Category: Interviews

November 1st, 2020

Cassidy King

Cassidy King has released her debut EP, Not So Picture Perfect, on October 23. The EP is a collection of writings inspired by the first person she ever fell in love with and the love triangle that ensued. The triangle started with Cassidy at one point, her love interest at another and the woman’s boyfriend the third. It created an unknown competition between two lovers that inevitably ended in heartbreak. She notes, “to this day I’m still not sure if I truly loved her or just loved the way she hurt me. She was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me but through her I learned that love is beautiful because it’s not perfect and maybe that was the point.”

No So Picture Perfect includes “Wasted”, “Safe Places”, “Abigail”, “When I’m Gone”, “Ashes” and “Polaroid.” The videos have been visually mesmerizing and present a visual metaphor of real life events.

King comes from Chardon, OH and counts Paramore and Ani DiFranco as inspirations. For info visit https://www.instagram.com/cassidyyking/?hl=en

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Not So Picture Perfect?

CK: Not so Picture Perfect was definitely the most emotionally challenging record for me so far. Where I come from being vulnerable is more equated to weakness than strength so I’ve definitely struggled with putting out a story that is so close and personal to me. It’s giving such a vulnerable piece of me to people, it’s about battling myself in a lot ways and the hard lessons I had to learn.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

CK: Most of the songs come from things that I write on the notes app for my phone. They’re normally one liners or poems that are quick descriptions on how I feel at the moment. I’ll even take a voice memo of me venting sometimes and turn that into a song later. By the time I get into the studio I have so many  different types of ideas on my phone that it all happens really naturally. I personify the emotions I feel from situations to make them easier to understand and ultimately cope with.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Tyc and Mike Tuccillo. How did you meet? What did each bring to the project?

CK: I feel really grateful. Ty and Mike both worked so incredibly hard and they both bring such a different feel to each song. We spent an average total of 8 hours for each song just on mixing alone over the phone. I met Tyler through a close friend of mine. Tyler only lives 5 minutes down the road from me so it was way too perfect. I met Mike through my manager Kevin. I trust Kevin a whole lot so I already knew so many great things about Mike before working with him prior. The first time I met Mike, he took us all to the best vegan restaurant I’ve ever been too so I knew he was a keeper right then and there. We recorded “Safe Places” at his studio in LA during November of 2019. 

Cassidy King -not so picture perfect

FEMMUSIC: I understand at one time you were considering a life in comedy. What made you decide to switch to music, and when did you know it was the right choice?

CK: I’ve always been drawn to self expression since doing theater in high school and have wanted to tell a story in whatever way I could. Music has been helping me tell that story in ways nothing else could and I know it’s right because it feels right. Life is always subject to change with the ways you see and express yourself and I’ll always be open to new ways of expression. As I grew, music ended up paving the way for me to say the words I needed to.

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

CK: I feel like my answer to this question changes quite frequently. There’s j so many songs that I hold close to me for different reasons. One of them being “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit. That song was shown to me by my sister 12 years ago and that song still feels the same to me every time I hear it. It feels timeless. Another one I have to say is the “Girls like Girls” music video by Hayley Kiyoko. It was the first music video I ever saw portraying a love story with two girls and it really helped me be comfortable in expressing queer love stories through my own lens.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

CK: I wasn’t always accepted for who I wanted to be. I was raised in a very conservative area and was taught from a very young age to feel wrong for who I was. Walking into music, I still had a lot of unresolved internal battles that had caught up to me. Those battles made it difficult to get a hold of my identity because I was avoiding my sexuality and my feminine masculinity. I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to mold myself into what I thought the perfect “woman” looked like while knowing I was never going to be it.  There was this certain box I thought I had to fit in and that whole idea had taken a huge toll on the music itself because I wasn’t being honest. I was so far removed from who I actually was but the only reason I overcame that situation was having to go through it. The hard way.  I had to find self love in a place where it was unfamiliar and near nonexistent. It took time and patience. I had to learn myself before I loved myself. Sometimes you have to go through things like that. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have fought so hard to become who I am. I learned to love every piece of me because I had to fight so hard for it. That box I spent so much time trying to fit in to doesn’t even exist. There are so many different ways to feel beautiful as a woman and a big part of my beauty comes from my masculinity. Now matter how challenging it is, you should be allowed to feel beautiful in whatever way makes you most comfortable.

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

CK: Definitely Hayley Williams. I feel like I could learn a lot from her even by just having a conversation.

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

CK: I would love to see the physical image of an artist become less important in their musical journeys. So much depends on that nowadays and we’re losing touch with what makes music beautiful in the first place when we throw shame at our differences. Our vulnerability is our are strength, not our weakness

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November 1st, 2020

Kat Hamilton

“Why Do I Miss You When You Hate Me?” is one of many questions asked on Kat Hamilton’s Recovery Songs. Hamilton comes from a punk background in the band Manic Pixi. Hamilton is a singer-songwriter based in LA. She has a long history on the East Coast.

Recovery Songs is an unconventional album. It’s 9 songs are a challenge to artist and listener alike. The lyrics ask questions, personal and universal. The songs are danceable including “Ohio”

At its core, Recovery Songs is an honest trust. It is something not often heard or recognized. For info visit https://www.instagram.com/kathamiltonofficial/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Recovery Songs?

KH: This is my first full length solo album and it was a tough adjustment to be “the boss”. I spent five years in a band that functioned as a democracy. We had to agree on every choice. But this time, I had the final say in every aspect of the process. That isn’t my comfort zone at all. My team was looking to me to make choices and give them direction. It was baffling to have these artists that I respect, want me to tell them what to do. Sometimes I had to pinch myself, it was so surreal.

FEMMUSIC: What were your goals for Recovery Songs?

KH: To write the truth. For all musical arrangements or explorations in genre, to be an extension of the truth I had written. I wanted this album to feel like the truth and a guitar, even when we added all of the other elements.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Allee Futterer. She is producer both on Recovery Songs & The Grey Area, How did you meet? What does she bring to a project?

KH: Allee is my bestie! We met as roommates in a work abroad program in London. We played in a cover- band when we were abroad and then reformed that band in Boston when we got back. While I was living in New York and she was in LA, we stayed in touch and grew our friendship. Everything with us has always been about mutual admiration. When I showed her the songs for The Grey Area, she expressed that she had some production ideas and we went for it. When I felt like Recovery Songs was starting to take shape, I sent her some demos and asked her if she would want to produce it. I love how detail oriented she is. She creates little moments in the production that you wouldn’t expect.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Empty Room.” How did that song develop?

I wrote it while Manic Pixi was still together as a potential song for that group. It didn’t really fit in the album plans but I always felt a special attachment to the song. Empty Room was a sigh of sad relief during a time in which I felt like there was pressure on me to be positive all of the time. There was this dark, vacuous part of myself that I was hiding away. I just kept getting more depressed and more anxious behind the curtain. “Empty Room” was born out of that experience

FEMMUSIC: Recovery Songs is filled with a number of questions – “Where do you run to?”, “Did your heart stop working”, etc…  How did the questions and answers develop and change while writing and producing the album?

KH: I’m glad you noticed that! Ultimately as a writer, I like to constantly question my own opinions and judgements. A song where I’m telling someone who broke my heart that they’re an asswhole, isn’t as interesting to me as a song where I question my own role as a reliable narrator. Were they as horrible as I am depicting them or am I just feeling not enough…etc.. In Recovery Songs and my questions don’t get answered. My goal in making the record was to tell the truth as I saw it, and in life, we don’t always get the answers we seek. As far as how it influenced the music, none of the songs have a lot of resolution. There are abrupt endings or endings where the music doesn’t return to the 1 chord of the key. I want the listener to feel heard and seen, but I don’t know if I want them to feel fulfilled.

Kat Hamilton - recovery songs

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

KH: Recovery Songs was an approach I hadn’t done before. I kept a mic and basic demoing setup next to my bed and every morning I woke up and just started recording ideas. These songs needed to come out of me and all I did was give them the space to do so. Normally in my songwriting approach, I will have a melody, or a lyric, and I will let it bloom and take shape over a series of weeks while I’m off living life. I’ll record a chorus idea into my voice memos and then add a verse and a bridge a month later. But with this album, I was writing every day. Since the making of this album, my process has shifted to an “off the cuff” approach. I’ll make a whole song in five minutes, get a snack and then figure out what worked.

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

KH: Death Cab for Cutie “Transatlanticism”. Everytime I listen to it, I notice something new. That’s what I want my music to do. Ben Gibberd does such a great job of telling the story using all elements of the song, not just the lyric. I keep finding myself returning to that song for guidance and inspiration.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

KH: When I was in the DIY punk/rock scene, I just couldn’t be taken seriously. The gatekeepers were men who wanted to sleep with me, but didn’t want to sign me to their label, or invest in my bands music. It felt a lot like shopping for a used car. No matter how learned I was, the man selling me the car only saw one thing. In the years since, my experience as a woman in my field is much more nuanced. I don’t work with many cis men, but I also have that option because I’m no longer in the east-coast DIY scene. I have a more diverse pool of collaborators and industry professionals now. I wouldn’t say I was able to overcome it, as much as I was able to find my own scene in Los Angeles where I get to surround myself with inclusivity and respect.

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

KH: I want to write a song with Carly Rae Jepson. I think we would have a lovely time. I have always looked up to Against Me! and it would be a dream come true to tour with them, someday when tours are a thing again. I would also love to sing with Miguel. His voice transcends logic, TBH

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

KH: I have a long list! Since I touched upon inclusivity already, I would really like the value of an artist’s work to not be determined by their Spotify streams or instagram followers. I don’t just mean monetarily. I mean their cultural relevance. I have friends who write incredible albums but they aren’t given the same opportunities because they aren’t verified. I’d really like to see this aspect of the industry change.

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November 1st, 2020

Katie Melua

Katie Melua’s Album No 8 came out on October 16. Melua is one of Britain’s most successful artists. Her catalog has been certified platinum 56 times around the globe. She joins Kate Bush as the only 2 British female artists to reach Top Ten with seven consecutive albums in UK chart history. She is also in the Guinness Book of Records for playing the deepest underwater concert at 303 meters below sea level in 2006. She is only 36.

Melua’s debut album was Call Off The Search which she made at 19. Album No 8 was produced by Leo Abrahams and was recorded with the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra. The lead single is “A Love Like That”

FEMMUSIC is humbled to present this interview with Melua. For info visit https://katiemelua.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Album No 8?

 

KM: Writing lyrics that were clear, truthful and appropriate for songs. I’ve always been fascinated by lyrics specifically because as a vocalist that’s the main material that I work in. It’s a great challenge to write clear and effortless lyrics in this classic pop genre and especially for them to feel true so that I sound like the 36 year old woman that I am.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Leo Abrahams? What did he bring to the project? What made you decide to have him produce it?

KM: Leo Abrahams was recommended to me by one of the best session musicians and artist called Tim Harries. I needed this record to celebrate great musicianship. I really revere the tradition of great session players and the way records used to be made in the 60s and 70s, and Tim suggested that Leo would be a great captain for manning the ship of musicians.

FEMMUSIC: What were you looking for in orchestration? You worked with the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra on this album. You’ve worked with Stuggart Philharmonic as well as the Gori Women’s Choir in the past.

KM: The orchestrations were composed by Leo and I’d played him references by Charles Stepney as well as Gia Kancheli and Leo managed this magical alchemy of bringing the lyrics and the songs into a deeper dimension by being both adventurous and ethereal. The Gori Women’s Choir featured on ‘Heading Home’ and Teo Tsiramua arranged the parts, their discipline and attention to detail was inspiring to see in the studio.

FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?

KM: A record that truthfully captures the complexities and beauty of how I see the world.

Katie Melua album no 8 cover

FEMMUSIC: What have you learned in the previous 7 studio albums that you applied with Album No 8? What did you do differently? 

KM: The thing that I applied was working with great musicians, surrounding myself with really good people and what has been unique is that this is the first time where I have been in a position where the lyrics are entirely my own.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

KM: I tend to collect song ideas by having my ears open to sayings, how people talk, the sound of sentences and words and sometimes the sounds of life around me and atmospheres. The next stage is usually me with a co-composer where we flesh out a demo so harmonically and musically we set a musical architecture and the final stage is then me writing alone for many months working on the words.

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

KM:“People’s Parties” by Joni Mitchell – I love Joni Mitchells’ mixture of storytelling and stream of consciousness. Her description of feeling social anxiety is so great to hear from Joni Mitchell. Musically it seems to utterly depict the underlying emotions that the song talks about.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

KM: If I’m honest I think I faced as many challenges for being the youngest in a group. I’m not saying this just to be anecdotal, but it’s true. I would struggle to get my voice heard because I was the least mature. On the question of sexism; whenever there was any whiff of it towards me, I just didn’t give a fuck, and I just carried on getting as good as I could be with a job that I love.

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

KM: It’s actually seeming to be going this was already, I see it in the young generation of artists… less drugs and alcohol.

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October 23rd, 2020

Drew Citron

If you ready our feature on Hired Guns earlier this year, you would know how much it excites us to see someone come forward with a solo project.

https://femmusic.com/wp/?s=Hired+Guns

Today that someone is Drew Citron. Citron has been a touring band member of Frankie Rose, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Public Practice. She formed her own band Beverly in 2013. Now she releases her own solo record called Free Now. The latest single is the title track “Free Now.”

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about the album. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/drewcitron/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Free Now ?
DC: Not getting to tour or play shows with my awesome new band.

FEMMUSIC: You recently released “Kiss Me.” Tell me about how the song developed.

DC: “Kiss Me” was an excuse for me to let the power chords fly, I love the guitars on it! It’s a song about keeping your old love feeling new.

FEMMUSIC: I understand you worked with John Agnello on “Kiss Me.” What made you decide to work with him? What did he bring to the project?

DC: I met John through a friend who manages him. We got sushi and he was not only the coolest producer I know (his resume is insane), he also turned out to be one of the nicest and most fun dudes to hang out with. Our vibe was stellar in the studio, I can’t recommend him more highly. His approach is old school, his guitar tones are flawless crunchy gold.

FEMMUSIC: Although you worked with a number of other musicians on the album, a large portion has been engineered, produced and performed by you. What were your goals for the album and what motivated you to take the lions share?

DC: I just am kind of a control freak I guess. I’ve been working as a front of house engineer at venues for years now, and I sort of took the reins this time because I’m just much more knowledgeable about the craft at this point. And it’s good to be a control freak about your art.

FEMMUSIC: You’ve played with a number of other bands. Tell me about your own. Where did you meet Nico Hedley and Laura Catalano? What do they bring to your own projects?

DC: Nico was my friendly and adorable coffee guy when I lived in Williamsburg. That’s how we met. Laura was in a really rad band called Weedhounds, and I asked her if she wanted to sing with me after one of their shows at Shea Stadium. She’s amazing at playing guitar while maintaining perfect pitch. They are indispensable to my ability to play music. Nico is one of my favorite people to jam with and mess around in the studio with as well – he has his own solo project, I highly recommend checking him out!

Drew Citron

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Park the Van. You’ve worked with other labels. Why did you want to release your solo album with them?

DC: PTV was right place right time. I mixed a Broncho show at Elsewhere – one of my favorite nights doing sound actually – and they are released by Park the Van. That’s how I connected with Chris, the label head. He just was so enthusiastic about what I’m doing, and he was a Beverly fan as well. We really bond over our love of Grandaddy. It’s a wonderful label, with a lot of heart and a family-run ethos.

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

DC: That’s an impossible question but I’ll say “Shooting Star” by Elliott Smith. Big hook, big feeling, big words, big sounds. I like when bedroom sad guys go Abbey Road with it. That’s where I’m trying to go.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

DC: It’s changed a lot since I started touring a decade ago. It used to be much more intense to load into a venue, you kind of never knew what you were going to get. If some idiot was going to try to tell you how to do your job. It’s like that sometimes when I run sound too, dudes have asked me if I know how to use the mixing board. I usually chock it up to insecurity on their part, and move on. I think it’s really important for women to support each other in this world in general and particularly in the arts. I really default to be more inclusive and generous with women and underrepresented folks when I’m working at a venue.

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

DC: I’m obsessed with Bill Ryder Jones right now. Tons of femme-lead stuff, Hannah Cohen, Alena Spanger, Men i Trust, TOPS, I like Phoebe Bridgers.

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

DC: I wish we got paid by streaming services.

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October 23rd, 2020
Emma Charles

Emma Charles has lived a rollercoaster in the past year. She graduated from Berklee College of Music and was getting ready to tour when the world closed down. In the past few months she has been releasing singles from an upcoming sophomore EP. They include “25” , “Book” and today “Osmosis.”

“Osmosis was written in Los Angeles by myself and my producer and co-writer Doug Schadt. I had the idea for the chorus while on the treadmill at the gym funnily enough, and ended up writing the chorus at home the same day. I brought the song in to Doug where we fleshed out the lyrics and wrote the rest of the song. ‘Osmosis’ details a person in love who is struggling with communicating in a relationship.”

Charles is originally from Connecticut and lives in LA. She comes from a musical family. She has found luck with producer Doug Schadt. For info visit https://www.emmacharlesmusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

EC: I wouldn’t really say I have a certain technique, but I do gravitate towards certain methods. Usually, I will start out with piano or guitar, and then come up with a melody by singing various vowel sounds over the chords. Then, once I have the melody solidified, I will start to write the lyrics. If I am writing with others, usually I am working on melody and lyrics without the chords.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Doug Schadt. You met him while you were at Berklee. Tell me more about that meeting? What does he bring to a project?

AC: I was a sophomore in college when I started researching producers, and learning about who I wanted to work with. I saw that he had produced Maggie Rogers’ “Alaska” which was one of my favorite tracks at that time, so I reached out to him and set up some sessions at his studio in Brooklyn. The first time we met, we recorded 2 original songs of mine in 4 days! Over the past few years, Doug and I have developed a great relationship. I believe he’s one of those rare producers where he creates a track with everything I want, without me even having to ask for it. It’s definitely unusual to find a producer like that so I am very thankful to have worked with him for as long as I have!

FEMMUSIC: I understand that the Connecticut EP and its successor were made at the same time. What was the biggest challenge making both EP’s?

EC: I brought in a handful of pre-written songs to Doug with the intention of creating as much music as I could without a final end goal in mind. It just so happened that we created enough music to split it up into 2 EP’s. The first EP was created with the intention to include songs that were about the move from Connecticut to Los Angeles, entitled “Connecticut”, and the second EP to describe what it’s like after living in Los Angeles for a bit and the struggles that come with it. The most challenging thing we came up with was trying to find variation in the tracks. A lot of them sat in the same sonic space, so we had to really think out of the box to create tracks that were different from the rest, like “25” and “Connecticut”.
Emma Charles
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your creative team. I was curious to hear your creative director filmed the “25” video. How did you find her?
EC: Research! Marina Piche has been such an amazing creative director, and she really has been able to help me hone my brand to be the most authentic, elevated version of myself. I found her through researching artists with a visual brand I love. I stumbled across a very talented artist, Vera Blue, and I learned that Marina had worked with her on a few album covers and I loved what she did, so I reached out! Luckily she was open to my vision and we clicked instantly. She had the awesome idea for the “25” video, and yet had so many restrictions due to COVID. I had the idea to create a live, beatles-esque stage, but since we couldn’t, Marina was able to take my live idea and translate it into miniature figurines! She definitely made the most out of a tricky situation! However, once COVID restrictions lifted a bit, we were able to create a full, live music video for “Osmosis” with actual people, following COVID guidelines. So glad it worked out this way because this video is definitely not one to miss!
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

EC: When I was just starting my artist project in 2018, Phoebe Bridgers had just came out with her Stranger in the Alps album, and the song “Motion Sickness” immediately stood out to me. That song was a modern take on classic folk/rock, and Phoebe was able to blend all of the elements of folk and pop that I wanted to do, and I hadn’t heard that before in a modern setting. It became the main reference track for one of my first releases, “Comfort in the Chaos”.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

EC: I definitely feel like in college and even after that, I hadn’t been taken as seriously as I was just a “blonde girl who sings”. I believe I have more depth than just that, and can bring a wide array of things to the table, creatively, visually, and musically. When I feel like I am not taken seriously enough, usually I write an angry song about it which makes me feel empowered!

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

EC: This is such a loaded question! I have so many huge inspirations- I would love to collaborate with Maggie Rogers, Bon Iver or Phoebe Bridgers, and go on tour with Dermot Kennedy, Hozier or JP Saxe.

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

EC: I think what’s really difficult to deal with now is that there is so much content, and a lot of it is based on personality/looks. Things can go viral just because of the artist’s personality but not the music itself. If I could change one thing, I would change the way that music is consumed- I wish people listened and reacted to musicians based off of their talent and musicality, rather than persona.

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October 15th, 2020

Cf Watkins

Cf Watkins is based in Brooklyn and her Americana music envelops the US. She has shared the stage with Langhorne Slim, Future Birds, Chatham County Line, Lowland Hum to name a few. Today, October 16, she releases her sophomore album, Babygirl. The latest single is “The Tell”

FEMMUSIC was honored to e-mail Watkins about the album. For more info visit http://www.cfwatkins.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Babygirl?
 

CFW: One objective challenge was that Max Hart, who produced the record, lived in L.A. and I lived in Brooklyn. Max plays with Melissa Ethridge and he was on tour most of the year. So recording the record happened over the span of a lot of time, a lot of emails, and phone calls. Max would tell me when he would have a week off to go into the studio and I would fly out to L.A. where we would spend five days at a time working tirelessly on songs that we had already started planning over long-distance demos. It was an interesting way to work! It had its challenges and frustrations but I think the constraint of time and space forced us to be really intentional, and also allowed us the space to really reflect after we had finished an intense week of recording.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Max Hart. How did you meet? What made you decide to have him produce the album? What did he bring to the project?

CFW: Max and I met through a friend- they were recording some country covers for fun and I was invited along to sing. We had a great time and, when Max was back in town, he reached out to see if I wanted to work on some of my originals. We started working on a few songs, and then it just kept growing from there. Max is the kind of person you only meet one of. There are no other Max Hart’s out there. He’s such a genuine, sincere, curious, and hard-working person. Every time we worked together I felt encouraged and challenged- I felt safe with him to be vulnerable but also pushed by him to explore my strength. He is a great musician and producer in the technical sense- but I think what makes him such a great collaborator is his openness to whatever is happening in the present moment.

FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for the album?

CFW: I didn’t start with a clear vision for the album- I don’t think we knew it was going to be an album when we started recording. It developed slowly and the vision grew with the songs. Eventually, it became clear that I wanted this album to be a vessel for me to explore my own strength and what love means to me- to explore love in songs that aren’t just about longing.

FEMMUSIC: What did you do differently with this album vs I Am New?

My first album, I Am New, was recorded in one week in a studio in Virginia. I had a very small group with me- a producer (Daniel Goans of Lowland Hum), engineer, vocalist, and banjo player. Between our modest size and the limited amount of time- we had to be scrappy, and we didn’t have time to overthink the songs. I think that constraint really added a lot to the final recording- it feels like a documentation of how I was feeling in a very particular time. With Babygirl, it was recorded over years, with months in between each recording session to be able to listen back, come up with new ideas, scrap songs all together. Both directions have their advantages and disadvantages- but I’m glad I’ve gotten to experience both.

Cf Watkins

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? 

CFW: I usually start a song because I am feeling emotional about something, whether it’s something on my mind, a story I’ve read, a memory, a dream, a letter I’ve come across… I will sit down with my guitar just to sort through my feelings. When I’ve found a chord progression that matches how I’m feeling, I start humming a melody, then eventually I turn the melody into words. I’d say a very small percentage of these songs, or doodles ever get fully formed or survive long enough to be heard by anyone else. Some songs stick and some don’t- I try to trust them.

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

CFW: Hmm… it’s hard to choose one! The first thing that comes to mind is “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, I would like to say something more original- but, it is exalted for a reason! It was one of the first songs I learned to play and sing. It has always been the top of the mountain to me, the pentacle of lyricism, storytelling, and melodic majesty.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

CFW: I’ve definitely struggled with confidence. I have often found myself in rooms of all male musicians, playing on bills with all male musicians, and then even when there are other females- it could sometimes force a sense of competitiveness. There was a kind of subconscious feeling that I had to be both “one of the boys,” but also that my music needed to be sensual, seductive, or sweet in some way. There are just layers of things I’ve internalized- and I don’t think I’ve overcome them, but I am trying to be more aware of them. While I lived in Brooklyn, I started to meet a lot more female musicians that are just so confident, so incredibly talented, bold, amazing band leaders- that’s been very transformative for me. Being inspired by other women has been the best medicine.

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

CFW: Anyone who’s known me for longer than 5 minutes knows my #1 dream since I was 8 has been to collaborate with Harry Connick Jr. His music has really been a companion to me throughout most of my life- and I think he’s brilliant.  But, more recently, I’ve been admiring Adrianne Lenker- I think she is one of the most talented songwriters of our time. I would just like to soak in her presence and be able to see what happens when she’s forming songs, see where they come from.

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

CFW: Gosh- I dunno- I guess just the word “industry” is the tough part, huh? Like music, or art in general- it comes from a far off place, it’s delicate, mysterious, and powerful. To turn it into an industry feels cruel in a way but, in our world, seems necessary if you want to reach people. In my ideal universe, maybe intention, sincerity, or the level of divinity that exists in a song would be what propelled it forward into the ears and minds of others rather than the amount of social followers or PR budget.

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October 15th, 2020

Julia Bhatt

Julia Bhatt’s 2020 started great. She turned 18 in January and graduated high school in February. In March the world changed and her first tour was postponed to 2021. Now she is releasing 2 Steps Back, a 4 song EP out October 23. The EP has three older songs and the new song “Vampires Suck.” In September Madyn Garretson animated her song “Bird Girl”

Bhatt comes from Miami. Her music has a playful side mixed with retro rock as shown by “I’m Cool.” For info visit https://www.instagram.com/juliabhatt/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the 2 Steps Back EP? 

JB: Honestly, it wasn’t too difficult to pull together since 3 of the 4 songs came out already, and the new one I’ve had in my back pocket for a while.

FEMMUSIC: “Vampires Suck” is the new song on the EP. How did that song develop? How did it make the cut for EP vs other songs? 

JB: I wrote the song in 15ish minutes after a dare. You know, how the best songs form. It’s a really fun song. The lyrics are crazy and the music is catchy. It was kinda a no brainer.

FEMMUSIC: The video for “Bird Girl” came out recently. This is an older song, and not on the EP. Can you tell me how that song developed?  

JB: Bird Girl is actually the most recently written song of all of them. I was in my emotions and wanted to not be, so I wrote a song about a world where I can jet set and nobody notices.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

JB: I don’t really have one. Usually, I try to put some chords together into a fun melody so I can write to it. Lyrics just kinda come out. Not much of a premeditated process.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Elliot Jacobsen & Mike Tuccillo. How did you meet them? What did they bring to the project?  

JB: I met Elliot through my music lawyer, Janine Small. We hit it off right away and creatively, we mesh well. He introduced me to Mike and almost everyone else I now know in the industry. He helps me interpret the non-cohesive thoughts I have about the music into actual words and sounds. He knows the technical side of the music world so he helps me channel the creativity I have into something tangible.

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

JB: That’s a hard question. A lot of songs and artists have influenced me. Maybe, of all time, it would be “It Had To Be You” (I like the Harry Connick Jr version.) because my parents used to sing it to me before bed and it kinda shows how, even from a young age, I was introduced to all kinds of music that I still listen to today.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? 

JB: I mean, as a kid even, it’s hard to play with the big profesional people. I have a sense of professionalism for sure, but I’m blunt and I say what I mean. I’m taken aback by how little people say upfront, and how much there is in between the lines when it comes to contracts and agreements in the industry. People are ready to take advantage of anyone.

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

JB: I love Julian Casablancas, whether it’s The Strokes, The Voidz, solo stuff, so he would be sick to collaborate with. Very creative dude. Maybe also someone like Tame Impala or the Neighbourhood. They’ve repeatedly come out with cool different shit. I’d very much like to be a part of it.

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

JB: As I said before, I wish people were less formal and more honest. We’re (mostly) all creative people trying to make music and have fun. I wish people wouldn’t take things as seriously and just let the music talk. I don’t know if that makes sense.

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September 23rd, 2020
Sad13 - Sadie Dupuis

Sadie Dupuis is a magician of creativity. She fronts two bands, runs her own record label, released a book of poetry, and has established a poetry journal. She is known as much for her poetry and her music. On Friday September 25 she is releasing Sad13’s sophomore album Haunted Painting. The album includes guests Roberto Lange, Satomi Matsuzaki, Merrill Garbus and Rick Maguire. It was recorded and mixed in 6 studios with a host of women engineers. You’ve already seen the singles including “Hysterical”, “Oops…!”, “Ruby Wand” and  “Ghost (of a Good Time)”,

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with via e-mail about the album. For info visit https://www.sad13.horse/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Haunted Painting?

 

SD: Not getting to play it live for the indefinite future, probably. A lot of pent up energy in making these complicated arrangements and not getting to show them off IRL!

FEMMUSIC: Haunted Painting is your first record with Wax Nine. What made you decide to work with them? How was the experience?

SD: Wax Nine is my own record label, an imprint with Carpark. I’ve been lucky to release albums by two of my favorites artists–Johanna Warren and Melkbelly–on the label, as well as co-release a compilation tribute to Adam Schlesinger with Father/Daughter Records earlier this year. We also launched a literary journal earlier this year which runs bi-weekly and features new poems and illustrations every issue.

FEMMUSIC: I was intrigued your choice to use women engineers on the album. Can you tell me what you were looking for in engineers? What made these 6 (Sarah Tudzin, Erin Tonkon, Maryam Qudus, Lily Wen, Anne Gauthier & Emily Lazar) stand out?

SD: Emily Lazar is a long-term collaborator for me; she’s mastered most of my records as well as some of my favorite artists, everyone from Beck to Dolly Parton. I hosted a panel for Sonos and She Shreds in 2018 on audio engineering, featuring Emily and three other amazing women in different corners of production. We are drastically underrepresented in music technology, comprising about 2% of engineers, and as a producer myself, it felt strange and hypocritical that I’d only hired men as tracking and mix engineers in the past.

Most of the engineers I hired on this record were friends, or friends of friends–I was a big admirer of Illuminati Hotties, Sarah Tudzin’s band, and Lily Wen I have known for 15 years. Erin Tonkon has produced heavy hitters like David Bowie, but also more contemporary bands I love, like Pixx and Lady Lamb. Maryam Qudus worked with several friends–Allison Crutchfield, Madeleine Kenney–and also fronts her own amazing project called Spacemoth. And I met Anne Gauthier on tour in Louisville, when Speedy got to check out her amazing studio La La Land. All are brilliant producers and people who I’d recommend to anyone and hope I’ll work with again once it’s safe.

FEMMUSIC: You recorded the album in-between touring with Speedy Ortiz and the Mouthguard book tour. After that constant frenzy how has not touring during COVID affected you? What do you miss? What has changed for you during it, both positive and negative?

SD: It’s strange adjusting to so many nights in a row at home! One of the best parts of tour is having a chance to see or play with faraway friends a couple times a year, and I really miss that. But one positive is that I have a lot more time to dedicate to projects that aren’t strictly my own, like the Adam Schlesinger compilation, the poetry journal, recording on some friends’ projects, as well as the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, which began work a few months ago.

Sad13 - Haunted Painting - Album Art

FEMMUSIC: What was your vision with Haunted Painting? What was your favorite part of the arrangements?

SD: Since I recorded in five different studios and mixed in a sixth, I wanted to make good use of each place’s unique gear lists. Each song was arranged to include all the most interesting equipment at each studio. Trying to write specifically to a location (and to instruments I’m less familiar with writing for, like strings, woodwinds, lap steel, theremin) was a fun challenge.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Is it different from your poetry writing technique? Where do the 2 merge or separate?

SD: In composing music, I usually have a chord progression in mind. I demo drums and bass before anything else, then add synth parts, finally guitars, vocals last. So I’m trying to write the lyrics to fit on top of a mostly arranged song. Poetry I’m generally starting from scratch without any guidelines, especially not the built in constraints of trying to fit syllables to music.

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

 SD: I have thought about ‘The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ theme song almost every morning upon waking for like a decade, so unfortunately, I have to answer with that. I can’t wake up and not think of it. I hope to be free some day.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

SD: I don’t think misogyny is a challenge for any one person to “overcome” individually, especially if you are on the receiving end of it, but making sure to use whatever hiring power I have–crew on tour, opening bands–to make my corner of the industry more inclusive and representative of diverse music workers has been a priority for me, and makes touring a lot easier and happier.

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

SD: There are a couple 2020 records I’m obsessed with – Ganser, Kitty, Yaeji, Backxwash, Yves Tumor, No Joy, Katie Dey, Allie X, Caroline Rose. I’d be over the moon to play or tour with any of those projects.

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

SD: Be cool for artists to actually make money off the streaming services that earn billions thanks to our work! 

 

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September 3rd, 2020

 

Tali-BACK TO YOU

Tali is a Toronto based R & B artist. FEMMUSIC is honored to premiere her debut video for “Back to You.”

“Back to You” is the second single off her new EP Shadows coming out September 11. Tali speaks about the video, “There are a few meanings to that one. On the one hand, it’s about losing and then finding my way back to myself, as you can see if you watch the video. But there’s also a deeper interpretation: That no matter how far you might stray from a person, a dream, yourself or anything, if it’s meant to be, ultimately it’s going to find its way back to you. I believe things come back to you if they’re meant to.”

“The title Shadows tells of an evolution and growth (two following EPs we want to release in the future tell an unfolding story, In-Between Girl and Out Of My Skin). Shadows talks of the transition from adolescence into young adulthood.

Coming out of the Shadows: learning about myself, relationships, getting a sense of the world around me in ways I never knew before. Other interpretations of Shadows are the battle/contrast between the mind and the heart (the paradox) and how one always follows closely to the other, walking closely behind like a shadow; love and loss, letting the old fall into the shadows and new love come into your life; losing yourself and falling into the shadows, and coming back to yourself even stronger. Shadows encapsulates the nighttime; peoples’ true natures coming out of the shadows (in relationships etc.) I’m a night owl, I love the night – the art cover really displays these themes.” For info visit https://www.facebook.com/talisingstolive

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making the Shadows EP?

T: The creation of these songs were great fun and a wonderful learning experience being abroad. Upon writing these songs, it was my first time as a young adult traveling on my own across the world, to different cities and breaking out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself as a songwriter and singer, honing my sound, being assertive and confident with my vision and telling my story.

TaliEPShadows

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

T: There is no formula to how I write! It always happens spontaneously. I might start with a lyric or a concept that pops into mind, write it down on paper or in my phone; perhaps a melody comes to me first and I record the idea and build lyrics around it with a piano. If I’m in the studio, someone else might be working the keys and I’ll be singing melodies. I love writing lyrics down and have hundreds of notebooks full of them. I bring those ideas with me to the studio, or I sit at the piano at home and see what strikes a chord and build around that. It’s all a blur really and in the midst of excitement, frustration and passion, out comes a new song and the rest is history. I then listen to the song again with fresh ears in the morning and I get an inkling if it’s a special one.

FEMMUSIC: How does Shadows compare to Lucid? What have you learned since Lucid came out?

T: Lucid was a little compilation of songs I put together; I produced and wrote all of the songs. It was adolescent me experimenting on a midi keyboard and writing songs for the first time. I uploaded all of the songs to Soundcloud and Bandcamp which I set up as pay-what-you-can. At that point I hadn’t ever been in a real studio or worked with other writers or producers. I was dipping my toes in the water and it opened a floodgate. Since creating Lucid, I’ve traveled to different countries, worked with many amazing creatives, honed my music sonically, grown as a songwriter, signed a record contract, a publishing deal, gained life lessons and many more life experiences to write about.

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

T: “Dance me to the end of love” is the first song that pops into mind. Leonard Cohen has always been my mum’s favourite artist so she’d play his songs since I was a very small child. When I first heard that song, it struck a deep chord with me. I’ve gotten a tattoo that symbolizes this song. The song still has the same effect on me as it did the first time I heard it. I’m very close to my mum and we bond over his music.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

T: I haven’t personally experienced this, though I’ve heard it from my fellow artists and songwriters that they lie about and hide their age. They’ve experienced pressure to be a certain age and have a certain look to be successful and be taken seriously. Being true to yourself, believing in yourself and in what you’re doing is what truly matters. People of the world – with their beautiful hearts and ears that have a thirst for wonderful songs – are your audience, they are listeners of your songs; there isn’t an age expiration in achieving that. There will always be judgment of some kind to some degree, no matter what you do, so just tread upon your path of joy and try to ignore the noise.

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

T: Anderson .Paak and Bon Iver are two amazing music acts I’d love to work and/or tour with. I dig their tunes. I’ve consistently listened to their songs over the years. They’re talented songwriters and musicians and it would be great fun sharing the stage or collaborating with them on a song in the studio.

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

T: I believe the mental health (and health overall) of artists (and all folks in the music industry) should always be a top priority. Being a musician or someone working in the music industry can be strenuous. More therapy, conversations, tackling of struggles and pressures and finding a good balance between living an artistic lifestyle and prioritizing one’s well-being.

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August 19th, 2020

AlexTheAstro

Alex the Astronaut releases her debut album The Theory of Absolutely Nothing on Friday August 21. This summer Alex the Astronaut (Alexandra Lynn) could be found on Smithsonian’s Project Pride and the Pride: Inside music festival. She has been releasing singles including “Christmas In July”, “Banksia” , “Lost” and “I Think You’re Great.”

Alex has 2 previous EP’s called To Whom It May Concern and See You Soon. This Australian artist studied both math and physics while also playing soccer in the United States at Long Island University. The Theory of Absolutely Nothing takes on subjects from domestic violence to a friend who died in it’s 11 tracks. It begins with “Happy Song” which fits her personality. Her songs have lightness and lift. For info visit https://www.alextheastronaut.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making The Theory of Absolutely Nothing?

 

AL: I think the biggest challenge was getting the writing to say exactly what I wanted it to. I think it should be the easiest part but there are just so many words in this world and only about 150 of them fit in a song. I try and really max it out with the words in the verses but even still you have to really think about it.

FEMMUSIC:  One of the most powerful songs on the album is “I Like to Dance.” How did that song develop? The arrangement is beautiful.

AL: Thank you, that song came about at a BBQ. I was talking to a judge and he told me there was something he saw that he thought I should write a song about. He said he’d seen this woman in court on a domestic violence case and she explained to him how great her boyfriend was but that “I just wish he’s stop hitting me.” And I got a tear and goosebumps so I did lots of research on domestic violence and built a story out of all of it. My friend Nora and I produced it together and that was the first time I’d done production which I felt really proud of.

FEMMUSIC:  What was your vision for the album?

AL: My vision for the album was to include as many “colours” as I could. I wanted the shades of dark and light and I wanted all or as many different emotions that I could see playing out around me to be depicted in 10 songs.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AL: Fit as many words as you can into a small space and hope for the best haha

FEMMUSIC:   The album reflects a lot of growth in friendships and relationships. How have you changed and grown (personally & as a musician) in the past few years? Do you have any goals for the future?

AL: I think I’ve grown a lot, I went from being a university student living in dorms in Long Island to being a professional musician and travelling the world. I’ve become more and more grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given, I think it’s still sinking in that I get to do my dream job and personally I’ve become more confident and myself. I would love to tour again, and I would love to keep writing music forever.

ATA 2020_credit_ Jess Gleeson

FEMMUSIC:  Australia has re-imposed closings with COVID-19 (as of this writing). I remember in April when you ran a campaign for donations for your friend the nurse in NY. I also was reading an interview of yours just before SXSW was supposed to happen. How are you doing during COVID-19? What do you miss? Are you focusing your creativity in different ways?

AL: I’m doing okay, I’ve been really lucky, I live with three housemates and we all get along well. It’s been interesting I think I’ve had the time to build up lots of my friendships again where we’ve kind of drifted because of me touring. At the same time I miss travelling and my friends that I have in music world all over the place. I’m way more creative I’ve gone back to writing almost everyday like I did when I was in highschool which feels really wholesome and has definitely been good for me.

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

AL: I like Under Pressure by David Bowie and Queen. I always cry listening to it. I really don’t know what it is, I think it’s a very uniting song and it has a bit of non words in it which is fun. I think it’s a song that I go back to a lot when Im having a hard time and I always have so it feels like an old friend.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

AL: I think there’s always little things that chip away at you like people at shows assuming you don’t know things that you do know, or awkward/uncomfortable encounters at the signing desk or while you’re on stage. There’s also the dark stories that I know about assaults and abuse. I don’t think you overcome them, I think because it’s ongoing it’s a trauma that we have to face constantly as a society. It’s changing slowly, I think it’s important to teach young boys that feminism works for them too and that it’s important that we stick together and help each other when we need it. That they need to be able to share their feelings without being accused of being less than. And I think for anyone experiencing discrimination it’s about standing with other minority groups in the same way you stand up for yourself.

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

I would love to collaborate/tour with Dave from Gang of Youths. His writing is second to none and the colour and expression in his voice is so unbelievably good. I really love his storytelling and I could listen to him sing all day.

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

AL: I would change that it’s not equal. I think we have a long way to go and it’s time to put the work it.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

August 13th, 2020

 

girlfriday

Girl Friday is a band that should be permanently on your playlist. This LA 4 piece is Libby Hsieh, Vera Ellen, Virginia Pettis & Sierra Scott. The band mixes addictive music with biting lyrics that are designed to incite and inspire. Their songs include “Decoration Currency” about the music industry, “Generation Sick” about abusive men and people who protect them, and more from their 2019 EP Fashion Conman. Now they are releasing their album Androgynous Mary out August 21. The latest single is “Earthquake”

For info visit https://www.girlfridaytm.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge in making Androgynous Mary?

GF: We had to work with pretty intense time constraints in terms of playing shows, working, and recording most of the album in about a week. We definitely had our work cut out for us, but ultimately this little creature was birthed from a labor of intense love.

FEMMUSIC: What is your favorite song on the album? Why?

GF: The fact that you are asking us to pick a favorite child is very upsetting. We love our children equally and make sure they’re well taken care of even when we leave town for extended business trips.

girlfriday

FEMMUSIC: Did you approach making Androgynous Mary differently from Fashion Conman? What did you learn making Fashion Conman?

GF: We made a really conscious effort to have Androgynous Mary encapsulate more of our live sound. In a lot of ways, we let Jesus take the wheel on this album and focused less on perfection and more on a more raw, visceral, high-energy experience.

FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Hardly Art. What made you sign with them? What were you looking for in a label?

GF: We were looking to be adopted by a kind family, and boy did we find one! Hardly Art is a lovely group of people who value us as artists and as individuals, and we’re excited to move into the office at their earliest convenience.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

GF: We hit the “randomize” button on Wikipedia, select 50 answers which we promptly print out on 100% recycled copy paper, douse them in rose-scented holy water, put them into a fishbowl, and let the games begin.

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

GF: The School of Rock soundtrack brought us close enough together to be able to face the musical journey of Androgynous Mary head on.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as women in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

GF: Everyone we work with currently is really receptive to our not wanting our gender expressions to define our music, but it hasn’t always been that way. Although it’s not a topic we shy away from, as there is so much inequality surrounding most genders in the music industry, we don’t want it to be the defining aspect of our identity as a band.

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

GF: Hole, Thurston Moore, Kills Birds, Blaenavon, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Flat Worms, Wolf Alice – we all have quite different music tastes, but we’re drawn to expressive, theatrical performers.

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

GF: We’d love to be able to join a musicians’ union that’s not restricted to studio musicians. We’re also always looking for more sustainable, eco-friendly ways to tour and distribute music.

girlfriday

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 21st, 2020

Liza Anne

Liza Anne releases her first album on Arts & Crafts Records on July 24. It is called Bad Vacation. If all vacations were like this we’d all need therapy and the party afterward. Bad Vacation is a 14 tracks that can be breezy and danceable. They also have lyrics that rip apart facades and stare life in the eyes. The title track is a small taste:

Bad Vacation was recorded with her touring band of Robbie Jackson, Josh Gilligan, and Cody Carpenter. It also includes Lou Hayat.

Anne’s previous albums include Fine But Dying, Two, and The Colder Months. In a previous life you would see her self-depreciate her own fears and anxiety. You can still get the T-Shirt “Liza Anne’s World Famous Melancholia.” Bad Vacation marks a turn that is dramatic. Liza Anne is fully formed and ready to grab her place next to St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, and Leah Wellbaum.

FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Anne about the new album. For info visit http://www.lizaannemusic.com

Liza Anne has created a virtual retreat to accompany her album release, a ‘Bad Vacation’ micro-site – featuring a 1-800 hotline, reading list, playlist, bundles, and more at https://badvacation.co/

Liza Anne - bad vacation

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Bad Vacation, the album?

LA: Once we started making it, it was the most seamless process. I think the most difficult part was all the false starts – I had written the record over almost three years and we sort of soft started making it a few separate times – different factors keeping us from committing to making it. Mainly, I knew I wasn’t finished writing it. Once I gathered myself, finished and revised the songs I felt strongly about – it happened in one full swoop.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Kyle Ryan, Micah Tawlks & Justin Mendal-Johnsen. How did you meet? What made you decide to work with them on this project? What did they bring to the project?

LA: I can’t imagine this project happening with any other crew of people. In a Feist documentary I watched years ago, she described the people you invite into your creative space like pedals on a pedal board and the same song can have a completely different experience given whatever people/pedals they are being filtered through – I think that each of them, Justin at the beginning with Devotion and Desire… Kyle, demo-ing with us before some of the songs were even done, even writing a handful of them with me … Micah, bringing a sense of feeling to it I didn’t even realize was hidden in some of these songs. All three of them made me feel capable in a way I hadn’t felt before. I could expand, but the truth of it is – their brains are all over this project, along with the moosh of us as a band, Robbie, Lou, Josh and Cody – this record is like a communal handprint. I feel so lucky for the collaborative side of what we did.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “This Chaos, That Feeling.” How did the song develop? Tell me about the intro on the song? 

LA: This song was a stream of conscious that just happened one day. I was fucking around with guitar and just processing the pain of the end of my last relationship. I just sort of spoke the words over this droning chord pattern, building into this really simple chorus. I brought it to the band and it took its first “shape”. We played it on tour for Fine But Dying – the song lived almost two whole years before being reborn in the way it is on the record. It’s lived a lot of life, that little buddy. It gives me lots of room to be angry about something that felt hard to feel in real time … sometimes when you love someone, anger takes a strange backseat. Maybe that’s where resent grows. Anyways, each time I play it, I let a little more go. It’s a healing act.

FEMMUSIC: The final track “Too Soon” had some wonderful arrangements to it. How did that song develop? 

LA: I wrote this song two days after the first time Josh and I kissed. And, in every sense, it felt too soon. I was experiencing a heart swell towards my best friend. Someone who would feel shitty to lose and I wasn’t sure if, in passing that threshold from buddies to being all close and smooshed and romantic … I don’t know – I just was scared it would ruin the whole thing. It felt brave to even admit love was growing. At that time in my life, I would have taken “I don’t need anyone” to my grave – I think Josh knew that it was a bit of an act all along, that’s probably why I’d always felt so drawn to him. “Too Soon” is a catalogue of giving into that initial attraction.

FEMMUSIC: Please tell me about your vision for the album.   

LA: This record is a record about all that I wanted to feel – the catalogue of pain, catharsis, joy and a naive hope that after love has stung you, maybe there can be something pure waiting for you. I think it’s a very good picture of growing – the clumsy thing we inevitably will do in front of people and, in the meantime, cause a little damage. I am excited to be 80 and listen back to this with a softness for this window of myself that, somedays, feels hard to find in a real time.

Liza Anne

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it developed since The Colder Months?

LA: Wow, hm. Since The Colder Months – I guess, I’ve been in expansion. But, there’s something about the timeframe when I wrote the colder months that was so child-like in a really charming way. I was writing every day, I didn’t have any concept about “what someone would think of my work”, nobody knew my work, my work was purely for self-work and self-care – an almost, self-guided therapy. So, there’s a purity there that I almost think I’ve returned to with Bad Vacation, in some ways. Returning to the beginners mind towards it all. The main difference is that I have a band around me – collectively and collaboratively growing these songs from the baby bloom of an idea into a whole garden of feeling. That part is very special. Trusting people enough to carry it all out. It’s a language we’re all growing with each collaboration.

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

LA: I think “Wuthering Heights” from Kate Bush is an easy “if-I-never-heard-this-I-would-be-different” song. It sort of shook off some dust I hadn’t even known had collected on my creative spirit. Reiterating that there are no rules. A song can be as strange and wonderful as you let it. I warm up my vocals to that song before shows. I love her so much.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

LA: Phew. You know, I would hope that having a vagina wouldn’t keep me from opportunities or even end up being the reason I am given opportunities. I want to be asked into the room or to the party because I’m good at what I do – not because I’m a token that crosses off some quota – I hate that shit. I guess the worst part of anything is being sexualized for just existing. I hate that. It makes me feel so dirty and unsafe.

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

LA: I would really love to collaborate with David Byrne – I think we would be friends. Even just being friends would be nice. And, I guess that’s my dream tour as well. OH and Harry Styles

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July 10th, 2020
Jenny-March

For the past two years Jenny March has been releasing singles including “Talk To Me”, “Rebound”, “Fuwy”, and “California Daze.” Today she releases her latest single “November Nights.”

“November Nights” is about how you can love someone so deeply, even knowing you probably shouldn’t be with this person, and yet you are still somehow addicted to making it work, longing for their love and validation.

“November Nights” also marks the confirmation that March will be releasing an EP later this year. FEMMUSIC had an e-mail interview with March about “November Nights” and the EP. For info visit http://jennymarch.com/

FEMMUSIC: I heard you do a lot of your songwriting in your car. Can you explain and tell me how your songwriting has evolved over time?

JM: When I first started songwriting, the car was my sweet spot for some reason! I still like to write in the car, but I find myself writing more at home in my new studio room. I think my songwriting has grown a lot more with being completely vulnerable and more versatile.

FEMMUSIC: You have an EP coming out this year. What has been the biggest challenge in making it?

JM: I do! It’s been harder to have sessions ever since we were quarantined, but I’m still trying to write a lot. One of the challenges so far has been figuring out how to incorporate everything I love and want to talk about into 6 songs. The new music I’m making may seem a little different from the previous music I’ve released, but it’s the best music I’ve made so far!  

FEMMUSIC: You’ve released a number of singles over the past 2 years. How did you decide which songs were going to be on the EP? Were there any you didn’t choose that you wish you had?

JM: Well, I am still working on the EP, but I know a few songs that will be on it. I’m dropping the first song off it really really soon. 🙂

FEMMUSIC: Who were you most excited to work with making the EP? Why?

JM: I have a couple of friends that I love to create music with and have been working with for this EP. Alex Harris, who I met 3 years ago, is someone who I’m most comfortable writing around. He knows more about me than a lot of my closest friends know. Then there’s Mike Onufrak, a talented producer and guitar player, who went with me on my first radio tour a few years back, and he, Alex, and I have been working a lot together on my EP.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “November Nights.” How did your song come about & evolve? 

JM: I made this song with Jayden Gray, a producer I’ve been wanting to work with for a while now. We got together and wrote “November Nights” in our first session together. He produced the track and co-wrote it with me. I was talking to him about my situation with this guy that I was talking to and we just started writing about it.

FEMMUSIC: COVID-19 has stopped touring. Has it opened up new opportunities for you to get your art out? How are you using the time inside?

JM: I was sad at first because I had some shows lined up that I was really excited for, but it honestly brought some really cool opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if the situation hadn’t happened the way it did. I’ve been doing lots of interviews like these or via Zoom, but one of my favorite things has been live stream performances. Every Wednesday, I host an Instagram Live show called “Wednesday Sessions” with a new artist and we do a Q&A at the beginning and then each perform 2-3 songs. It’s been amazing meeting new artists, some of whom I’ve never even met before, therefore allowing my followers to meet them and vise versa. It’s been super fun connecting with fans online!

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

JM: Ahh this is such a tough question. There are so many songs over the years that have had big influences on me, but one for sure would be “Broken Hearted Girl” by Beyonce off her 2008 album, I am…Sasha Fierce. The song just really hit me emotionally at that point in my life. The melodies and her vocal performance touched me in such a way. I want to do the same for others. Also, anything off of Rihanna’s album ANTI hits me hard! I love that the production leaves room for some heavy vocal performances like in “Higher” and “Love on The Brain.”

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JM: I don’t think I’ve had to face too many challenges so far where I think it was based on being a woman, but I’ve heard some stories. I think the closest thing for me was dealing with people telling me what kind of artist I should be, what songs I should sing, etc. Since I started in this industry pretty young, I was persuaded in wrong directions at times by people I thought I could trust and I should have listened to myself. My parents didn’t know anything about the industry at first either so I can’t blame them. You kind of just have to take in everything but at the end of the day, you know what’s best for yourself.

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

JM: Another tough one because there’s so many! I’d love to tour with Rihanna, because well, she’s Rihanna and my idol. I’d love to tour with Bebe Rexha, because I love her music and especially her songwriting. I think she could give me some great tips. I’d love to collaborate with Post Malone. His voice and music are so enticing and he just seems like such a cool dude! I’d love to have a Bud Light with him. Lol

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

JM: I know the music industry is working on this as a whole, but I’d love to see songwriters get better compensation for their work from streaming pay. I think it’s important to acknowledge them for their hard work alongside producers.

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July 9th, 2020

sancisco

San Cisco is an indie band of Jordi Davieson, Joshua Biondillo, and Scarlett Stevens. This 3 piece has a vibrant electric personality to their music. In 2017 they released their first album Water. They recently released Flaws which is an EP leading up to a full album with Nettwerk. The album is called Between You and Me and will be released on September 4, 2020. Their most recent singles came out after the EP was released and include “On the Line” and “Messages”

FEMMUSIC was excited to talk to Scarlett Stevens. For info visit https://www.sancisco.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Flaws EP? 

SS: The biggest challenge (and advantage) was living in the studio together where we were making the EP. We were in the middle of nowhere in beautiful Mullumbimby in a big blue barn trying not to go mad!

FEMMUSIC: Flaws is the prelude to your first full album with Nettwerk. What made you decide to sign with them? How has the process been?

SS: Nettwerk showed interest very early on in the picture and have just been super lovely and supportive through the process of releasing these songs and album.

FEMMUSIC: Can you tell me how a song develops within the band? I understand Josh & Jordi do a lot of the songwriting. What happens when they bring it to you? How do your vocal parts develop?

SS: I’d say it’s become a much more collaborative process over the years. Sometimes jordi will write a song on acoustic guitar and Josh and I will work on the production or it will stay mostly acoustic (like Flaws). Sometimes josh will have a riff and we build from there and write lyrics together. Jordi and I do most of lyrics and help each other to record our vocals/give our best performance. Sometimes I’ll write my verse or if Jordi’s written something for me to sing I always adapt the lyrics to better tell my narrative.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with James Ireland & Steven Schram. What do they bring to the project?

SS: Steven has always produced/mixed our work so we are very familiar with his style and process. On previous albums he did a lot of writing as well. This album we decided to mix it up. we really like James’ work with Pond and his style of production so we got him to help us finish a few tracks that we felt weren’t quite sitting right. He helped us a lot with ‘On The Line’, with the song structure, chords and sounds.

FEMMUSIC: Flaws is the leadup to a new album. How are you approaching this new album differently from your 3 previous? What is your vision for it?

SS: We wanted to make something next level! We weren’t as caught up in making ‘perfect’ pop songs but rather songs that felt timeless, nostalgic, meaningful. And we took our time writing these songs, from working in josh and Jordi’s home studio to working over east. I’d say we had more time to get it right.

FEMMUSIC: “On the Line” the video took place during a brief respite in lockdown laws. How has COVID-19 changed how you do things? Are you learning or trying anything new?

SS: We are very lucky to be in WA where there haven’t been many cases and lockdown laws and restrictions were eased very early on. That said we haven’t been able to play a proper gig with an audience yet. We are just trying to adapt as best we can to the new normal. It has actually given us lots of time to be super creative and productive.

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

SS: Not a song but an album.. I think PJ Harvey’s album ‘Stories form the City, Stories from the Sea’ because it was very influential on me as a young woman getting into music. These were some of the first songs I learnt on drums.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

SS: I think in the early days of touring/recording, the issues of sexism and misogyny in the music industry were not being discussed (As openly as they are now) despite how very real and prevalent they were. At times it was very lonely and alienating, coming into these male-dominated spaces and not being listened to or being patronised because of my gender. I think talking to other women in music helped me through all that. Making our tours inclusive and having female representation on lineups also fostered more positive experiences of touring.

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

SS: Maybe Pharrell or Haim. I’ve watched lots of videos of Pharrell in the studio and I think he would be amazing to write with. And I’ve always loved Haim, I think they would be a fun band to tour with.

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

SS: I’d love to see more women in typically male dominated roles.. more female sound engineers, promoters etc. I think that the industry has come a long way in such a short space of time but there is always more to be done.

FLAWS EP SAN CISCO

 

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July 9th, 2020

cableties_lisabusinovsk

As Melbourne is in another lockdown, it is our pleasure to bring you an interview with Cable Ties’ Jenny McKechnie. Cable Ties released their sophomore album Far Enough on Merge Records in March. It features singles like “Hope” and “Self-Made Man.”

Cable Ties are known both as a live act as well as their direct involvement in the Melbourne scene. This includes working with Girls Rock! and organizing their own festivals. Their song “Tell Them Where to Go” was featured on 13 Reasons Why.  Cable Ties has a fierce independent proto-punk sound. FEMMUSIC conducted this e-mail interview with McKechnie a couple of months ago. We are proud to present it now. Watch Cable Ties today, July 9 live at 4pm EST on Merge’s YouTube Channel. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/cableties1?fref=ts

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Far Enough?

JM: For me it was probably the song writing process. I put a lot of myself into the songs and it makes me feel quite anxious and vulnerable.

FEMMUSIC: On Far Enough you again worked with Paul Maybury. It sounds like he brings in a combination of live recording and very DIY. Can you describe the experience for me?

JM: Working with Paul is a really incredible experience. We record everything live with the amps cranked to get their best naturally broken up sound. That way there’s a lot of feel and give in the music too. Then we add guitar overdubs where needed and vocals later. Paul brings out the best in us. He knows when we can do better and when we’re just beating ourselves up. I can’t imagine recording with anyone else.

FEMMUSIC: I was reading in a prior interview of your work with Girls Rock! Could you tell me how you got involved? What does working with them mean to the band?

JM: Shauna has been a drum tutor a couple of times and the band has played live at a couple of camps. It’s so incredible to see the kids grow over the week and the inspiring song writing and collaboration they can do. There’s never a dry eye in the house by the time their final performance comes around.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about The Cable Ties Ball. How did you start it? How do you choose whom you invite to play?

JM: We started it when we won The Corner Award and got to put on a show at The Corner which is an 800 cap venue in Melbourne where you can have some really decent production. We jumped at the opportunity to put on our dream line up which included – Miss Blanks, The Dacios, HABITS and Simona Castricum. The next year we had another dream line up which included Friendships, P-Unique, Hits, Wax Chattels and Moody Beaches. I highly recommend checking out all of those bands!!

cableties_farenough

FEMMUSIC: FEMMUSIC previews Melbourne Music Week every year. Tell me more about the scene in general. What’s your favorite venue? Band to work with? How are you and your friends working with COVID-19?

JM: The music scene we’re in is such a caring and creatively fertile space where people can make whatever weird and beautiful thing they wanna make and their friends will get around them. The Old Bar would have to be my favourite venue. It hasn’t been open throughout COVID-19 and I miss it and my friends so so much tbqh!

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JM: Normally we write the instrumentation first. Many many hours of playing the same riff over and over. If we can’t play it for 30 minutes it’s no good. Then I’ll go walking around the streets listening to the recording of rehearsal on my phone and singing/ talking over the top of it. I’m sure some Coburg residents saw/ heard me make some breakthroughs during the album writing process in 2018/19!

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

JM: Hmmm just one?? Probably ‘Rabbit’ by The Dacios. Best opening song on an album ever imo.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JM: Men used to like giving me unsolicited advice on my guitar playing and tell me I’d be better as a dedicated front woman. Honestly it just fuelled my fire. They don’t do it any more! I dunno why.

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

Ooooooh…! Downtown Boys. It would be such an incredible honour if we ever got to play a show with them.

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

JM: I wish artists, techs and everyone else in the industry were financially supported. It’s a barrier that stops so many people from being able to commit to a music career because if you haven’t got a safety net to fall back on, being a musician is super super risky.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

June 8th, 2020

Imogen Clark press photo 1 credit Giulia McGauran 2020

Imogen Clark’s EP The Making of Me comes out August 21. Clark is an Australian who recorded the EP in the US following European and North American tours. She worked with some amazing artists to put together the songs including Alex Lahey, Emma Swift, Anita Lester, and Clare Bowen. The latest single is “Found Me”

Clark has a previous album called Collide. Clark has a confidence in self and style that will make her an instant hit. For info visit https://www.imogenclark.com.au/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Making of Me?
 
IC: The biggest challenge was probably making myself write these songs. These are some of the most personal, close to the nerve songs I’ve ever written and it takes a lot of courage to put that much of yourself on the line and be that honest about how you’re feeling. 
 
It was also a challenge letting myself be totally free in the studio, when I’m used to feeling in some way beholden to other people’s ideas of who I should be, what music I should make and what it means to be authentic. With this record, we tried to just let the songs decide where they naturally wanted to go sonically, and that was a challenge, but one that I really loved. This was the first time I’d written and recorded music without any limitations. 

FEMMUSIC: I was curious you recorded it in LA. Why did you decide to record in the US? How did you find Mike Bloom and decide he would produce? 

IC: Recording in the U.S. was a decision we made very early in the process. I felt like being in another country would give me a sense of freedom and escape from my usual surroundings in Australia, and put me in a more refreshed, creative headspace. I had never made a record overseas before, and I knew that staying in a foreign place while recording would be both a positive distraction and highly inspirational. In my mind, I wanted to separate this record from everything I’d done before in Australia, and be a totally new artist with a clean slate and no prior sonic identity. The result was a record that sounded like nothing I’d made before, but somehow felt more me than anything I’d ever released.

I became aware of Mike Bloom through his work with Jenny Lewis, who is an artist I admire. We got together last year with engineer Will Golden and my manager Jeremy Dylan to make what we thought were going to be demos. At some point over that week, we looked at each other and realised we weren’t making demos; we were starting a record. I came back to LA early this year before the pandemic struck and we all finished the EP. It was the most liberating and exciting studio experience I’d ever had, and so much of that was due to Mike, Will and Jeremy’s encouragement and the brilliant ideas they all brought to the table. I loved the rapport we all built in the studio, and the way that everyone felt comfortable contributing references and ideas, no matter how far outside the box they seemed.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the 2019 tour and your connection with Clare Bowen and Brandon Robert Young. How did that tour influence the EP? 

IC: Clare and Brandon have become wonderful friends and mentors to me over the last few years, and I went out on the road with them in the U.S. last year, just after I had come off a mega U.K./Europe tour. From a music perspective, my life had never been better, but personally, I was going through some of the worst struggles I’d ever experienced. I’d just ended the longest romantic relationship I’d had and was mourning the loss of some friendships and business relationships also.

 
Clare and Brandon were so kind to me on the tour, letting me pour my heart out to them after gigs and giving me some great advice. Just after the tour ended, we all got together in Nashville and wrote Found Me, the first single off the EP, about making the tough decisions you have to make in order to become the person you know you can and need to be on the other side of it. Being on the road with Clare and Brandon definitely built my confidence and helped me through that tough time, and I think the song was borne largely out of their encouragement and how strong I felt in their presence. I’m so glad we also got to have Clare provide the stunning harmonies on the recording.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Found Me.” How did the song develop? How did the video for the song come together?

IC: Found Me is an empowering break up anthem with an optimistic twist. It’s about gaining strength through adversity, and how sometimes the tough decisions are the ones that lead us to self-discovery. Clare, Brandon and I wrote it at their house in Nashville, and when I took the song into the studio in LA to record, all we had to work from was a simple acoustic demo on my phone. In the demo, the song sounded almost delicate and fragile, but as we started recording it, we let the confidence and power in the lyrics guide the production. The song is about feeling strong again after doubting yourself for so long, and we wanted the production to match that empowered feeling, so we let it get as big as it wanted to be, and it just kept growing. We were referencing everyone from Taylor Swift to The 1975 to Maggie Rogers.

 

The music video for Found Me was directed by my wonderful manager Jeremy Dylan and made with a crew of amazing folks who I’ve worked with on many of my past videos. We wanted the video to be bold and ooze attitude. It was all done in one take (which adds a lot of pressure) in an airplane hangar in the south of Sydney, and it’s definitely the most liberating music video I’ve done to date. I got to move like I’d never moved before in a video, had a badass, all-female band, and the vibe on set was truly electric.
 
FEMMUSIC:   I understand your father is a singer-songwriter. Are there any lessons or tricks you learned from him that have helped your music and career?

IC: My Dad was really the one who normalised music for me. Some kids grow up thinking that being a doctor or a lawyer is the expected career path to pursue, but I grew up thinking that playing in bands and entertaining people for a living and writing/recording music in your spare time was the natural thing to do. I started classical singing lessons at age 8, and continued singing classically until I was 18, because my Dad heard me sing in a sketch show my cousins and I put on at a family Christmas party. Then at age 12, I picked up his guitar and taught myself how to play it by watching him. He encouraged but never pushed me, and because of that I developed an insatiable love of singing, playing and eventually writing my feelings into song. He believed in me before I believed in myself, and even now when I’m feeling low about the industry and its challenges, he is the first to remind me how far I’ve come and to always back myself.

FEMMUSIC: COVID-19 has changed everything. How are you staying creative during this? Are you doing anything new or different?

IC: I’m trying to keep as positive as possible. As songwriters, we tend to be a highly sensitive bunch who think and feel a lot of things very deeply, and I’ve found myself in a state of high anxiety about the current state of the world a few too many times lately. To avoid this, I have a strict exercise regime and a working-from-home routine I’m trying to keep in place. I’ve also been working on some skill-based learning, trying to improve my lead guitar and piano playing.

We’d love to be physically touring this new material right now, but since it’s not safe to be doing that, we’ve got a virtual tour going on right now. The first show was 16th May and there are three shows left; 30th May, 13th June and 27th June. These are professionally produced live streams with great quality sound and video, and they are pay-what-you-can shows filmed live from my backyard in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales and broadcast through StageIt. Each show has a different theme, the next show being piano, the one after that electric guitar, and the fourth being an “all request” show. All details and tickets can be found at www.imogenclark.com.au

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

IC: My writing technique is honestly different every time, and I think that’s the beauty of songwriting and why it’s something I can’t get enough of. Sometimes I’ll get a lyric idea going around in my head that I later build a song around. Sometimes I can’t stop singing a melody so I fill in the blanks with lyrics. Sometimes I write lyrics like poetry and later write a melody to it. Sometimes I write by myself and sometimes I write with others. It’s a wonderfully refreshing process because it’s always changing.

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

IC: The song Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell changed my life. When I first heard that song, I couldn’t believe someone so young could have such an in-depth understanding of life. “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day”; that lyric just floored me. After I heard that, I delved deeper into Joni’s catalogue, particularly the albums Clouds and Blue. I remember thinking “This is the sort of artist I want to be”; someone who can make people feel things they didn’t know they could feel. Joni can write a song about love or heartbreak, topics which have been done to death, but make it sound completely new, raw and refreshing.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

IC: Being a woman in the music industry is not for the faint of heart. I started professionally playing music at age 12, and when you start so young, it’s incredibly difficult to be taken seriously, even as you grow into an adult. Being a woman in the music industry means fighting twice as hard to gain the same respect as your male counterparts. Releasing a song about your ex-partners’ short comings means being seen as an overly emotional, whiny wreck, when the same song if released by a man would be hailed as courageously vulnerable. If you know what you want and you stand strong on it, you’re stubborn or a bitch. You’re pressured to look a certain way because apparently our only value as women lies in the way we look and not in what we have to say. It’s very difficult to win in the game of public perception as a woman, so what I’ve learned is to just say “fuck it” and do whatever brings me joy.

 

Being underestimated is actually an extremely powerful thing. While someone is busy underestimating you, you can be busy running rings around them, and they never see it coming. Let them underestimate you at their own peril.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

IC: I’d love one day to collaborate and/or tour with Maggie Rogers or Lennon Stella, two artists whose albums I’ve had on repeat in isolation. They’ve both really helped inspire me to develop this new sound that mixes a bunch of different kinds of music I love together. Previously, I’ve always been made to feel like if you love artists like Taylor Swift, you can’t also love artists like Bruce Springsteen, but I’m realising now that that is total bullshit. You can love and draw from whatever music you want, and both Maggie Rogers and Lennon Stella mix beautiful, melodic, meaningful songwriting with big, poppy production, and that’s what I want to feel free to do too.

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

IC: I’d love to be able to change the way artists are paid through streaming services. Particularly amidst this pandemic where all musicians have basically lost their jobs, we need to be fairly compensated for the exploitation of our art on streaming platforms.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

June 4th, 2020

Have you visited The National Parks? If not you’re long overdue. This Utah band is releasing their latest album Wildflower on June 19. The National Parks are Brady Parks on guitar & vocal], Sydney Macfarlane on keys & vocals, Cam Brannelly on drums, and Megan Parks on violin. Wildflower marks a stronger rock and pop sound to this band, and they’ve never sounded better. Wildflower is produced by Scott Wiley. Wildflower is the band’s fourth album following YoungUntil I Live and Places. The singles from the album include “Wildflower”, “Time.” And “Waiting for Lighting”

The National Parks is led by Brady Parks who also does the songwriting. In launching the band’s new sound The National Parks have started The Wildflower Podcast which gives insight from every member on the formation of songs.

We saw The National Parks live last year and it was one of the most exciting live shows of the year. We were thrilled to talk to Sydney McFarlane about the album. For info visit https://thenationalparksband.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge in making Wildflower?

SM: It’s funny you ask, because this album was probably our least challenging one to date. In album’s past, it has taken us a lot longer, a lot more instruments, a lot of reworking, to get the sound that we wanted. And even then, going back I think there were still a few songs we wished we could have reworked. But Wildflower was seriously seamless. Everything just seemed to flow together perfectly and we really feel that this album is the truest form of us to date. We are stoked about it!

FEMMUSIC” You worked with Scott Wiley again on this album. What does he bring to the project to want to work with him again?

SM: Scott is amazing. He creates such a chill/beautiful creative space (June Audio in Provo, UT) and it really helps to take the pressure off of us as creators. He is the perfect balance of being a producer that will step in when we might be going off course, but also knows when to just let us do our thing. He also has some really amazing ideas. He knows us so well, and it’s like he knows where the music can be before we even do and he helps us get there. Scott has been a huge key factor in any success we have had so far.

FEMMUSIC: I just listened to the Wildflower Podcast. In regards to the song “Wildflower,” how much of what you did was organic in the studio vs pre-production? Tell me how you view the song and its elements.

SM: “Wildflower” was pretty much our rockiest song. When Brady first showed me, I knew that it was going to be a leading track to the album. It just sounded a lot more refined to me! We had a full demo going into the studio, but we pretty much stripped the whole thing and replaced it with elements in the studio. Giving it a lot bigger feel. One of my favorite parts of the song is the line “I must be planted for a reason.” That line is sort of the message we wanted to share about ourselves, as well as to all of our fans listening. That everyone is super unique and has an individual purpose in the world. We all have a reason for being here and we want to help others to believe that too.

FEMMUSIC: Both videos for “Wildflower” & “Time” were done by Jeremy Prusso. I love the theme and place within them. How were the videos to make? How much collaboration did the band have in making the theme?

SM: Jeremy was awesome to work with. We have worked with him for a few years now, actually! He has a super chill vibe about him. His ideas are really organic, but he is also really open to taking ideas from us as well! We four are creators as well and really have a vision behind our band and our message, and so it’s important to us to have people who will see that same message and convey it too. We really wanted to have a western vibe to these videos, especially with “Wildflower” being a more rock feeling, and so we took that idea to Jeremy. But he went above and beyond with hidden Easter eggs, each video connecting to each other, making sure the costumes and scenery were perfect. He spent days looking for the perfect spot to film them in Southern Utah and even painted the boat Cam used, as well as made me my own knife to defend myself against the bad guys. He made sure that Meg could actually ride the horses, not just pretend to, etc. So many thoughts that were just above and beyond! We are lucky to work with him.

FEMMUSIC: 2020 is to be the first year for Superbloom Music Festival. What challenges, pre-COVID-19, have you had putting it together? What made you decide to put on a music festival?

SM: Sadly, we have had to cancel our Superbloom Fest this year due to unseen circumstances. And, I guess those are the challenges that you face as someone trying new ideas. Things happen that you don’t really have control over. But I think the biggest thing we have learned through all of this is that being flexible really can work to your advantage. We have had so many other opportunities to connect with our fans that I don’t think we would have otherwise if not for COVID-19. And we still plan to have the music festival next year and we are planning to make it even more special.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Individually and within the band?

SM: So, I’m actually not a big songwriter. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t given it enough time, or it just doesn’t click for me. But I see myself as more of a supporting role to Brady’s songwriting. And I think that’s why we have worked together so well for almost 10 years now. Brady’s songwriting is out of this world. The fact that he can bust out the catchy songs that he does in such little time amazes me. But sometimes he still just needs a tiny bit of help, haha. Not a lot! Whether it’s cutting out a chorus, suggesting a bridge, longer intro, songwriting ideas, not a whole lot. But I think mine and his roles are so formed and we know how we fit with each other’s musicianship really well now.

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

SM: “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. I think a lot of us doubt ourselves from time to time, wondering if we are on the right path or if everything is going to work out. I struggle with some anxiety and depression, and so sometimes those “voices” in my head are a little bit louder and a little harder to sort out. She speaks about God saying all the right things about her that she doesn’t believe herself, and it’s enough for her to fight the voices off. It has really helped me in hard times. Recently I have also pictured my future self being the one believing those things. Like that person is cheering me on and supporting me, knowing that I will make it through anything. It’s a cool experience. I don’t listen to it all the time, but it definitely has had a big influence on me.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

SM: I think the biggest challenge as a woman in the music industry I have had to face is being a mother of two children while also touring across the country. My boys are 5 and 1, and I have been touring their whole lives. There was even a tour where I nursing. My son was only 2 months old. I had to pump at gas station stops and grab ice from the fountain to store in my mini cooler. It’s crazy to look back on it now! But not only was it a challenge to try and figure out babysitting schedules while I am away, since my husband still works full-time, but I think it was more so the shame and guilt I felt. I didn’t really know anyone else that was doing what I was doing. I didn’t have a role model or someone to ask advice for. I kind of just had to pave the way myself. Luckily, I never really gave up and I am still going strong, and I have realized I am my boys’ mom for a reason, and I am enough as I am.

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

SM: Oh man, so many! It’s hard to narrow it down. But I think one of my favorites would have to be Post Malone. Haha. I love his unique and creative personality. He can do in your face but also super lyrical and gentle. I can picture me and him doing a mashup that would be really unique and maybe something that hasn’t been done before.

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

SM: One thing I wish I could change is the saturation of the market. There are SO MANY amazing and talented artists out there that, if given the right audience and the right team, could really change the whole game. But sometimes I feel that there is a little bit of a game to play, some hoops you have to jump through. And that’s okay. I’m just grateful I get to create awesome music with my best friends and also share it with our amazing friends and fans.

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May 18th, 2020

Janet Devlin - by Emma Jane Lewis

When we first heard of Janet Devlin in 2014 she was already famous. She’d hit a stride by being on The X Factor in 2011. Her album Running With Scissors marked her American debut. What wasn’t known then was how much turmoil Devlin was going through. On June 5th Devlin with release Confessional, her new album and My Confessional, a book. Both are bluntly honest about how she has put her life back together. In March Devlin released her song “Away with Fairies” about her alcoholism.

It coincides to a chapter in the book. It appealed directly to me and my own sobriety. It also spurred doing this interview. Devlin has been revealing more of the album and the book on her YouTube site. Devlin is in her 20’s and has already lived a lifetime. As she begins this new chapter in her life, and reveals everything we applaud her for her honesty and bravery. For info visit https://www.janetdevlin.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Confessional?

JD: Probably making the concept and album run together smoothly. I might have written the best song for the topic but it may have been the wrong mood for its place in the album running order. This ended up with me writing around three to four songs for each chapter.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Jonathan Quarmby. How did you meet? What made you decide to have him produce the album?

JD: I’d been in chats with his management company organising writing sessions with their acts/producers. So they hooked up a session between the two of us. What solidified him producing the record for me was receiving one of our writing demos back. He totally unlocked where I wanted to go with the contemporary but Irish feel of the record.

FEMMUSIC: Confessional is both highly personal and a big collaboration. Can you tell me about your vision for the album? 

JD: I wanted to have an album that was reflective of my life. It spans just over a decade of the ups, downs and afflictions that I’ve lived through. I wanted to make an album that would allow people to get to know the real me. As a lot of the stories take place when I was living back home in Ireland, I wanted it to have that present in the sound.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about My Confessional, the book. How did that come about? What was the biggest challenge doing it?

JD: Well I wanted to still make a relatable album but a lot of the topics were too heavy. So I figured that by writing a majority of the topics in a metaphorical manner, they would still be relatable to others. But as I wanted to confess my own “sins”, I figured the book was the best medium to do this. I would be able to tell people the whole truth but do so in my own voice.

FEMMUSIC: Your video, My Alcoholism – 5 Years in Recovery, is a stark admission of your worst days. How did going into recovery change you?   

JD: Well, for starters, to made me sober ha! But in all seriousness it made me feel so much less alone. When you carry around years of isolation, shame and self-loathing, to know that other people have not only gone through it, but had come out the other side was amazing. So that feeling of community really made me so much happier and feel like more of a member of society.

FEMMUSIC: The music business is not designed for sober people. Beyond the tales of sex, drugs and rock and roll, to be a successful artist means playing in venues that serve alcohol. What coping mechanisms have you developed in playing live?

JD: The “music industry” is such a blanket term. The sex, drugs and rock ’n roll of the eighties is few and far between nowadays. Most of the musicians I know tend to do most things in moderation… which I was very disappointed to find out about in the days when I was looking to get wrecked! I can only speak for myself here but I’m in no way bothered by being in pubs, bars or venues, which may be because I did very little of my drinking in public. So I actually don’t have any coping mechanisms because I don’t need them – this may not be the case for others though.

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

JD: It’s actually probably more of a soundtrack. When I was seven or eight my parents bought me the soundtrack for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” And honestly, life’s never been the same since! It’s shaped my writing style but it also means that almost all bluegrass music gives me such a beautiful, nostalgic feeling. 

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JD: I honestly don’t think I’ve ever faced any – thank the lord as I know it’s real and prevalent for many! If I have, I’ve clearly been too naive to notice!

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

JD: Oh gosh, the dream would Chris Stapleton! He is just my musical hero and to do anything with him would be an actual dream come true.

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

JD: The competitive element that some try and enforce. I’m just out here making the music I want to make, and I’m just trying to have fun doing it. I don’t need someone to try and compare me to another act who’s doing “better” or just doing something similar. It’s a hard enough industry to be in without the scarcity complex being falsely enforced!

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May 11th, 2020

 

Public Practice

Sam York

Public Practice drops their debut album Gentle Grip on May 15. The NYC band is Sam York, Vince McClelland, Drew Citron, and Scott Rosenthal. The group has members from former bands Wall and Beverly.

In 2018 Public Practice released their EP Distance Is A Mirror. The EP introduced a sound that revives the late 70’s, early 80’s pop-funk style. The album features singles “Compromised”, “Disposable” and “My Head”

The album was recorded in a home studio adding unique elements in sound. Public Practice is a reason to look fondly on the past while embracing the future. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/PublicPractice/

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

SY: It varies from song to song, sometimes they materialize in mere moments when we are all in the room together, but often it starts with a simple demo from Vince and then we add more parts and I write lyrics.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Gentle Grip?

SY: As with any big creative project, getting an idea out of your mind and all the way across the finish line is no small feat. Honestly one of our biggest challenges for this one was schedule since we are all employed outside of this project.

FEMMUSIC: How did you approach Gentle Grip differently from Distance Is A Mirror? What lessons did you learn making Distance Is A Mirror that you applied for Gentle Grip?

SY: Making the EP was a little more about finding the voice for the group. Stylistically trying on different things and seeing what sounds nice. Gentle Grip was informed a little from that experience. From Distance is a Mirror, I think we learned we could operate in the rehearsal space to record at a capacity that suits us for a full length. There are certain things we didn’t want to attempt in our rehearsal space due to the feeling. Recording vocals is extremely personal and our rehearsal space doesn’t quite have a comfortable feel to it. So we worked at Johnny Schenke’s studio Windows for some of those sessions and Studio G with Jeffrey Berner for others.

public practice - gentle grip - album cover

FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Wharf Cat Records. What made you sign with them? What were you looking for in a label?

SY: Wharf Cat believes in music and the artists that make it in a way I’ve rarely experienced in the industry, they truly believe. The support and encouragement they give to us to create whatever feels like a Public Practice record is incredible. We are lucky to have such a good relationship with our record label!

FEMMUSIC: What is your favorite song on the album? Why?

SY: “My Head” was the song where everything came together in a way that felt complete. The arrangement and vocals feel like the thing we set out to do on the record in its most realized state. Although we all have our own favorite songs for different reasons, Vince really likes Understanding, Drew loves “Compromised”, Scott loves “Each Other”. Each song has a personality of its own, so there are reasons to love each of them.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the home studio and what unique things it allowed you to do with this album?

SY: Having a home studio gives us a little more ownership on how the source sounds arrive. We were fortunate to work with Johnny Schenke and Jeffrey Berner in some capacity, but we wanted a unique identity to the source sounds and a lot of that is derived from the space that you record in and the equipment used. We don’t have an acoustically perfect room, but that’s ok. There is a lot of character in what some may consider flaws or imperfect conditions in our opinion.

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

SY: “O Superman” by Laurie Anderson. My first time hearing that song/album was as a child, my mother was playing it, and it was an awakening for me as an artist. I have always looked up to Laurie Anderson as an artist/musician, she was the first experimental artist I was exposed to and even as a child I the feeling of ‘I want to do that.’

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

SY: For the most part I feel respected as a woman in music, though perhaps it’s helpful that there are so many women in our music community here in NYC. There have been times in the past where I feel I haven’t been taken seriously on account of being a ‘pretty girl’ but I do my best to let moments like that roll off my back and keep moving forward– it’s their loss to doubt a fellow musician!

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

SY: At this moment, Arthur Russell. I’ve been revisiting and spending a lot of time with his records these past couple of quiet weeks at home and his ability to create music spanning so many genres is impressive. I do not subscribe to the idea that bands/artists have to do exclusively what they are known for sonically. Let’s push some boundaries people!

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

SY: The pay structures. I don’t have the solution but there is so-little-money in music and it’s such a vital part of culture at large. I wish there was a way to make being a musician more viable financially.

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May 1st, 2020

Gena Rose Bruce

Gena Rose Bruce first came to our attention because of her visually striking videos including “Angel Face”

The song comes off Bruce’s debut album Can’t Make You Love Me. This Australian artist was due to make her American debut at SXSW. Her introspective lyrics have a life all their own. She recently released a cover of Harry Styles Adore You

Bruce is an artist we expect to take off soon. For info visit https://www.genarosebruce.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Can’t Make You Love Me?

GRB: I think the whole production process was dragged out longer than I would have liked due to the fact I was working multiple part time jobs trying to pay for it all. Between writing, recording, mixing then mastering, it can get very expensive very quickly. 

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Tim Harvey. How did you meet? What made you decide to have him produce the album? 

GRB: I had known Tim previously just through the Melbourne music community, and we had always shared a real appreciation for the same type of music. When I played Tim the demos to the album he responded with all the same references to me and I could just get a sense he was truly passionate about working with me on this project.

FEMMUSIC: I read your songwriting starts with lyrics. Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

GRB: It’s different every time, but for me to even begin creating I need to be in a good head space. To be able to allow myself to write with no judgment, that takes a lot of restraint and patience as naturally you want everything you write to be the best and it can be completely disheartening when it’s not sounding the way you want. Words are always what I’m drawn too, It will often start with a sentence or a refrain then I will take that to the piano or guitar and go from there. 

FEMMUSIC: Please tell me about your vision for the album.

GRB: There was no real vision at the start, I was just going through a hard time personally and needed a project to dive into as release. It then naturally became a work of songs about healing and moving on.

FEMMUSIC: Now that Can’t Make Love You Me is out and touring is suspended. What are you writing now?

GRB: Well it’s been good chance to stop and reflect, I think I am still in a stage where I am writing from personal experiences and using writing as a way to deal with life. 

FEMMUSIC: On that same line, COVID-19 has impacted everyone differently. Have you found any new creative outlets with it? 

GRB: I’ve been learning classical piano via Zoom lesson and that’s been really fulfilling.

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

GRB: There really isn’t one song that jumps out, but more like artists, I can’t get enough of Roy Orbison’s voice right now, That has really influenced the new music I’ve been working on and the way I am composing the melodies. 

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? 

GRB: I have found I have always had this hesitation to refer myself as a guitarist, even though I’ve been playing guitar for 13 years. It’s like as a women you have to be exceptionally good to be able to refer yourself as musician and to not have people tell you how to play or give you “tips” constantly.  I’m lucky to have a great band and support team around me where this type of mentality is not tolerated. 

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

GRB: Bryan Ferry, because he is a musical legend and to witness that voice night after night would be something very special.

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

GRB: I think there needs to be more financial support from the government, there is so many people working in the industry that are managing 2 or 3 jobs at a time, just trying support their art and that can really take a toll on our mental health.

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