What are you loving most about life at the moment?
I’m in a place right now where I have a lot of time to take care of myself and be healthy. I cook a lot and exercise. That is something that had been slipping for me so it’s very good to have it back.
What inspired the album?
I’ve been releasing one album per year since 2007. Generally when one album is coming out I’m already back in the studio recording the next one. So after the release of my fifth album “High Tide” which was about drowning, I just kept writing. The very dark theatrical stuff on “This Heart” is probably overflow from “High Tide.” I worked a very serious desk job for the past three years. Although I was rising to the top of the company in responsibility, I was still treated like the lowly worker I started as. About 3/4 of the way through recording “This Heart” I was let go from the job and I quickly wrote a few songs about that situation. I perceive a shift in the energy, like a release of tension. Songs I wrote while I had the job like “Take This World” and “What’s Becoming” are super high anxiety, and songs I wrote after, like “Something to Call Mine” or “I Used to Have Friends” while they are not happy songs, are calmer. Losing the job gave me the mental space I needed to process what I was becoming. How dark and negative I was becoming.
How did the title come about?
There is a track “This Heart” on the album, and my husband helped me to choose it as the title. I was pushing for some other things actually but the album name is something that I will wait for his agreement on.
You’ve mentioned that you don’t stick to genres or trends, but do you have any favourite genres with regards to your listening habits?
I’m hopelessly in love with female vocals. So that is a big part of my inclination. I don’t have a genre that I listen to more; I search out qualities in music that cross over genres. I like conscious music, I like melodies and lyrics that surprise, and I have a thing for attitude and sincerity.
What do you love most about what you do?
I just got a note from a fan “Thanks for making music that helps me survive in a world that I hate.” That sums it up.
And what do you find the hardest?
The hardest thing is the self-promotion, the constant hammering away at stone. I can sell almost anything else. But my music is so personal. I like to talk about it, but to sell it to someone and tell them how great it is? That really makes me uncomfortable and makes me feel wrong. But it’s part of the job. Not one I do well!
Tell us about the upcoming single / video?
The track was recorded in Brooklyn, NY with producer Little Pioneer AKA Craig Levy and it features the wonderful Mike Shobe on trumpet. Craig decided to keep the track mellow throughout. It creates a sort of suspense for the album to start. For the video I teamed up with an NYC visual artist BAMIAM.TV who does these beautiful psychedelic artworks.
What would you be doing if not music?
I think there’s a little academic in me. I have a book that I’m researching for and maybe will write one day. I fantasize about getting paid to listen to people’s problems so I have considered getting an advanced degree in psychology. I’d love to be a Jungian Analyst because I’m very into dreams and dream work.
How important do you think image is as a musician?
Image has always been a huge part of musicianship. It has elements of farce to it, and there are aspects of it that can detract from music. There’s another way that I think about image and genre, which is that they are very connected for many people. Some people classify themselves by what music they listen to. Their music is akin to the clothing they wear. They buy it, they put it on. But music isn’t as superficial as clothing is. That is what I think people are missing. Music is more fundamental and can potentially be very expansive and connective.
How helpful do you find social media?
I miss Myspace! I miss when the musicians were the cool kids and people loved it when we posted our content on their wall! At this point, there are an overwhelming amount of sites that (as a musician) you’re supposed to be on, promoting and strategizing on each of them. It’s exhausting. It could literally be someone else’s full time job. I find social media to
be helpful in the short term gratification sense, I can easily share content. I also think it’s good to help build my network. I know it’s not going to make or break me. I’m a lowly needle in a haystack in today’s social media world. Social media sites are out for themselves, not to help me in my efforts.
Is there any impromptu information you would like to tell us?
Thanks Roisin, I appreciate the chance to share a few thoughts here!
Interview by Roisin Kelleher. More interviews & writing by Roisin on Louder Than War can be found in her author’s archive.