FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the sketchy album?
TY: The biggest challenge for me with any album is just showing up for the work. In the end, it takes hours and hours of being present, in the studio, away from my phone, away from the internet, focusing and producing something. There’s a lot of magic in making music but there’s also just putting in the hours so that you can be there for the magic when it happens.
FEMMUSIC: What were your goals for the album?
TY: We wanted to make music that we really liked. And we did that! It’s nice to have the feeling that we’ve gotten better over the last decade, at songwriting, engineering, producing, singing, and not eating too many chips. This was also the first album that we engineered on our own, which felt like a major achievement. All those hours making mistakes really paid off.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Sketchy TV? How did the idea come about? How would you like it to evolve?
TY: A very long time ago, the idea came out of wanting to give fans, particularly white fans, resources for exploring the themes of our last album, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. At some point, I realized that people were not going to want to engage with an album as an online course, that we needed to meet people where they want to meet us, which is in joy, in music, in not-so-cerebral experiences.
I’d love to make more episodes and get deeper into both the comedy and also into the influences behind the songs. I think the funnier and more joyful something is, the more capacity we have to feel deeply uncomfortable things, too. And we’ve got to FEEL if we’re going to HEAL, right? (I’m a songwriter, so I rhyme)
FEMMUSIC: Now that you’re getting ready to tour. What do you miss most about touring? What annoyed you about it?
TY: So many things annoyed me that I refuse to be annoyed by anymore. Seedy gas station toilet? I missed you! Having to wait for bathroom stops on long drives? I love the challenge! But really, I missed this so much. I feel most alive, most free, most myself when I’m onstage, so there aren’t words for how grateful I am to have the opportunity to perform again.
FEMMUSIC: Sketchy is the 5th album you’ve released with 4AD. What do they bring to a project that makes you stay with them?
TY: Freedom, respect for our artistic choices, support from many angles. They’re an incredibly creative, talented, and experienced group of people, constantly innovating, and adapting quickly to an ever-changing industry. And we see them releasing other music with great artistic merit as they navigate having to stay in business. I feel really lucky that we’ve been able to stay working with some of the same people for over a decade now.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
TY: “Technique” is probably a strong word! I start with…something. Anything. Hopefully a tidbit, a vocal loop, a drum beat, that taps into something that brings me joy. Nate and I start layering stuff on top of that, and eventually words start emerging from sounds, and melodies carve themselves out, and then finally we erase 70% of what we’ve recorded, to subtract whatever isn’t essential.
FEMMUSIC: What song, not your own, has had the biggest influence on you, and why?
TY: Oh gosh. An impossible question. I’m going to name the song “I Know What I Know” off of Graceland because it both blew my mind sonically when I was an 8-year-old, but also because it’s been instructive in how I might do things differently as a white musician with advantage, power, access, resources. Paul Simon taught me a lot about using disjointed, evocative imagery in lyrics, and so much about melody. But in this case the sound I found myself thrilled by as a kid was actually the band General M.D. Shirinda and the Gaza Sisters. It was essentially their song, which Simon wrote lyrics and melody on top of.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
TY: Hmm. Well systemic racism, misogyny, transphobia, white supremacy, etc, all exist in the music industry as they do everywhere else. Capitalism holds them all securely in place. What does an anti-capitalist music ecosystem look like?!
Bachelor—the collaborative project of Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner—will release its debut album Doomin’ Sun on May 28th via Polyvinyl Record Co. (North America), Lucky Number (ROW) and Milk! Records (AUS/NZ). To celebrate the album release they have also announced Doomin’ Sun Fest, a massive livestream festival / telethon to benefit and uplift Seeding Sovereignty. The festival will take place on June 10 starting at 6pm ET., and will be followed by a virtual afterparty inside the 3D social game Hotel Hideaway.
Created as a chance to gather for “Community, Compassion, Climate, and Celebration,” Doomin’ Sun Fest will be FREE to attend, but donations to Seeding Sovereignty will be highly encouraged. The organization is an Indigenous-led collective working to radicalize and disrupt colonized spaces through land, body, and food sovereignty work, community building, and cultural preservation.
Melina & Ellen will live-host Doomin’ Sun Fest, which will culminate in the first ever Bachelor concert, shot and directed by Haoyan Of America with designer Richie Brown, powered by HIFI Labs. “Basically we just wanna have fun celebrating our album release, raise funds for Seeding Sovereignty, and get people excited about donating and opening their hearts to themes of the fest – the “4 C’s” as we call them – that are driving this endeavor,” note Ellen and Melina.
Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief
Alexis from Sleigh Bells w/ Young Women Who Crush
Alynda Segarra (Hurray For The Riff Raff)
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Jessi Frick of Father Daughter Records
Jose James + Taali
Kero Kero Bonito
KR from Decolonize UnConference
Tank & the Bangas
Tegan and Sara
Tune-Yards returns with new music after their 2018 album I can feel you creep into my private life. The new video was made in isolation. Merrill Garbus says,
“The song and the video for “nowhere, man” were created under conditions of feeling squeezed and pushed to the brink — relatively, of course. I wanted to ask, ‘How loudly do I have to shout and sing before I’m heard?’ And the video asks, too, ‘What am I not hearing?’ We hope the music brings energy and a strong wind of encouragement to those who are shouting and singing loudly for justice right now.”