Category: Interviews

October 2nd, 2019

Sassy Black

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for Ancient Mahogany Gold

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


FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

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

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

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

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

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


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September 10th, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra

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

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

She is currently touring with Melanie Martinez. For info visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra 4

Photo of Lauren Ruth Ward by Liz Ibarra

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

LRW: SZA or Jack White. No explanation needed.

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

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

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September 3rd, 2019

Bellhoss - Becky Hostetler

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

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

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

We were ecstatic to speak with Becky about the EP and her songwriitng. For info visit

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the masquerade?

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

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

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

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

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

The Masquerade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with: , ,

September 3rd, 2019

Space Girls Promo Poster

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DL: “Roads” by Portishead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaguar Jonze - Deena Lynch

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

August 28th, 2019


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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Free Company?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor Vick-Boy scouts

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 28th, 2019

Olivia Lane


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Olivia Lane 2019EPFINAL

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 15th, 2019

Phoebe Starr

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

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

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

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

Phoebe Starr-Ice-Tea-Liberace

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 12th, 2019

Upsahl - Shervin Lainez

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

Upsahl recently released “Wish You’d Make Me Cry

She will be touring soon with Tessa Violet. For info visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 12th, 2019

Oh Rose

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

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

Rose defies the norms as well. Her vocals are vibrant and staticy. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to Rose about her life and the album. For info visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 22nd, 2019

Jackie Mendoza

Underground Music Showcase

Jackie Mendoza

Denver, CO

July 26-29, 2019

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

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

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making LuvHz?

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie Mendoza EP

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

July 19th, 2019
Underground Music Showcase Preview


Amber Renee

Underground Music Showcase Preview

Denver, CO

July 26-28, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 17th, 2019


Kim Shattuck

Melanie Vammen

Palmyra Delran

The Coolies are the newest supergroup and they are releasing a special 10” EP to battle ALS. Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vanmen come from both The Muffs and the Pandoras. Palmyra Delran is from the Friggs. All 90’s bands that helped shatter stereotypes of women in music. Within The Coolies the three are also transformed to Kim is Kimba Coolie, Melanie becomes Melimba Coolie and Palmyra is Palimba Coolie

Now the three have come together to take on a bigger challenge, ALS. All of the proceeds from the 10” will go to the ALS Foundation. FEMMUSIC was happy to speak to these legends about the 10”, ALS and how the music industry has changed. For info visit     To pre-order the 10” visit

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

Kim: Not really a challenge because it was the easiest way to record ever.

Melanie: Just so amazing and easy recording with these badass chicks!

Palmyra: These days, you can work together from anywhere. It would have been super fun to be in the same room – although we would probably be laughing most of the time!

FEMMUSIC: Tell me how The Coolies came about. What made you want to start the group?

Melanie: We are all best friends. Kim said, “I wish we could be a band” and Palmyra said, “well…” and just like that we became The Coolies!

Kim: I posted an Instagram picture of Paula and her bare butt. Palmyra commented and called it her coolie. Ah the perfect name for our band!

Palmyra: We formed in 3 seconds!

FEMMUSIC: What made you decide to work with Wicked Cool Records on this project? Tell me about the choice of format for a 10″ with the 3D glasses.

Kim: The label is the top shelf, by all that they’ve been doing! I’m totally impressed by the way they are!

Melanie: Wicked Cool are the coolest! The idea of the Archie’s style cover in 3D is just too much fun!

Palmyra: My most recent record was released on Wicked Cool, so I was already thrilled being part of the family. They are the coolest group of people over there, and I knew that they would totally get The Coolies! They have a fantastic in-house illustrator, Louis Arzonico who did the cover and he thought it was essential to include the glasses!

Coolies Album Cover

FEMMUSIC: Why are you donating all proceeds from the album to the ALS Association? Who do you know who has been touched by ALS?

Kim: It runs on my dad’s side of the family and it’s the one that doesn’t have a cure where you’re rotting until kingdom come. It’s hard to believe that they have been struggling to find a cure!

Melanie: This is a horrific disease no one should ever have to endure. I think if you haven’t been close to it, lots of people don’t understand what someone goes through. It needs a cure now and we want to help!

Palmyra: We’re committed to bringing awareness to ALS and raising money to find a cure.

FEMMUSIC: You all came of age in the music business in the 1990’s. How do you think the business has improved for women since then?

Kim: I think it’s better for everyone!

Melanie: Honestly having been in an all-girl band the Pandoras and in the Muffs, I’ve never felt that we’ve been treated differently because we’re girls. We’ve always spoken our minds and done what we want. I’ve never felt intimidated by anyone!!

Palmyra: Unfortunately, there will always be people who think it’s a novelty. So silly!

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

Kim: “She Said” by The Valentines. Beautiful voice, cool chord changes, and it’s not long.

Melanie: “You and Your Sister” by Chris Bell. Just so beautiful.

Palmyra: It changes all the time, but today I’ll say “You Don’t Care” by Arthur Alexander. Badass guitar, gorgeous voice. If you ask tomorrow, it will be the Monkees – “Love To Love,” or something.

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

Kim: I’m already doing it with The Coolies!

Melanie: Alex Chilton would have been a dream come true! I feel so honored to be able to make music with Kim and Palmyra.

Palmyra: I’ll have to agree with my gals – The Coolies! Or maybe Ray Davies, Steve Marriott. Debbie Harry any day!

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

Kim: I would like to see less shitty, generic hip-hop!

Melanie: Oh the usual poseurs!

Palmyra: I wish it was more about music

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 15th, 2019
Troi Irons

Troi Irons started young and has matured. She was signed to a major label early and faced the horrors of the industry. She is now getting ready to release her self-produced album Lost Angels. The album is a journey of self from the first single “Lost Angels” to the final track “Home.”

Irons is known for a spectacularly aggressive style. She is blunt and straightforward, as she is in our interview. She is also an artist to watch. For info visit

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the album Lost Angels?

TI: The biggest challenge was finding the time. I was working several jobs and I had to make the decisions to cut them out and trust the process. I had to set my life up so that I could prioritize my music. And that was only by the grace of God. It took some real time and sacrifice as well but I stopped surviving. Now I’m learning to live.

FEMMUSIC: The album is a journey from “Lost Angels” to “Home.” What challenges did it present songwriting and songchoice in forming the final product? Were there songs you rejected that you wish you could have brought in?

TI: I produced and wrote the whole thing so the final product is exactly how I wanted it. That’s very important to me. The story flowed because the album came naturally over the course of years of my life. My real challenge was getting the songs to flow together sonically. So when I went into production mode, my biggest focus was sound choice and instrumentation.

FEMMUSIC: You started in this industry early. What benefits do you have by being an independent artist? Would you sign to a label again?

TI: I don’t think I would sign to a label again. I said that before, then I signed to Def Jam. This time I mean it. Labels don’t understand how to be small or how to grow. They develop top down. There’s no longevity unless you’re already famous or just really lucky. Being independent allows me to stop that emotional rollercoaster of the “bunch of money, big opportunity – STOP and waste away in your room while they pass an idea through 8 levels of command – bunch of money, everybody starfuck – STOP and don’t release music for a year.” As an independent artist, I get to slow burn. I’m like a soy candle that eventually burns the barn down rather than a single firework that only leaves a burnt smell.

FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with other artists on their projects. When it is your own project, how do you approach it differently?

TI: With someone else’s art, my goal is always to elevate them and mold to what they’re doing. I shut up and listen. When it’s my project, I expect everyone to shut up because I’m not gonna listen, haha.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

TI: I wait for the train to hit me then I hop on.

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

TI: Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2. It’s grand and dark and beautiful… Timeless. I don’t know if I’ll ever make something that great but I try every time.

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

TI: Eh, I think there are pros and cons. Pros is everyone wants to talk to me and hear my music – guys never get the aux cord. Cons – I have to fight to be seen as a person sometimes. I shot this video with Interscope/Ultra for this EDM collaboration and the director told the male actor to grab my thigh and kiss me. I said no, I wasn’t comfortable and the director said “we’re gonna get my vision!” Then he pulled me aside and whined about my attitude when I wouldn’t look him in the eyes or talk to him. He basically wanted to watch me get fucked and have me look at him doe-eyed while it was happening. Then he told the label I was being difficult. I’ll never forget that director. The way I overcame was I created my own world. I no longer enter other people’s spaces. I produce my own music, direct my own videos, style my own shoots, run my own label. If anyone wants to come into my space now, they follow my rules.

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

TI: I would love to tour with Halsey. I think she’s such a great performer and presence – watching that show every night would grow me in ways.

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

TI: I’m not sure if I would change anything. Music is making more profit in this era than it ever has before. Artists have direct access to their fans and the ability to have full creative control. At this point, it’s survival of the fittest. Evolve and you can really be living the dream.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 15th, 2019

Anna Akana

When one looks at Anna Akana’s resume it is filled with the envy of every artist. She is a Emmy nominated actress, producer, filmmaker, writer and musician. She is an internet star with a YouTube channel with over 2 million subscribers. She been in Ant Man, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and star, executive producer and co-creator of Youth & Consequences.

She is releasing Casualty later this year. The album is about hope and overcoming life’s hardships. Akana is releasing a video for every track on the album. They include “Intervention”, “Alone Together” and “Pretty Girls Don’t Cry.”

For info visit

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Casualty?

AA: Making it was the easy part. It was pure joy and creativity and a cathartic experience. The anxiety that comes with releasing music and diving into a new art form has been pretty difficult. I’m very anxious to see how people respond to seeing me in a more vulnerable light.

FEMMUSIC: Let’s talk about “Intervention.” What was the biggest challenge making the song?

AA: I’d decided to get sober after realizing I was developing a physical dependency on alcohol. The song was a sort of promise to myself to get my shit together. Though I didn’t feel as empowered at the time when I wrote it, I knew that if I put it on paper I’d have to stick to it. So that leap was a bit terrifying.

FEMMUSIC: On the same line on “Intervention”; What was the biggest challenge making the video?


AA: I actually reshot the entire video. The first attempt was in August 2018, and I just wasn’t happy with the final result. I knew I could do better, so I ate the cost of the video and completely redid it.

FEMMUSIC: What made you decide to do a video for every song on the album?

AA: I come from a visual medium. Filmmaking has been a craft I’ve been honing for the last decade. For me, I always felt like my experience with the music video would make a break or song. I loved the idea that I could elevate everything sonically & visually by bringing what is already my dedicated art to my newfound passion.

FEMMUSIC: Casualty is an album of hope. What songs on the album most describe the journey to get there?

AA: The ballad of the same name, Casualty, is about having integrity and dignity when someone you love leaves you. It’s about knowing your value even when someone else can no longer see it. Though I didn’t feel it at the time, I knew that someday I was going to be okay. Maybe even be grateful that this person left my life. And now I can truthfully say that I 100% stand behind that song and feel the message it’s communicating.

FEMMUSIC: You’re involved in a number of other projects. Why was it important to make this album? What was most surprising to you in making it?

AA: Making art is how I process any darkness or difficulty in my life. At the time that the album was being written, I was going through a terrible period of depression and suicidal ideation. I’ve struggled on and off with chronic depression in my life, and it was a particularly hard one. It was important to me to be able to channel that pain into an album, and into art, so that I could get it the hell out of my body haha. The most surprising thing to me was how much I truly enjoyed it. It was so fun. Nothing felt tortuous about the process.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AA: I’ll usually approach my producers/co-writers Shayon Daniels & Nicci Funicelli with a concept for a song, maybe a few lyrics, and reference songs for the vibes I want sonically. Shayon builds out the track and we all work together on a melody. I like to come to the table with a first pass at the lyrics and then hear what they think is working/not working.

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

AA: “Blackbird” is one I often listen to when I’m sad. It’s such a beautiful song of hope. Every time I hear it, I’m immediately lifted into a better place. It makes me believe that I can fly, that humanity and life are beautiful, and that no matter how scared or lonely you might feel, you can change that at any time.

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

AA: I’m fortunate that as of right now, I have yet to face any. I come from the male-dominated spaces of stand up comedy, self-run businesses & filmmaking. So maybe I’ve just gotten used to taking up my space in the platforms I’m in.

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

AA: I’d love to do a song with Lizzo. Her messages of female empowerment and self-love truly resonate with me!

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

AA: I’d love to see more variety on the radio. I get there’s a whole hierarchy and political system going on there, but with platforms like Spotify and Pandora and apple music allowing users to find new music on a regular basis, you’d think radio would catch up.


Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

July 15th, 2019


Denver, CO

July 26-28, 2019
Tessa Violet was born on the internet. In 2007 she started as Meekakitty and exploded. In 2014 she released her first album Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled. These days she has been touring and releasing a bunch of singles including “Bad Ideas”, “Crush”, and “I like (the idea of you.)” She has a creative songwriting style mixed with a playful side. Look for Tessa Violet at this year’s Underground Music Showcase.

FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

TV: I’ve always felt that songwriting to me was like digging up dinosaur bones, that is to say the song (or dinosaur) already exists. Your job isn’t to make something from nothing, it’s to tap in to this sometimes head/heart/gut sometimes spiritual experience and be the conduit that brings the song in to the world. It’s already there inside of me, i just need to find and assemble all of it. On a more technical level: I start on guitar or piano and I write lyrics and melody together. Then when they’re finished (or mostly finished), I bring them to Seth and we work together to produce them!

FEMMUSIC: So far you’ve been releasing singles. Are there plans for an EP or album?

TV: Yeah! I’m releasing a few EPs then eventually all of them on one album.

FEMMUSIC: What did you learn making Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled that you apply when making music today?

TV: It’s a little hard for me to separate the experience of MTMT from just the experience of exploring music for the first time. I’ve been really lucky that the first producer I ever worked with, Seth Earnest, has been the one I’ve stuck with all along. We also started working together almost right when I started exploring writing so it’s a whole mesh of new and good experiences.

FEMMUSIC: It’s been over a decade since you emerged as Meekakitty. How have you changed? How has your music changed?

TV: I wrote my first song in 2013. I think since then I’ve just become a more honed songwriter, I have a better innate sense of what works and why. As for how I’ve changed personally in the last twelve years… I mean?

FEMMUSIC: What goals musically do you have?

TV: At my core I just want to make music that is genuine to my experience and my taste. Writing is still very personal for me and is often an experience of trying to give words and a soundtrack to an experience I want to better understand (when it’s heavy) or relive (when it’s light or beautiful). I guess i want that to continue to be true. Beyond that I want to uplift, encourage and value people, both the people I work with behind the scenes and my fans who come to shows. I’d love for my shows to be a break for people from the heavier parts of life, an opportunity to come together with other like minded people and celebrate live music, both in sadness and in glee.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making”I Like The Idea Of You?”

TV: Dude the bridge evaded me forever on this song. I think I had like five different bridges for this song in all its iterations, but none of them ever felt right until I finally got to the one you hear on the record! Sometimes writing is a test of perseverance. We actually cut the song from the record in the summer, then added back on the following winter.



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

TV: Just one?????? Maybe…. “Some Nights” by Fun? I love Jack Antonoff, I’ve followed him from project to project.

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

TV: I don’t think I’ve really had to face too much prejudice in my career. Men ask me if I write my songs a lot and I always wonder if male artists get asked that as much as me haha, but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

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

TV: Jack Antonoff. He just seems like a very special artist to me, his music feels like he makes choices that please him and it’s refreshing to listen to something so genuine. also just like, flat out excellent haha

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

TV: Maybe a higher split for the songwriters on song sales?

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with: ,

June 14th, 2019
Summer Cannibals

Summer Cannibals at Cobalt Studios in Portland, OR, March 2019. Photo by Jason Quigley.

A personal note. I’ve seen Summer Cannibals 3 times this year opening for Cursive, Hop Along & Slothrust. I’ve seen the band many times over the years. These three times I saw a band energized. At the Cursive show the new album was being mastered. When we got to the Slothrust show the album had a title and a release date. The album is called Can’t Tell Me No and comes out June 28 on Tiny Engines.

Summer Cannibals is a 4 piece band from Portland who includes Jessica Bourdreaux, Cassi Blum, Devin Shirley & Ethan Butman. The band has always been a cross of pop and punk. They’ve released 3 previous albums: No Makeup, Show Us Your Mind and Full of It. Full Of It was released on Kill Rock Stars. Bourdreaux has also released solo material. The video for the title track of Can’t Tell Me No came out recently

Can’t Tell Me No has a dark history. The band has recorded another album and had to walk away from it. Instead of dwelling on it, they jumped into the studio and self produced the new album. They also came to a new label, Tiny Engines.

Adversity has made Summer Cannibals better. There live show is raucous fun with humor and a wildly acrobatic Cassi Blum spurring Bourdreaux on. They will be having their overdue headlining tour this summer, and we do not expect to see them as an opener (except in stadiums) after that. For info visit

FEMMUSIC: Normally I begin by asking what was the biggest challenge making the new album. This album is new across the board from new label, self production and walking away from a finished project. Can you tell me why you walked away from the other finished album and why it was important to make this one?

JB: I’ve been trying to spare people the gritty details of why exactly we had to trash the first record but to put it very simply…we didn’t have a choice. I was being threatened and it was a bad situation and the band couldn’t move forward putting out and promoting a record that was in any way attached to a person we all viewed as predatory & manipulative. It was important though for us not to waste any time because I didn’t want to let that person take anything else from me or the band. I wanted to write about the situation and be able to talk about it as openly as possible while the emotions and feelings were still fresh.

FEMMUSIC: The album has a theme of independence from the title track “Can’t Tell Me No” to “Behave.” How did the songs form for the album?

JB: Quickly. Hah. There wasn’t time for second guessing so that meant we had to really trust our instincts with this album and I think it is reflected in the record. Everything about this album is focused and direct and there’s not a lot of bullshit and that’s honestly how the entire process of making it was as well.


FEMMUSIC: I have to ask you about Cassi. She is an amazing addition to the band. How did you meet? How did she end up joining the band?

JB: We met online! Hah. I made a post on Facebook looking for other femme/non binary/queer engineers and someone tagged Cassi. We met up for coffee and hit it off really fast and easy. I checked out their punk band and was super impressed and so when it was time to bring in a new guitarist I immediately thought of Cassi. We started working in my studio together co-engineering albums around the same time.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Tiny Engines. You were previously on Kill Rock Stars. What made you decide to do this album with Tiny Engines? What did they bring to the project?

JB: We’ve always kind of been searching for our place in the industry and I’ve been longing for a greater sense of community. With the move to Tiny Engines we were introduced and welcomed into a really diverse, young and exciting group of bands who I really admire and am a fan of so that was huge for me when linking up with them. I think it was also important, especially considering the sensitive nature of this album and its subject matter, to move out of the Pacific Northwest sphere.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge production-wise making Can’t Tell Me No (the album)?

JB: Time constraints mostly. Cass and I had to work a lot of 16 hour days and were pretty exhausted but all in all we didn’t meet too many challenges.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JB: I generally like to write alone but on this album Cassi ended up helping flesh out a lot of the songs, lyrically especially. Usually I write a bass line first and then record drums. After that I’ll start working on vocal melodies and lyrics and then guitars come last. Then I’ll send that demo to the band and the song will evolve from there. But we’re definitely trying to move more into a different technique to start making the albums a more fully collaborative thing.

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

JB: I truly have no idea there are way too many songs and not one I could sing out. Sorry!

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

JB: Patti Smith. We took the band name from one of her songs. She’s probably my biggest inspiration and definitely my hero cause of her ability to be so known and remain so herself throughout her entire career.

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

JB: I’d love if we could actually make money from streaming sites. Or would be cool if people started buying music again. But that’s not happening and that’s ~cool~

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

June 14th, 2019


Nightjacket is a Los Angeles 3 piece dreampop band featuring Holland Belle, Jordan Wiggins and Louie Schultz. The band released their debut album Beauty In The Dark on May 24. It is a different creature from their Eternal Phase EP. The album features tracks like “Waking Up with You”

FEMMUSIC had a recent e-mail interview with Holland Belle about the album. For info visit

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Beauty in the Dark?

HB: The hardest thing was keeping our heads in the game throughout the process. There were so many ups and downs, so many times it felt like we would never finish. But at the end of the day, no matter what you’re feeling, you’ve got to show up and do your job- that’s the only way to make it happen.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Adam Lasus. How did you meet? How was he to work with?

HB: Adam had worked with our bandmate Louie Schultz (guitar/keys/co-writer) on some previous albums. We all instantly clicked with him. Adam has a healing presence, just being in the room with him made me feel focused and relaxed. He’s chill as hell, and absolutely the best at creating wicked guitar tones. He’s a pro at his profession, but also open to the ideas of everyone in the room. Love him!

FEMMUSIC: I’m very curious about producing the album in multiple studios. What made you decide to do that? How did you choose the studios?

HB: It’s pretty typical these days to record your drums in a big studio and do all the other elements somewhere else- it’s less expensive and allows you time to experiment. We were all over the place with this album, sometimes at Adams place in the valley, sometimes at Louie’s little spot in Eagle Rock, sometimes in Jordan’s bedroom in Los Feliz. We basically made it work wherever we could.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference making Beauty in the Dark vs Eternal Phase EP?

HB: The scale of it. Eternal Phase was a collection of demos Jordan Wiggins (guitar/co-writer) created. He found me and I came in to add vocals and play around with the lyrics. We did the whole thing in his bedroom on a laptop. With Beauty we had Adam and Louie in the mix- who are both masters at creating tone and dimension.

nightjacket-beauty in the dark

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

HB: The songs on this album are collaborations, so it’s different from my solo process. Most of the songs came from Jordan first- he would come to me with the idea and I would add lyrics and develop the melody if the idea wasn’t concrete.

When I’m writing alone I start with a chord I like, then develop the entire song in flow- chords, melody, and lyrics at the same time.

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

HB: The answer to that is always changing. Today the answer is Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”- why? The balance of unique chords changes and creative melody- while always sounding at ease. There’s so much artistry there. And the lyrics….full of wisdom. Every time I listen I hear the song a different way.

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

HB: I don’t think my path as a woman is any more or less challenging than anyone else’s. My mindset is- if you anticipate that you’re going to be treated differently, then you’ve already shot yourself in the foot. You’ll create the thing you fear. I would say- be yourself, and trust your judgment. Don’t do things you don’t want to do.

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

HB: That’s hard, there are so many. Beck will always be up there, St. Vincent, Josh Tillman. I like artists who get weird with it.

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

HB: Nothing. Cuz I can’t. I can only change myself, so if there’s a problem in my life, I focus on that.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

June 14th, 2019

SHAED Summer 2019 Smaller - Shervin Lainez

Shaed –  Chelsea Lee

Westword Music Showcase

Denver, CO

June 29, 2019

If you haven’t heard of Shaed recently you haven’t been listening. Their song “Trampoline” has been rocketing up the charts after being featured in an Apple MacBook Air commercial. The band’s recent release is the Melt EP and includes songs like “Thunder”

Shaed is coming to the 25th Anniversary Westword Music Showcase on June 29, 2019. This showcase is filled with local bands, as well as national and international headliners including CHVCHES.

FEMMUSIC had a recent e-mail interview with Chelsea Lee about the band’s amazing journey.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Melt?

CL: I think one of the biggest challenges was choosing what songs made the most sense to release for this chapter of our careers. We had written so many songs for Melt and wanted to make sure we were creating a cohesive EP. We ended up choosing the songs that best reflected our musical journey at the time.

FEMMUSIC: How did you approach making Melt differently from Just Wanna See?

CL: Just Wanna See was a collection of some of the first songs we had written together – we weren’t living with each other at the time so the songwriting process was a bit all over the place. Max and Spencer would send me tracks, or bits and pieces of songs, and I would try to contribute in whatever way I could from afar. Now we all live in a house right outside of DC with a studio, so it makes writing so much more fun and convenient. Obviously, our songwriting has grown and evolved over the years as well.

ISOU_Thunder Cover Art

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Trampoline.” How did the song form in the band? How has the song’s breakout from Apple changed your lives?

Trampoline was the second song we wrote in our house. It started with us watching old home videos of Max and Spencer and there was one clip of them where they are about 3 or 4 jumping on a trampoline. This sparked the first lyric – “I’ve been having dreams, jumping on a trampoline” and from there we tried to create an ethereal song about embracing your fears.

Apple was a huge, huge blessing for us – the commercial was seen all over the world, so it definitely expanded our audience. The commercial has opened so many doors for us – “Trampoline” is doing really well at alternative and pop radio and we’re playing almost every single festival this year, including Summer Sonic in Japan, so it has been amazing.

FEMMUSIC: I’ve heard you’ve been working with various producers lately. Who would be your ideal choice of a producer to work with? Why?

CL: This is such a tough question because there are so many incredible musicians, producers, mixers, etc. in this industry that we would die to work with. A big one for us is Mark Ronson, because everything he touches is gold.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

CL: Our songwriting is super collaborative. We generally wake up in the morning, have breakfast, and then walk into our studio to write. We generally try to write songs organically with an acoustic guitar or piano and then build out a track from there.

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

CL: Again we have been influenced by so many people – Frank Sinatra, HER, Radio Head to name the tiniest few.

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

CL: To be honest, I don’t see many challenges. I feel like being a female in this industry is super empowering for me. Being on stage, singing songs that we’ve written together is such an amazing feeling and makes me feel like super woman. I just want to encourage young girls and women to follow their dreams… as corny as that sounds.

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

CL: Right now – SZA. Her latest album was on repeat for weeks and was so incredibly inspiring.

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

CL: Hmmm not sure 🙂


Posted in Interviews, Previews Tagged with: , ,