Category: Interviews

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! 

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

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.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

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

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

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.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

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!

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

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.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

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.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

May 1st, 2020

Fay Wildhagen

Fay Wildhagen is a singer-songwriter, producer in Norway. She was nominated for Spellemann (Norway’s Grammy) both as indie and producer of the year for her sophomore album Borders. She recorded her new album in November 2019. It is a live album. The album has a string section, minimalist quality, and a collaboration with Ane Brun. The latest single is “Life of Pi”

FEMMUSIC was glad to present interviews with both Fay Wildhagen & Ane Brun this month. For info visit https://www.faywildhagen.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Leave Me to the Moon Live?

FW: Time and the amount of people! We just managed one hour rehearsal with everyone, Kristoffer Lo and I wrote scores during the night in the week leading up to the recording. I remember I worked 14 hours a day that week and it still wasn’t time. But I think that’s the perfectionist in me. When is it okay to be done? When is a score good enough? So it was really changeling to let go; trust my instincts and gut;  make quick decisions;  and trust the amazing band I gathered.

FEMMUSIC: Both Snow & Borders are studio albums. What made you decide to live album?

FW: I feel all songs have so much potential to be explored, like when artist cover other artists. You see the songs in a new light and experience them differently. Maybe they suddenly get a new meaning? I wanted to explore my songs this way. Try to find their core and find their potential to become something new. There’s also a huge part of me who loves the old school way of music recording. Not sending midi on email to each other, but playing in the same room. Look at each other, interact, create, improvise and forget the outside world.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Ane Brun. How was she to work with? How did you approach her with the project? 

FW: I sent her a DM on Instagram and bluntly asked if she wanted to join. She is so easy to work with. Respectful for the music, open minded and you can sense her experience of doing this for a long, long time. I feel so thankful that she wanted to share her voice and experience with me. I’m still wondering if it actually happened.

FEMMUSIC: COVID-19 has changed everything. How have you approached it? Have you found any new outlets during it?

FW: I just moved out into the forest. Going to build a studio here and work, plant seeds, watch the garden grow, write new music, learn more about myself and the world we live in and read.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

FW: Solitude.

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

FW: “Bad in each other” by Feist. It just blew me away, and I remember thinking – this is what I want to do.

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

FW: Being believed and acknowledged that I actually produce my own stuff, write my own scores, program the drum grooves and edit the vocals.

Especially by the press, which is strange. I have never felt being a woman has limited me in any way before so it came as a huge shock to me. I didn’t know what to say and it slowly made me so angry that I just blew it out on the radio at one point, started to talk about it and discuss with others. A lot of women have come to me asking for gear tips and so one, which is super cool. Things are changing and it feels encouraging to be a part of that change and “lead the way”.

The producer of the year nomination by the Norwegian Grammys really meant a lot to me. Felt like I was believed for the first time (sick that it had to come to that!) and felt like a good-job-pat-on-the-back.

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

FW: Bon Iver. I think we could make real magic, but that’s a dream I don’t think ever will come true and that’s ok. haha:)

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 30th, 2020

 

ane_brun

Photos by Tirilleia

Norweigan Ane Brun has worked with Peter Gabriel, Robyn, Ron Sexsmith to name a few. She has won the Spellemannpris multiple times. She has released her albums through her own label, Balloon Ranger Records. Ane Brun is the powerhouse artist who has stood up for Climate Activism and Women’s Rights. She is Joni Mitchell, Madonna & Lady Gaga rolled into one.

Brun is releasing a new album this fall. The new tracks include “Trust”, “Don’t Run and Hide” and her latest single “Felling Like I Wann Cry.”

FEMMUSIC caught up with her to talk about the new album. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/anebrunofficial/

 
FEMMUSIC: I read that the death of your father, and the writer’s block that followed played a big part in the new album. Can you tell me more?  

AB: I have usually dealt with feelings though writing music. And it has worked for every situation really. But when my father passed away, I found myself lost for words. I couldn’t and didn’t want to write about what was going on. It was to close, to different, to hard to early to put into words that defined this overwhelming experience.

I therefore decided to focus on interpreting other people’s songs, and released Leave Me Breathless (2017) to get a channel for my creative needs. But two years ago I started writing again. And soon it felt like a healing process. The album contains songs with big themes, also about grieving. So when I was ready, the almost self imposed writer’s block was gone.

FEMMUSIC: Both “Trust” and “Don’t Run and Hide” focus on emotional growth and trust. What is your vision for the new album?

AB: The album is about big emotions and big moments in life. I had a list of topics to address and many lyrical seeds for songs that I wanted to ´complete. My vision was to feel that I had dealt with all of them, and when the last one on the list was finished last August, I felt ready to go into the studio. I’ve been working on the album since September 2019, and we’re almost done now. Musically I had a vision of expanding and challenging my sound, but still keep my core, the warmth and the presence that I always try to preserve.

FEMMUSIC: You’ve collaborated with a number of artists over the years. Whom did you work with for this project? What were looking for in collaborators?

AB: This album doesn’t really have any particular guest artists. I’ve produced the album myself in a close team with my co-producers Martin Hederos (long time keyboardist and band member)  and Anton Sundell (my co-producer for Leave Me Breathless)

FEMMUSIC: COVID-19 has changed the way the world works. The video for “Trust” allows you to show the world. How has COVID-19 opened up new ways to express your music?  

AB: It has forced musicians to reach out online in a greater extent than before. I feel that both us artists and the audience have gotten more open and creative when it comes to online communication and performances. And in an immense speed I think! it shows us how adaptable we are, right? Obstacles can create new opportunities if you try.

My worry is that musicians and artists will end up feeling an expectation not to charge for their online performances, and that this can be an expectation that continue into the post-corona era. Musicians and artists are often generous with their work because it’s a blessing to be able to give joy and comfort to people with out music. But we also have to pay our bills and our rent, so I think it’s important to keep our value in mind.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AB: It happens in different ways, but mostly it starts with some fragments of words and a riff on an instrument, guitar, piano, bass line.. And then I improvise on top for as long as it takes to find something that keeps me interested over endless takes.. And I always record from the very first improvisation, so that I can completely disappear into this very intuitive part of the composing process. When I’ve got a core of a song, I start the more intellectual part, where I finish the lyrics and join the different parts together. Sometimes it takes two hours to make a song, and other times it takes two months.

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

AB: Impossible to answer. My music is a mixture of everything I’ve listened to throughout my life.. And it blends in me and comes out as my own sound.

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

AB: I felt there was a challenge in the beginning, being a woman, when I was young and perhaps also a little insecure about my place. I’ve always had my own record company and haven’t been in a position where I’ve been depending on anyone else’s permission to release or do my music, so I feel I’ve dodged a lot of the problems many other have experiences, like sexual harassment etc.

Today I feel that there’s a new generation of women instrumentalists coming through who are amazing and inspiring. I believe in the future of women in music!

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

AB: I have done a lot of symphonic orchestra concerts in the last couple of years, with my own songs in big arrangements, which we released as a live album with the Swedish Radio Orchestra. I would love to bring a world class string orchestra on tour with me one day to be able to perform my songs live with all the amazing string arrangements i have on most of my albums throughout my career.

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

AB: The inequality in economic revenue between artists/bands and the major labels.

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 21st, 2020

sir_chloe

Dana Foote

Sir Chloe came to our attention in 2019. This 4 piece is with two core members (Dana Foote and Teddy O’Mara). They also work as a separate band on the East and West Coast. On the east coast is Palmer Foote (drums) and Austin Holmes (bass), west coast band is Pixel West (bass), and Willy Giambalvo (drums). What stands out about this indie alternative band is the subtle brilliance in Foote’s vocals, Matched with the weaving texture of the music Sir Chloe is an independent band ready to make a mark on the world. Their most recent single is “Untie You”

FEMMUSIC caught up with Dana Foote last year. For info visit https://open.spotify.com/artist/6rniTPs9zN26kYnkPdFl1U?si=IDiXAQDER1SvyiWpgAt6Og

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

DF: I’ll hear a line, either a melody by itself or a melody with words. I’ll record it on my phone so I don’t forget and then once I’m with my guitar I flesh out the idea. I send whatever I write to Teddy, who produces Sir Chloe with me. He comes from a sick jazz background so he makes the chords I’ve written more intriguing and adds lead guitar parts. We’ll develop a song structure from there. Then we bring it to the band to arrange..

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Too Close.” How did the song develop?

DF: “Too Close” was an orphan chorus for a while; all I had were the first verse and the chorus. I was living with it for a while without knowing where to take the song until I was lucky enough to go through a breakup which was ammunition for the song to basically write itself. My intention was to tell the story on my own terms, and make myself sound stronger than I felt at the time.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Animal.” How did the song develop?

DF: “Animal” was a sit down and crank it out kind of thing. It was written over the course of two hours spent in my dorm room trying to work through something on the guitar.

It was also the first song I wrote specifically for Sir Chloe. When I brought it to the band I didn’t like the song – there was an extra verse which was crowding the song. Once we got the band behind it and got rid of the spare verse the song really came together.

FEMMUSIC: As a band, are you interested in being signed by a label? Why or why not? What do you look for in a label?

DF: Getting signed opens doors but something I’m really enjoying about playing independently is being a part of every step of the process.

FEMMUSIC: What are your goals for the next year? Musically? Personally?

DF: I want to continue making progress as a band.

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

DF: It changes all the time, I’m not sure I can pin that on just one song.

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

DF: No gendered challenges yet, fingers crossed.

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

DF: Cage the Elephant, Pile, Lianne la Havas, Sufjan Stevens. I’d like to see their writing processes.

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

DF: I’d like to see some more risk takers.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

April 17th, 2020

Allie X

In February Allie X released a personal and introspective album called Cape Cod. The album includes collaborations with Troye Sivan and Mitski

The album was driven by Oscar Gorres and has become as much a visual feast as a sonic one with videos and photography that generate the mood. Allie X has worked with Sivan, Leland, BTS and many others over time. She has established herself as an icon in the realm of Madonna, Lady Gaga and others. She was due to have a headlining tour going on now. It was sidelined due to COVID-19. FEMMUSIC was able to catch up with her to talk about the album. For info visit https://www.alliex.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cape Cod?

AX: Nothing too challenging with this album! I guess self doubt maybe?  But in terms of the process, it was rather seamless, which has never been the case for me.  Really enjoyed composing it and creating the visuals.  I worked with incredibly talented people who I had wonderful synergy with.  I hope to be so lucky in the future to have another process like this.

FEMMUSIC: When I look at the credits to this album, I see a lot of artists, producers, and more. It is an introspective and personal piece. How did you approach people to collaborate on it? Were their any that you were afraid would say no?

AX: It’s true, when you look at all the writers, there are quite a lot. But actually, in terms of how it came together, it was very much in one studio in Stockholm.  The other writers were with me to write some of the demos.  All along it was my vision though and it was so strong and locked in when we began the process in Sweden, that when I came back to LA to write the other demos, I just had to communicate that to my co writers and I was able to always stay within my own world and feelings. 

Allie X Cape God Artwork

FEMMUSIC: I see Oscar Gorres name in some of your other interviews. How did you meet? What did he bring to this project?

AX: Yes I mention him in almost every interview, because he really was my partner in crime on this record.  He brought a production vision, something I had never fully gotten or agreed with at least, from any other producer.  I was able to fully trust him.  Oscar created a sonic palette that felt very fresh and exciting to me and I was able to sit back and focus on writing the songs instead of stressing about how to “crack” the production. It was already “cracked” to my mind.  A very talented guy.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Brendan Burton. He did more than the album photography. How did you meet? What does he bring to your projects?

AX: Brendon is so cool. A young photographer who lives in Oregon. Shoots mostly abandoned houses  and ghost towns, around North America, by himself. I wanted a gothic Americana feeling to the photos, evoking a feeling similar to what I get from Gregory Crewdson’s photos.  Brendon has a distinct style, and I had a feeling if I inserted myself ( a human subject) into his photos and we carefully chose the locations, we would be able to bring Cape God to life.

FEMMUSIC: COVID-19 stopped your tour. How are you dealing with adjustments it has brought? What are you doing differently? 

AX: Yes it did.  ha.  Financially this is an adjustment for everyone that tours in the world. And that goes beyond the artist. I have a band, tour manager, stylist, mgmt, agent, and we’ve all lost that income. I feel so much empathy for anyone involved in live performance right now. Luckily I do have royalties coming in.  Others aren’t so fortunate. All that said, there has been a lot of reflection and creativity that has come from everything stopping.  The pressure has lifted on me quite a bit, and I think that has been very healthy.  It has definitely evoked new thoughts and ideas and most days I feel excited about what I’m working on.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it evolved?

AX: It’s always different! It’s always abstract! It’s hard to explain… I used to always start with melody.  These days I love to start with a lyric or title.  Sometimes I start with a beat if I make it myself.  Rarely do I start at the piano.  I find that seems to limit me.  How do I know if a song is working? You can just feel it. 

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

AX: Oh boy, I don’t know how to answer that question. There are too many.  I’ll just pick one. “Cherry Colored Funk” by Cocteau Twins because it always inspires me, no matter how many times I hear it.  There’s always something more to hear.

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

AX: Oh quite a few.. Umm I have never been an obvious choice. I’ve really had to prove myself every step of the way to most people. My sound, appearance, age, marketability, has all been questioned, and I’ve been rejected way too many times to even recall.  I’m also the boss of my business.  I semi manage most aspects of my project.  This has been a problem to some.  I’m stubborn and authoritative and that’s also not everyone’s favorite quality haha.

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

AX: I’d love to do a tour with Lana Del Rey ! So would everybody though.  I really wanted to tour with Marina, and I got to do that last fall!

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

AX: Less tasteless, perverted, idiotic dinosaurs.

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 17th, 2020

 

Samira_Winter

Photo by Walker Lewis

Samira Winter

Winter resides in a place between psychedelic, surf and pop. It is a colorful place filled with ecstatic emotion. Winter is getting ready to release their newest album this July called Endless Space. It is their first album on Bar None. The title track was released today

Samira Winter is the leader of the band. Originally from Brazil she moved to California. The band has origins in Boston and has grown in style and presence over the years. One of their pop tunes from 2017 was “Jaded”

FEMMUSIC was glad to catch up with Samira in this pre-COVID-19 interview. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/daydreamingwinter/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Endless Space?

SW: I would say mixing was the biggest challenge. There were a lot of different stages to the mixing process; first, Ian Gibbs (who recorded and co-produced the record with me) mixed all the tracks. But we still felt like they could be taken to the next level. Then we went to mix with Pat Jones at who helped smoothen out any of the harshness and bring in a fuller sound to our home recordings. It was hard because there were so many tracks to each song so we had to find a good balance of bringing to the front certain sounds and letting other sounds serve more as a textural base. Sometimes making those choices was stressful since Ian and I would get fixated to our ideas of what needed to happen. I would say that whole process was challenging but worth the battle in the long run.

FEMMUSIC: What was different in your approach to this album vs your prior ones?

SW: Well it felt like a singular experience overall. The record definitely documented a moment it time. Ian and I started working together and had a really strong musical connection. I would go to his house, show him my demo and then start with drums, then bass and further on layering the song. It always really clicked. We would spend a day or two completing a song. Then more time would pass and I would bring him another song. Looking back I definitely think there was something magical in the air where it just felt right to be working on those songs with him and in that musical style. This record will probably be the most “psych” Winter will sound. I guess this record just belonged to an inspiration of that period of time and all of the songs manifested from that sonic reality.

FEMMUSIC: Ethereality was released on your own label. What made you decide to sign with Bar None for this album?

SW: Well I was looking for a label this whole time actually haha but nothing had come up that really made sense so I decided to self-release (which I highly recommend if you’ve been sitting on a record for a year). But when Bar/None came along it felt like the right fit and I was really excited to have that kind of community and support. There isn’t a wrong or right way to do it, I would say it’s a very personal choice and it depends on your needs/priorities at the time.

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

SW: “Pure Magician”. It’s the last song off the record but I just really like the vibe of it. It’s the most “shoegaze” and maybe one of the darkest “vibes” and I’m just really happy with the production and how it turned out. I also wrote it based on the magician card from my tarot deck so it’s just a magical song overall.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

SW: My usual technique is I’ll have a melody idea, then find a progression and then demo it with drum machine and bass and lead guitars or whatever it needs. I try to demo it as the fullest song it can be but then I’ll eventually bring it to a producer and re-record (sometimes using some of the sounds from my demo) and continue the process of arranging and producing it with them. I like the style of development since it’s fun for me to bounce off ideas with someone else. The biggest thing is finding the right person to work with for the vibe of songs I’m going for.

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

SW: That’s a hard question. I would say “Here’s Where The Story Ends” by The Sundays is a song I’ve listened to so much and gives me so much inspiration and excitement about music.

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

SW: Honestly, I feel it every single day. I’ve had mixing sessions where I felt like my voice wasn’t heard and they were literally my songs and I was paying out of pocket. I’ve had times where in my own team I felt like wasn’t being taken seriously as other the male artists that they work with. I’ve had former bandmates claim that they write the songs for Winter. I’ve had a sound guy during a festival call my former female bassist stupid. There’s so many stories I could keep going for a while. But basically I’ve gone through enough where I feel I’m getting better at calling people out in the moment when it happens and having a thicker skin about it. Also I’ve gotten better about setting boundaries and being assertive about what I want. It’s still something I’m working on and it’s not easy but it’s necessary! It only makes you stronger and sometimes that anger can really fuel you in positive ways.

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

SW: I would love to collaborate with an electronic artist and do a dreamy electro track. I would love to tour with Alvvays and Blonde Redhead. It could be a long list but I would love to tour with bands that inspire me and who’s music I truly love. Collaboration wise it excites me to try out different things so the electro idea comes from that!

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

SW: I would love it if there were more women working in the industry in general: sound engineers, running venues, booking agents, managers, producers, mixing engineers, mastering engineers, etc. It wouldn’t allow sexism to permeate so heavily and would make the men that work in the business more accountable for their words and actions.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 1st, 2020

Emily Brooks

Emily Brooks originally moved to LA to act. She now is making a name for herself as a singer-songwriter. Emily Brooks’ “As I Am” was FEMMUSIC March Video of the Month:

We were taken with this artist and were glad to talk to her about her music. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/emilybrooksmusic/

 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

EB: I will freestyle over a piece of music and that is how the majority of my music begins. Sometimes the lyrics come first and then I go to my keys to find the chords to accompany the lyrics

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Brendan O’Brien. How did you meet? How did he end up producing “As I Am?”

EB: Brendan is a legend. This being my first real studio experience, he was somehow able to understand my vision and help me bring it to life while keeping the integrity of the song. Watching him play around on the guitar and coming up with different parts was so inspiring. I had never worked with someone like this and I was basically in awe the entire time. Brendan and I met through a mutual friend who showed him my demos and Brendan was surprised. He had been shown a lot of demos over the years, but he told my friend I knew how to write a good top line and said he was interested in working with me. The rest was history.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “As I Am.” How did the song develop?

EB: I sat down after work one night and began free writing. I had just begun to really start coming into my own as a woman. For years up until this point so much of what I did rested on the opinions of others. After much inward work on myself, I developed this attitude of — take it or leave it — I am who I am and I FINALLY love who I am. I no longer felt the need to prove myself or make people understand. I felt free.  I realized a few lines in that it was a letter to my mom. Then, it felt like a letter to my lover, to a co-worker. It is a letter to anyone and everyone. I thought about all of the people in this world who have been discriminated against for who they love, or what they believe. That fueled verse 2. Verse 3 was how I feel from having to accept my truths and the resolution that although sometimes painful, it is in your truths that you are you — it is ultimate freedom.

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

EB: “Limbo” started with the chorus. It was a hot summer day in July and I was feeling stuck. Trapped almost. Like there were so many possibilities that could be, but I was somehow not moving forward. This frustration pivoted me into the song. The chorus came first. I fixated on it before making my way to the keys where I played around until I found chords that I liked. Piece by piece the song was created over a 2 day process.

FEMMUSIC: You’re currently unsigned. Would you sign to a label? What would you look for in a label signing?

EB: I would love to sign to the right label. I am ultimately looking for a label that is well-known but also more boutique. A label that has a lot of connections when it comes to touring and has other artists that I could open for. A label that sees my creative vision and wants to add to it instead of completely changing it. I’m hopeful there’s a label out there for me.

FEMMUSIC: What’s next after the singles? Is there an EP or album coming?

EB: I would love to do an EP! It just really depends on the funding. I thankfully just had my first TV placement so I will be back in the studio sooner than I expected. LA is a grind and for the longest time I was barely getting by. This year, things have been turning around and I am so thankful for that.

Emily Brooks

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

EB: Great question. Songs serve different purposes at different times in my life. One that really sticks out is Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You.” This is one of my favorite songs to sing. It feels timeless to me because every time I sing it, it feels just as alive as the first time. I can relate so much to that chorus, I ain’t got nothing if I ain’t got you. People need people and what is this life if we go it alone? Love is always the answer.

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

EB: I have faced so many challenges. So many men come onto me and it’s clear that’s the driving force behind them wanting to work with me. When I deny them, they disappear. Relationships I thought I was building suddenly crumble. I overcome this obstacle by remaining true to myself and my boundaries. It’s sad that this happens, but I look at it as God removing people from my life that I’m actually not meant to work with.

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

EB: I am dying to collaborate with Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. He has very positive lyrics blended in with 80s new age sound styles and its very good vibrations.  Everything he is doing resonates with me so much right now and I feel like would could make epic music together.  It would also be a dream to collaborate with Lana Del Rey. Lana is a poet. She’s the first artist of my generation who really got me to start putting my poetry to music. She is dreamy and cinematic and I think together we could really do something beautiful. I would love to tour with Bruno Mars. He’s got classic old-school vibes that are also modern and hip and I feel like we could make a great team.

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

EB: Definitely the digital distribution. I think it’s taking the art form and appreciation out of the music. Content is being dropped constantly, which is cool that you can do that, but it’s also making what’s supposed to be an art form more machine-like and mechanic. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have the internet. It would make everything a lot harder and I think that’s when we would have more of an appreciation for artists and the work they do.

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 1st, 2020

Aubrie Sellers

Aubrie Sellers is a child of music royalty, Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack. That does not mean that any of it is easy. In her sophomore album, Far From Home, Sellers takes on her own mental health issues, love and hate of touring and more. She is even joined by Steve Earle for “My Love Will Not Change.”

Prior to this interview Sellers was looking to touring with Lillie Mae in a dual headliner show. That was before COVID-19. For info visit https://www.aubriesellers.com/

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AS: I have always been drawn to really simple songwriting. All of my songs come from a personal, emotional place and I find the stuff I’m drawn to has that quality as well. There’s something really special to me about a song that is uncomplicated and unaffected. I find I get the most out of writing when I write with one or two other people I really admire as artists or musicians, or by myself if inspiration strikes at the right moment. 

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Far From Home (the album)?

AS: They say you have your whole life to make your first record, and only a small amount of time to make your second. For that reason I feel like a lot of pressure is often put on artists for their second record, but I always want to make sure that I’m taking the necessary time to create something I’m proud of. I also had to tune out a lot more opinions and expectations in certain ways on this record, because I made my first record independently and quietly.

FEMMUSIC: You come from a musical family. Did you have any reservations about joining the family business? What advice were you given? 

AS: Music is a part of me that will never go away because of my background, no matter if I’m doing it professionally or not. Having successful parents in the business, I felt a lot of pressure to be great from day 1, which probably delayed me putting myself out there as soon as other artists might have. Eventually I had to realize that you have to just throw yourself out there, and perfection is boring. I learned from watching my family that it’s the honest moments that mean the most.

FEMMUSIC: Your song “Worried Mind” came from your own anxiety. How do you overcome it? Do you think mental illness is discussed enough in the music business?

AS: I have struggled with anxiety to varying degrees my whole life, and going out on the road was initially very hard for me because of it. In my experience, the best thing you can do is continue to lean into those experiences that make you uncomfortable. The experience is the only thing that is going to truly de-sensitize you to the anxiety that might come along with it. It took me years, but it finally started to work. I think more musicians and artists should share their stories, because it shows others that it can be done and they aren’t alone. I also think therapy is so important, and we need to keep pushing to make it an option for as many people as possible.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “My Love Will Not Change?” How did you get Steve Earle to join on the album?

AS: I had loved Del McCoury’s version of that song and when it came time to make this record, I thought I wanted to try putting my own spin on it. Steve has been a huge influence on me my whole life, and he was one of the first artists to really rock out on a country record. I knew nobody else could do it with me but him, so I reached out to a mutual friend to see if she would ask him for me. I was elated and shocked when he said yes!

FEMMUSIC: “Far From Home (the single)” came from touring. What your biggest challenges touring? What do you most look forward to?

AS: When I first started touring, it was so difficult with my anxiety that I wasn’t even sure I could sustainably do it as a career. But I kept pushing through it and over time am finally getting to a place where I can start to enjoy myself on stage. I really enjoy meeting people at my shows, that’s probably my favorite part. It’s so touching to see people face to face who have bought your records and bought tickets to see your show. Now I’m really looking forward to continuing to tour with other artists I admire, and getting to enjoy myself while doing it!

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

AS: It’s hard to pick one song, but when the record Raising Sand by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant came out, I was so transfixed. I heard two worlds I loved colliding and creating something new. And that album had such cohesion and such a distinct vibe on its own. It really set up my expectations for what music could be, and what you could do as an artist.

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

AS: The problem with being a woman in this industry is so much can be written off because the discrimination isn’t blatant in every instance, although there’s plenty of that as well. Nobody seems to know where it originates from and who should take the blame, so no one takes responsibility. We are starting to see that change a little bit with some of the initiatives CMT is taking. For me, if they aren’t playing women on the radio and they aren’t booking them at festivals to even close to the degree that they are supporting men, that obviously puts us all at a huge disadvantage. Making a living and breaking through in this business is already hard enough, and I fear we are pushing very talented women who are making great music away because they can’t afford to continue.

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

AS: I’m going be going on tour with Lillie Mae this fall and am so excited about it. I respect her as an artist and a musician and a person so much, and I know it’s going to be one of the most fun musical experiences I’ve had to date. Beyond that, I would love to tour with some rock and alternative artists I love, Tame Impala, Franz Ferdinand and I’ve really been loving Jessica Lea Mayfield and Jade Bird.

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

AS: With all of the recent changes in how music is delivered and consumed, companies aren’t taking as many creative risks, and they aren’t putting as many creatives and music makers in key positions because they are too worried about their bottom line, which of course is what they have to worry about as a business. For that reason, it seems like there’s a fundamental flaw in the way the music business operates now and I’m not sure what the answer is. I fear that if an artist is not willing to sacrifice the art for business, it’s going to continue getting harder for them to cut through. As the traditional system continues to die, though, I hope more and more artists are able to cut through the noise and connect with music fans directly. The music is and will always be what is most important to me at the end of the day

Aubrie Sellers

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: