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  • Interview: pennybirdrabbit

    Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:16:10

    Interview: pennybirdrabbit - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    Pennybirdrabbit takes to the skies on her immediately irresistible new EP, For Love [iTunes link].

    The five-song collection builds the perfect gateway into her wild, wistful, and wondrous world. Yes, it's danceable at times with a decidedly modern synth-ed out swell, but it's also delicately poppy too—in the right way. We promise you're going to fall in Lovewith pennybirdrabbit.

    In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, pennybirdrabbit talks For Love and so much more.

    What ties For Love together for you?

    There's definitely a theme content-wise. When Young & Sick [producer] and I got into the studio, I had brought the songs I had written to him. They're all about love. There's a sonic consistency throughout everything. We just had a good time. Every day in the studio was like a little dance party. We would make sounds, and we had fun. I didn't think too much about everything, while we were making it. Everything turned out perfect.

    There's also a lyrical cohesion. Do you feel that?

    Yeah! We actually did nine songs. We had ten days in the studio. Every day we did a track. It was really incredible. When I delivered the songs, the label told me, "You can pick five". I was like, "No, I'm picking seven". They were like, "You can pick five". I looked at the songs and thought, "Well, these are all about love, and these are a journey here". To me the EP takes you through sort of a relationship, and I didn't mean this intentionally. You start off with "Maybe", and you're thinking, "I don't know. Is this a thing?" Then, you go on to "Look For Love"—we're in it! Everything gets progressively worse [Laughs]. I put them in that order afterwards, but I didn't go in with any sort of plan. It just worked out that way.

    So it was natural and in the moment...

    I think so. I approach life like that. I work hard with every opportunity. I just go into something and trust life a lot. It doesn't mean I'm lazy. It was frustrating when I was told I couldn't have seven songs. It breaks my heart knowing the two songs didn't make it. However, it provided me an opportunity to go, "This is actually better, and it works out the way it should". I tried to release the EP last year, and everything got pushed. How perfect was it that For Love came out on Valentine's Day though? Everything works out how it's supposed to.

    What's the story behind "Maybe"?

    I started "Maybe" when I was about seventeen-years-old. I've had that song for some time now. That was one of the last songs we worked on during our time in the studio. The vocal chopping you hear at the beginning and throughout the song is actually my demo of the "Cheap Goodbyes" vocal. While I was traveling back from Australia, I sat with my headphones, and I would just make things on my laptop. I made that vocal chopping and beat. I had it for months. I got back into the studio, and I told Young & Sick, "I have this song I wrote a long time ago. It needs a little bit of tweaking, but I've been building the track. What do you think?" I played it for him. It's funny because when I go into the studio it's never like, "Okay, we're going to do this today and that tomorrow". You just want to see what happens. You never force something. That's how the whole EP was made.We would ask each other, "What do you think about this sound?" We'd laugh that it sounded funny or perfect. We would surprise each other with these happy accidents. He's such a wonderful person to be around so the energy level is really good in the studio. I showed him the vocal chopping, and he said, "Send this to me!" I sent the little files, and it just happened. I was happy that I had it prior. When you're doing it, you never think, "This is for something". You're just making things. Then, you can go back and have this catalog of things to choose from. You put it together and voila! "Maybe" is realizing you might not be everything someone needs, but maybe you can be. It's definitely a song built on insecurity and hope. It's probably the most naïve of all the songs on the EP. That makes sense since I started writing it as a teenager. It grew into what it is now.

    How did "Time" come together?

    I wrote that song driving in my car. I had my phone out, and I sang it. I had just seen the person I wrote it about. I bumped into him. It was a little uncomfortable. I got in my car and probably cried. I was driving home to San Diego. I recorded it at the Atlantic studios. I made some of the percussive sounds you hear. Young & Sick used a lot of my structure. I love that "Time" is the end of the EP and the last line is, "And you chose this time". Especially "Cheap Goodbyes" where you break down and you're sad, "Time" says, "This is not my fault". There's a little bit of redemption in the EP with "Time".

    What artists shaped you?

    I grew up listening to musical theater, and I watched a lot of musicals. I listened to a lot of James Taylor, Journey, and Styx as well as Tracy Chapman and The Eagles. It was classic rock and musical theater. A lot of what I do is theatrical-sounding. I've been told that anyway. When I was in high school, I got into a lot of emotional music. It was a lot of Yellowcard and The Starting Line. I used to cry in my room to Dashboard Confessional all the time [Laughs]. Chris Carraba wrote those songs about me! I listen to a lot of EMBRZ now. I love music you can connect to on a feeling live. Some music you can listen to when you're in a club with your girlfriends and you're dancing. I'm not going to listen to Top 40 when I'm in my house thinking, but I can connect to it in a different environment. What inspires me the most is music that makes me feel.

    If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

    That's such a good question! I have no idea [Laughs]. I don't want to sound pretentious. Now, it's not because the EP reflects the scenes in this movie but more because there's a story. The only movie that the soundtrack really hit me is Garden State. I think about that sometimes. You can listen to it and go into your own world. For me, that's what writing music is like. My life in my head is a story. Sometimes, my thoughts come out. I don't think normal like other people. I think like a book.

    pennybirdrabbit - Maybe

    Rick Florino

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    Tags: Pennybirdrabbit, James Taylor, Journey, Styx, Tracy Chapman, Yellowcard, The Starting Line, Dashboard Confessional

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