Category: Interviews

June 8th, 2020

Imogen Clark press photo 1 credit Giulia McGauran 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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June 4th, 2020

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

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge in making Wildflower?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 18th, 2020

Janet Devlin - by Emma Jane Lewis

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Confessional?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 11th, 2020

 

Public Practice

Sam York

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

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Gentle Grip?

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

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

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

public practice - gentle grip - album cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 1st, 2020

Gena Rose Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

May 1st, 2020

Fay Wildhagen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

FW: Solitude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 30th, 2020

 

ane_brun

Photos by Tirilleia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 21st, 2020

sir_chloe

Dana Foote

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DF: No gendered challenges yet, fingers crossed.

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

April 17th, 2020

Allie X

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cape Cod?

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

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

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

Allie X Cape God Artwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AX: Less tasteless, perverted, idiotic dinosaurs.

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 17th, 2020

 

Samira_Winter

Photo by Walker Lewis

Samira Winter

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

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Endless Space?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 1st, 2020

Emily Brooks

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

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

 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emily Brooks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

April 1st, 2020

Aubrie Sellers

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aubrie Sellers

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

March 31st, 2020

Anastasia Elliot

Anastasia Elliot is a Nashville artist who has invited you on a journey. Instead of an album or EP, Elliot is opening the door with a bunch of singles that stick out. The first is “Cigarettes & Gasoline”

The next, based upon her real-life experience is “Crash Landing”

Elliot walked away from a record label and is charting a bold path. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Elliot about her music. For info visit https://www.anastasiaelliot.com/

 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AE: I love to take my time when I am writing songs. Even if a melody or lyric comes quickly, I like to spend the time to make sure that every song is the best it could possibly be. When I am writing, I always start with music and melody, usually building production ideas simultaneously. Once the vibe and melodies are established; I like to paint visuals in my mind of how the music makes me feel; who the character is in the song and what they are feeling; (Almost making a video in my head), and then I describe it to write the lyrics. I love to co-write and bring in multiple perspectives. It is always fun for me to be able to bring together a few brilliant minds and merge our creativity to go to new places.

FEMMUSIC: I understand you were involved in classical piano and Opera at a young age. How has that shaped your music and view of music? 

AE: I owe everything to my early opera and classical piano training. My vocal range, tone and stamina and the way that my brain creates and thinks about music. Classical music is such an incredible and interesting genre because there are “rules” for each style or era, and the rulebreakers of each time that changed the entire landscape of music by doing one small thing that was outside of the norm. Classical pieces can be so complex and so simple but all the same hold so much emotion. Everything in a classical piece is there for a reason. I try and bring this philosophy into my writing and producing.

FEMMUSIC: You were signed to Warner and walked away. What benefits do you see as being an independent artist? Would you sign to a label again?

AE: I had a wonderful relationship with my team at Warner. I was caught in a regime change and it was best for us to part ways. As an independent artist now I love the freedom to create with my team and not have to consult anyone else. Being independent definitely poses it’s challenges, but the payoff can be so rewarding. At the moment, we are doing everything on our own timeline and putting content out as we want to. I would definitely entertain the right label deal if it came along.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Ryan Hamblin to make the videos for your songs. How is he to work with? Do you collaborate on the vision?

AE: Ryan is my partner in crime. Sometimes literally. We have after all murdered quite a few people and mannequins together. He is such a brilliant, creative, wonderful human. We do collaborate on the vision. We tend to have a snowball effect with each other. One of us will say something that gets the other’s mind spinning. I can’t wait for you all to see what we have waiting in the wings.

FEMMUSIC: I understand you’re releasing singles this year as part of a project. Can you tell me more about the vision for the entire piece? Now that you’ve begun has anything changed?

AE: The project will be released as singles. Each song and video feeds into the next. I don’t want to give too much away. The interpretation of the project is up to the viewer. There are easter eggs hidden in each video so watch closely and see if you can find them! Nothing has changed as I have begun releasing. Everything in this project is thought out and intentionally there for you to discover.

Anastasia Elliot

FEMMUSIC: Besides your music videos, you are also doing “Cooking With Anastasia.” What challenges are there doing it and what inspired you?

AE: I love cooking and baking almost as much as I love music so I had to find a way to bring them together! I am vegan and gluten free and enjoy finding ways to make foods that I love healthier while not sacrificing flavor and decadence. I love to be able to share these creations with my audience! Each song and video will be accompanied by a recipe series inspired by it. And you can usually find some tasty treats at the merch booth at my shows.

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

AE: This is a really tough question for me. I actually don’t really listen to music, but lately, I have been trying to make an effort to be more of a music consumer. If I think back to my childhood days, I would have to say “My Immortal” by Evanescence. When I got that album I loved it so much. Amy Lee’s voice was so unique and that song became my karaoke song. The works of the 80’s were also always playing in my house and Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, Billy Idol, and Queen were definitely influential in shaping my love for drama, strong vocals, and maximalism.

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

AE: I think it is definitely more difficult to be a female artist in this industry. It can be more difficult for industry people to take you seriously and not have a “that’s cute” kind of attitude. As a female artist, there are a lot more expectations that surround you both consumer facing and within the industry. I think that is starting to shift as more artists “get real” on social media but females are still expected to always look great and sound great where there is not as much of that kind of pressure on male artists. I overcome these challenges by staying grounded in who I am and always pushing for the things I believe in. I try to not give too much weight to outside pressure and opinion and just do me. 

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

AE: I would love to collaborate with Jack White or Chris Martin. And one of my dream acts to open for would be Muse.

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

AE: I would love for artists and songwriters to be compensated more fairly for their work. In this day and age where art and content are being given as cheap or free, appreciation and value for art is suffering and the artists and songwriters are the ones taking the hit. It is wonderful that everyone now has access to the tools to release content, but the market is also very oversaturated now and it is harder to make noise, which usually results in pay for play.

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February 26th, 2020

Megan Coleman

Artists worked with: I have had the great pleasure of working with many artists in Nashville and elsewhere-one of the many benefits of being a side player, is the range of artists you get to work with. I’ve played with, Jackie Greene, Ron Pope, Foy Vance, Kree

Harrison, Lucie Silvas, Morgan Bosman, Amanda Broadway, Laura Reed, etc. The list goes on.
 
Instagram: megbrittcole
 

FEMMUSIC :  How did you become involved in music?

MC: I became involved in music as a child. My dad, before he passed was a trumpet player and my mom has sung in the choir my whole life. Growing up in Detroit and in back church, we were constantly surrounded by the best music. I didn’t know it then, but I could not have asked for a better environment in which to fall in love with music. I started playing around the age of 12 when my private school finally started a concert band. I do wish I would have paid more attention to theory then.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

MC: Generally, my songwriting is done alone and in spurts. Often, I start by humming some melody idea that pops up into a voice recorder on my phone and come back to it as more of those ideas present themselves. Then, I will sit and try to at least figure out where it might go on the keys. I am not the best player of melodic instruments and often, this part is my hang-up. When I write with others, most times, someone in the room already has an idea that they’ve brought and we take that and play around with different movements until there is a direction that feels right.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

MC: Touring can be both really amazing and extremely taxing. The hard part for me, is making sure I take care of myself by trying to get enough rest, drink enough water, and eat enough healthy food. There can also be difficulties amongst people and the many differing personalities in a band. I try to just keep my head down, do my job well, be kind, and bite my tongue when needed…unless I have to stick up for myself, which does happen on occasion. I also, try to make sure I have at least an hour or so a day to myself-whether that means taking a long walk, going to a movie, having a meal coupled with a good book…anything that is within reason for the day.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

MC:  For a while, I was not doing many studio gigs. I have done a lot of live playing, having grown up in church and for a while, the thought of studio work seemed daunting in its need for perfection. Thankfully, over the last few years, I have been fortunate to have been hired by people who trust me to be explorative in the studio, which has, of course opened up more comfort and confidence in the studio. As it stands now, for the first time in my career, I have more studio things on the books than live shows. It has been a surprisingly nice change of pace.

 FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

MC: Separating projects can often be the most difficult part of being a side player. I usually try to go about it by order of importance. If I know about a gig ahead of time (perhaps, a month before), I will spend several days just listening to the music in the background, then I will take another several days and listen to all of the songs very intentionally over and again until I have them memorized, it is only after this do I sit down and chart things and make notes. I do not always have the luxury of having several weeks or months to learn music and often there are several gigs a week that I am preparing for. Usually that means I am preparing for personal, studio, and band things all at once. I try to just take one at a time and put the whole of my focus on which everone requires the most attention for that day.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

MC: Being a woman in the industry can be extremely difficult, I think especially as a player. There is first the task of getting people to take you seriously. As a drummer, I realized that unless someone has heard me play, they first assume that I will be mediocre at best. Because of this, there is often the pressure to try and prove yourself. This can often take the joy out of playing until you realize the only person you have anything to prove to is yourself. There is also challenge of the fact that many artists feel like female players are taking some of the spotlight away from them. I have found this to be especially true when working with female artists. The best way I have found to combat these things, is to realize that I only want to be in situations where everyone on stage is allowed to shine. It is only then are we all free to create the best experience for the audience and ourselves.

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

MC: There are likely so many things that could be addressed as far as what could change in the industry. What is most striking to me now is the temptation to praise image over talent. I know this has always been a bit of an issue in the industry. But, when I think about classic music that I am drawn to, it seems that there was mostly an emphasis on the talent and the song. There seems to be less of that these days and I hope that this is something we can shift so that, if there is to be competition in the industry, it is because we are pushing each other to be innovators instead of ones who follow formulas in the name of radio play.

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with:

February 26th, 2020

Kristin Weber

Artists Worked With: Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Midland, Cage The Elephant, Margo Price

http://www.kristinwebermusic.com

FEMMUSIC :  How did you become involved in music?

KW: My mom was a ballet dancer and my dad a painter who decided to start me with Suzuki violin lessons at the age of 3 1/2 because they thought it would be cute and both loved music. I took both classical lessons and fiddle lessons growing up and performed in different youth orchestras. Attending Mark O’Connor fiddle camps in Tennessee during my summers as a kid really opened my mind to all the different genres available to a fiddler. Eventually this curiosity led me to Berklee College of Music where I studied jazz and bluegrass and classical and ended up in an indie rock band for 6 years. The band moved to Nashville, broke up and thus began my career as a side musician picking up any gigs I could get. Fast forward to sharing the stage with Eminem and Lorde and Dolly Parton.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

KW: Often the inspiration hits while I’m getting distracted from practicing. I’ll play a pattern or a chord progression that catches my ear and I’ll run off on a tangent. Lately I’m experimenting with fitting a song within the context of a string ensemble.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

KW: The greatest part of tour (or my life 🙂 is when I’m on stage. Even when I’ve been sick and run down on tour I look forward to the time on stage because it’s when I feel my most energetic and fulfilled. Everything else about touring… is not terribly glamorous. The schedules are often exhausting:  early lobby calls, not sleeping great on a bus, little control over your meals and your schedule. I always tell people that touring is the greatest and the worst thing. You’re homesick and exhausted half the time, and the other half of the time you’re having the most amazing new experiences and eating fabulous food and rocking faces and creating unbreakable bonds with the members of the band/crew.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

KW: Most of my work these days is studio work. Often I’m playing in small string ensembles or fiddling or adding harmony vocals or creating string arrangements. I started veering towards studio work a few years ago when I was getting burned out on traveling and am blessed that I can make a living doing it.

FEMMUSIC:  How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

KW: There is no separating. I love it all so I say yes to everything that sounds fun and make it work. This means there are days of running from a recording session to a rehearsal to a soundcheck.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

KW: As I see it, the challenges are not what I face but the opportunities that never come my way. It is an unwritten law in the world of pop country touring that you do not have women in your band or crew and I’m sure this applies to other genres. Particularly male artists and bands. Women create problems back home. It’s archaic and disgusting and thankfully I have had the privilege of working for some open minded artists. And that’s exactly what it is to me: my work. Inclusivity means going out of your way, going against your old patterns, to show diversity on your stage. Many artists (of all genders) have a way to go in this regard. I see so many talented female artists and musicians getting overlooked for no reason except a pattern the industry can’t seem to break.

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

KW: Play more women on the radio. More inclusivity across the board: at festivals, on bills, in your music videos. Pay the band more. Any band. Anywhere. Did I say play more women on the radio?

 

 

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with:

January 24th, 2020

Eliza-DL-1 Matt Walter

Eliza Katt

If you haven’t heard of Eliza & the Delusionals you won’t have to wait long. The Australian band begins touring with Silversun Pickups in February. In 2017 they released an EP called The Deeper End. They are now back with new material including the newly released “Pull Apart Heart”

It follows the single “Just Exist”

 

 

The 4 piece is known for Katt’s descriptive and influential lyrics. FEMMUSIC spoke to Katt about the new music. For info visit https://www.elizaandthedelusionals.com/

 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

EK: Usually it just starts with a guitar and just singing and humming melodies. There’s not really a specific ritual to writing for us – it’s just what comes out. I think it depends on the headspace and what we’re feeling at the time.

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

EK: I remember just playing around on guitar not really doing anything particular when I started the main riff. As soon as I heard it I felt something and I had to straight away start writing lyrics. It just developed more with the full band and the feelings really came to life when we took it into the studio.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Kon Kersting. How was he to work? How did you meet?

EK: We love Kon, he’s so great to work with. We recorded our first EP with him and always felt like he brings the best out of our music in the studio. I remember buying an EP of another Australian artist a while ago which I loved, and at the time we were looking for someone to produce our debut EP. I loved the sound of it and we ended up getting in touch and we’ve been working together since.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Pull Apart Heart.” How did the song develop?

EK: I was going through a lot of personal changes at the time, and I remember feeling really conflicted about a lot of things that were going on in my life. I remember writing down ‘pull apart heart’ on a page and really connecting with the line. It really described how I was feeling. The song just wrote itself after that.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Cooking Vinyl. What made you sign with them last summer?

EK: Cooking Vinyl are so great. Everyone at home in Aus and over in the US are so kind and really caring towards us. They really believe in making sure that everything is the way that the artist wants it and that’s super important for us. They also work with some of our favourite artists in Aus and around the world.

FEMMUSIC: The Deeper End came out in 2017. You’re working on new material. Has your process changed since The Deeper End? What have you learned in the interim?

EK: It definitely has. Those songs were written at least a year before the EP was recorded, I feel like it’s impossible to have the same writing process. I think as you grow as a person and you go through things in life it changes the way you think about things as a songwriter and an artist.

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

EK: For me personally, I think a turning point album was Catfish and the Bottlemen’s ‘The Balcony’. I listened to that album so many times a day when it came out. I’d say the song “Homesick” always resonates with me. I just love the lyrics and it always reminds me of the first time I watched them live because it was the opening song in their set.

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

EK: I’ve had multiple incidents of me walking into a venue with my band mates with all of us holding gear and I’ll be the only one that gets asked for ID or asked for my punter wristband or something like that. A lot of times security have not actually believed that I’m an artist. It’s really frustrating. I’ve never let it slide – I’ve always questioned them and asked them why my male band mates didn’t even get a look when they’ve walked into the venue with gear.

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

EK: I think collaborating and touring with The 1975 would. We are all really big fans and have always loved every aspect of their band, from songwriting to visuals.

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

EK: I would probably say people just seeing everyone as the same without making pre judgements based 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

January 21st, 2020
Vicky Warwick

Photo by Eloise Campbell

Artists Worked With : Charli XCX, Frances, Hailee Steinfeld, Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins), Hey Violet, Billy Lockett

www.sheplaysbass.com

https://www.instagram.com/sheplaysbass/

FEMMUSIC: How did you become involved in music?

VW: I started playing bass in a band my friend formed when I was 12 years old. I fell in love with the feeling of being strapped into rock and roll and decided to take lessons, eventually moving to London aged 18 to  attend a music college for a Bachelor of Music in Popular Music Performance. I landed my first industry gig when a pop production house came to my music school to scout for musicians. From then on, I got to know more musicians and found more work in the London scene. I later ended up working in the music scene in New York City, and now I am based in Los Angeles.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

VW: If I’m writing with another person or in a group, it can often be a more formulaic experience. It’s very focused and usually cathartic, because we often start the session by diving into what’s going on in each other’s lives as an inspiration for songs. Normally we start a drum loop or a loop of chords and go from there. Writing alone has a lot less structure; I can just pick up the guitar and fiddle around with something for a minute and it might turn into a verse or a chorus. I could spend just half an hour on it and move away and come back to it a day or two later. Songs emerge slowly, from little stolen moments with myself. I usually write when I’m meant to be doing something but else. If I’m consciously writing – alone or with someone else – I usually like to have a few song references in mind so I know what kind of mood I’m trying to create. 

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

VW: I love touring, and love trying to play a consistently great show every night. I suppose that’s a challenge, but one I really enjoy. I think the biggest challenge as a touring musician is managing your schedule. Dates change all the time, and it’s hard to know what your work life is going to look like. Committing to other plans like friends weddings or family functions is really tricky. Not ever really knowing what you’re doing is just the ‘con’ to this job, but I also like that every month is different. 

I’ve been lucky in that my actual time on the road has always been a great experience, but every now and then, there’s tension between people and that’s always tough. Usually the case is that it’s short lived and happens as a result of tiredness or a bad day.

The lack of personal space when you’re touring by tour bus is obviously a struggle sometimes, but for me it’s just silly things – like not being able to hang around in a robe or have time to be butt naked and moisturize after a shower!! If there’s one shower for 10 people, it’s not relaxing.

VICKY WARWICK

Photo by Eloise Campbell

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work do you do?

VW: Not as much at the moment, but I’m still new in town and would love to do more of that once I meet the people in that world. With bass, I feel like it often gets recorded by the producer anyway; especially in pop. If I record things for people, I often do it remotely with my set-up at home.

FEMMUSIC:  How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

VW: Projects naturally separate themselves. I tour or do live shows or write with many different artists. My own personal projects include releasing music under the name Ainslie, and working on my upcoming podcast, which is an extension from my blog about touring – www.whereareweagain.com. I interview touring musicians and crew about their experiences and try and get their juciest stories from life on the road. I’m also looking to start recording music for another personal project that I’ll probably release under a different name (there’s really not enough hours in the day)! Everything I do includes collaboration though, and I love that.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

VW: I think we all face challenges, and I suppose some of them have come from being a female. I’ve definitely not been considered for certain gigs because they wanted males. However, I’ve gotten some gigs because they wanted a female, so it probably works out. It’s just a shame that deciding to hire someone based on their gender is even a thought. There’s not many industries left where that’s still an issue. I think in general, women still have to work harder to prove ourselves and be respected in the same way dudes are. A couple of times I’ve told other bass players that I play bass, and they’ve grabbed my hands and told me they’re too soft for me to be a bass player. That feels hugely disrespectful and something they wouldn’t have done to a guy. It’s still such a male dominated industry, but it’s so great that the large majority of men that I work with build healthy, professional relationships with everyone they work with.

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

VW: I wish there was a union that really could put rules in place that everyone would adhere to – things about minimum fees and cancellations and a way to put more contracts in place. All parties would be in a better position. There’s also no HR department in this industry. It often it feels like raising any issues like that or talking about fair fees is going to risk you keeping your job.

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with:

January 20th, 2020
Sarah Tomek

Credit Katrina Benzova

Artists Worked With: Steven Tyler, Maggie Rose, Gretchen Wilson, Sara Bareilles, Them Vibes, Loving Mary Band, Rick Barry, Glen Burtnik, Gedeon Luke

Insta- @SarahTomekDrums /  Facebook: Sarah Tomek Drums / Website (currently down) but is www.sarahtomek.com

FEMMUSIC: How did you become involved in music?

ST: My father was a drummer in NYC in the 70s. I think he wanted a boy but got stuck with me as the only. It was in my veins and there were drums around the house, so the curse transcended!!

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

ST: There’s so much talent and too many good songs pumping out of Nashville on a daily basis, it’s intimidating. Living here, I’ve only written a handful of times with cats I’ve played or play with and even that’s a challenge! You’re walking into a room vulnerable with your ideas and/or thinking you can add to others.

The process of recording drums with fun time signatures and different grooves & starting from the ground up is something that I’d like to do more of.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

ST: My husband and I got married and I basically went on the road for 2 years. At the time, it was show day then 2-3 days off.  It’s hard NOT working, being alone with your thoughts and away from your loved one(s).

The OTHER element is you’re in close quarters with your band mates and/or artist. Everyone has these big personalities, (if your lucky like me, those are my people!) You are family and have SO love for one another, but you’re also trying to not kill each other.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

ST: When I moved to Nashville I was told live players don’t play on the record. I didn’t understand. I was at lunch with a major producer and he said “I’m making this record (w/ artist I touring with at the time), with a different studio lineup”, then literal named every dude that was playing on every record coming out of Nashville. I got to tempo map some of the tunes for the record then watch the session drummer cop my parts off a board recording on a tune I co-wrote. I was mad. But lI was also immature. Looking back, I wouldn’t have been ready for sessions at that point.

A few years later I hooked up with producer Marti Frederikson. He kinda took me under his wing and that’s when I really became a better session player. Since then I’ve done slam sessions, ( publisher sessions when your laying down 8 or more tracks 11-2 pm, etc) I Played on Maggie Rose’s, Change The Whole Thing record which was tracked live with a 13 pc band. Drums bleeding through all vocal mics, etc. No margin for error there! I have 4 records I played on coming out in 2020 alone. All different and I’m super pumped on all of them! Right this second, Them Vibes has a single out called “Powers Collide” that I co wrote. We tracked live with me and Matt Nolan of Rude Music on drums. Matt’s mimicking a loop and Im the slop on top. There’s a fun drum break in it as well. NEAT!

FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

ST: They tend to separate themselves. You gotta know what the artist/project calls for before you walk in the door and play to that.

FEMMUSIC:  What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

ST: Let’s say one gets a call for an amazing tour opportunity with a ginormous band and one of the reasons you don’t get the gig is because one of the band members doesn’t want women on the stage, more so he doesn’t want them touching an instrument. That would be wild right? (Like sooo hypothetical)

I can say bs like above happens less now than ever, but it’s still a man’s industry.

But looking at the industry, it’s still a boys club. What about females behind the board? I had the pleasure of working with Trina Shoemaker, the first woman to win a Grammy for best engineered record. That was in 1998. Come on maaaaan.

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

ST: Can I have 2?

I would shake up the country format and get it back to its roots. It’s an identity crisis and I can’t listen to half what’s being put out.

I don’t think music shows on national television should allow huge guest stars to come in and auto tune their vocals to high hell when the object is to judge aspiring vocalists. Your perpetuating something that isn’t real and that’s what I don’t enjoy about a lot of the music made today. Not everyone starting out can afford to carry a tuning rig to club dates.

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with:

January 20th, 2020
Ellen Angelico

Edited with Afterlight

Artists Worked With: Uncle Kracker, Delta Rae, Wheeler Walker Jr., and many others. Starting in February, I’ll be out with the country artist Cam.

ellenangelico.com

@ellenangelico on Twitter and Instagram, although please keep your expectations low.

FEMMUSIC: How did you become involved in music?

EA: I have no other marketable skills!

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

EA: My technique is pretty simple: if I can’t finish a song in thirty minutes then it’s not worth the effort haha. This is why I’m not a professional songwriter.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

EA: I enjoy touring. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up a life at home, but I’ve got a good rhythm going. The touring-related challenges that are hardest for me to overcome don’t involve the logistics of being on the road as much as getting the gig in the first place.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

EA: I play on my friends’ records when they ask. I prefer road work at this point in my life.

FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

EA: Dealing with schedule stuff is probably the most annoying part of my job. My color-coded Google Calendar would be hard to live without.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

EA: Like I mentioned before, the hardest thing about touring for me is getting the gig in the first place. Sexism is keeping people from hiring non-men. There’s tons of women doing this work. They just choose to do it outside of country music because they don’t see people who look like them in country music. Representation matters. It’s up to people making hiring decisions to find qualified female candidates. There’s no reason someone killing it in Americana or pop wouldn’t also do great in country.

I’ll add one other observation: I’m a pretty masculine person and find I benefit from some aspects of male privilege. If I am on the road with a more feminine colleague, I get asked to check the ground lift on the DI while my colleague gets asked if she plugged in the guitar. People assume I know what I’m doing because I more closely fit the “look” of country band members which is largely white, able-bodied, and male.

The community of female instrumentalists in Nashville is awesome. We’re friends and we lift each other up. We call each other for gigs and start projects to raise our profiles. One project I’m involved in is a show called She’s a Rebel, produced and performed entirely by women and non-binary people. Now in its sixth year, the mission of the show is to support an integrated, cooperative community of women whose talents make Nashville what it is. We honor the past, engage with the present, and have a ridiculous amount of fun. We have dancers! How many other shows in Nashville have dancers?

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

EA: A lot of the things I would want to change about the music industry – like a culture of inclusion and diversity, clear anti-harrassment and anti-abuse policies, and equal representation in airplay – could be solved by installing women in positions of power!

If I couldn’t make that happen, then I would make tour buses electric.

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with:

January 20th, 2020

Hayley Jane Batt

Artists Worked With: BØRNS, Love Fame Tragedy, Superheart, Hey Violet, Emily Kinney, Freelance Whales, Zara Larsson, Adam Lambert, Maddie Poppe, Meg Myers

www.hayleyjanemusic.com

 
Insta: Haylo_J

FEMMUSIC: How did you become involved in music?

HJB: My dad and brother are both in music, so I think I just thought that’s what you did when you grew up! I wanted to be a touring musician since I was 14 when I played bass in my brother’s band. I then went to Berklee college of music which opened the door to living in America and moving to LA, which is where my professional career really started. Most of my work has come from meeting great musicians and people out there, word of mouth, and being lucky enough to be in the right audition rooms or recommended for the right gigs at the right time.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

HJB: Often I’ll just sit at the piano, or with my bass or guitar and play around until I find something I can’t stop playing. I’m not sure it’s technique so much as just seeing what comes out and sounds good (to me). Lyrically I am quite particular and harsh on myself. I find it hard to accept a lyric if I feel like there’s a better way of saying it, and will bash it into the ground until its right, or throw it away. For me the hardest thing is knowing when an idea is done. I lose sight of what I think sounds good half the time, so writing with other people is great for this as there’s a fresh perspective and someone to bounce ideas off. Writing with a band is surprisingly freeing, as you have a clearer idea of what it’s for. 

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

HJB: Probably the pressure of knowing that you’re being hired to be perfect at what you do every night, because you’re part of someone else’s musical vision. It’s a professional service that someone is paying you for, and I’m always aware of that. Things do go wrong with live shows, and dealing with the recovery of that, especially mentally, is a challenge, but one that I’m quite intrigued by. I still never understand why sometimes I can come off stage and feel like I didn’t have a good show, and yet someone else who played the exact same show will come off stage saying that was the best one we’ve ever done! Understanding that and dealing with it effectively is as much part of being a touring musician is as playing the parts right (even though I just said I didn’t understand it…).

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

HJB: Not too much. I’d like to do more but it’s hard to keep up the studio work while touring. There are a few producers who I’ll work with when I remind them I’m back in town, but most of my connections are in the touring world.

FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

HJB: Touring pretty much dictates that for me. I can’t decide when someone is going out on tour, therefore I can’t decide on when I’m free to work on other things. That’s the thing I love most, so if I’m home working on personal projects and a tour comes through then that takes precedent.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

HJB: There have definitely been challenges, but being a woman in the music industry has also at times helped me enormously. Whilst I’ve lost gigs before because of my gender, I’ve also been hired because of it; If they specifically want a girl, or if they need an extra female harmony voice as well as a bassist. Getting a gig is often so much more than just playing, so male or female, the extra things that set you apart, or not, are always going to come into play.

On a day-to-day basis, the biggest challenge is overcoming stereotypes that have been established for previously male-dominated roles within the industry. If I’m in a band with a female drummer, I definitely notice a lot more comments thrown at us about how ‘cool’ or ‘badass’ it is that we’re a female rhythm section. The language used towards female musicians is different. For example people often ask ‘is it an all female band?’ You’d never hear someone ask a male musician ‘is it an all male band?’ It’s now become quite amusing to clock up stories of ridiculous things that are said to me and fellow female musicians, from both genders. I’ve been asked if I’m the masseuse/who’s girlfriend I am/if I’m the make up artist or dancer/if I’m miming. The list goes on. Most of the tours I’ve been on have had a great balance of men and women. However, it’s going to take a lot more women in the music industry for it to become second nature so that there are no more raised eyebrows or shocked faces when you explain what you do, or are good at it.

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

HJB: The way and amount artists/songwriters get paid. I don’t have the answer for how this would work with how music is consumed these days, but so many artists who appear to be ’successful’ are still struggling. It’s harder to make an actual living in the music industry these days for the people who are actually creating the music.

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