Category: Interviews

January 16th, 2020

Michelle Kash

Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” takes on a new life when done by Michelle Kash

Kash’s story is one of wanderlust. She found a gospel choir on Craigslist after being inspired by Aretha Franklin. She relocated from NY to LA and found her calling in a retreat in Utah. Kash has a once in a generation smoky rebellious tone to her music. It is entrancing. She is currently working on her debut album. For info visit https://www.michellekash.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

MK: I think that my process of songwriting has shifted over the years. Most of the time it was me alone, writing. It can be very intense and extremely emotional. Working on Bad Love Game was a new experience for me. Aaron Kamin and I connected immediately and there was an exceptional flow. It brought a kind of lightness to my process that I think I didn’t know how to access on my own.

In terms of the way that I write, I use notebooks and handwrite in them. I doodle in them over and over, the pages are just covered in words, phrases, and doodles. It looks nuts.

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

MK: I wrote “Smoking Gun” when I was caught between two loves. An old lover came back into my life and tried seducing me. We had that indescribable magnetism and one of those connections that you never forget, but going back there would have fucked everything up.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the “Smoking Gun” video. Did that fit your image for the song? How was it to make?

MK: I intended the Smoking Gun video to portray a relationship that was intoxicating but also toxic. To feel bound to someone, to feel like I have no control and question.. .do I actually like it? And who is responsible for the outcome?

It was an amazing experience to make it and incredibly fun. Nandy McClean, my director, had a vision for a cinematic experience and she made me feel so comfortable. It was my first music video and it was a huge learning experience. Smoking Gun was the starting point for me to dive into where I wanted to go visually, which led to the video for Personal Jesus.

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

 

MK: I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with ​and​ ​analyzing my ability to be in a relationship. I get comfortable having things the way I like it, doing whatever I want. “Hurt Me” was written when I had given it a go with someone for real, but it was long distance. I realized I didn’t really give it a real chance because I was always leaving them. I wanted to be challenged more, I wanted them to wake up ​and see​ that this wasn’t working, that maybe we weren’t meant to be. I wanted them to fight back and meet me where I stood, not just settle. It went beyond ​the relationship,​ ​as​ I wanted them to not settle in their life. It was an emotional time and I still have a difficult time performing this song live because it brings up a lot of residual feelings for me.

FEMMUSIC: How is the album coming? What has been the biggest challenge making it?

MK: The album is coming along great. I think the biggest challenge has been the emotional challenges; revisiting relationships and navigating my own life through the songwriting process. It can be a very intense experience, but ultimately I find it the most rewarding form of self expression.

FEMMUSIC: Are you interested in being signed by a label? Why or why not? What do you look for in a label?

MK: Being independent can have its challenges, and right now, it is very pure…I’m able to express myself, and figure out how best to present it. I’ve had a chance to be mindful and take time and space to evolve as an artist. I have heard pretty intense stories about working with a label and how the business side can dominate the creative side. I’m sure it would be a great experience if they believe in what you’re doing and put the power that they have behind you.

Today, I have an amazing team that understands and believes in what I’m trying to create. It isn’t easy to find those connections. I trust them and we have such a great relationship and I look forward to what’s ahead together!

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

MK: Musically, my goals this year are to write and record more songs, play more shows, go on tour, and collaborate with other artists. I would love to get music out and build a fanbase that I can ​get to​ ​know and connect with.

My main personal goal is to make animals lives better. I do a lot of animal rescue work and I am currently relocating dogs in need from India to the States. I am helping a clinic in Dharamsala, India, with​ ​things they need (that we tend to take for granted here​)​ such as a generator to keep the lights on and an operating light for surgery. As I write this, I just got word that a few of the dogs are being transported for adoption in the US and I’m so excited!

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

MK: “God Will Take Care of You”, Aretha Franklin (Amazing Grace album) Having experienced depression and anxiety, this song reminds me to hold on to the fact that it will pass. Even a moment of hope can lift you out long enough to take a breath. Music has always been that for me; a breath when I couldn’t breathe.

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

MK: I think that the biggest challenges I have faced were internal. I think there’s an unrealistic expectation for women in our society and I have definitely fallen into that. One of the best things about music is that it can be messy and that it’s for everyone. I find that I’m my biggest critique in all aspects of my life and it’s an ongoing invitation for me to practice self love and acceptance. I look to the women in punk rock like Patti Smith, Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde. Their artistry spoke with authority and paved the way for gender equality. They weren’t playing into a woman’s expected role as vulnerable object. The way they navigated these times is an inspiration.

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

MK: There’s so many innovative artists I admire that I would love to work but if I had to choose it would be Radiohead. How they have evolved and what they have done artistically over the years is incredible. They have pushed boundaries with music and technology, and to share that stage would be phenomenal. I also love what Billie Eilish is doing, her art is rebellious and vulnerable but also comforting.

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

MK: I’m so focused and so blessed to be on this journey. Every business has its challenges and the music business has been going through generational changes. At times, I think the industry can be overly focused on branding. So much so, that they want to put you in a “box”. I feel like there’s room for us to be more. Who you are as an artist is fluid and complex.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

January 16th, 2020

Jessie Clement

Jessie Clement worked with Russell Terrell, who has worked with Kenny Rogers and Thomas Rhett, and Brad Hill (Maren Morris) to make her debut album Slow Motion Philosophies. The album features the single “Borrowed and Blue” about lost love.

 

 

The album is an introspective piece on growing up. Clement’s vocals and lyrics cast a spell that makes you forget your listening to a 20 year old artist. FEMMUSIC was honored to catch up her and talk the album. For info visit https://www.jessieclement.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Slow Motion Philosophies?

JC: There actually aren’t many challenges that I can remember! The only thing that was a little difficult for me was being well enough to record the vocals! When I get sick, I always end up with a cough that totally wipes out my voice, so I’m praising the Lord for having a team of really flexible people.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Russell Terrell. You’ve worked with him a lot. How is he to work with? What does he bring to the project?

JC: Russell Terrell is one of my favorite people in the world. He is kind beyond belief, as generous as they come, and he is an amazing mentor and producer. Russell has great ideas, and hears the end result far before we’ve gotten there – down to the nth degree – and he is “the background vocal guy” in Nashville for a reason. Some of my favorite studio moments have been throwing ideas around and tracking some crazy BGV’s with him. I can’t imagine trying to make music without him.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Brad Hill?  How is he to work with? What does he bring to the project?

JC: Brad is fantastic. He’s got the heart, the ear, and the connections. He’s all around super easy and wonderful to work with. The way he hears things is inspiring to me. I’m constantly amazed by both his and Russell’s ability to sense what is missing and fill the void with exactly what it needed. I have so so enjoyed making the last two records with him, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for us.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JC: Therapeutic. Whether I start with a chord progression or a lyric, the process is always the same: “Get it off my chest.”

I’ve found that the old fashion way of writing is the best way for me. I believe I’m working on my 6th songwriting book. There is something so soothing about writing out your soul to the tune of a pen scratching on paper. The words write their own melody; I’m just there to witness it.

Jessie Clement

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

JC: I really can’t answer that. I love every single one of them equally. I know that may seem like a cop out answer, but truly. Every song is its own story inspired by my life and the production of each is inspired by the heart of the songs. I just love going back through all my memories every time I listen to the album.

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

JC: You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor

There’s something about that song that completes me. It feels like home. It’s my security blanket. It’s my life’s soundtrack. The entire song revolves around constants. The sun… The moon… Time… Love. I need to be reminded on a daily basis that while this world feels like it’s spinning off its hinges, some things always stay the same. That song is a reminder for me.

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

JC: I, thankfully, haven’t really faced any challenges, so far, being a woman in the industry.

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

JC: Easy. Jacob Collier. He is as brilliant as they come. I just want to learn from him, put our brains together, and see what we would come up with. Also I just feel like we’d be best friends.

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

JC: I think it is such a waste of time to give and be given false expectations. If a label, agency, or any other company that may profit from your hard work is interested in you and believes in what you do, they should actually do something about it. If they don’t, they should say so and move you along. I am so tired of people acting like they want to be a part of your team and then disappearing as if they’d never said anything at all.

I could just do with a whole lot less smoke blowing.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

January 16th, 2020

Alexandra Savior

It is always hard making a new album. There is the time in studio. The money out front. The collaboration and take after take. In making her sophomore album Alexandra Savior faced an additional challenge; trying to find a label.

Savior first broke with her album Belladonna of Sadness. That album defined Savior’s style in deeply melodic music with woven passionate lyrics. Savior’s returns now with The Archer which features singles “Crying All The Time”, “Saving Grace”, “The Archer” and “Howl”

 

The Archer was made because of Dangermouse and his label 30th Century Records. The Archer dropped January 10, 2020. For info visit https://alexandrasavior.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Archer?

AS: The biggest challenge I had while making “The Archer” was getting it released, while I was writing I didn’t have a label, I was sending my demos around, but it took some time for it to find its way to 30th Century.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Sam Cohen. How was he to work with? What did he bring to the project?

AS: Sam Cohen is great! He is very easy to be around, and is a great listener, so it felt like he was really receptive to my input. I think he definitely brought more psychedelic sounds to the record, along with bringing in so many talented musicians around New York to really help fill out the tracks.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about 30th Century Records. What made you decide to sign with them? How have they been to work with?

AS: 30th Century has been very easy to work with, I signed with them because Brian/Dangermouse has always been a friend and an ally to me, and I trust him more than anyone I have met within the industry. Everyone at 30th has been very accommodating and committed to my project, more than I have ever experienced before.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference making The Archer vs Belladonna of Sadness?

AS: There were so many vast differences between the making of each record, but the biggest would probably be that I wrote it all in a more personal environment.

Alexandra Savior

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

AS: I like the song “But You”, mostly because it feels great when we play it live.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AS: I write on guitar mostly, sometimes piano. First I come up with a chord structure, then the melody, then I spend a lot of time working through the lyric. I try to play each song every day and usually they change naturally overtime.

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

AS: Lately, I am really affected by “I Remember” by Molly Drake.

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

AS: I am generally reluctant to answer any questions about my experience as a woman in the music industry. But, the simplest way for me to try and convey how I’ve been treated by the industry because of my sex, and my age, is that I’ve had to overcome a lot of power dynamics, and being belittled in the media. People generally tend to treat me like they know me better than I know myself, I haven’t overcome this completely, but I have successfully filed out most of the people who have directly put me in degrading situations.

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

AS: I have major respect for Sudan Archives, I think she’s changing the narrative.

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

AS: I would like for the music industry to stop overworking and underpaying the artists whose artistic and soul identities are being marketed as products, for some self proclaimed “star maker” to buy himself Saint Laurent leather jackets, and drive his Tesla to bullshit meetings at overpriced sushi restaurants. I think it is changing in some realms, in some capacity there are people trying to help artists keep their integrity, the gap between the rich and the poor is so vast in America right now, it is hard to have faith in the arts, but people are searching for authenticity more and more.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

December 15th, 2019
The Coathangers

Photo by Jeff Forney

The Coathangers are a punk rock trio from Atlanta consisting of Julia Kugel-Montoya, Meredith Franco and Stephanie Luke. This year they released their 6th studio album called The Devil You Know. The album has complex composition mixed with blunt language on society today. It includes the singles “Hey Buddy”, “Step Back” and “F the NRA”

The band completed a winter tour recently. You can find FEMMUSIC’s photos of it at:

https://femmusic.com/wp/index.php/2019/11/20/the-coathangers-control-top-and-rocket-dust/nggallery/galleries/The-Coathangers

For info visit http://thecoathangers.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Devil You Know?

CH: It was actually a pretty easy album to make.  The hardest part was figuring out the cover art.

FEMMUSIC: You worked with Nic Jodoin again on this album. What does he bring to the project? How is he to work with?

CH: Nic rules.  Since this is the 2nd record we have worked on together, we know each other very well  which makes working together much easier.  He is honest and direct and very supportive of our visions.  Nic also challenges us and pushes us to strive to be better.

FEMMUSIC: What were your vision and goals with this album?

CH: We wanted to be a bit more outspoken on current events and things that were frustrating to us, but we didn’t want to do it in a preachy manner.  We really focused on the pre production of the album as well and pushed ourselves with the composition, lyrics, etc of each song.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

CH: It varies. Sometimes one of us will come to practice with either lyrics or an idea/riff/melody and we will all build around that. Other times we just kinda jam around and something will come together organically.

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

CH: I think “Fuck the NRA” is one of the most important songs on the album because of its message, but one of my favorites is “Step Back” because of the vibe and the way it shifts throughout the song.

FEMMUSIC: The album dives into politics, sexism, bigotry and more. This is not unknown territory for you. There is an ethos in punk that has always been against the establishment. I was wondering if you could explain how you view your role as musicians to evoke change?

CH: That’s a tough one! All we can do is write music that we believe in and stand behind. Hopefully people who listen to our music can relate and feel like they aren’t alone in their ethos.

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

Meredith answered this one: The Beatles “If Not For You” because she used to listen to it with her father, who recently passed away.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? How has this changed over time?

CH: We’ve had a few experiences as women that have been more annoying than anything, but sometimes its not because we’re women but just because that certain person (whether its a promoter or sound engineer, etc) is a jerk to everyone.  Other times it’s been an obvious male/female scuffle, a lot of times involving said male assuming we’re incompetent, man-splaining, etc. Ten years ago this would piss us off and we were a bit more vocal or reacted a bit more than we do nowadays. The best thing is to kill em with kindness and simply nip it in the bud in a more professional way.  There’s been a lot more non male musicians, stage managers, promoters, etc in every realm of the music industry over the past ten years which is refreshing because back in the day it was considered more of a “boys club” .

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

CH: Beyonce because she rules!

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

CH: The insane “importance” of social media.  A band shouldn’t be less noticed because they only have 5,000 followers on Instagram, Facebook, etc. It seems as though a bands success and value is determined through these platforms and I feel like its gotten out of control.  Just go out there and make music you wanna play and fuck the haters.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

December 15th, 2019

Stereo Jane

Stereo Jane is Sydney Schmier & Emilia  “Mia” Schmier, two sisters from Michigan. You may have heard their songs at the movies including this year’s film Ready Or Not. They have also been releasing singles this year including “Holy Hell”, and “Real World”

 

The sisters switch between soul, rock, punk, and blues effortlessly. FEMMUSIC spoke to them about songwriting and placement. For info visit http://stereojanemusic.com/

FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

SJ: We love laying down the track first, melodies second, and lyrics last! That’s how a lot of our songs were created. Sometimes we come into the studio with concepts or just start talking about what’s going on in our lives and write about that!

FEMMUSIC:  You’ve done songs for movies (Ghost Story, Ready or Not). Were these placements after the fact, or were you approached to do the music prior? How do you approach doing music for TV and film?

SJ: We were approached by a producer of ours for the song that was placed in Ghost Story. It was already written with Kesha and they wanted us take a stab at re-writing it as if it was one of our own! We ended up completely changing it and it ended up getting placed. For Ready or Not, a producing team (The Gifted) we’ve worked with quite a bit was working on the soundtrack and asked if we could do a version of “Love Me Tender” by Elvis, but in a punk rock kind of way. Syd sang on the track as a demo and the directors of the movie loved it! We always write songs then pitch them after.

FEMMUSIC: You’ve done songwriting with producers. Who have been your favorite? What have you learned from working with them?

SJ: We’ve worked with so many different writers and producers over the years. Some we vibe with and some we don’t! It’s such a great process working with so many different people because you can really narrow down who you love to work with. We love working with The Gifted, the Gomez brothers, and Clifford Goilo.

FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Atlantic Records. What made you sign with them? How have they been to work with?

SJ: We signed when we were sixteen. We were so young and excited. We were still living in Michigan and to be signed to such a big label out in LA was so crazy to us. We won’t lie. We thought we were going to be famous overnight. CLEARY we didn’t realize what actually goes into developing an artist at such a young age. They gave us the tools to grow and learn. Now we look back and like to call it the “University of Atlantic Records” because we didn’t go to college. We studied 4 years at a big label.

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

SJ: The song was written at APG during a night session. Cliff played us a few tracks he had on hand and we immediately gravitated towards the one that would become “Holy Hell”. We laid down some melodies with Lee Anna James and wrote the lyrics! It was a fun night. We were definitely a little slap happy since we were there until 3am and Mia’s bedtime is more like 9pm.

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

For me (Syd), “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” was one of the first songs I remember  really resonating with. Aretha Franklin was one of the biggest inspirations of my childhood and I always felt something special when I listened to her.
And as for me (Mia) I have to say “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. It was the first song I’d ever heard of them and it got me hooked.

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

SJ: It’s hard being a woman in music. Our whole lives we’ve felt like everyone has this low expectation of us. We’re two females trying to make it in an industry predominately ruled by men. Since we were kids we’ve always been underestimated. But while sometimes that feels like a challenge, it’s actually an asset. No one sees it coming. We speak up for what we want and we don’t settle for anything less.

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

SJ: Ah, too many people we could think of. Obviously we’d love to tour with Imagine Dragons or Twenty One Pilots. And as for collaborations, we’ve always been obsessed with the idea of mixing rap and rock. Post Malone would be an amazing collaboration for us.

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

SJ: We want songwriters to start making more for their art. We work with so many writers who don’t earn enough doing what they do. It’s hard enough being in such a cut throat industry. The only way songwriters make money is by writing a radio hit.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

October 31st, 2019
elizabeth

Photo by Naomi Lee Beveridge

Last year we interviewed Elizabeth Mitchell with her band’s Totally Mild release. A lot has happened since then. Totally Mild dissolved and Elizabeth has a new album called Wonderful World of Nature arriving November 1. The album was produced by John Castle and featured the singles “Parties”, “Beautiful Baby” and “Meander”

Mitchell has a Bossa Nova meets pop vocal style that stands out. For info visit https://www.elizabethmusic.club/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge in making Wonderful World of Nature?

EM: The most difficult thing about this album was knowing how to start. I had a few false starts, thinking that I was ready, that I was finished writing… I really just needed the space to work out what kind of album I wanted to make and what I wanted to say. I guess a hard thing was that I was very excited to make an album but was a bit paralyzed by the many ways I could move on my own.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about John Castle. How did you meet? What made you decide to work with him on the album?

EM: John is really just a wonderful producer and now also a wonderful friend. I loved the work he had done with bands like Cub Sport and Hatchie, and when I explained to him the kind of album I wanted to make he really got it. We just clicked and it was clear to me that we would be able to make something really special together.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference working on this album vs working on a Totally Mild album?

EM: A huge difference is that these songs, these arrangements really came together in the studio, I had never played most of them live until after they were recorded. So very different to recording with a band that has been fine tuning arrangements while playing shows. It was both freeing and terrifying to have the final say on all things. I also felt like I could really open out and take up space with the things I wanted to say on an emotional level.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about being a solo artist. What things are easier for you now? What is harder?

EM: I love the feeling of having to take full responsibility for myself; on stage, in the studio, aesthetically, in decision making. Having said that, I’m incredibly supported by my wonderful all girl all star band and my managers. It truly takes a village to keep this tiny pink baby afloat. Creatively, it can be weird to finish things without having bandmates who will agree or disagree with you on when something is finished, but I’m lucky to have a community of artists that I can ask for advice or opinions if I get stuck. I guess the big difference is I don’t have to fight for my way if we disagree, haha.

FEMMUSIC: This album has been in the works for a while now. I remember it August 2018 when “Burn It All” had its Australian premiere. What are your goals and vision for the album?

EM: Yes, I have re-recorded Burn It All for the album which is really nice. I love the 7” version but I really wanted the album to be one cohesive piece of work. My main goal is really just to communicate my feelings and connect with people through that. The album is very raw, it’s ugly and painful but I think that’s the most human experience and I know that I feel less alone when I can share in someone else’s pain. I am really loving playing these songs live so hopefully just lots and lots more shows.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

EM: I tend to write in bursts, follow impulses. I have a piano in my bedroom so I can basically write whenever I want to without setting up. This year I’ve also been trying to have one day a week where I go to a studio just to write, turn off my phone and try to be focused. I never thought that kind of structure would work for me, but even though I find it frustrating it helps to create the space for things to come out. I write in a pretty confessional way, usually about relationships. It’s surprising that anyone still wants to date me…

FEMMUSIC: When I asked you last year about whom you would like to tour with or collaborate with, you began by saying “I feel blessed to tour and collaborate with my band, I’d like to keep doing that until we get tired or kill each other. ” –  Now that Totally Mild is dissolved have your thoughts changed? Who would you most like to collaborate with?

EM: Totally Mild was a huge part of my life, and I’m grateful for the things we got to do together. I am in a really good place now where everyone I collaborate with and everything I do feels super intentional, and that’s something I could only have learned from all my past experiences; both good and bad. There are so so many people I’d like to collaborate with, like maybe too many to list… I am truly obsessed with Kacey Musgraves at the moment, maybe I could make a country album next.

FEMMUSIC: As a queer artist what can you do now, that you couldn’t a decade ago? What would you like to still be done?

EM: I guess just the fact that you can be a queer artist but it doesn’t have to be your entire story is something in itself. The video for Beautiful Baby is absolutely the most overtly queer thing I’ve ever put out, but I don’t feel worried about being pigeonholed into being only for a “queer market”. Like, I wouldn’t really mind if that did happen because I love my people but it’s exciting that being queer can just be one of many elements of an artist’s story.

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

October 2nd, 2019
Patriarchy_agustin_fireplace

Actually Huizenga has been performing under her own name for a while now. Now she has a new project with Andrew Means called Patriarchy. They are releasing their album Asking for It on November 8 on Dero Arcade.

Huizenga is a multi-talented artist. She is a singer-songwriter, filmmaker, director and more which is evident with Patriarchy videos.

Asking For It is a tsunami wave of hard rock and vicious lyrics. The album has 10 songs including “Asking For It”, “Burn the Witch”, and the singles “It Goes Fast”, “Grind Your Bones” and “Hell Was Full.”

For info visit http://www.actuallyactually.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Asking For It?

AH: Patience 

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Andrew Means. How did you meet? What made you decide to form Patriarchy with him?

AH: I met him through Facebook when he submitted a drawing for a coloring book I was making for my last Actually album Predator Romantic, and then his band 3teeth was playing Das Bunker and he said he wanted to work on music with me.

Andrew is a talented male who has respect for my power and was down to combine our forces into a few songs while he had his studio free between 3teeth concerts.

The songs were good so we decided to release them and make a band (even though I had already decided to stop making music and focus on film lol). Took a year for anyone to bite though.

Patriarchy_Album_cover_FINAL_Aug1

FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest difference between Patriarchy and your work as Actually Huizenga?

AH: The themes are all very similar- the sound is a bit harder and darker. It’s music that I’d rather have sex to personally.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Dero Arcade. What made you decide to release the album with them? What have they brought to the project?

AH: I decided to go with Dero Arcade because he said he knows how hard it is to be a woman in the industry since he used to Identify as female. Now that he’s a bit more male, he gets taken more seriously (if that is even a proper word)- I like him because he is not politically correct like everyone else stresses over in this social media succubus world, I’ve been rejected by labels all my life – and not just music labels. Hahaha

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Grind Your Bones.” How did the song develop? How did you translate that in the video?

AH: Well, it’s a song about trying to get some power back to have good sex…. mixed with fairy tales. The video was an audition for my live band and I wanted them to experience a real-life fairy tale in the Grimm tradition… 

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AH: I constantly take notes on my phone, in notebooks all over the place etc etc…

And then I usually come up with some sort of riff or melody (I record that with my voice on my phone ) and then I  find a line or word or sentence that blends with it… and go from there- either by myself on my shitty logic or I go to the studio when Andrew has time.

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

AH: Kind of brutal to just have one song- or one of anything to describe such an important thing as “influence.”

The album I’ve listened to most would have to be Pretty Hate Machine by NIN. Good for work, for cleaning, for whatever you need..

Also

I do think that one of the best composed and most mysterious sounding pop songs- is “Careless Whispers” by George Michael. I know it’s super popular, but even with its serve popularity there is something dark and deep about it.

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

AH: I don’t really like to talk about that anymore. Why do you think I’ve called my band “Patriarchy.”

You can watch my films “Viking Angel” and “The Art of Eating” to get the jist of how I’ve been treated. It’s never going to be easy being female if you want to keep control of your work. And it’s not just males who try to keep your face smothered in the dirt.

Long story short, I have never been treated well and I face push back every single day of my life.

But I just work harder and I try to remember that without my art, I would rather be dead.

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

AH: Trent Reznor hahaa but I’m sure everyone says that.

As for touring, I’d be happy just to be able to do a full scale world tour- so anyone cool who has a similar vibe to my Patriarchy music I guess.

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

AH: I’d like them to listen to my music. 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

October 2nd, 2019

Sassy Black

SassyBlack is Catherine Harris-White a Seattle based singer-songwriter and producer who comes from rap roots. She started with a project called THEESatification and was signed to Subpop. Her latest project is Ancient Mahogany Gold, a soulful R & B album that skillfully gets into your heart. The album was released on September 13. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Harris-White about the new album. For info visit https://www.sassyblack.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Ancient Mahogany Gold?

CHW: I think finding the right sounds was hard at first. Trying to convey the mood, the meaning behind the songs. Also song selection was hard, there were 4 or 5 songs that didn’t make the record because they didn’t fit the energetic levels of songs that were foundational to the record. 

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Ebonie Smith & Adam Straney. How did you meet? What made you decide to work with them on the project? 

CHW: I met Ebonie years ago when she was studying at Barnard and had booked THEESatisfaction to play and speak at a panel. Hadn’t seen her in years til we bumped into one another at NAAM in 2017 (I think). Adam, I have known for years now and he has mastered most of my solo projects, all my albums with THEESat & w/ Shabazz Palaces.  Working with Adam was kind of a no brainer because he knows my sound at this time and we work well together. Working with Ebonie was a new leap for me, but I am a fan of her ear and her work as a producer and engineer. I knew it was time for something different with this record and that I could trust her with my vision.

FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for Ancient Mahogany Gold

CHW: This album is a clear expression of my current self. The vision was/is to share my growth and continue on my journey to 1000 releases in my life time. The vision is to release with deep intention.

sassy-black-ancient-mahogany-gold

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

CHW: I can try. It’s a special secret experience hard to put into words. Music flows in and out. Sometimes I start with the production aspect, sometimes the lyrics. Sometimes a melody, sometimes a concept. Maybe a bass line, maybe chords. Maybe I’m developing songs to add to a project, maybe I’m challenging myself. It’s all different, it’s all me and it all just depends on how I feel and what the reason for the songwriting process.

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

CHW: I don’t have an answer for this. I can’t think of one song that has been the biggest influence on me. I have been influenced by a lot of music and songs and it changes from day to day, week to week sometimes minute to minute. Right now I’m currently into “We Got Each Other” by Chaka Khan.

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

CHW: I would really like to collaborate and tour with Moonchild and Kiefer. These artists really inspire me right now. Their music is grand and moving. I feel like we sonically connect. Omar is another artist. Terrace Martin is amazing. So are Nova Wav & TrakGirl

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

September 10th, 2019

YONAKA

Yonaka made their US debut this summer playing in NYC and LA. The 4 piece rock band released their debut album Don’t Wait “Til Tomorrow earlier this year. The album is punctuated by songs like “Lose Our Heads” and “Rockstar”

The band has an edgy arrangement with a pop addiction. It is a dangerous combination. The band self-produced the new album. For info visit http://www.weareyonaka.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow?

TJ: I think the biggest challenge was time. We had one month to record and produce 11 songs ourselves. It was long days every day using everything we got to make these songs sound incredible with a small amount of time. Comping vocals is probably my least favourite thing, you start to feel a bit crazy in that part of the process.

FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn from making your previous EP’s that helped to make the album? What was the biggest difference?

TJ: I think the biggest lesson was learning that we were capable to write, record and produce and album ourselves. We produced the previous e.p Creature and half of the e.p before that Teach me to fight. You have to make people believe in you that you can do it. So we learnt that we could totally do it on our own. It’s just a lot more pressure as you can’t take a seat back at any time as you are 100% in it all the time. In the future we would love to work with other producers I think this is a great thing as another creative mind can bring things to your work that you can’t think off because you have already taken it to your favourite place.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Fueled By Ramen. What made you decide to sign with them? How are they to work with?

TJ: We love that label and the roster. It has such incredible music and they are very positive. We have only been to America once thus far so we will hopefully be getting out a lot more next year.

FEMMUSIC: The video for your single “Rockstar” came out recently. Does the video fit your vision of the song? How did the song originate?

TJ: Yes, making that video was lovely we had some fans come down and take part and they made it so special singing all the songs on the album between takes it was such an inspiring experience and Libby the director is so talented and me and her sat down and spoke about what the song means and I wanted it to show 2 perspectives and that should be a daydream and reality but we had to do it on a budget and she came back with the show idea versus the singing in my bedroom cutting from shots and it was just great. We have had this song for about 1.5 years and it’s lyrically a dream up of being a rockstar and talking about the present of having no money but still living and dreaming.

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

TJ: For me it’s between “Creature” I love this song so much i never get bored of it. It’s a love song but in the opposite way of writing a love song it talks about the deeper meaning of love not the dreamed up one. And “Don’t Wait Til’ Tomorrow” – this is an important song and a message to anyone going through a hard time mentally or just feeling low. It’s a message to say you’re not alone and to reach out and speak to someone.

YONAKA

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

TJ: It differs but usually we will start with a melody and write under that or it can start with a riff and sometimes we even start fresh from the laptop and make a synth line or beat. we try to keep it fresh so we don’t get trapped in one way of writing but usually the melody determines the song.

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

TJ: The 2 artists that influenced me massively at the start of Yonaka were Amy Winehouse and Jeff Buckley I learned from them that you can be completely honest in your songwriting and being not ok is ok to talk about. Songs from them are “So Real” Jeff Buckley and “Stronger than Me” – Amy Winehouse. Today I listen to all sorts of music from the 1975, Travis Scott, Kanye West, lady gaga, twentyone pilots and loads more.

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

TJ: I watched the Joann Jett documentary “Bad Reputation” the other day and I think that barrier of women in rock/punk music is still very much there. I don’t think I personally have faced challenges yet.

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

TJ: Aghhh so many people. Travis Scott, twentyone pilots, Lady Gaga loadsss….

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

September 10th, 2019
Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra 3

Photo of Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra

Lauren Ruth Ward is a prolific songwriter and the next rockstar you need to know. She released her debut album Well, Hell last year. Since then she has released new singles including “Valhalla” and “Wise Gal.”

She has also done Happy Birthday Jim, a cover album of Jim Morrison/The Doors. Ward has a style and substance that stands out with a song like “Valhalla”

She is currently touring with Melanie Martinez. For info visit https://laurenruthwardmusic.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Well, Hell?

LRW: We didn’t have any challenges during the making of Well, Hell. It was my first album so I was pretty excited the entire time. My band rules. We found two incredible producers/mixers to work with. Also, Ed and I learned so much about each other and about the music we innately create. Six out of nine of the songs on the album are the first six songs Ed and I wrote together. We co-produced the tracks as well. The only challenges connected to that album are the cons we experience when we signed it over to a label (long after we created it on our own). There were some pros as well. But yeah, just the usual bureaucracy BS all artists go thru when taking a chance and accepting an offer to take to their art to the next level. No regrets though!

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Grey Goon. How did you meet? What made you decide to have him produce the album? How was he to work with?

LRW: Grey Goon a.k.a. Doug Walters a.k.a. Dougy Fresh is a sweet, talented man from DC. I’m from Baltimore but hung out in DC a lot, we never met in those days. I met him in LA thru Eduardo and a couple other DC pals. Doug not only Engineered / Produced and mixed 6 out of 9 tracks, he also played drums on them! He’s very easy to work with. I also dye his beard (a little silver stripe). Check out his band Oddnesse.

FEMMUSIC: Tell about Red/Sony Music? How did Well, Hell end up with them? I understand you walked away from another label. How were they to work with?

LRW: We signed to Weekday Records who were a subsidiary of Sony/RED. I liked my RED PM and the deal itself was a great deal but I quickly realized it was not the right deal for me. One example, I like to record music and then release it. I know, what a concept. At times it was hard to all agree on the right producer and then once we did, the paperwork would hold things up. The indie peeps we were working with (to create Well, Hell album) weren’t legit enough to the guys at my label (Weekday). I don’t understand that part. I fell into a deep depression and found it very hard to create. I thought “why bother writing new stories if I can’t share them?” I adapted in other ways. Budget was tight on artwork and contracts were brutal; if I wanted to use one of my pal’s photos for single art, etc. (like I used to) then they’d have to sign all rights away for little to no fee. I was embarrassed having that conversation with photographers so I stopped and I got into water colors and made some of my own single artwork. No one was out to get me, its just how it goes. They have their reasons. One morning I woke up and Sony dropped Weekday and WD didn’t want to continue w/o them. So they generously (almost fully) gave us back the couple unreleased tracks we had worked on under the term, they kept Well, Hell and we parted ways. I am back to my happy, hyper-creative, independent self.

I don’t think we’ve walked away from another label. Who told you that? Haha. We’ve walked away from some Sync and Pub deals. All very intriguing but am still learning what kind of artist I am. That’s the most valuable thing I learned. I use to kind of be a label basher because I like grinding and being independent. But the truth is, not all labels / Pub / Sync deals are evil, ya just gotta find one that fits with how you work.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Happy Birthday Jim. What made you decide to the album? How was it different from doing Well, Hell?

LRW: Ed and I did Happy Birthday Jim because we love Jim Morrison and I love birthdays. It differs from WH is all ways; it’s a cover album, Ed and I recorded most of it at his place, we made it because we were bored and wanted to have fun and collaborate with friends, the list goes on…

FEMMUSIC: I’d like to ask you about 2 important people in your life: Eduardo Rivera & LP. Can you tell me how you met each of them? How have they changed you and your music?

LRW: Met Ed at my EP release show on my 27th birthday Nov 4th 2015. He used to date one of my best friends. She told me about him and vice versa. Night we met he said “I hear you need a bassist”. He played bass the first could shows which started almost immediately. He eventually started playing guitar, I love his playing and felt comfortable enough to write with him. If I wanted to get better at guitar, I’d want to play like Ed. I love his style. I brings different ideas out of me. He’ll play something cool on a loop and words and melodies will come out of me. When it works it works.

I met LP when she played a festival in Baltimore June 2014. I moved to LA Jan 2015 and we re-met her in LA June 2015 at the Roosevelt. She’s my love, she inspires everything I do, not just my music. I’d need a books worth of space to fully explain.

Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra 4

Photo of Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

LRW: When I’m writing with Ed, he plays guitar and I like to freestyle. I usually have an emotion or message so I’ll just let my mind speak and not judge myself. I’ll then write down what I like and then go back and make the rest of it make sense. It’s kind of the same when I write alone except my melodies are more influenced by the chords I play. I make up a lot of “chords”. I know I’m probably playing something real haha.

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

LRW: So many. At the end of all six 2 year relationships, I always go back to “We’re Both So Sorry” by Mirah. It’s a truthful and peaceful goodbye. “Challenges like these can be won or lost or laid to rest. Now we both agree to separate from the lonely castle steps. The kingdom is destabilized, the watchtower unmanned. The bedroom lies abandoned and the future is unplanned. But we’ve got the past to remind us of what’s chivalrous and grand. And hey I’m sorry ’bout so much baby but I know you’ll understand”

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

LRW: I’ve been underestimated by both men and women who’re brainwashed by the patriarch’s gender binary hooha. I just keep on doing me.  Best way to convince someone their wrong is by showing them.

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

LRW: SZA or Jack White. No explanation needed.

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

LRW: I think it be wild if fame and talented went hand in hand. Also if big media present top 40s as only one kind of genre and not THE genre. Too many thoughts on this one, I’m tapping out! ha.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 3rd, 2019

Bellhoss - Becky Hostetler

There are few local artists like bellhoss. bellhoss is Becky Hostetler, as well as her band. If you’ve haven’t been paying attention, she has slowly been getting on bigger and bigger bills. There was also her sold out EP release for Geraniums. bellhoss is gaining momentum for all the right reasons.

bellhoss’ music stands out. As a band it is filled with arrangements that fill the void between bedroom and rock. As a solo artist the songs have a vulnerability and raw emotion to them. The stagechat at a live show is honest, heartfelt with self-deprecation. All parts of the music hide nothing and invite the listener to share in the emotions.

bellhoss  has 2 completed projects. Her demos, and her recently released EP Geraniums. Geraniums features songs including “naked”, “lunch”, “weight”, “chasing”, “heart apart”, and “geraniums #1”, and “geraniums #2”

We were ecstatic to speak with Becky about the EP and her songwriitng. For info visit http://www.bellhoss.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making the Geraniums album?

BH: Time was the biggest challenge! I have been incredibly lucky to have an amazing band full of talented people who were also very busy when we recorded, so the biggest challenge was working around everyone’s schedules.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference making Geraniums vs Meek Demos 17?

BH: Having a band was the biggest difference. The demos were my first foray into recording music at all, for posterity’s sake and to see what happens when I put any of my music out in the open for people to hear. The Geraniums EP is a more intentional process of releasing an album, with a band contributing to a much bigger sound.

FEMMUSIC:  I noticed the album was mixed and mastered by your band members. Was there any discussion of an outside producer? How was that process with the band? Were there any conflicts?

BH: For this first album, I really wanted to work with friends. Malena and Payden are both well-versed in audio engineering and are kind souls, so I knew it would go well with them. The songs are very personal for me so I did not feel ready to have a stranger’s opinion on how they should go, especially this time around. Overall, it was a very gentle process working with these friends, which is just what I needed to ease into the whole idea of recording.

Bellhoss

FEMMUSIC: Are you interested in being signed to a label. Why or why not?

BH: At this point, I am seeing where the wind blows and starting to brainstorm about what I want to do with the next album, but yes, I would love if a label was interested in signing bellhoss. Recording an album is a big investment, and having the financial and PR support from a label would be incredibly helpful. Also, I’ve been a music fan for much longer than I’ve been a musician in public, and being signed to a label is a dream I had before I ever thought I could do the music thing in reality.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

BH: For most of my life I have used songwriting as a way to journal my thoughts and process my emotions, so the process takes different shapes for different songs. Sometimes it starts with a collection of words that I wrote processing something, often it starts with a series of chords and a melody and then adding words a bit at a time. I’m trying to come up with a more cohesive process now that this project is a thing, but that itself is a work in progress.

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

BH: Probably “Roman Candle” by Elliott Smith- it’s grungy-crunchy and so so sad, and it informed me on the ability to be quiet and angry and loud and sad all at the same time. Elliott Smith really made it okay in my mind to write through hard feelings, when in most other parts of my life I had to keep a smile on.

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

BH: Overall, I haven’t encountered any huge challenges. In fact, I’ve received more support than I ever expected, from all genders. I’m at a point where I think my gender is irrelevant to my experience as a musician.

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

BH: I love Pinegrove and their whole crowd, they have a friend who started a project called Jodi and I’d love to work and/or tour with Jodi or Pinegrove. They all seem to be very organic in their songwriting approach, with a mix of punky emotions and folky earthiness, which is exactly where I like to exist with my music.

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

BH: Denver has been incredibly friendly as a scene and community, and I’d love to see that in more places. I’ve been planning a tour, and have definitely found a lot of awesome people around the country who are incredibly friendly, especially in DIY scenes, but I definitely start to see competition in some places that I wish would heal a bit. In the last couple years when I finally had the guts to get on stage consistently, I realized there’s room for everyone; everyone wants to hear new music at some point and there’s a niche that anyone can fit into. I hope more people who feel competitive can see the space that is carved for them, without feeling threatened by other artists.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

September 3rd, 2019
mxmtoonThere have been many tours selling out this year. King Princess, Billie Eilish to name a couple. The latest is from bedroom pop artist mxmtoon. mxmtoon is Maia a 19 year-old Chinese-American artist who bleeds soft emotion into every song. The singles from her new album, the masquerade, are numerous including “prom dress”, “high and dry”, “seasonal depression” “blame game” and “dream of you.”

The masquerade album is due out September 17. It follows the 2018 release of her EP The Plum Blossom. The album has 10 tracks as 20 songs. Each song has an original version and an acoustic version. mxmtoon has been doing the same thing with her videos of the singles. There are not enough words to describe the honest sincere landscape that mxmtoom paints in every song.

She emotes a vulnerably and honesty that stands out from the plastic landscape of pop music. For more info and to get a ticket for the tour visit  https://www.mxmtoon.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the masquerade?

M: I think the biggest challenge by far was understanding what sort of narrative I wanted to form when writing the album. I think at the start I was really concerned about my ability to tell a story, and with an album it felt like there was this really big pressure to make some sort of project that has a huge message to it. One that when people listen, they feel uplifted, inspired, and maybe even as if they got answers to questions they’ve been pondering for ages. I’m always hyper-aware of what sort of impact my songs may have on someone with message, and even more so with an actual album.  Eventually I realized that as long as I spoke honestly about my experiences, the narrative would form on its own. The story became about my journey understanding who I am, and the things that have happened to me to form the individual I am today.

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

M: We met when our managers put us in touch! I had been listening to his music on my own for a while already, so when the opportunity to work with him came up I was extremely excited. His own music has such a distinct quality and character and the possibility of even getting to see how he works in a studio environment was amazing. Robin has an incredible ear for music, and I think our brains work very similar in the way we hear melodies and sound.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference for you making an as opposed to the Plum Blossom Ep?

M: The Plum Blossom EP really felt like the perfect bookend to the chapter of music I had been making in the confines of my bedroom for a year. A truly stripped down and exposed way of making music, one that I’m of course still a fan of, but working on the masquerade was a really creatively fulfilling process. I can only know so much on my own, and working with a producer who has a plethora of tools available that I haven’t learned to use, helped me understand what else I was capable of as an artist.

The Masquerade

FEMMUSIC: The Masquerade has songs both in a regular version and an acoustic version. What made you decide to do it that way? What do you hope people will hear differently?

M: I wanted to make sure I included an acoustic version almost as a way to pay homage to the type of music I made originally. Also each song on the masquerade started in the acoustic form! That’s the way I know how to write and make music, and I know a lot of the people that listen to my music also appreciate being able to have the option to listen to my music the way they may have originally found it.

FEMMUSIC: Your tour is selling out. What excites you most about touring these songs? What scares you?

M: Oh my goodness, I’m always terrified! I’m extremely excited to be able to be back playing live shows though. I don’t think I’m truly able to understand the world I am in until I’m on a stage performing. There’s something so magical about the fact that for one night a room of people can share an experience together and connect over art. I’m ecstatic to be able to be back in that. I’m really nervous about playing in a band for the first time, but also that’s one of the things I’m most pumped for!

FEMMUSIC: Your songs have an honest vulnerability to them.  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

M: Usually, I keep a log of different emotions or experiences that I go through. Almost like a cheat sheet for song topics, and maybe when there’s a particular day that I’m going through the same thing again, I’ll go back and check the list to write about whatever topic it is that day. Melody tends to surface in my head on its own, and from there it’s my job to fill in the gaps with words that I think accurately represent the song’s focus.

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

M: I think a song that really introduced me to the way I understand music as a force is “Blood” by The Middle East. That song makes me cry every time I listen to it without fail. The imagery and minimalism of production resonated with me from the first listen, and unconsciously I think that type of song was what I ended up creating on my own. I’ve never been one to stick to one genre of music and listen to it for ages, but the only constant in my musical world has been a single playlist with songs very similar to “Blood.” Songs with minimal production, heavily acoustic, and really rooted in the singer-songwriter world.

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

M: Often times I think my position as a young woman of color is pretty tough. I usually have to work twice as hard to walk into a room and confidently feel as if I can navigate the space. Nobody in my family has any sort of familiarity with the music industry. I come from a family of educators, and choosing to enter into a field with no foundational knowledge has forced me to become a strong advocate for myself and understand what my goals are. All of that requires that I make it known that I do indeed know who I am, what I want, and how to do it, but of course that’s a lot of pressure for a young woman. Trusting my voice and intuition has been a key factor in overcoming the obstacles that I face, and I think that applicable to many fields!

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

M: I would love to collaborate with Clairo! I admire her a lot as an artist and we both came from similar spaces on the internet. Seeing her progression as an artist has been incredible to watch, and lately I’ve been loving her debut album. I have yet to do a whole lot of touring but to be honest with you I’m usually excited about whatever sort of opportunities I’m given. I do have this weird dream of being able to open for Smash Mouth at one concert, I just think that’d be a great story. How legendary would that be?

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

M: To be honest, since I’m still really fresh in the music industry, I’ve yet to fully experience it all. My own experience thus far has been incredibly untraditional, and I don’t think I’d like to alter per se, but I really do like how the industry has been completely turned on its head. There are so many ways artists are able to pursue music nowadays, and I love that. It’s incredible to see how varied the pathways have become for art and music, and I’d love to keep seeing how people can continue to defy the odds on their own.”

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with: , ,

September 3rd, 2019

Space Girls Promo Poster

If you have not heard the name Jaguar Jonze you are in for a surprise. Jaguar Jonze is Deena Lynch. She is a multi-talented artist working in both visual media and music. She comes from a unique background of being born in Japan to a Taiwanese mother and Australian father. She has grown up immersed in new cultures. That upbringing is reflected in her recent single “Beijing Baby”

It was recently announced that Jonze had signed to Nettwerk Music Group and will be releasing an EP. For more info on all of Lynch’s projects visit https://jaguarjonze.com/ & https://spectatorjonze.com/ & https://duskyjonze.com/

Jaguar Jonze will be headlining at Space Girls an all women contemporary music festival. Space Girls will be holding a Satellite Party on September 13 at Gympie Civic Center in Queensland, Australia. For info visit https://www.spacegirlsfestival.com/
FEMMUSIC: You’re releasing “Beijing Baby” soon. What can you tell me about the song and its creation?

DL: Beijing Baby definitely tested me and nearly broke my character. They always talk about 2nd singles being a painful curse and Beijing Baby definitely lived up to that curse. I think I recorded it from scratch about 6 times and faced a lot of obstacles with it but am so glad I pushed through as I put every bit of my soul into it.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

DL: There’s never a set songwriting technique I use. I think that’s the beauty of it is that I get to play and create in many different ways. I usually tend to come in with a loose concept and work from there – sometimes melody first, sometimes lyrics first, sometimes both exactly at the same time.

FEMMUSIC: You work with visual art. How much visualization goes into making your music?

DL: A lot. I really am a visual person so sometimes I’ll write a song and go on a day dreaming bender of what the music video will look like, the artwork, the outfits etc. I think my favourite part of ‘music’ is that it really isn’t just music at all.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Dusky Jonze. I was at the website and am intrigued.

DL: Dusky Jonze is a project I just started in March this year where I wanted to shoot male photographers and flip the lens back onto them to push the conversations on toxic masculinity and what femininity means to them. It soon quickly evolved into a project of masculinity, femininity, taboos and insecurities around the body for everyone who’s been game to be push those envelopes.

FEMMUSIC: Last year you presented at the Australian Music Festival a program titled “The Musicians Guide to Surviving the Rock Star Lifestyle.” I was unable to attend. What do you think are the biggest dangers to the rock star lifestyle? What are the best survival skills?

DL: It is definitely so easy to over look self care – mentally and physically. Even just eating right and sleeping enough can easily become difficult. I think prioritising your body’s basic needs and listening to it is honestly the best survival skill.

FEMMUSIC: Congratulations! I see you signed to Nettwerk Music Group. What made you decide to sign with them?

DL: I can’t do anything without passion and so I’m super sensitive about bringing people in. Nettwerk, from the first day of my debut single release, have been so passionate about who I am as an artist and what I do and pushed so eagerly that I knew it was the right decision.

FEMMUSIC: You’re doing an EP with Nettwerk. What can you tell me about it?

DL: It’s actually a body of work I’ve been sitting on for years and slowly been refining as I was discovering my soundscape and artistry. I can’t wait to let them have a place in the world.

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

DL: “Roads” by Portishead

It is honestly such a beautiful piece of music that I’ve come back to for many years and brings about whatever emotion is fitting for that moment in my life… grief, gratitude, compassion, sadness, happiness, contentedness, nostalgia, reflection haha.

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

DL: That’s a hard one to answer because it’s still such a delicate environment to be able to be vocal about it as much as I am an advocate for mental health, injustices and taboos. I’ve had a tough year with exactly this that I’m still coming to terms with personally and intimately so I’ll leave my answers with sexism, underestimation, misuse of power and being taken advantage of. I still am overcoming them but having a strong, trusted and healthy support network has been absolute key.

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

DL: Alex Turner, he just knows who he is as an artist so well and I’d love to know what making music with him is like.

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

DL: Talking about the truth. Everyone likes to hide their struggles and push the glitz and glamour to the forefront when it’s a thin veil over what is actually happening. I feel like we could support one another in this difficult creative endeavour better by being upfront with honesty and openness.

Jaguar Jonze - Deena Lynch

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

August 28th, 2019

Taylor-vick 

Boy Scouts is Taylor Vick. Vick has a gusty dark tingled lyrics mixed with an ethereal vocals. The contradiction stands out is her singles “Expiration Date” and “Hate Ya 2.”

“Hate Ya 2” features Rose Droll. Both songs come off Boy Scouts Free Company album coming out August 30. The album was recorded in a studio converted from a shipping container. A unique environment to work in.

The album is a reflection after a breakup and mirrors the sadness and anger. Boy Scouts is touring with Jay Som this September. For info visit https://boyscoutsband.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Free Company?

TV: There honestly weren’t any big challenges, I think because of the way we approached making it. It was super casual and done over a long period of time, and when we started out we hadn’t even planned on doing a full album yet. We had no plans whatsoever really. There were normal small challenges like Stephen’s laptop glitching out, or the band in the space next to us practicing so loud that our mics would pick up their bass or something, but that’s about it.   

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Stephen Steinbrink. How did you meet?

TV: What made you decide to co-produce with him? How was he to work with?   I was put on a bill with him and Hovvdy for a show here in Oakland but we hadn’t met yet. Before that show happened I went and saw him play at The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. He was reading at the merch table and I went up to introduce myself and tell him good job, and that I was stoked for our upcoming show together. He later checked out my stuff and emailed me asking if I had any future plans for recording and if I’d like to record with him. He was so wonderful to work with and is an all around great person in general, we became very good friends and I feel so grateful to have him in my life.   

FEMMUSIC: I have to ask you about Container Studios. It sounds so simple but also revolutionary to convert a shipping container to a studio. Were you involved in the process? How was it to record there vs other studios?  

TV: Nope, I wasn’t involved with that process at all. This was just a space Stephen and a friend had been renting out for a few years that he invited me to. I haven’t had much experience recording in big recording studios, but I think the smaller, modest, shipping container space experience is way more my vibe.  

FEMMUSIC: I recently saw Rose Droll. I see you worked on Your Dog, and she is on Free Company. How did you meet? How is she to collaborate with?  

TV: Rose and I have known each other for maybe 11 years or so now. We both grew up in the Central Valley and met when we were teenagers through the music community in Modesto, CA. She’s the first person besides my brother I ever collaborated with musically, and has become one of my best friends over the years. I love her music so much and it’s still an incredible honor to ever be a part of her stuff and to have her ever play on mine.  

FEMMUSIC: Free Company is on Anti-Records. Tell me how you came to Anti? What made you decide to release this album through them?  

TV: My friend showed them the record and they liked it, I still can’t really believe it.   

Taylor Vick-Boy scouts

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

TV: Usually starts with me playing guitar, finding a chord progression I like and a vocal melody to go with it. I don’t know, I don’t really think about it too much, it’s better when I don’t. My favorite songwriting instances are when things kinda flow out effortlessly, I’m never happy with the outcome when it feels forced.   

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

TV: That’s so hard to answer! There are so many. I really love “The Way I Feel Inside” by The Zombies, I think it’s one of the most beautiful vocal melodies I’ve heard.  

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

TV: I haven’t really been “involved” with the music industry for very long, but I’ve experienced sexist shit as a musician who’s not a dude for as long as I can remember. Mostly in small, overlooked ways. Men always deferring to the men standing next to me rather than relaying info to me, stuff like that. With people like that though, the less I have to interact with them, the better. There’s also this new added thought process we get to have where we now wonder if people’s (mens) interest in us either being added to a bill or asked to play in their band is solely based on their newfound desire to appear inclusive to the public rather than a genuine interest and baseline respect for us as musicians. That’s a fun one. That said, my experience being involved with the music community in the bay area has been very positive and I think things are improving as far as inclusivity and diversity goes.  

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

TV: If I could see Radiohead play every night for months, I would be SO damn happy. Being on the same bill as them would be like, the worst thing ever because they’re so fucking good, but it’s funny to imagine. I would also really like to try collaborating with some pop artist, I feel like that would be really fun and weird.

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

TV: More inclusivity. Also if it were more of a sustainable, life-long career that’d be pretty sick.  

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

August 28th, 2019

Olivia Lane

 

Country singer Olivia Lane has been making a splash with singles including “The Cape” and “So Good It Hurts” off her latest EP The One.

Lane is a 2nd generation musician following in the steps of her mother. Lane has been catching national attention appearing on Songland and being named a breakout artist by other publications.

Lane’s songs have an honest and playful sincerity to them. She worked with Aaron Scherz and Skip Black on the EP. For info visit https://www.olivialane.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making The One EP?

OL: I think one of the biggest challenges was deciding which songs to put on the EP. we had an original 6 song order but then it didn’t feel right so we reconfigured to 7 and had to go back in and cut some songs. It was exciting to have more songs to include but there were many moments I thought it was complete and it wasn’t. It ended up working out perfectly!

FEMMUSIC: How was making The One different from making your self-titled EP?

OL: I feel much more connected to these group of songs. My first EP happened so fast for me but this one took a while to form, songwriting and production wise.

FEMMUSIC: You worked with Aaron Scherz on “3am.” Whom else did you collaborate with on the EP? What experience stood out the most?

OL: I’m so lucky to have such wonderful collaborators. Skip Black produced the majority of the record and I swear he’s the next big producer. People I gravitate toward writing and creating with have a genuine love for music and it’s just so fun. I remember writing “Let It Hurt” with Bonnie Baker and Skip and I remember this huge release and a tiny lightbulb going off telling me ‘here’s the first song on the EP.’ It was a pretty surreal experience.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about song selection for the EP. I understand you had 20 songs at one point. What made the songs stand out to make the EP?

OL: I think each song had a tiny little lightbulb moment for me where it just cohesively made since with the other songs I had chosen. I really wanted each song on this EP to be something that hits my heart so hard that I have no trouble getting into the emotion when I perform them. They’re very raw and real to me.

Olivia Lane 2019EPFINAL

FEMMUSIC: You’re a 2nd generation musician. What lessons did you learn by having a parent who was a musician?

OL: My Mom is really helpful because when I’m having a down day she can lift me right back up. She’s seen the uphill fight of my career so she knows exactly what to say because she’s lived it. She also listens to all my songs and gives me great feedback.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

OL: It’s very random and dynamic. Every day is different for me in the writing room but I usually spearhead the idea and/or title. I’m a concept thinker so I have to be into the big idea of the song before I dive into the weeds of lyrics and melodies.

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

OL: “Desperado” by The Eagles. That song is timeless to me. It’s made me laugh, cry and feel so many emotions over the years. The best songs stick with you and change with you.

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

OL: I do think there needs to be more people championing women in our industry and taking chances but good music will break through, whether you’re male or female. My motto is ‘create something so great that no excuse will stop it.’

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

OL: I’d love to collaborate with Keith Urban. He seems like he’s always pushing himself creatively with every record he makes and I respect that. Michael Buble is also someone I adore. I’d love to do a classic country duet with him.

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

OL: I wish the country chart had equal male and female repres

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

August 15th, 2019

Phoebe Starr

Phebe Starr made the journey from Australia to LA. Now she is getting ready to release her latest EP Ice Tea Liberace. The EP features 4 tracks including “Ice Tea Liberace”, “Break the Law”, and the singles:

Starr has toured the US and played at SXSW. She has released 2 prior EP’s. Her lyrics strike a bold tone. FEMMUSIC was honored to talk to her about the new EP and the industry. Ice Tea Liberace is out on August 30. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/phebestarrmusic/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Ice Tea Liberace?

PS: This EP was actually a very easy process. I used to suffer with so much perfectionism and I was never 100% comfortable with music being my job. Because it’s so personal I found it really hard to take the creative process and give it away to strangers. I read a lot of Maya De Angelou and I think this really influenced me in the way I saw myself and others. A lot of my opinions have come out of understanding my place in the world and the privilege to be heard and in expressing my truth it will help other women feel safe the express theirs. I believe art should be owned by the outcasts, the discouraged and the marginalized. It’s important to make art no matter what value others place on it. It’s important to tell our stories. This new understanding has made me a lot more confident in my opinions and has made releasing a lot more enjoyable.

Phoebe Starr-Ice-Tea-Liberace

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Xavier Dunn. How did you meet? What made you decide you wanted him to produce the EP? What was he like to work with?

PS: I was so discouraged in finding a producer that could help me with my vision. I really, really love sound design and more of a classical approach to building production. My friend Lanks was having tea with me and I was really sad because I felt defeated. He asked me about my vision and I told him and he simply said “You have to meet Xavier”, you two will get along and he seems perfect’. I didn’t believe him until we met and after the first 30 minutes I knew I wanted to record a whole album with him.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference making Ice Tea Liberace vs making Chronicles? Do you approach the studio differently after making 3 EPs?

PS: Ice Tea Liberace was so fun to make. I was finally able to sample and reference a lot of influences on my life. We would always start in the studio by watching Rick and Morty, E.T, Thelma and Louise and country and western films. The whole process was very experimental, relaxed and fun. I also sampled those movies…well copied phrases of my favourite moments. For example in “Break The Law” there is a sample of me yelling ‘get schwifty’.

FEMMUSIC: What is your favorite song on the EP? Tell me how the song developed?

PS: “Ice Tea Liberace” for sure. This song happened using that meditation process. I never felt really comfortable to do that with someone else in the room and Xavier really made me feel safe. We wrote this song together out of a John Wayne film sample and I just improvised the melody and lyrics. When we listened back I was like what do I mean… Ice Tea Liberace… but when it sat with me I knew exactly what I was trying to say and they were the only words that worked. It was pretty cool in the sense it’s made me more confident in how I write and my beliefs in the subconscious.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

PS: It’s like meditation. When I write for myself it’s very spiritual. I’ve done it since I can remember. I pick up and instrument and play it for hours and babble out nonsense. There is usually a moment or a lyric that specifically talks to me and I then for weeks do the same thing until the song is fully complete. It’s an addictive process and nothing feels as good!

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

PS: Dolly Parton “Coat of Many Colours”. I grew up in a country town in Australia. We lived on a farm. I’m the youngest of 4 kids and my mum was a single mum. We didn’t have much money and we had to get our clothes and school uniform from thrift stores and whenever I felt discouraged my mum would put on that song and encourage me by saying that “it’s not what you have that defines you but what you do with it”.

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

PS: I’ve constantly been shocked and didn’t want to believe that the industry was still so backyards and sexist on all levels. I’m constantly put into a box of how I should behave, what my skills are and what’s expected of me. My response has always to take that energy and put it into something positive. I surround myself with empowered women and men who are comfortable with themselves and we work on making a positive empowering culture.

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

PS: Today it’s Miley Cyrus. I think we could really write a cool country pop song together that would melt peoples’ minds.

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

PS: I would like a few people to retire and free money and resources to communities that are being marginalized at the moment. The best music that brings people together, empowers, forgives and lights up this world always comes from those who have suffered and need to be heard.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

August 12th, 2019

Upsahl - Shervin Lainez

Upsahl is Taylor Upsahl. She is originally from Phoenix and now lives in LA. She comes from a musical family. Her father Mike is in and toured with a number of bands. She has released music independently before she was signed to Arista. This year she released Hindsight 20/20 which is a pop album filled with clever lyrics. The EP is produced by Mike Green and is filed with songs including “Stressed”, “All My Friends Are Rich”, “SMARTY”, “Fine” and “Drugs”

Upsahl recently released “Wish You’d Make Me Cry

She will be touring soon with Tessa Violet. For info visit https://www.upsahl.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Hindsight 20/20?

U: I think the biggest challenge for putting together the EP was picking only five songs out of the 200 I had written last year. I spent my first year in LA writing a new song pretty much every day, so I wanted to make sure that each of the songs on Hindsight 20/20 were the most authentic representation of where my life is at right now.

FEMMUSIC: I was able to catch you live a couple of months ago. I was struck by how similar in theme “Drugs” and “All My Friends Are Rich” are. I was curious what personal experiences drove making those songs.

U: “Drugs” and “All My Friends Are Rich” are both commentaries on LA and how I was feeling when I first got there. “Drugs” is about meeting fake people at parties and wishing I could find genuine connections in such a saturated city. I definitely struggled to find people that made me feel like the best version of myself when I first moved to LA because I feel like the culture in that city is very self involved, with a “fake it till you make it” vibe, so making real friends was hard for me at first. I wrote “All My Friends Are Rich” about how I felt when I started working on music in LA. I started to meet all these incredible people, but a lot of them were older than me and had their shit together way more than I did, with way more money than I had. I basically just wanted the song to be a fun vibe with relatable lyrics, and what twenty year old can’t relate to being broke?

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Arista. How are they to work with? What made you decide to sign with them?

U: Arista is a dream come true. The way I ended up at Arista is actually kind of crazy. I had met David Massey and I immediately could tell that he understood me. He hit me up saying he was reopening Arista and wanted to sign me as the first artist on the label. Not only has signing a record deal been a major life goal for me, but to sign to such a legendary label like Arista is a true honor. I feel really thankful for my team there.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Mike Green. How did you meet? How did you decide to have him produce the EP?

U: I met Mike Green in a writing session when I first moved to LA, and I immediately fell in love with his production style. He has made such incredible songs with alternative artists in the past, so I was really stoked to be able to work with him on “SMARTY.”

FEMMUSIC: Unlike a lot of artists you had a better idea of what touring life and the music industry was before you began. What do you tell other artists about touring? What is your own survival skill doing it?

U: I am in love with touring and being on the road. Growing up, performing was always my favorite thing to do, so to be able to wake up in a different city every day and play for a new crowd of people each night is pretty rad. I normally am a very stressed person, but for some reason when I’m on the road, I’ve gotten really good at just rolling with the punches. I’m still so new to touring, but so far I’m obsessed with it. I would do it year round.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

U: I guess my biggest songwriting “technique” is to just treat writing as a venting session. When I first moved to LA, writing every day was like therapy to me, so however I was feeling that day, I would put that feeling into a song. I think the coolest thing about music is that it allows us to be vulnerable in such a creative way, so I really try to hang on to that honestly and vulnerability when I’m writing.

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

U: Weezer’s “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” has always been one of my favorite songs. I grew up listening to them all the time, and the songwriting of that song is just crazy. I feel like Weezer really evolved pop/alternative music and writing, so I take a lot of inspiration from their first two albums.

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

U: All women in any industry face a lot of challenges on the daily, unfortunately. I work in a part of the music industry that involves working with a lot of rad creative people who are very aware of the power of women in music. Sometimes though, I feel like people think that a young female artist who writes her own songs can’t actually write, and they think it’s always cowriters or producers doing the work, and the artist just putting her name on it. That’s not the case most of the time. Some of the best writers/producers/artists I have ever worked with are women. We’re definitely headed in the right direction with gender equality in music, but I think we still have a ways to go.

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

U: I would absolutely love to collaborate with Kevin Parker. Tame Impala has always one of my favorite bands, and I really think he’s a fucking genius. It would be a dream to work with him.

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

U: I wish social media wasn’t such an essential part of starting a career as an artist. It’s frustrating that sometimes we find ourselves looking up an artist’s Instagram before actually listening to their music. We’re not meant to be social media influencers. We’re musicians. I love social media and am so thankful for what it has done for artists like myself, but it

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

August 12th, 2019

Oh Rose

There are many times where seeing a band live tells more of the story than just hearing a song. Oh, Rose must be seen live. This 4 piece band from Olympia, Washington defies definition. Going through the checklist they are: pop punk, psychedelic, alt-rock, and more. On stage, they writhe and come to the edge of the stage. They make you remember why music is always better live.

Olivia Rose heads Oh, Rose as they tour with their album While My Father Sleeps. The album includes the singles, “25, Alive”

Rose defies the norms as well. Her vocals are vibrant and staticy. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Rose about her life and the album. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/ohrosemusic/

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making While My Father Sleeps?

OR: During the making of While My Father Sleeps I experienced two major losses. The first was my mother, who passed away in January of 2017 and who I pay homage to with the album title. The second was my grandmother, who died a year later. It felt like starting from square one after each loss. Maybe the biggest challenge was allowing myself the time to grieve, knowing that these songs and my bandmates would be there when I was ready.

FEMMUSIC: What lessons have you learned from making Seven & That Do Now See that you applied in this album?

OR: We recorded this album twice, the first time in Anacortes at the Unknown in June of 2017. It was our first time not recording ourselves and overall it was an incredible experience during a time that was very difficult for me, personally. I truly believe great art can come from great pain. However, this was not the case with those recordings. I was in a state of grief I didn’t want to admit to. It came through in the music and it freaked me out. It was hard to move forward. At some point, we knew we needed to re-record, and figured we should at least try it ourselves like we had done with both That Do Now See and Seven. We set up in our practice space and took our time. It worked.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Park the Van Records. What made you decide to release this album with them? What did they bring to the project?

OR: I was aware of Chris Watson through Friendship Fever, a smaller label that friends of ours were on and spoke highly of. It turns out he had been listening to our music for years before returning to Park The Van and reaching out to us. I think there is something to be said about someone who has admired your work from afar coming to you at the right time. Joining with them was about the combining of two foundations. We are very excited to build with them.

FEMMUSIC: I saw you live recently and I was struck by the song “Consent.” Could you tell me how that song came about?

OR: That song is called You’ve Got Fire and I usually premise it in a live performance by letting the audience know it is about consent. Because it is. It is about how sexy and cool it is to talk about sex with your partner. Feeling heavy hot for you, tell me all the things that you would do with someone. Really wanna get with you, tell me all the things that you would do as lovers. You’ve got fire, you’ve got heart and soul. That is fundamentally it.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

OR: Songs usually come from bits of conversation and interactions I have that inspired some form of inner dialogue or song bite. I think that is true for most artists. It’s a rush to write it down before it’s gone. A lot of voice memos of melodies and me talking to myself in bathrooms, or walking from one place to another. Finding space to translate to a fully realized song comes over time, usually alone in my bedroom. Then, when a song is in a place I feel good about, I bring it to the band and we build around it.

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

OR: There is an old gospel song called “I’m Free” that inspired me to audition for a solo in my 6th grade choir class. It taught me to sing and is one I always go back to when I need a reminder.

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

OR: Potentially the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a woman in the music industry is being a woman in the music industry. This often takes the form of male sound techs messing with your pedal settings during soundcheck, directing all questions to your male bandmates or second guessing what to wear during a performance for fear of not being taken seriously. On a larger scale it’s scenes and industry that protect sexual predators and silence victims. Listen to the people around you. Do some digging when it comes to who you are working with and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

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

OR: Damien Jurado. I want to sing with him and become his pen pal. I would love to tour with Sharon Van Etten and talk to her about therapy, life in and outside of music and the color blue. I feel seeing her perform every night would inspire me.

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

OR: I wish that these systems sometimes felt easier to navigate for independent artists. Signing to a label or management team or whatever does not equal instant success nor should you necessarily want it to. The whole industry side of music is pretty new to me, but so far no one has managed to change my voice or my story. I will let you know if that changes.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: , ,

July 22nd, 2019

Jackie Mendoza

Underground Music Showcase

Jackie Mendoza

Denver, CO

July 26-29, 2019

https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jackiemendozaaa/

Jackie Mendoza is a newcomer with a world of experience. She has lived in California, New York and Mexico and her songs are both is Spanish and English. Her music is hard to classify in a good way. It is indie pop, Latin pop, EDM influenced, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Mendoza played with Mint Field and Gingerslys in the past. She is now out with her debut EP LuvHz which features songs like “De Legos”, “Seahorse” and “mucho Mas”

We look forward to seeing Medoza at the Underground Music Showcase.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making LuvHz?

JM: The biggest challenge I faced when making LuvHz was receiving negative feedback from labels and being turned down. I was told to change my sound and to go in a different musical direction. There were times when I believed this is what I had to do in order to release my EP and it stunted my writing process and made me feel really insecure about my music. I decided to stay true to myself and to my music and I kept writing and producing. I was lucky to be connected with Rusty Santos and he helped me co-produce the EP. A lot of new ideas flowed in the studio and I didn’t have to compromise my sound; he helped make it better.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Rusty Santos. How did you meet? What did he bring to the project?

JM: I met Rusty through my manager, Walter. We were looking for people to help co-produce the EP and we reached out to Rusty and he liked what I was doing and knew we could make something cool together. At first we were working at a distance (he was in LA and I was in New York) and would send stems back and forth which made the progress a little slow. I decided to go to LA and we finished the EP and other songs in 4 days. He’s been working with a lot of Latinx artists, mostly reggaeton, and he brought a lot of that to the project. He brought a nice urban edge to the songs and he encouraged me to express and execute the weird ideas I had in my head.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Luminelle Records. What made you decide to sign with them? How have they been to work with?

JM: Luminelle is a great label to work with. Their enthusiasm for my music is what made me want to work with them. Most labels were expecting straight-forward pop or dance music and Luminelle embraced the experimentality and mash-up of genres in the EP. Their roster of artists was also a big sell for me. They’ve put out music that I love and still listen to every day. It’s exciting to work with a label that cares about an artist’s growth and expression.

Jackie Mendoza EP

FEMMUSIC: How did your work in Mint Field & Gingerlys prepare you to be a solo artist?

JM: I was in Gingerlys for about 4 years and it was extremely formative and it taught me a lot about writing music, working with other musicians, and performing live. We played so many shows I lost count! We released our debut album with Topshelf Records and Babe City Records and I learned about working with labels, release campaigns, and touring. Playing those few festivals with Mint Field was really exciting; I had never played music festivals before that. I loved going to Tijuana to practice and learn the songs and playing with my friends.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JM: My songwriting technique varies and is always different. If I suddenly have a melody pop into my head, I’ll start from there and work from there. I’ll use my song “Seahorse” as an example. The vocal melody and lyrics for the first verse were the first thing I thought of. At the time, I was taking a few guitar lessons here and there so I decided to give my new skills a shot. I made the beat for the song, recorded guitar and bass, synths, and recorded vocals as soon as I finished writing lyrics. It would take a few days to think about the song and come back to it with new ideas and a fresh ear. Overall, it took about 2 weeks to complete the song.

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

JM: I think if I have to choose ONE song, it would be “Space is Only Noise If You Can See” by Nicolas Jaar. When I first heard it I thought it was the greatest song. It was creepy, weird, but made me want to dance at the same time. It’s also dream-like and abstract; which I love.

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

JM: I think sometimes women have to speak louder to be heard…both literally and metaphorically. If you’re a woman in music, you’re automatically known as “a woman in music” and people expect you to look and sound a certain way. I think if I released this EP as a man, I would have gotten more praise for the unpredictability instead of being criticized for the “lack of ear-worms” and pop structures. I overcome these challenges by supporting other women in music and staying true to the music I like to make regardless of my gender.

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

JM: I would love to tour with Nicolas Jaar because I would get to see him perform several nights in a row and I know I wouldn’t get sick of it. If I could collaborate with anyone right now, it would be Juana Molina because she is so experimental and her music and her musical style is so unique and loopy.

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

JM: I would make the industry more inclusive. Groups of people who are underrepresented need to be given equal opportunities 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

July 19th, 2019
CLAVVS
Underground Music Showcase Preview

Clavvs

Amber Renee

Underground Music Showcase Preview

Denver, CO

July 26-28, 2019

https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/

Clavvs has been on our radar for sometime. This NY duo, formerly of Atlanta, has an evocative synth style and lyrics that are woven from gold. Clavvs is Amber Renee & Graham Marsh. Renee comes from a background of musical theater and Marsh has produced Grammy winning albums. They recently released the No Savoirs EP and the track “Devils I Know”
 

They have played SXSW, Canadian Music Week and other festivals that FEMMUSIC covers. We were honored to talk to one half of the band, Amber Renee. For more info visit https://www.clavvs.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the No Saviors EP?

AR: Creating a thing is always inherently challenging. It takes work to pull something out of nothing. It’s kind of weird and wonderful that way. This time around Graham (the other half of CLAVVS) and I were much better about self-editing and abandoning ideas that we didn’t both love. Maybe our biggest challenge was being mindful enough to know when the songs were truly finished. It’s easy to second guess yourself and pick at things too much.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Devils I Know.” How did that song develop?

AR: “Devils I Know” was one of the last songs that we finished for this project. It came together all in one moment while we were tracking a different song entirely (one that we ultimately scrapped). I suddenly had the idea to try several new melodies I had been working on over the same track. We tried it out, and it ended up working really well.

FEMMUSIC: As I was prepping this I see your next show is back in Atlanta on July 17. Tell me about the decision to move to Brooklyn. How has it affected you and your music?

AR: Moving to Brooklyn was the best decision we ever made. We love Atlanta, but we hit a ceiling there and couldn’t see a way forward. We landed in Brooklyn after we fell in love with the city when we’d play shows here. It’s a special place with a really creative energy. I think the spaces you inhabit influence your creative decisions in a mysterious sort of way, so in that way, Brooklyn has definitely had an impact on my songwriting.

FEMMUSIC: I noticed you have a background in musical theater. I was curious if you take a persona for live shows and how you incorporate it in the band.

AR: Musical theater was the first way I was really able to perform on stage. It challenged me to get past a lot of my performance anxiety, but I don’t think it really influenced the way I perform now. I don’t put on a persona for live shows, but there is a certain energy I’m always trying to achieve. Our live shows are about dancing and being with friends, (and hopefully!) they’re a place where people can just be themselves and enjoy the music.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AR: Writing songs is a cool sort of magic that I can’t fully explain. When I stumble onto a song, it’s usually when I’m in the middle of doing something else. A piece of a melody or lyric will just appear in my mind, and if I’m lucky, I’ll record it before it floats away. A lot of my songwriting has become about following the ideas I love and letting go of the ones I don’t. I’ll work on a song for weeks, fine tuning each lyric and melody, making sure I absolutely love it, and then I’ll show it to Graham. From there, we both do our best to get out of the way of the song. I’ve found that I can’t really force my will onto the music without ruining it.

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

AR: Ooh that’s so hard! Probably “A Better Son/Daughter” from Rilo Kiley’s The Execution of All Things. It’s such a brutally honest and vulnerable song about getting through the hard moments. It’s so human. Listening to that song in high school was the first time I ever felt truly heard and understood by a songwriter.

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

AR: I think it’s more of a constant thing you learn to navigate, because I haven’t overcome it. Our band is regularly overlooked because I have a woman’s voice and point-of-view. A label head once told us he couldn’t sign us because they had already signed three female-fronted acts that year, as if “female-fronted” is a genre that might go out of fashion. Ultimately, women have to fight harder to occupy the same spaces that are given to men and we have a smaller window of time to do it, because ageism is still a thing. It’s wildly frustrating, especially when you think of all of the incredible voices who’ve never been heard as a result. But it doesn’t stop me from making music or from encouraging other young women to pursue it. We need more women (and especially WOC) artists, producers, engineers, music supervisors, managers, etc. That’s the only way anything will change.

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

AR: Ooh this list is long! I think our top pick for collaboration right now would be Cautious Clay. His music is so incredible and I bet touring with him would be really fun, but the ultimate dream tour would probably be with Santigold.

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

AR: I would legislate streaming platform payouts. The percentages need to be raised, and not just once, but regularly, so rates are adjusted for inflation and reflect the growth of each respective service. Call me a radical, but I believe artists deserve fair payment for their work.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: , ,