1. What have you been listening to lately?
Hold U by Indigo De Souza, The Queen of White Lies by the Orion Experience, Useless by Omar Apollo, and a LOT of Weezer.
2. You have to start a band with 3 historical figures. Who do you choose?
Oh my gosh, I have no idea. History has always been my absolute worst subject. The only historical figure I can think of off the top of my head is George Washington but I’m not sure we’d be a very good band.
3. Make me cry.
I don’t think I’m very good at these questions because I just had to look up “sad facts” on Google. But here’s a sad fact: dik-diks (tiny African antelopes) mark their territory using their TEARS
4. What are you currently looking forward to? (besides making me cry)
Moving to Boston in August! It didn’t really hit me until I flew up to visit last weekend but I just spent the whole time being like wow!! I’m going to live here!!! It’s a super weird but really affirming feeling haha
5. If you were to put on a music festival, what would the lineup look like?
Coldplay would headline but only play pre-Head Full of Dreams era stuff.
6. If you had to steal the declaration of independence, what would your game plan be?
I have never seen National Treasure. I know that’s not what you asked but I think it’s a pretty good indicator of how unprepared I would be. I guess I might as well see the Smithsonian while I’m there?
7. What’s been your favorite album of the year so far?
I know this isn’t technically an album from this year, but I finally listened all the way through Clean by Soccer Mommy recently and it blew my mind!!! I’ve loved Your Dog and Scorpio Rising for a while now but Last Girl and Skin are new favorites.
8. My dream is to hear a boygenius type of collab with you, Laura Elliot, and Samia. HOW DO I MAKE THIS HAPPEN?
I ask myself the same question every day :’) They both followed me back on instagram so!! I am one step closer to my dream!!!
9. What is the last thing you learned?
The fact about dik-diks!
10. Make me cry again.
Again!!! Whenever I’m sad I think about how the Curiosity robot sings happy birthday to itself every year. It is so sweet and so lonely.
The last time we talked was in November of last year! How have you been? What have you been up to since then?
Oh my gosh, so much has happened!! I cut my hair, went to prom, graduated high school, and released my first EP! Those are pretty much the highlights, but I’ve also finally been getting out and seeing friends a ton since lockdown has eased up. I was able to visit Boston and see some online friends I met last summer which was!! So cool!!!! Life is really busy but also really good :)
Do you feel like you’ve grown in your sound since we last spoke?
Yes 100%. I finally started considering guitar my main instrument for writing/accompaniment and it’s completely changed the way that I write and think about my songs! I think my style as a whole was pretty established in Creature but it’s been fun to take that and make it just a bit more refined. I still feel a little bit like a kid when I write in a weird way? Like writing is my opportunity to let out my deepest darkest most selfish feelings a lot of the time, which feel very juvenile to me. But overall sound-wise I think I’ve definitely nailed down my direction and a feeling that is very authentic to who I am.
As a side note I think I’ve also done a lot of personal growth and maturing since last November as well. I keep reading back our interview from then and being like dude relax!! What were you thinking!!! I was trying so hard to be funny and was a bit obsessed with oversharing and that was definitely an indicator of my personal life at the time too. I’m trying to just exist and take up space as myself instead of someone I wish I was more like.
You’re going off to college this year, right? Are you going to keep on working on/releasing music while you’re doing school?
I am! And yeah, I’m planning on continuing to write and record as much as I can. My ultimate goal for college is to start/join a band-- I feel super unnatural performing on stage by myself so I want to find a group of people to perform with to give my songs the life I think they deserve and to also make me less anxious about live stuff haha!
In our interview last November we talked about you releasing an EP someday and that day finally came! How do you feel to finally have that out in the world?
It’s surreal! These songs have existed only in my brain for so long that now that other people are listening to them and coming back to me with their comments it feels like a dream. Again though, I’m just so happy people resonate with it so much. I try to make my music as specific to my experiences as I can, but even with the most personal songs people have come back to me saying that they feel seen and the songs have helped them through their own feelings. It’s the most gratifying experience ever and I couldn’t have wished for a better first EP release.
Can you talk to us a bit about Creature?
Creature was pieced together last summer after I got over the woooorst stretch of writer’s block. At the time I didn’t really realize it, but now I can look back on the whole project as a diary of my adolescence and coming of age. It’s especially cool looking at it from start to finish, from Creature (the song) exemplifying my brain at its worst-- clawing and scratching to try and stop people from changing and leaving my life-- to Love You Now, the ultimate acceptance. I’m beyond ecstatic it’s out in the world now and that people seem to like it so much!
I know you’ve produced some of your music in the past, did you produce on this EP as well?
Yes! The whole EP is actually self-produced and mixed. There’s a lot of power in self-producing, especially as a young indie artist, and I’m super happy I was able to learn how to do that through high school and make something I’m so proud of essentially by myself. Creature wouldn’t be what it is without James’s fantastic solo on Don’t Tell Me or Benjy’s mastering tying all the tracks together into one cohesive picture, but I’m so happy I had the confidence to build it from the ground up on my own. It gives each song a really handmade feel that I want to savor forever.
What was the process of recording this EP like?
I pretty much made the whole thing in my bedroom! I have a tiny studio that spans my desk and a keyboard which I can hook my computer up to to record stuff in Logic. It’s a process I’m super comfortable with and very anxious about leaving with college coming up! In terms of the songs themselves, I had the hardest time getting Grayson right. I probably recorded a hundred guitar tracks trying to get exactly the right tone and warmth and finger-tappy noise (which is something I’ve been struggling with in more recent unreleased stuff too). I’m very picky/very much a control freak about my stuff so sometimes producing can get a little exhausting, but I think in the end it’s worth it, and Grayson ended up being one of the songs I’m most proud of on the EP. Creature was probably the most fun song, especially because it was the first one I produced-- it was the first time I could see all the stuff I was writing panning out into a bigger project. When I first recorded those backup harmony lines in the last chorus I was so excited that I played that section over and over again to death just to hear how it all worked together! It’s super fun and I’m really excited to play that one live.
Your track 7teen reminds me a lot of like early to mid 00’s pop and it scared me because I’m old enough to remember that era. Also, the Nokia phone on the cover art. I remember playing snake on that thing when I was a kid. I guess this isn’t really a question. I’m just having a mental breakdown. EP is good tho.
I’ve actually gotten the mid 00’s pop comment twice now! When I first played 7teen for my sister she was like “dude this is just Genie in a Bottle” so I listened to Genie in a Bottle and she was totally right. Christina Aguilera was my subconscious inspiration. The Nokia on the cover art is 100% just a result of me searching “collage aesthetic transparent” on Google and stealing everything cool to show my graphic designer. I’m still a little worried I’ll get copyright struck but no issues so far!
What were you listening to while recording the EP?
I have a whole inspiration playlist up on my Spotify right now! Lots of indie rock girls and songs that remind me why I’m making music. I think each song on Creature has a song or a few songs parallel to it I was obsessed with at the time, so I referenced the mixes super heavily-- for instance, Love You Now = Judgements from the World’s Greatest Band by Annie DiRusso. The playlist is kind of a weird mix all around but to me it feels like a little snapshot of this era :)
Can expect a tour anytime soon?
Oh my gosh, I hope so! I don’t have any plans for one currently but my #1 goal right now is to finally start a freaking band and do some shows. I’ve also been looking at Sofar gigs, and I want to do some open mics or Berklee events once I move up to Boston. I’m definitely looking forward to touring as soon as it’s an option for me!
What would your ideal tour look like?
For the first time around, probably just riding around between small venues with my friends and future band. I don’t quite have enough listeners yet for a full headline tour but if someone asked me to open for them I would do it in a heartbeat!! I would die to open for Samia or chloe moriondo or any of the other artists I look up to-- being able to do that has been a huge goal of mine for a long time so hopefully I'll get there soon!
Anyone that you’d like to collaborate with ?
Right now I just want to write with as many people as I can. Outside of looking forward to doing sessions with people I’ll meet in college, Leith Ross is an incredible songwriter and I would love to be able to write with them and step inside their brain for a minute. I also really look up to Lizzy McAlpine as a writer/artist and being able to make something with her would be insane!! I’ve been working on collabs for a while now with my friends Audrey Gillispie and Jessica Taylor that I’m super excited for as well. They’re two of the most talented people I know and I’m so lucky and grateful to know them personally.
What has been your favorite accomplishment so far? (besides getting interviewed by me TWICE)
I think my favorite so far has been reaching 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify!!! As I’m writing this I’m at 1,272 which is absolutely huge for me and more than I’ve ever had before. Since Creature was released my audience has been growing slowly but surely, and it makes me really excited for the future and what that will look like for me.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I’ve been growing through a bit of producer’s block so I can’t say anything for certain, but I’m really excited about everything I’ve been writing. I’m hoping one of my new songs will be out before the year is over! It’ll be a bit of an adjustment when I start classes in September but once I figure out a new rhythm I have a lot I want to share very soon.
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
What’s been your favorite interview to do so far? I keep seeing the coolest artists pop up on your website and I’ve been wondering which ones have stood out to you the most. Your interviews are always so genuine, and I love getting to see into peoples’ brains like that, especially when they’re artists I’ve looked up to for a while! Also I hope you’ve been having a great summer :) Thank you so much for interviewing me again!!
Oh man, great question. It's so hard to just pick one. I genuinely love all of the artists that I get to interview. I think the ones that stand out to me the most are the video interviews I've done so far. Samia was the nicest person ever, and the Sidney Gish interview so much fun. We just joked around and hardly talked about music. Hopefully I get to set up some more video interviews soon.