1.What have you been listening to lately?
Let’s see: a lot of Bonnie Raitt, a composer named Ssaliva, the new Animal Collective album, Ther, Long Neck, and 80s Carly Simon.
2. You recently started playing Skyrim. What’s your character’s name? I’ve only played once and I was a cat person just so I could sneak around and steal stuff.
I’m just listed as “prisoner” because that’s the name they give you at the beginning of the game and I liked it. I’m a breton (which is a human/elf) and I am VERY hot and own 4 homes. I am extremely wealthy and make my gold by being a dirty rotten thief and hitman and I am gay married to Lydia. (Be gay, do crimes, etc.)
3. What advice would you give to all the people who got mustache tattoos on their fingers in the early 2010’s? Those people don’t need my advice. They were simply living and thriving in the cultural moment. They saw a trend and committed to it for the rest of their lives. They are warriors, heroes even, of 2010s culture. God bless them. I salute.
4. You think you’ll ever release your music on those little hitclips cartridges?
If it were ever a possibility I would jump at the chance. But I would make music specifically for the hit clip medium. Short songs that are incredibly good and sound extra good out of a toy speaker.
5. What has been the funniest or strangest thing that has inspired one of your songs?
Hm. Men, probably.
More seriously, it’s not super strange, but it’s a fun thing. In college I ran our student center for a bit and there was a daycare located right next to it, so every so often you would see a little class of small children walking around. They were in a line in between buildings and were just so fascinated with the echoes their voices were making, so they kept saying “echo! Echo! Echo!” and it was so sweet. I wrote a song inspired by it but never finished it! Now I’m going to.
6. Who is selling your music as NTFs??
Ru Paul I think
7. Want me to beat them up?
8. What is the worst piece of advice you can give me?
Smoke a pack of cigarettes and never listen to any of your feelings
9. First concert you ever attended?
I actually kind of don’t really know, but I think it was this jonas brothers adjacent band called “push play.”
10. Make me cry.
Ru Paul is behind you, hiding, fracking.
Isaac Gutierrez for Born Loser Mag: How have you been??
Stevie Knipe (Adult Mom): I’m okay! I’m in Maryland with my nephews and niece and siblings and parents. It’s been a real blessing and a lovely reset. We haven’t been all together since the summertime, and I am very very close with my family.
Can you introduce yourself and your musical project for those who may not be too familiar with Adult Mom?
Sure! My name is Stevie. I write indie pop songs. I am capital g Gay. I love R.E.M, taylor swift, grey’s anatomy, lesbianism, and being an idiot.
When did you first start writing/recording music as Adult Mom?
I released a couple of songs on bandcamp in December 2012 around christmas. I started writing my first songs around October/November of that year! So we are about to hit 10 years. Woof!
Were you involved in any other musical projects before Adult Mom?
Nope. Unless you count children's musical theater, which I was not good at.
Was there anything in particular that sparked your interest in making music?
I went to an acoustic show at my college’s food co-op and saw “whatever, dad” and “baby mollusk” perform together. It ignited something extremely specific in me. I went home and just played for hours.
There’s something that I’ve been wondering about since 2015. In your song Survival there is someone that says:
“I saw her later and I was just like
"Sorry for making you cry"
And she was like, "It's okay!!"
Who is saying that, and what is the story behind that? WHO WAS CRYING?
I would like to keep this information a mystery, if that is okay! Sorry you must suffer!
Your album Driver came out last March, and it was followed up with a documentary titled ‘East For Winter: The Making of Driver’ how does it feel to have both of those out in the world?
It feels special. Making that record was one of the great joys of my life. Genuinely, the process of it all, was such a creative high. To be able to share the finished piece and the making of that finished piece with others is just such a privilege. I feel blessed about it all.
You mentioned that you wrote the album through a process of 5 years or so. What was the writing/recording process like throughout that time?
It was a lot of editing and reshaping and expanding over the years. I think I started to connect with my process as a songwriter the more I continued to grow in music, and become confident. And I wanted everything to feel as perfect as possible to me, which was strange, because I am very classically not a perfectionist at all. In the past I have even recorded songs with a disturbingly untuned guitar that hurts me now. So I just wanted to take my time, and sit with the work.
Is there a particular memory that you think you’ll always associate with this album?
I think I’ll always associate it with driving in a fucking blizzard for hours moving home from my exes house to my parent’s house. It was one of the worst days of my life I guess, but it also created a shift, and it was a positive shift!
Do most of the songs resemble the idea you had in your head when you first started working on them, or did they change drastically over time?
There are a couple that are very true to the original original demos, but many of them drastically changed over time. Like, “Sober” was written on a piano as a ballad. “Regret It” was like, a Lucinda Williams-esque country song. Etc Etc. I still want to make those versions of those songs, for fun.
You’ve also mentioned that sometimes songwriting can be therapeutic for you. Is it ever difficult to go back and revisit certain memories or situations through your songs?
Of course. And if it’s too hard I just don’t go there, because I know I’m not ready yet. I think a lot of songwriters, especially those who are constantly put into the dreaded “sad girl” prison, feel a pressure to delve into their deepest darkest feelings and traumas. But if you’re not in a place to write through that experience, or revisit that experience, then the song isn’t ready for you yet. Does that make sense?
Do you ever go back and revisit your older music?
Not often, but occasionally! I refuse to release music that I personally do not enjoy, so I’m glad that I can listen to my work and like it. Driving down to Maryland this weekend, my Dad played his personal “Adult Mom Greatest Hits” playlist. At first I was stressed, but it turned into such a fun trip down memory lane. He is the sweetest.
I think that being personal in songwriting makes it easier for us as listeners to connect to an artist’s music. Is there a similar connection from the artist’s perspective?
I think so! If I’m interpreting this question correctly, I am often writing because I am trying to communicate something to myself. And then I want to communicate that with others. I try to not think about the listener too much, because I want to write for myself first. But at the end of the day, when I release something into the world, I want to be understood.
As a songwriter do you feel like you’re trusting your listeners with the personal situations or memories that you write about? Or is that something even something you think about once a song is released out into the world?
Well, I’m trusting the listener to understand. What I offer is never the whole story, or the entire feeling, or the entire memory. It’s the songified version of that memory, story, etc. It’s what I can offer, and what I want to share. As I continue to grow, I find myself wanting to be more cryptic, because it’s a fun challenge and I want to protect certain things more. So yes no maybe?
What are your ideals for creating? Is there a particular environment or mindset you have to be in to be able to write?
I need to be very busy and/or stimulated in order to write anything worth writing. So a solo cabin retreat would not do a single thing for me. What I need is to be on an L train at rush hour or surrounded by things and people and experiences. Give me a screaming match on my block and music blaring from a car. I don’t know why my brain works that way!
What is the most important thing to you when it comes to creating a song?
I think it depends on the song, honestly. But selfishly, it’s usually, “do I like this?”
How did the idea for the documentary come about?
The idea for the doc came from not being able to play shows because of COVID/not being able to do a proper album rollout tour. Initially I just wanted to perform the album with my bandmates and co-creators, and then it turned into a hybrid thing where we decided to talk about the behind the scenes stuff.
As a fan, I was nerding out so much with this documentary. I love that you talk about what inspired certain songs. What you were going through at the time of writing, but also explaining what’s going on musically. What was the experience like on your end?
At certain points it was a little hard, because some of the experiences behind the songs are still hard to rehash internally. I had to take a break and cry for like 5 minutes, because I just felt so emotional. But it was overall a lovely and enlightening and fun experience! After filming I made my band family a gorgeous sweet potato chili and we watched “Accepted” and got a little stoned and giggled and hugged.
Is the album making experience something that you’ve wanted to share with your listeners before?
Yes! I think I’ve said it before, but my absolute favorite part of being in a band/being a musician is creating an album. I love the process of creating a project. I love the long days and the nitpicking and the bad ideas and the fatigue of working very hard on something that means a lot. I love the feeling of being all in on something, and not caring about literally anything else. It is the best.
As a listener it’s been really cool to see you evolve as an artist and as a songwriter throughout the years. What has helped you grow the most as an artist?
Thank you for saying that! I think a lot of the artistic growth is analogous to emotional maturity and growing up. But also, I started to welcome collaboration and constructive criticism, and learned to be less precious about certain things. So now I feel like I have this bubble of creators that I can bounce ideas off of and get inspired by and learn from. If it weren’t for these people, my confidence as a songwriter would not be where it is now.
What has been your favorite musical accomplishment so far?
Making and releasing “Driver.” And I’m not just saying that for the PR, I promise.
Is there anything that you wish you knew earlier in your career?
Oh, I mean, yeah. I wish I knew a shit ton of things earlier. I wish I knew what I was worth. I wish I had a lawyer. I wish I knew that so many of the small things I would get sick over do not matter at all.
What can we expect to see/hear from Adult Mom in the near future?
Who knows. I want to make a very eclectic album and try out a bunch of things.
Is there anything that you want our readers to know? (it doesn't have to be about music)
Your readers need to know that my nephew won’t stop quoting a line from a youtube video that makes no sense to me and is about children getting ready to go to a park. He keeps repeating, “a lady needs her purse mom!” over and over again. THIS is crucial information.
To wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
What will you have for dinner?
I think the only meal I plan beforehand is breakfast. As the day goes on I stop caring and just end up eating whatever is in the fridge.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It's a dream come true!