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Artist Feature Interview New Music

Being the Cowgrrrl: A Chat with Sofiiak About Their Eclectic Debut

Seattle-based punk virtuoso Sofiiak’s debut EP Cowgrrrl (the revolution demos) is slated to come out on November 26 via Riot Grrrl Records. The project is a genre-bending fever dream that spans country, jazz, dreampop, and riot grrrl. The best way I can describe sound of this EP is if Le Tigre and Dolly Parton were catapulted into the 1930s to play at a jazz lounge in Kansas City with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Sofia Krutikova is the brains behind Sofiiak. They grew up in the mosh pit, which opened the door for them to work at local Seattle venues as a sound engineer. There, they quickly fell in love with the intricacies of producing, which led them to enroll in KEXP’s 90.TEEN public radio program in high school. Krutikova has also made a name for themself as a journalist in The Stranger and as a co-founder of the Riot Grrrl Records label, which publishes monthly zines modernizing the riot grrrl movement.

On this EP, Sofiiak combines the searing bite of Bratmobile records with the serene tranquility of Mazzy Star and the cracked-out production glitches of hyperpop records.

I sat down with Sofiiak to chat about the EP as well as their favorite bands, their love of Rico Nasty, and the punk essence of Charlie Parker. We also talked about their obsession with the omnichord, a portable synthesizer with preset string-rhythms and bass lines that has the ability to produce otherworldly sounds.

What is the most important statement you are trying to make with this project?

That self-care is really important. It’s super easy to get burnt out in the music world and in general. I touch on this in the song “online school during covid,” but daily life can get super repetitive. Continuing to live from project to project and shift to shift is really unhealthy. It’s a really big anti-capitalist statement in favor of self-care. With the production I was really exploring pushing the boundaries of how many weird sounds I could make in Logic while sharing the invasive thoughts in my head about injustice and physical and mental burnout.

Who are three people who make up the Holy Trinity of Riot Grrrl for you?

Well Rico Nasty is up top. I love her. I think that her ethos is the most hardcore Riot Grrrl mentality I’ve ever witnessed. I would also say Bam Bam because they are grunge pioneers, and I believe that Riot Grrrl and grunge go hand-in-hand. And of course, I’m gonna have to go with the classic, Bikini Kill.

How did you cobble all of your versatile influences together for this EP?

I would say that jazz is a big influence, especially Charlie Parker and bebop jazz. I took a jazz history class during the making of this EP and the history of jazz is just insane because none of them were doing it for profit. They were playing music just for the sake of playing music. When you really think about it, the first punk bands were 100% jazz. They weren’t trying to appeal to mass audiences. They were tinkering and improvising. And I took a very similar approach in making this EP. This is music for me. If audiences like it then that’s just a bonus.

I was very inspired by Hannah Jadagu, a bedroom pop artist who signed to Sub Pop this year. I was also influenced by a lot of Russian darkwave and goth, being Russian and Ukrainian myself. There’s this one song called “Disconnexion” by La Femme. It’s a club track with a banjo, and that’s the type of chaos I’m going for. I was also highly influenced by a lot of country music, especially Dolly Parton. I’ve been loving everything that Lil Nas X and Orville Peck have been doing as well.

I’ve always been attracted to the STEM field of music. I’m an engineer at several venues in Seattle and I love being in control of live sound, so being able to utilize that background in my own music gives me the freedom to create the exact sound that I want.

– Sofiiak
Photo by Anya Kochis

How important has your background as a sound engineer and mixer been to your own music?

I think it’s super important. I’ve always been attracted to the STEM field of music. I’m an engineer at several venues in Seattle and I love being in control of live sound, so being able to utilize that background in my own music gives me the freedom to create the exact sound that I want, rather than other people dictating what I get to sound like. Producing has also been beneficial to the way I operate as an engineer because it gives me more knowledge of how to apply effects correctly, depending on the setting.

How’s that search for an omnichord going?

I’m so glad you asked, because I couldn’t stop talking about the omnichord in the latest article I wrote for The Stranger. I’m still looking for one. One of my friends has one, so I might go over to their house and jam. I believe the omnichord will arrive in my life when the universe deems it fit.

What does Dolly Parton mean to you?

I love Dolly. I was Goth Dolly Parton for Halloween. I love her aesthetic, her sound, and what she does with her platform. She’s the picture of humility. She basically funded the Maderna vaccine and it feels nice to know that my vaccine is Dolly-approved. The amount she was able to accomplish in such a male-dominated field like country music is incredibly inspiring. I would love to do a goth-inspired synth cover of “Jolene” at some point.

What influenced the vocal techniques on this EP?

A lot of it has been riot grrrl approaches to vocals. I did choir for two years when I went to Russian school, but my choir teacher was hell. A lot of my vocal style comes from trying to match pitch with the records I listen to while incorporating theory into it to make sure my voice stays in key. And I’m addicted to reverb. I love how it envelopes the vocals in a blanket of echoes. I think there’s so much you can do with vocal effects that a lot of people in mainstream music don’t utilize cause they’re afraid of sounding weird.

Daily life can get super repetitive. Continuing to live from project to project and shift to shift is really unhealthy. It’s a really big anti-capitalist statement in favor of self-care.

– Sofiiak
Photo by Anya Kochis

Your lyric on the final track about dickheads who question your music taste was really cathartic to hear. Dudes who musicsplain are the absolute worst. What drove you to write about it?

I’ve worked at record stores since I was sixteen and I’ve literally had men come up to me and ask me, “Do you even buy records?” at my literal job! Like, YES I buy records sir, I’ve been collecting since I was twelve. Whatever. If these men need to believe they’re introducing me to Nirvana in order to feel special, then that’s not my problem. It’s actually pretty sad.

Did you really break your guitar while singing Angel Olsen?

Yes! I was playing “Shut Up Kiss Me,” and I broke the whammy bar on my guitar. They couldn’t get it fixed at Guitar Center so I ended up having to buy a new one. That’s okay, I still love you, Angel Olsen!

What are some of your favorite music discoveries you’ve made this year?

I love this one song called “Autopilot” by russian.girls. I’ve become a big fan of Vegyn’s production, especially the work he does with Frank Ocean. I fell into a Billie Holiday rabbit hole after watching the Billie Holiday biopic. I just love the way she wrote about her personal life in her lyrics and her vocal style. The new Snail Mail record is incredible as well. I really wanted to book an interview with her for the zine, but she’s literally been on the cover of Rolling Stone, so I never expected her people to get back to me. I’ve been listening to so much Regina Spektor. She makes me feel seen as a Russian-American musician and that Soviet Kitsch album is just incredible. That one later Miles Davis album – I think it was called Doo-Bop – is also great. That was basically a hip hop album.

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Artist Feature Interview Music

Been Stellar Plunge Into an Uncertain Future on “Kids 1995”

From Protomartyr to black midi, Dehd, Dry Cleaning, and Iceage, an exciting barrage of guitar rock bands are finally making their way through the sludge. There’s still debate over whether the Strokes opened up a new world for indie rock or if they simply put a collective curse on guitar music after 2001. But New York-based indie outfit Been Stellar can certainly feel the weight of that legacy looming over them. “You should never cover a Strokes song if you’re in a guitar band from New York City. Never,” they told Monster Children in September. “Word gets out that you do a Strokes cover and that’s what you do.”

Crawling out of the crevices of New York’s DIY art scene, Been Stellar was first formed by high school friends Sam Slocum (Vocals) and Skyler St. Marx (Guitar). Slocum and St. Marx later attended NYU where they would be joined by Nando Dale (Guitar), Laila Wayans (Drums), and Nico Brunstein (Bass). The gritty and enticing post punk five-piece emerged last year with their initial singles, “Fear of Heights,” “The Poets,” and “Louis XIV.” The three aforementioned songs are melodic and confrontational indie rock psalms that unravel the harsh realities of growing up in a city where culture is eclipsed by corporate commercialism and American tourism.

Been Stellar’s latest single, “Kids 1995,” is an emotional unfurling of self-reflection against washed out guitars and a semi-detached delivery reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation. Inspired by the controversial Larry Clark and Harmony Korine film Kids, the song directly references the movie in the lyrics, with lead singer Sam Slocum reciting dialogue from the end of the film as well as the soundtrack (“‘What the hell happened?’ And then the credits rolled/’Spoiled,’ Sebadoh”). The song evokes moving images of young students smoking and waxing poetic outside at a party on the eve of their college graduation, marking the end of youth and the start of an uncertain adult life (“It’s up to you/But it’s also up to you”).

I spoke to Been Stellar about growing up, their favorite albums, and the the undesirable parts of living in New York in your early twenties.

Congrats on the new single! How’s the release cycle been treating you?

Skyler St. Marx: Pretty good. Can’t complain!

Sam Slocum: It feels pretty weird to put it out now. We wrote it around two and a half years ago, so we have a [totally different] connection with it at this point. It was also a lot of fun making the music video. We did a showing the other night and people seem to really like the song, which is awesome.

Laila Wayans: Yeah, we did write it a while ago. I would say we definitely altered the song to make it more aligned with what we’re doing now.

That’s interesting. How do you feel your relationship with the song has changed since you wrote it?

Slocum: Well we definitely connect with it, cause we wouldn’t ever put out a song we didn’t like. But it’s always a little weird to revisit an older part of yourself, especially since the world has changed so much since we wrote the song. It almost feels like I’m watching a movie of my past self whenever I hear the song. People seem to really connect with it, though.

You open the song recalling a first-time viewing of the movie Kids. Was watching that film the catalyst for the song in real life or was it something else that transpired that inspired the actual song?

Slocum: No, that was it. I watched the movie Kids in my sophomore year of college and it made me really reflect on my own life. To be honest, the song doesn’t really have much to do with the actual movie, it’s more about the internal thoughts I had after watching it.

What kind of internal thoughts?

Slocum: I guess it’s a sort of self-examination by way of another person. It has a lot to do with my own personal experience witnessing a person I was close with grow into a different person and using that as a foil to examine my own internal struggles. A lot of it has to do with the loss of innocence, which is displayed in the film — the idea of being robbed of this sort of protection [from an unforgiving world] that shelters you as a child.

It definitely strikes me as hopeful. To me it sounds a lot like the narrator is giving their friend some really sound advice, and hoping that the friend will take their advice to heart and do the right thing.

– Been Stellar

I could definitely sense that, but the song also seems to contain a degree of hope. Would you agree?

Slocum: There’s one lyric in the song that goes, “It’s up to you, but it’s also up to you.” I think it can go either way because on one hand it sounds optimistic and on the other hand it’s kind of sad. I feel like you can place the emphasis of hope on either side. I don’t know if we thought about it that deeply while we were writing it, though.

St. Marx: It definitely strikes me as hopeful. To me it sounds a lot like the narrator is giving their friend some really sound advice, and hoping that the friend will take their advice to heart and do the right thing. The end of the song seems to demonstrate a sort of restored faith [in humanity] and self-assurance.

What is one album that changed the way each of you listen to music?

St. Marx: For me the first album that really made me fall in love with the intricacies of music is probably Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol or The Velvet Underground & Nico. The Velvet Underground really taught me how lyrics can really be integral to a song without seeming too complimentary to the instruments.

Slocum: For me it’s probably Kid A by Radiohead. That was the first time I listened to something outside of the pop realm and it really changed the way I thought popular music could sound.

Nando Dale: I would say Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. Hearing the guitar tones and the way it’s produced really made me reconsider the formula of a rock song. I definitely carry that influence with me today.

Wayans: I’m torn between two polar opposite albums. The first is Product by SOPHIE because I’d never heard sounds like that in my life. That album shook my whole world.

The other one would be [Siamese Dream] by Smashing Pumpkins, because I’ve listened to that album since I was a kid but didn’t have the wherewithal to understand the lyrics. Listening to “Today” in my early-twenties really made me reconsider the weight of these lyrics that had previously gone over my head as a child.

Nico Brunstein: I would say Let It Be (The Naked Version) by The Beatles, because it was so interesting hearing how that record got from point A to point B — what the band wanted the album to sound like versus what the producer made it sound like. I thought that was a really interesting way to look at how music can change based on who is at the wheel.

Returning to the city in the middle of the pandemic to create really enhanced our sound, so that time away was actually good for us.

– Been Stellar

What drew you to the realm of sound you embody in your music?

St. Marx: Well we all come from a very diverse background of influences. There’s definitely some core records that we all really like, but we all bring something different to the table. Our songwriting process is very collaborative and we tend to write as a unit, rather than one person writing everything. We’ve gone through a few different evolutions of trying stuff out that we aren’t super stoked on in retrospect. We’ve found over the years that we like the lyrics to be really clear and at the forefront with guitars that are also transparent but simultaneously washed over with sound like the Sonic Youth/shoegaze type of sound. What got us there was a lot of hacking away at different ideas. In the middle of the pandemic we got a practice space of our own, which was new because before the pandemic we would only practice at NYU facilities, which didn’t really give us the tools to thrive creatively because it wasn’t our space. Having a space of our own has helped us out a lot.

Dale: Returning to the city in the middle of the pandemic to create really enhanced our sound, so that time away was actually good for us.

St. Marx: Absolutely. Especially the point New York City’s at now. To be our age in New York at this time is just very strange. There’s a lot of stuff about the city that we really don’t like, but there’s also a lot of stuff we’re hopeful for. We’re all really drawn to the idea of song lyrics being tethered to one place. You can always tell on certain albums that were made at certain locations that they couldn’t have been made anywhere else. That’s something that we’re very conscious of, but New York as a whole has always been confusing to us.

What was it like to go on your first national tour after everything that’s happened in the past year?

Wayans: It was absolutely crazy.

Dale: Yeah, it was definitely at the right time too. Everything was starting to open back up and we were all so eager to experience life and see the country. It was definitely the most tired we’ve ever been in our lives.

St. Marx: Yeah. For our first tour to be really DIY was weird. We were supporting Catcher at really interesting venues around the country, but the logistics of everything were in our own hands.

Dale: There were certain points where we couldn’t even hang out or have a drink cause we had to drive for seventeen hours to get to the next stop.

Wayans: Definitely. But in the same token after being stuck in one place for so long, being on the road sort of kept us sane. We were finally able to experience life after lockdown and see the country.

Slocum: We came back and for a good five days and we were really out of it. It took a minute to adjust to being in one place again.

We’re all really drawn to the idea of song lyrics being tethered to one place. You can always tell on certain albums that were made at certain locations that they couldn’t have been made anywhere else.

– Been Stellar

What was the most interesting stop you made on tour?

St. Marx: Definitely Texas. Going to Texas is like going to another planet. We also really enjoyed Birmingham, Alabama and Seattle. San Diego was also cool. Not to sound like a coastal elite, but we had a very cursory experience of each city, and I still can’t see myself living anywhere other than New York.

Do you have anything else to plug?

St. Marx: We’re playing a show at Elsewhere on November 21.

Dale: We also have a music video for the B-side coming out soon, so stay tuned for that.

Tickets to Been Stellar and Sub*T at Elsewhere, November 21.

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Chatting with Alex Sepassi of Silver Relics About Their New Single, Distant Planets, & Trent Reznor

Blending elements of ‘60s British classic rock, post punk, grunge, and psychedelia, New York-based art-rock outfit Silver Relics have never been the type of group to paint themselves into a corner.

Silver Relics was formed in 2017 by Alex Sepassi and the group’s former drummer Justin Alvis. Sepassi started singing and writing songs at the tender age of ten, and has an uncanny ability to incorporate his unique assortment of influences into his writing while maintaining a distinctly modern post-digital sound.

On their newest single, “Tails”–a brooding ode to primitive animal instincts produced by Brian Young (Fountains of Wayne)–Silver Relics echoes the grittiness of Alice In Chains while pushing themselves far down the Nine Inch Nails spiral (Trent Reznor is a personal hero of Sepassi’s). The song marries the psychedelic overdrive of Spacemen 3 with undulating guitar riffs that sound like a B-side off of Throwing Muses’ The Real Ramona.

I spoke with Sepassi about the recent single, working with the evolution of the band, his most omnipresent influences, and much more!

What is the first song you can remember learning to play when you started out as a musician? 

“Tom Dooly” by The Kingston Trio. It was the very first song in this vintage guitar learners guide book I had. I think there are about four chords in that tune. I still remember it.

What was it that initially drew you to the psychedelic realms of classic and indie rock? 

When I was in college I started to understand what psychedelic music really meant to me. After listening to bands like Pink Floyd and The Zombies, I knew there was plenty of space to experiment with tonality along with expression and composition. After that, there came a point where I just started to define it for myself.

I’ve grown attached to the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. There were so many new bands sprouting in America and the UK. It’s all encompassing when you think about the number of genres that were created during that time.

– Alex Sepassi
Photo by Gail Thacker

Not long after your first European tour you’ve worked with legendary talents like Mark Crozer and Brian Young. What was collaborating with them like? 

Brilliant! We’re in the process of working on our sophomore album together. It’s been an amazing experience honestly. We all work well together. We have gone through a big and lengthy adjustment period, but Mark, Brian, Hitomi and I have all aligned on the soundscape, which has allowed for a great deal of fluidity in and out of the studio. And I’m thrilled to work with such strong talents.

What are some of your favorite periods or eras in music history? 

So many. I’ve grown attached to the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. There were so many new bands sprouting in America and the UK. It’s all encompassing when you think about the number of genres that were created during that time. I believe that template is still prevalent in music today among rock bands. It’s a history lesson any way you look at it. Punk is a great example of what evolved/unfolded towards the back end of the decade. What’s not to like about that?

Your music echoes many of the great periods in rock history, but it is also very modern and current with the digital elements you incorporate in production. Would you say that maintaining that balance is a strong priority for the band? 

First off, thank you. That’s exactly it. Brian’s production style is strong and unique. We bind the two together and put the emphasis on the songs. In other words, the songs dictate the style and production. And yes that does call for modern and digital elements at times. Especially in post-production. 

“Tails” explores the possibilities of forming an understanding of another individual/person/animal/stanger through our own and unique body language.

– Alex Sepassi
Photo by Gail Thacker

If you could collaborate with any artist (living or dead) who would it be? 

I would absolutely love to write with Trent Reznor. I’ve always appreciated his style and the way he approaches his songs and production. And how they tend to have a prevalent cinematic quality to them. Anyway, just let us know, Trent! 

In “Tails” you explore the abilities that humans have to identify “the instinctive aspects of humanity and the nonverbal communication we use daily.” I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about this concept and how it unfolded in writing sessions? 

“Tails” explores the possibilities of forming an understanding of another individual/person/animal/stanger through our own and unique body language. It’s important to have the lyrics and music interact and also fit in the same space, and it became a collective effort rather quickly once the lyrics were finished. Mark’s bass articulates the depth of what the bottom end can really be. And Brian’s emphasis on certain phrases truly accentuates those moments. 

If you were to go on a trip to another planet and could only bring one record what album would you take with you? 

Ah! I’m glad you asked. I’d like to take The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” to Neptune if they’re accepting visitors. Thanks so much for having us!


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A Chat with Zoe Zobrist About Classic Rock, Starting a Band at 13, and Motherhood

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, alternative rocker Zoe Zobrist has already cemented herself as a music industry veteran at just 23 years old. Raised on classic rock records and Laurel Canyon desert-folk, she started playing piano as soon as she could walk and began writing songs at the age of seven before many children have learned how to read.

Zobrist has received heaps of praise in publications like FLAUNT, Under The Radar Magazine, and Culture Collide, and has also graced the stage at legendary venues around the country including The Troubadour and The Viper Room in LA. She also recently appeared in John Mellencamp’s 2019 touring documentary.

Now, Zobrist is on the brink of return with her forthcoming single, “Oh Baby,” a gentle acoustic open letter to her unborn child. Stepping into parenthood can be a challenging endeavor that can trigger uncertainty but also genuine joy and elation.

I spoke with Zobrist prior to the release of “Oh Baby” to discuss her blossoming career and stepping into this new chapter of her life.

You’ve spent the majority of your life writing songs, and I was wondering how you have evolved or learned from past triumphs and mistakes since the beginning?

Yes! I started writing when I was 7 & have used songwriting as a tool to sort through my experiences since then. Something I’ve learned and continue to remind myself is that at the end of the day I write because it makes me genuinely happy. Not every song has to be “good.” It’s just about getting out of your head and creating, not putting a bunch of pressure on yourself. 

Having a child is a very exciting chapter for both your life and career. What are some of the most significant things you’ve discovered about yourself as an individual and a public figure throughout the process?

I’ve grown so much over these past nine months. Literally and figuratively hahaha. Emotionally though, it’s been really good for me. I cut out drinking, vaping, caffeine and made a lot of lifestyle changes in general. The discomfort this brought ultimately helped me reflect on things I hadn’t in a long time and heal.

Were there any specific records that influenced the new single or—since it was much more personal—did it come together more organically? 

I think some of my favorites that I was listening to regularly were Phoebe Bridgers, Elliot Smith and Bon Iver. In general I tend to write in a very diary-like way regardless, so personal is the goal.

I’m so amazed by people’s strength. I hope to foster an inclusive community where people can really relate to what I’m sharing.

– Zoe Zobrist

How have the past 18 months of the pandemic affected the way you listen to music? Have you found more comfort in the familiar, new discoveries, or both? 

The past 18 months have really given me gratitude that we have access to all of the online platforms that we do. It would have been an even more isolating experience otherwise. I found a lot more music online & enjoyed playing some virtual gigs. (Although I’m very excited to get back to live shows/a combo of both.)

Are you hoping that other women (as well as non-binary femmes and trans folks) living through pregnancy will be able to see themselves positively represented in your work?

Absolutely! I think that regardless of where someone is on their fertility/pregnancy/parenting journey – the changes and challenges you go through are huge and I’m so amazed by people’s strength. I hope to foster an inclusive community where people can really relate to what I’m sharing. 

What is the earliest time, place, and situation when you can recall music changing your entire world? 

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember, but I went to a festival with my mom around age 5 where I saw a girl singing on stage and realized “I want to do that!” And that was that haha. 

What are some of your favorite records that were released in the past year and a half? 

Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers and Orca by Gus Dapperton 

How does a change in location affect your songwriting, whether it be in LA, Dallas, or Georgia?

It’s all different inspiration which is great. I’ve felt a bit isolated in Georgia because we’re living near a military base and there’s not much to do. I’m looking forward to moving back to southern California over the holidays. Anytime I feel creatively blocked a change of scenery is a great move even if it’s just a quick road trip! 


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Chatting with Guyville About Their New Single, Beatles Songbooks, and Liz Phair

Upon first meeting each other at a writing session and instantly clicking over their shared love of music, Kat Hamilton and Emily Huslander of the LA-based country rock duo Guyville immediately knew that they would be working together for a while. Taking their name from the iconic 1993 Liz Phair album Exile in Guyville, the duo formulated their very own unique blend of roots rock and country.

Now with a steady supply of songs in their arsenal, Guyville is ready to unleash their magic and take the world by storm. Their debut single, “Nothing,” a powerful condemnation of toxic relationships and ode to self-love, flaunts the group’s effortless knack for seamlessly blending the cutting razor-sharp wit of Liz Phair with the twangy sass of early Shania Twain.

I chatted with Huslander and Hamilton about their songwriting roots, their undeniable chemistry, and their forthcoming debut record.

You two have very palpable chemistry. What would you say it was that made the two of you click during your initial sessions?

Kat: Absolutely! We connected in this natural way almost immediately and the songs came just as easily. That’s really rare, especially in LA. When you find that kind of collaborative ease with someone, you hold on for dear life! 

Emily: I think Kat and I just have incredibly similar taste in music and songwriters. We just “got it” and our sessions had a great creative flow between us. One of us would bring in a melodic or lyrical idea and the rest of the song just  worked itself out seamlessly and easily, always resulting in a finished song.

What were the first songs each of you learned to play on an instrument?

Kat: I consider guitar my first instrument even though I was in piano lessons many years before. The first one I learned to play was “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.

Emily: I was singing songs from “Les Miserables” as a three year old in the bathtub lol. I taught myself guitar at 13 with a Beatles songbook that had little pictures of the guitar chords in it, and I was so familiar with the songs because they were always playing in my household. My first violin song was probably “Ode to Joy” or something in the Suzuki book.

What are each of your top 3 Liz Phair songs?

Kat: “Why Can’t I,” “Fuck and Run,” and “Extraordinary.”

Emily: Oh man! Only 3??  “Go West” from Whip-Smart, “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Exile in Guyville, and “Only Son” from WhiteChocolateSpaceEgg. I got to meet her at a book signing/ concert for her Horror Stories memoir.  

How did “Nothing” initially come together, and what were each of you listening to when you started composing the single?

Kat: The idea for the chorus and the concept kind of fell out of our brains. We wrote most of our record together over FaceTime and the rythymn of the chorus “Na Na NA NA NA NA Nothing” was the start. 

Emily: I think in a session we were talking about how amazing it feels to be over an ex. Not just over, but truly indifferent. I started strumming out “I feel nothing” over an E chord and it just started to come out. We are super fans of Maren Morris and her first album ” Hero” is a big favorite of ours. I think we wanted “Nothing” to feel like an upbeat/rock-country tune off the bat. 

How has working as a duo allowed each of you to develop as writers? 

Kat: I’ve learned a lot from Emily. She has a knack for melodies and is a real perfectionist around the work. She’s always listening critically to make sure the melodies flow and nothing is awkward. I can be overly verbose and less attentive to the shape of a melody.

Emily: Kat challenges me in the best ways possible. She gently nudges me out of the proverbial  “pop box” of “everything must rhyme, simplify etc.” and pushes me lyrically to tell a story no matter if it rhymes or not. She’s an amazingly talented songwriter and her lyrics have such an emotional gut punch to them.  Co-writing is like dating. The chemistry is there or not, and with Guyville we just captured lightning in a bottle and I’m so grateful for our collaborations. These songs are some of the best I’ve ever written and I’m really excited to release them. 

What are you most looking forward to with your introduction to the world as a band? 

Kat: Playing shows! We got songs on songs.

Emily: I’m just really proud of our upcoming record. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. 90’s inspired grunge rock, alt-country/roots rock, beautiful singer/songwriter balladry with acoustic elements, etc. it  just runs the sonic gamut yet in a cohesive, focused way. Our voices blend together really well and we ‘re really in tune with each other as artists when we perform and in the studio. Our producer/engineer Mitchell Haeuszer was such a gift to work with and with the addition of Taylor Robinson on drums, we played every single instrument amongst Kat, Mitchell and myself. I can’t wait to play it live!

What are your favorite additions–old or new–that you’ve made to your record collections this year?

Kat: I’ve paused building my collection a bit, but my most recent was “Same Trailer, Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves!

Emily: Oh man, I listen to almost everything. I love the latest Sarah Jarosz album World On The Ground. There’s a wonderful Danish jazz duo named Bremer/McCoy whose album Utopia has been on loop. One of my favorite records of all time is Flutterby by Butterfly Boucher. I’m constantly adding music to my collection. Always getting inspired by other artists! 


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Catbells Transforms Uncertainty into Conviction on “It’s Not Hard”

Taking her name from the children’s book, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter and a fell of mountains in the Lake District of England, dreampop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Catbells invites her audience to immerse themselves in her wistful world of mature introspection and childlike wonder. This was on full display with her first single, “Fade (Rainy Day Demo),” which juxtaposed the melancholy fatigue of heartbreak against sullen detachment with velvety-smooth vocals and lush instrumental soundscapes.

On her newest single, “It’s Not Hard,” Catbells delves into the deepest recesses of human emotion to explore the pensive nature of escapism, comparing her life decisions to boarding a flight; once you’re on the plane, there’s no getting off of it.

I was fortunate enough to chat with Catbells about how the song came to fruition, utilizing her mysterious aura to keep the focus on her art, and finding solace in her childhood memories of New England.

What was the biggest thing that gravitated you to the dreampop/shoegaze space?

I have always loved music that makes you feel something, a feeling of nostalgia or something familiar that brings back memories. Dreampop and Shoegaze are both genres that put a listener into another world and really overtake the senses.

I’ve always loved when artists build a mystique around their persona and output, and I was wondering what made you decide to take a similar route as Catbells?

The mask and Catbells kind of found me, I can’t say I had great foresight or a plan into things. But the name Catbells really resonated with me when I first heard it as a name of a beautiful mountain in the Lake District of England. And then honestly I just felt that the cat mask would give me the artistic freedom I was longing for… I have always loved when an artist is an artist for arts sake, where the focus lies on the art they are making rather than focused on themselves as a person. I have loved too when artists and musicians transform into something that becomes art in itself, like Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, or the amazing magnetism and mystery of Orville Peck, or the creative cartoon genius of the Gorillaz. And it’s a lot of fun too!

When is the earliest you can recall having an inkling of wanting to pursue a career in music?

Music as a career was never my focus, music as a life choice is more the way it is, I am not sure I can say it is a career in the sense of a job, but more so a life path and just a part of who I am. And that probably was something that was there as a young child and just took time to develop.

How did “It’s Not Hard” first come to you and what was the creation process like from there? 

Many songs come to me in the form of one phrase or lyric and then build from there. “It’s Not Hard” started with the verse and the memory of a strong urge I had once sitting on the runway with the plane moments from taking off… in that moment being trapped, unable to turn back, no longer able to get off, no longer having any control, not wanting to go where I was going, but also not wanting to go back to where I’d come from… and seeing the rain pouring down outside the window and wanting nothing more than to literally break out the window and go lie in the rain and be free from it all… But ultimately the plane started rolling and then it took off and that was that. And that is how the song came to be.

What is one record that never fails to alleviate frustration and angst for you?

I think Split by Lush is a record I could listen to over and over when I am feeling that way.

I read that your vocal stylings and sound were inspired by the likes of Hope Sandoval and Nico. Would you like to tell me a little more about what they mean to you, and any other musicians that you really look at as pioneers? 

Hope Sandoval brings goosebumps when I hear her voice, she has such a calmness and sadness when she sings, and well. Nico brings a sullen yet matter of fact almost emotionless or numbness tone to her vocals that really makes me stop in my tracks whenever I hear her voice. I also love, like I mentioned above, Lush and the harmonies between Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson. And lately I have been listening to lots of Portishead and just enamored with Beth Gibbons’ voice. 

Something we have in common is we’re both New England kids. I was wondering how your songwriting has allowed you to reflect on your childhood hometown memories and how that has been beneficial to you?

Ah New England is such a special place!!! I think being from a place so amazing, with all the seasons and the scents and images that go along with each of them, makes feelings like nostalgia and longing something easier to tap into when I am writing. Thinking about the way the air feels there, and how the trees look, or the smell of the first snow about to fall, or the muddy fields after it rains, all of that really fuels my lyrics. Every month has its own special characteristics that feed the senses. I miss it terribly.


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Cassie Marin Traverses the Digital World on New Single “Busy Body”

Today, indie electronica mastermind Cassie Marin debuts her new single, “Busy Body,” which explores the voyeuristic thrills and pitfalls of being the watcher and the watched in the digital landscape of social media.

Photo by Sergey Nikitenko

On “Busy Body,” Marin’s melodically ethereal vocals coast along effortlessly wavy synths, delivering reflective stanzas unpacking our culture’s obsession with with follows and likes in a time where social politics have become hyper-digitized, reducing one’s social life to a hollow shell of what it used to be.

I was fortunate enough to speak to Marin about the single, her initial forays into electronic music, social media, pushing boundaries with her production, and much more!

How did you initially get into making electronic-pop music and what was it that gravitated you to that specific field of music?


I think electronic-pop music is a genre I’ve been listening to since I was very young. The sonic direction I’ve taken over the years has been entirely unintentional. Ultimately, I think I blend many of the genres I listen to regularly into my music. It happens somewhat naturally. 

You seem to have a serious knack for tackling hard-to-navigate experiences throughout modern life? Would you say it comes from both personal experience and people you’ve observed as an outsider? 

I mean, I do like a good challenge! My life, like anyone else’s, has had various ups and downs. I think it’s important to learn from every experience and make the best of every situation so you can help others who may face similar challenges in the future. 

If you could cover any song throughout music history, what song would it be and why? 

“Moonriver” by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. This song is very special to me because it transports me to a time (before easily accessible technology) where music was all a person could need. It wasn’t about fame or a successful career path, it was about feeling good in your own company with music to aid you.  

What is the process of sculpting these unique soundscapes in your songs like?

Each process is different, depending on whether I’m starting the song from scratch on my own or collaborating with another producer. But, usually my mood defines the atmosphere of the song as well as the musical elements I choose throughout the writing process. 

Do you model your vocal stylings after any specific influences or would you say that you came up with your style of singing on your own? 

I’ve admired and learned from many vocalists growing up. Most notably I would say, Hayley Williams, Anthony Green, The Weeknd and Jesse Rutherford.  

What is the most difficult part of having to live in a world where it’s nearly impossible to have a social life without having an online presence? 

I think the most difficult part is the lack of real connection. Communication and behaviors can be easily misconstrued while interacting online. You never know what a person could be going through based solely on what they reveal to you on the internet. 

What was one of the most valuable and useful discoveries you made when you first taught yourself to produce?

That I could push myself beyond my own boundaries, surprise myself and experiment to my heart’s desire with my own sound design. 


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Roo Makes a Stunningly Chilling Debut with “Glo”

Today, California-based indie songstress and self-proclaimed “technological maximalist” Roo debuts her first ever single “Glo,” which she co-produced with JJStewart. “Glo” is an experimental dark pop tale about toxic relationships and the struggle to navigate queer romance.

Opening with frosty coldwave synths and static white noise, the track envelopes the listener in a ghostly sonic embrace that could easily go toe-to-toe with Portishead’s Dummy. Before Roo herself even utters a word, the song will already have the listener hooked and stopped dead in their tracks. Roo pulls absolutely no punches in this grandiose artistic introduction to the world, and what an opening statement it is.

The lyrics show Roo laying bare her emotional vulnerability and pleading with the subject of the song to do the same. “How could I be enough,” she keens in the second verse with a Bjork-style cadence over eccentric production, distorted and accentuated telephone-filtered vocals, coarse basslines, and spiky 808s, adding a distinct R&B groove to this experimental synthpop masterpiece.

I had the privilege of chatting with Roo about her artistic introduction to the world, how her computer science degree has been a valuable asset in her experimental production, and what she anticipates for future career moves.

“Glo” feels like an amalgamation of trip-hop, neo-psych/soul, and dream pop, which I loved. How did the process of building a sonic landscape for the single come about?

My approach toward production is about play and intuition rather than rules, which is what gives me my genreless sound. My genius friend JJStewart created the original composition, then we went through transforming pieces to achieve the feeling we wanted. I did some pretty off-the-wall vocal production on this one, trusting my ear and pushing things further and further out of the box. It was a blast.

Photo by Jailyn Duong

How has your computer science background and affinity for technology informed your music?

A lot of experienced producers I’ve met don’t understand the nitty gritty of how their plugins work – but I do. And I’m pretty nimble with signal routing, which is how I achieve some of my more experimental sounds.

Also, I taught myself to produce over the past year. So much of coding is teaching yourself new skills, so I’m good at that – especially because production/mixing is really technical.

I process experiences through songwriting that I couldn’t hope to in my journal. It’s a direct lens into my intuition.

– Roo
Photo by Jailyn Duong

I ask everybody this because I’m always curious to know; what are some records that you’ve heard throughout your life that changed everything for you?

I’m very inspired by Vōx; Swim Good is one of my faves. The vulnerability and use of emptiness contrasted with the heavy bass and grit – it’s something I’ve never heard before.

Reconstruct by Photay is another one that ends up on repeat all the time. His composition is so off-the-wall, so clean, so effortless.

And all of Miss Anthropocene by Grimes. She was hugely influential to me before I learned about her relationship with Elon. The dystopian techno-fantasy universe she built completely blew my mind.

I process experiences through songwriting that I couldn’t hope to in my journal. It’s a direct lens into my intuition. Sometimes I won’t even understand what I’m feeling until I sing about it, or I’ll figure out what to do next through the creative process.

Glo is about toxic love that I experienced while learning to navigate queer romance. My journey into queerness is a huge driving force in my music. I can’t wait to share more of that with my audience.

I did some pretty off-the-wall vocal production on this one, trusting my ear and pushing things further and further out of the box. It was a blast.

– Roo
Photo by Jailyn Duong

What is your current number-one played song on Spotify or Apple Music?

This is my first song out, so “Glo!”

What artist–living or dead–would be your dream collaboration?

SOPHIE. Rest in peace. A true visionary. Her enormous, mind-bending sounds with my haunting atmospheric flavor – a tasty futuristic blend.

Since Glo is your first single, what is the number-one thing you’re anticipating once it’s finally out to the public?

I’m really just excited to get on the map. Expectations will certainly be created based on this one project; I can’t wait to break them.

Glo” is now available to stream and download.

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Caroline Romano on New Single “The Hypothetical” & Being The Loudest Sort of Introvert

Raised on a diet of Taylor Swift and Shania Twain, pop punk powerhouse Caroline Romano, a self-proclaimed “loudest sort of introvert,” has had a whirlwind of a past few years. She first caught the attention of the public with her debut single, “Masterpiece,” in 2017, combining the iconic lyrical zingers of Taylor Swift with the dark anti-pop drawl of early Lorde. A year later, she achieved a Top 3 hit on Radio Disney’s chart with the commanding and ultra-magnetic single “Ready,” and later went on to work with one of the most in-demand producers in pop music when she teamed up with DJ R3HAB for a remix of her song “I Still Remember”—all at the tender age of 20.

And while it may seem shocking to some that she’s already achieved this level of notoriety at such an early age, it’s only natural; Romano has done this her entire life. The Mississippi native first picked up a guitar at the age of nine and started playing at open mic nights in Nashville—the songwriting capital of the country—when she was just 13. One of her most recent singles, “PDA of the Mainstream,” has received critical praise for her witty, cerebral songwriting that captures youthful Gen Z angst with a distinct pop punk flair.

Today, Romano unleashes her latest single, “The Hypothetical,” a gritty tongue-in-cheek punk-pop banger where she ruminates on her innermost fantasies involving a romantic interest. “I wanted to capture that feeling of being so infatuated with a crush that it’s borderline a state of psychosis… even if it’s only in your head. It’s just hypothetical,” she said in the press release.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Caroline about the new single, as well as her upbringing and her first trip into Nashville.

Was there anything specific (an artist, a song, a movie, a friend, etc.) that initially sparked your interest in starting to play the guitar?

I’d definitely say my affinity for guitars started with my love for Taylor Swift and Hannah Montana. “You Belong With Me” and The Hannah Montana Movie both came out the year before I turned 9, and I was physically addicted to both. Particularly, I think my interest in guitar stemmed from the “You Belong With Me” music video. It was one of the first music videos I remember ever really watching. It was unlike anything I’d heard before, and I think it was the first time I realized that Taylor Swift was just a girl too. I wanted to make noise like that, and I knew a guitar was what I needed to do so. I remember holding my first real guitar for the first time. My hands were too small to fit around the neck, and my arm was cramping from trying to strum. Despite my inability to reach the E string, it still felt inexplicably right. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, 9 year old me knew exactly what she was doing with that guitar.

What are some of your most vivid memories of your very first trip to Nashville and how have you grown as an artist since then?

I’m convinced no trip or vacation or beautiful place will match the wonder I experienced my first time in Nashville. I begged my parents for weeks to take me on that trip. I made a PowerPoint presentation to try to convince them that I was ready. I researched all of the best places to try to play, and I planned our entire week around trying to do as many shows as possible. My mom and I would wake up super early in the mornings at our hotel to call different venues and try to secure a spot for that night. The first night we got there, I played an open mic night at this little outdoor college bar. I was the youngest person there by nearly a decade, but I felt so certain that it was where I needed to be. With my mom and dad and little brothers in the audience, I got up there and played one of the first songs I’d ever written. It was called “Chase Your Dreams” (very creative title), but that’s what I knew I was doing in that moment. I was literally chasing after my dreams. It was happening. I played shows every single day that week, while exploring the city I’d one day call home. One of my favorite memories from that trip was when I played the Bluebird Cafe. That was the big one, the place I’d dreamed about since I first heard the name Nashville. While I was there, I happened to be in line behind a kid and his mom. He was very kind and he shared that inexplicable, silent fire that I also felt for music. It was a silent understanding that we were both going to give this all that we [had]. I played a show later with him in the week, and I told my mom that he was going to be a star. [That kid was] Jack Avery from Why Don’t We. I hold those memories close.

Photo by Alexa Campbell

I don’t like rules, and alternative/rock pop feels like a giant F-you to the rules of musical genres.

– Caroline Romano

You seem to have found a sweet spot between extremely catchy pop hooks and head-banging rock instrumentation. Has combining pop and rock sensibilities always felt natural to you?

I’ve always felt a natural inclination towards the punk-pop space. It’s what I listened to to get me through middle school, and I find it’s the genre I turn to in the most intense of my feelings. I don’t like rules, and alternative/rock pop feels like a giant F-you to the rules of musical genres. I’m all about words. I simply cannot get enough of them. When I write, I often just word-vomit onto my paper. I like things unedited and raw and far from perfect. What I love about punk-pop is that you work to fit the music around the lyrics, instead of the other way around. The less edited and manicured, the better. There’s so much passion to it as well, combining pop and rock. I am not a lukewarm person. I often want to feel the extremes of everything I experience. Punk music is so dramatic and I love it. It’s always the end of the world. I can scream and whisper and jump up and down and lie on the floor all while performing the same song. It’s awesome.

Do you find that songwriting can be like having a conversation with yourself?

Songwriting started for me as writing journal entries after I’d get home from school in the 6th and 7th grade. I’d write about my day, or whatever 6th grade tragedy was occurring. I could always understand it better if I wrote it down. Once I started putting those journals to guitar, there was songwriting. I spend a lot of time in my head. I can’t say I like it there, but I’ve yet to find a way out of it. The only way I can really cope with my brain is talking to it through music. I’m always having a conversation with myself, whether that’s a good or bad thing. I am incredibly self-aware and self-conscious. I’ve never grown out of that feeling like when you’re twelve or thirteen and you’re at the popular kids pool party. You feel like everyone is staring at you, and no one likes you, and you definitely should’ve worn a different color swimsuit because everyone is judging you. In reality, none of that’s true, but I think a lot of us go through life like we’re still at the 8th grade pool party. Though it’s terrible, putting it into words makes it so much less terrible for me. It makes it kind of pretty in a way. Through me publishing these internal narratives I have with myself, I’ve come to find that most of us feel the same way. I don’t have much to write about when it comes to love or parties or kissing a boy behind the bleachers. Those things are not my field of expertise. But, I’ve been with myself for as long as I can remember, so I thought I might as well write about it.

I’ve always said that I’m not much for reality. It’s just not as fun there. I’m fascinated with the scenarios and romances we create in our heads.

– Caroline Romano

How did the collaboration with R3HAB first come about? Was he the one who reached out to you or vice versa, and what was it like getting to work together?

I had written “I Still Remember” back in 2018 with some friends of mine. I knew it was a special song from the moment it was written, and I knew an opportunity would one day come along to do something special with it. I had the opportunity to reach out to R3HAB in late 2019, and I was ecstatic when he said he was down to remix the song. However, this was occurring basically at the start of lockdown/quarantine, so we basically sent him the song and said “do ANYTHING you want to it.” The first mix I got back from him is extremely close to what ended up being the final product. He’s a genius, and it was such an honor to get to work with him.

Photo by Alexa Campbell

There are people out there who understand what I’m trying to say through my music, even when I didn’t at the time of writing it. It’s the loudest form of communication, often to people I’ve never spoken a word to. 

– Caroline Romano

What I really loved about “The Hypothetical” was how relatable the subject matter is. It’s very common to have a fantasy play out in our own heads, and I was wondering how the song initially came about?

I’ve always said that I’m not much for reality. It’s just not as fun there. I’m fascinated with the scenarios and romances we create in our heads. You can imagine an entire wedding after an interaction with a hot stranger at a Target. In these little worlds our brains create, the only thing impossible is impossibility. I love that, and I try to take a bit of that mindset out into reality with me when I’m there. I wrote “The Hypothetical” with two of my good friends in Nashville, Michael and Chuckie Aiello. They are both well aware of how my brain works and my aversion to the limitations of reality. Michael came in with the idea of letting me build a hypothetical world for a song. We had way too much fun, as again, the laws of reality simply did not apply to this song. We took it to the extremes, in a psychotic Barbie sort of way, and I love it.

What is your favorite part of being a songwriter that you wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else?

Sometimes I still can’t believe that what I write in my lowest moments, or through tears in my childhood bedroom, is heard by people. I get to tie up my experiences and views on the world as they occur in little bows of poetry and ugly emotions and guitar strings. And sometimes, crazy things happen, like when someone reaches out and says that my words have helped them in some way. There are people out there who understand what I’m trying to say through my music, even when I didn’t at the time of writing it. It’s the loudest form of communication, often to people I’ve never spoken a word to. The thing I hate the most about myself is that I’ll never be able to put it into words. Words don’t exist for that innate whisper of a calling deep down in my bones that begs for me to make music. I must sit at my piano and thumb through my brain for words, or I will simply die. It is as simple and complex as that.

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Bailey Baum Gets “Over It:” How She Allowed Herself to Feel Everything Deeply

Despair. Elation. Regret. Relief. Rinse repeat. These are the feelings evoked in the initial listening stage when you hear the opening crescendo of synthesized drones and faded hums on the opening track of Bailey Baum’s debut EP, Over It. The title track smoothly transitions from despair into hope as she croons, “Over and over and over, till I’m over it,” over cushioned basslines and dreamy laidback orchestrations, ruminating on the constant cycle of post-breakup recovery, trudging through the five stages of grief until finally landing at the stage of acceptance.

To say that Bailey Baum is having quite the year would be an understatement. Her 2019 single “Simple Feelings” is approaching 2 million streams on Spotify and she has also been praised for her “reflective lyrics, stirring soulful vocals, and clever pop melodies,” in publications like Flaunt Magazine and UPROXX.

Baum released her first EP “Over It” today through Next Wave / Ultra Records. Her most recent single off of the EP “Bad For Me,” is a synth-laden lamentation on the constant tug-of-war between her common sense and the part of her that wants to go back to the way things were before the fatal impact of her first heartbreak.

This new EP is an incredibly clever subversion of the typical heartbreak ballad. Instead of dwelling in the sadness, she goes on a trajectory to find the light at the end of the tunnel. She expertly weaves the ethereal high-register melodies and lush harmonies of BANKS and Lana Del Rey with the razor sharp wit of Guyville-era Liz Phair on songs like “Thinking Bout Me,” and “Not Missing You,” (“Don’t wanna go back/Finally your gone and it’s clear that I’m not missing you”).

“I want the EP to help people feel empowered to get ‘over it,’ while also acknowledging how important it is to let yourself feel everything deeply,” Bailey said in a press release. “No emotion or thought you have is invalid, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel of heartbreak. We all deserve to find happiness and peace and fulfillment and that all starts within yourself. I’m still learning and growing from my experiences, this EP is all about that process.”

I caught up with Bailey over email to chat about the new EP, how songwriting has helped her heal, and what she’s most looking forward to in this new phase of her career.

What are you most excited for listeners to experience once they finally get their hands on this EP?

I’m most excited to see how people resonate with my music. This project is one that came from a really vulnerable place in my heart and sharing it with everyone is definitely scary in a lot of ways but I’ve had so much support from my team and everyone I work with and I’m confident that this project is something that can help other people get through similar situations and feelings of heartache.

What was the first piece of music that made you feel empowered to pursue life as a musician?

I always was always listening to music around my family or on the radio so from a young age it was always a very organic discovery process. I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old and started singing “White Christmas” and told my mom I wanted her to hear it because I thought I could really sing. I stood up on the fireplace in front of my whole family and sang my heart out and that was the moment I knew this was what I wanted to pursue. I started voice lessons soon after that and never quit.

Fiona Apple once said that it’s important to make art that scares you. Since this is a very personal record, were there any personal revelations you had that scared you?

I woke up a few months ago in the middle of the night freaking out because I was so scared for this project to come out. It’s so scary to be open to the world with your emotions and feelings, but the only way I know how to process how I feel is by turning it into music. Sharing my most personal feelings with the world is daunting, hoping that everyone perceives them in a positive way, but I know this is something that so many people can relate to at any age.

It’s not always easy to let yourself feel things, so if you can find an outlet like music has been for me then it truly is the best feeling and the best way to heal.

– Bailey Baum

You said in your press release that you want this EP to help listeners on their journey to recover from heartbreak while also allowing themselves to “feel everything deeply.” How has music played a role in your own individual quests?

Whenever I feel literally ANY emotion, music is the first thing I run to. Music evokes so much emotion and even though I don’t project it in front of most people, I love feeling deep emotions. Music is that escape for me. I love driving around the city listening to different songs and just singing as loud as I can. It’s not always easy to let yourself feel things, so if you can find an outlet like music has been for me then it truly is the best feeling and the best way to heal.

You’ve been praised in Flaunt and UPROXX and I also noticed two of your songs on Viral Hits playlists on Spotify. How does it feel to see your music doing this well?

I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had on the music. Every little message, article, or other kind of support helps push me to continue going and not give up. There’s so much more I dream to do and accomplish but it really is the little things that help validate my journey and realize that everything I’m doing is reaching people in a positive way.

I think writing this helped me process the emotions I was feeling, and helped me acknowledge honestly to myself that the situation I was in wasn’t healthy.

– Bailey Baum

I really resonated with ‘Bad for Me.’ It feels like a universal experience to feel drawn to people that we know are toxic. How has writing about this allowed you to traverse this particular phenomenon in your life?

I think writing this helped me process the emotions I was feeling, and helped me acknowledge honestly to myself that the situation I was in wasn’t healthy. The truth is that I’m still learning and I haven’t totally figured everything out yet, I’m still making mistakes as I go but I’m forgiving myself at the same time because I know it’s all part of the process.

Something I really enjoyed about the progression of this EP–specifically on a song like “Not Missing You”–is how you seem to come to a genuine sense of closure as the EP goes on. Was that sort of progression intentional?

It was intentional in the way that once we had all the tracks ready for the EP we decided on the best order for them that felt like a progression of a relationship. However, when I was recording the music I wasn’t thinking that I was going to make songs for each stage of a relationship. Everything fell together as I was feeling it all. I recorded these songs at different times over the course of a few years and once I knew that this project was next for me I handpicked the ones that felt the most right and wrote and recorded the last few tracks based on emotions that I was feeling at the time and those just happened to be the last two tracks on the EP that give a feeling of “closure.”

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