The Julien Baker gig came as a result of my partner, Katy, booking Julien to play at Lesley University (where Katy works), and asking me to open the gig. From there, I got into an email conversation with Julien (after she randomly found my nonprofit on Instagram and reached out to tell us that she liked our purpose), and through that random happenstance, we maintained communication and have been in touch ever since. We chat every few days or so through text – but she’s like one of the biggest new names in the music world, and she has a lot going on in her life, so I’m merely thankful for the trust and respect we’ve built as friends over the last couple of years.
The most random thing to come from our friendship is I’ve had some people introduce themselves to me and say that Julien Baker told them either about me or my music or my nonprofit. So, like, that’s always a weird fucking thing to experience.
The new album is being written and demo’d right now! I love it – the process of seeing how some songs begin, how they evolve, and how the mold into new things that you never imagined them being. And working with a band through this process is already changing the way I approach this new album because while my last album was presented as a full band effort – it was very much written separately in parts. This new album (my first proper LP since 2011, mind you) is being written in collaboration with the dudes in the band. Sure, I’m constructing the main structures and skeletons for the songs, especially the words and themes – but I’m opening myself up more to the input of the band.
Also, the album will even be released under a different name than Another Musician – a band name (sort of how you made that move with House Sparrow
). Haven’t settled on a name just yet, but I have some ideas that I’m kicking around. It’ll be cool to release this one as a band because it’s going to represent more than me, I think. I’m writing more accessible music and words, which is hopefully gonna make the project connect with a bigger/different audience. while remaining true to my style and ethics. I’ll likely still use AM for my solo releases moving forward, though. Which, I hope to even release a lo-fi acoustic/spoken word album in 2019 as well. A LOT HAPPENING!
As for the styles present on the new album – so far, in it’s very acoustic demo stage, everything sounds very folk punk. But I am always fucking with genres – being a spoken word poet, my songs tend to have a different approach to them, regardless. But I’m experimenting with different ways of singing, screaming, and talking on this album. And musically, my focus is to meld a couple very specific sounds into one – dreamgaze, folk punk, rock, and post hardcore. It’s gonna be something else, for sure!
I’m working with a friend, Josh, who plays bass and played bass in some metal bands back in the midwest a few years ago, as well as two members of the emo-math band, sports. (realsportsboys.bandcamp.com
), who are playing drums and lead guitar, and helping me write a bunch of different pieces for these songs. I have plans to play a lot of electric guitar on this album, and having these dudes working on the other pieces is definitely a big help because I’m only so capable on my end of creating the pieces that exist in my head. They’re all being helpful in giving me advice on how to rethink writing my music – because I am learning that writing songs for solo performance or consumption is COMPLETELY different than with a band.
I was very bummed to hear about your dad passing not long ago – I know, to a degree, the feeling of having that piece of life missing. And I remember reaching out to you about his death, in hopes that you know you are not alone in that pain, or grief – you got lots of support in your life!
Writing about my dad was an ongoing process for a while – from when I wrote an instrumental song about him in 2011 (since I didn’t have the words yet), all the way through to this new album, where I still make a couple references to him being gone. Loss, like grief, like mourning, is a process, and the way we turn that into creativity (or don’t, even) can be a challenge, and looks different for everyone. I wrote a number of stories about my dad during college (as a creative writing minor at Oregon State) – sort of cataloging his life along the way to his eventual death.
These exercises – sometimes just spending a few moments making lists about him, or writing down his characteristics in a character profile, or even the things he used to say to me – would help me a lot in terms of HOW I went about portraying him in my writing. Like, I never really knew my dad as a healthy man, so most of my memories are tainted by that lens. Thankfully, I have a pretty solid memory, so I am able to put myself in many of the moments with my dad throughout our life together – relive those feelings, experiences. But I also did a lot of writing in the moment. So that helped – cuz he was sick for a long time. So I always had time – until I had none.