracked Solitude across 9 months with four different producers and several different bands, where as this one we had it tracked and mixed in under three weeks. I learnt a lot about working with producers the previous album process because there were so many of them, almost like I had the experience of four albums in one so I was really able to rely on my instincts and be super clear about what I wanted out of a producer. The other point of different was after releasing my last album it helped me hone in on what I was missing from my sound, knowing that I had to take the songs out on the road for the next 18 months or more I tapped into that feeling and incorporated more of what I wanted from my live show into the album sonically. 
Ruby Boots
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve signed to Bloodshot Records. How did the signing come about? What benefits do you see signing to a label?
 
BC: For me it’s really important to have a team of people that are passionate about what you do and about the art you create and to know that that love and passion for the music has to be ever present for Bloodshot to work with an album or an artist … and let’s face it, we are all just making music so we can be loved right?
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
BC: Not really, its varies, there is no hard and fast rule to writing a song to me but there are things that I need to be doing in my daily life to ensure I keep writing like reading, taking myself outside of my comfort zone or feeling discomfort and not being comfortably numb, collaborating, staying very present in conversations with people, that kind of thing.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
BC: I mean, asking a Libra to choose one of anything without deliberating for weeks on end is a bold move 🙂 but one song .. it’s almost impossible to answer, in fact I think it is impossible. One of the many songs that have had a huge impact on my world of music would be Lucinda Williams “Fruits Of My Labor”, this has to be one of the greatest songs so full of heartache and attempted defiance to fight the pain that I have ever heard. The poetry in this song is unrivaled and Lucinda’s delivery, well can only be delivered like that by Lucinda.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
Not directly to me in the industry no, but I’ve always had a “take no bullshit from anyone” attitude. I was kicked out of home at a very early age and worked in a male dominant industry when I was working out at sea on Pearl Farms in Australia, so I have developed a thick skin and have some pretty serious middle fingers up in the air if someone even looks like they are about to stop me from doing something because of my genitalia, and because I treat people the way I want to be treated and won’t consciously take any less. HOWEVER! when I read festival line ups with close to a hundred acts on the bill and the percentage of female acts is so small you need a magnifying glass to see them, that’s where the discrimination is felt, or when the fucking president of the Grammys says “Women need to step up” to be more than welcomed (and don’t give me the taken out of context bullshit!) I totally understand and feel that there is a clear disparity or imbalance in the industry, and it’s not just in the music industry but across the board and I am a fighter for equality in all areas in life!
 
 FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
BC: My two dreams tours have always been Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams, you know, the kind of dream where you lay in bed at night and thing, wouldn’t it just be the fucking best thing to happen if you could open a show and tour with … why? Because they are my all time, favorite songwriters! Sadly that has been whittled down to one artist after the passing of Tom Petty, there is still room to dream though right?
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
 
BC: Can I choose two? Because the choosing one thing is really starting to mess with my head! 
1. To see the work and the conversations and the statements that are being made around discrimination in the industry take a serious shift, because this all can’t be for nothing, right? and 
2. The expectation that artists have to be have this presence on social media to have some kind of worth in the industry, I know things will never be the same again, but it drives me bonkers having to constantly have this ‘presence” online, I really don’t feel its all that healthy for the human race.   

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

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December 1st, 2017

by Alex Teitz

Bec Sandridge

Bec Sandridge photo by Giulia McGauran

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

 

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


BS: 100%

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


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

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


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

 

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December 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
 
Morgan Saint

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

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November 16th, 2017

Little-Destroyer

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

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

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

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

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