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Aug. 9, 2022

Interview with Alice Merton (Alice Returns!)

We had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Merton over Zoom video.

Alice Merton releases her second album S.I.D.E.S. which features the new focus track "The Other Side." This album campaign has seen Alice raise the bar from what she achieved with...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Merton over Zoom video.

Alice Merton releases her second album S.I.D.E.S. which features the new focus track "The Other Side." This album campaign has seen Alice raise the bar from what she achieved with her debut album Mint (billion+ streams, Top 10 chart positions across Europe, becoming a judge on The Voice of Germany) with some of her biggest moments in fresh territories, including a US tour with Bastille, a career-defining orchestral concert of her biggest songs with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, and being named as Jo Whiley’s Infatuation on Radio 2.

The singles that have previewed the album — including "Vertigo," "Same Team," and "Island" — have seen Alice make a huge leap forward in both her artistic vision and her confidence. The voice and alt-pop addictiveness that first enamored fans remains at the core of her sound, but it’s adventurously doused with touches of indie, electronica, alt-rock and synth-pop. Ultimately, S.I.D.E.S. sees Alice blur the boundaries between ragged rock energy and pop infectiousness. It is also the first album, where Alice has acted as the executive producer throughout the whole album.

The fiery attitude of much of the music is matched by Alice’s desire to explore her vulnerabilities head on. When lockdown gave her the time to space to reflect, Alice realized that she wanted to use her music to reflect who she really is. As a result, she boldly explores issues of personal and professional conflict, self-doubt, and standing up for your principles. Despite some dark moments, what emerges is hope: what’s painful to deal with in the present is often only a passing experience.

Alice says, "The last two years have been challenging for everyone in some way or another. Friends and family were lost, lockdowns were enforced, and our mental strength had been tested to its limit. S.I.D.E.S. tells the story of what I experienced during this time.

There’s never one reason, or one solution, or one side of a story. Life is so multifaceted, it’s never black-and-white. Sometimes you feel trapped in a certain mindset and some things seem impossible to overcome, but that’s just one side of it. Once you start seeing the different sides of yourself and of the world around you, you realize that everything becomes a little less daunting."

Alice co-wrote and co-produced every song on the album, which also features some of her long-term collaborators as well as big names such as Koz (Dua Lipa), Jonny Coffer (Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding), Jennifer Decilveo (Anne-Marie, Andra Day), and mixed by Matt Green (Royal Blood, Dua Lipa The album is released on her own label, Paper Plane Records.

#podcast #interview #bringinbackpod #AliceMerton #SIDES #SameTeam #NewMusic #zoom

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Transcript

0 (3m 14s): Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to catch up with Alice Merton over zoom video. It is always such a pleasure to see in a chat with Alice Merton. We had a chance to hang out with her in San Diego at the hard rock hotel in 2019, like November, 2019, when we were doing this pre pandemic. So the interview was in person. You should definitely go back and check that out because we chat about her entire early, early, early music career. And my older son is there, my wife and we kind of, it's like a little family affair with, with Alice hanging out with us. 0 (4m 2s): So we catch up a little bit on what she told us before with where she was born and raised and got into music and eventually taking part in the songwriting course when she was 17. But then we pick up where we kind of left off on the interview, which is the start of this brand new record sides. And from what we heard in the first interview to what we chatted about in this interview, the record went in an entirely different direction. So it's really, really interesting to hear Alice talk about producing this record, being the executive producer of this record, how the whole thing came together and the therapeutic experience she had just letting everything out on this album. 0 (4m 48s): A lot of, a lot of things happen that she was going through. She talks about it as well in the interview. And you should do yourself a favor and check out the, the first interview we did with, with Alice in person at the hard rock and San Diego. But you can watch this interview as well on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It'd be rad if you subscribe to the channel like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at bringing back pod. And if you are listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcast, it would be amazing if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review. 1 (5m 24s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, 0 (5m 30s): We're bringing it backwards with Alice Merton. Hi Alice. 4 (5m 34s): Hi. 0 (5m 35s): How are you? 4 (5m 36s): Good. How are you? 0 (5m 37s): I'm doing well. I don't know if you remember, but I've spoke with you a couple times before in San Diego. I'm now in Nashville, but I appreciate you doing this again. Thank you so much. 4 (5m 48s): What made the, what made you decide to go to Nashville? 0 (5m 51s): Just my family and I, we wanted to get a change of pace. More, more, more a place to like a bigger place to live, essentially. 4 (5m 59s): Nice. Very cool. 0 (6m 0s): Yeah. We love it here. We love it here. But last time we chatted was at the hard rock hotel in San Diego and you were playing, I think it was WonderFest or something like that. It was like 2019 4 (6m 10s): On the Omni shore. Yeah. Yeah. On the seafront. 0 (6m 12s): Yeah. And yeah, we were hanging out at, at the hard rock. That was so fun. And my son, my wife were there. We like family interviewed you. 4 (6m 21s): Aww. Yeah. Yeah. I vaguely remember that day. I remember that not many people showed up to our set and I was very sad. 0 (6m 30s): Really? That's oh man. I'm sorry. But it was 4 (6m 33s): A lovely day. It was a lovely day. Otherwise. 0 (6m 35s): Yeah. Well, I just watched your performance. You did at the, the, the it's like for a music discovery project, it's like you in a orchestra and was a 4 (6m 48s): Frank 0 (6m 49s): For radio. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh. What a beautiful performance. That was so good. 4 (6m 55s): Thank you so much. We'll be putting that out on as like a stream mobile version of that with orchestra very soon. So 0 (7m 4s): Really I found it on YouTube, so 4 (7m 6s): Yeah, it's on YouTube, but it, yeah, it was such a, an amazing thing to be part of. So I have so much. 0 (7m 12s): Yeah, it's so good. And I love your new record. It is. I'm just such a big fan of yours. So I'm so excited to, to catch up with you. 4 (7m 21s): Thank you so much. What I'm bluing. Yeah. Wow. That is that's nice. I, I mean, you always wonder how the next record's gonna, if it's gonna be cool if people are gonna like it or not. So I genuinely have no idea what this one, I really don't have like a feeling of like, oh, I think it's gonna come across really well or not. I just, it's one of those records where I just, I, I like listening to it personally. I think it's a cool one. So 0 (7m 47s): No, it's be, it's awesome. And it almost feels like, I know it's probably not intended to be like a concept record, but you could kind of feel like this, you know, sense of how it starts. And then until you know it, how the whole thing ends with the other side. And like now you're on the other side of this, this thing that had been going on, and it's just, it's such a cool album and I'm glad it's a full album because not a lot of people are doing that. And cuz you put out vertigo a while ago and then when island and heroes came out, I was like, oh my gosh, like heroes is like one of my favorite songs. And then the full record comes out and I'm like just blown away, again, a hundred stories. What a beautiful song that is. 4 (8m 23s): Thank you so much. I, I love a hundred stories. It's one of my favorites. 0 (8m 27s): I think that's my favorite one on the record, to be honest. 4 (8m 29s): Thank you. Wow. 0 (8m 31s): Yeah, no, it's a great, it's a great album. So I, but again, yeah, thank you for doing this, but our podcast is about you and your journey in music. I know we've, we've heard your story before. You've told it numerous times. I'm sure. Just due to no roots, but I'd love to just like briefly catch on that and then kind of pick up where, where 2019 left you and then obviously through, through this, this release. 4 (8m 55s): Sure. 0 (8m 56s): Cool. So actually I never really, where were you born? Cuz I know you've moved like a million times, but where were you actually born? 4 (9m 2s): I was born in Frankfurt, which made that music discovery project really special because I was coming back to the place where I was born, but I didn't spend much time there. I moved to Connecticut when I was three months old. 0 (9m 13s): Okay. So, but you were actually born there. How special 4 (9m 15s): Born there? Yeah. Yeah. So I was born in Frankfurt then moved to Connecticut, then moved to Canada. Then from Canada, moved to Munich then from Munich. So then the story. 0 (9m 25s): Yeah. Then it keeps going. But how long were you in? How long were you in Connecticut? 4 (9m 29s): Oh, like a year or two. 0 (9m 31s): Okay. So you were moving like very rapidly, obviously. How many times you, like you moved like 14 times or something insane like that in like a very short period of time. If you look at it. 4 (9m 39s): Yeah, it was it's it was intense, but I don't remember much of Connecticut unfortunately. 0 (9m 44s): Yeah. Okay. No, no reason to, I guess. But so then you get to Canada. Well, so you started writing or not writing, but you started playing music at a very, very early age. Right? You picked up piano young. 4 (9m 54s): Yeah. So I started playing the piano when I was five and then started singing when I was nine. But songwriting came much later. I didn't know. I could write songs till I was like 17. 0 (10m 5s): Okay. And with piano, was that something like, do you come from a musical household at all? I never asked you that before. 4 (10m 11s): My dad plays the piano and is kind of like a hobby music, a hobby songwriter. Actually he was the one who always wrote songs for like me and my choir. I never dreamed of writing music. I was like, ah, too hard. I don't want like, this is, I can't do this. I don't have the talent for that. But yeah, no, no one else in my family plays music. It's just literally him and everyone else does like something smart. 0 (10m 36s): But he wrote for your choir? 4 (10m 38s): Yeah. I was gonna like my school choir. He, he offered, I think, I think he just kind of missed being a musician. Like he was always a hobby musician. So it was like doing it in his spare time, but his job was something completely different. And so he would always ask my choir leader when I was in at school and she was, and he'd be like, do you guys need a song? I wrote a song and 0 (11m 2s): Wow. What were the songs about? Do you remember any of 4 (11m 5s): 'em? It was like a Christmas song or something. I, I remember all the lyrics in the melody, so it's actually, it was pretty good for me to remember all of that. Sure. So, yeah. 0 (11m 15s): Wow. Okay. So you, you were in the course choir and then you started writing songs in a songwriting course, correct. Beatstars (11m 21s): Would you agree? Lil NAS X is one of the biggest artists on the planet with old town road. What if I told you they bought the beat for old town road for 30 bucks on beat stars and the song currently holds the record for the most time ever spent at number one on the billboard hot 100 chart, beat stars is the world's number one digital music marketplace to buy and sell beats, bringing it backwards. Listeners can go to beat stars.com/b I B to get started on beat stars. Beat stars is free to use use for beginners and bringing it backwards. Listeners can also get a free one month premium subscription to open their own virtual music store with code B I B beat stars also allows music creators to sell their products worldwide. Beatstars (12m 9s): Everything from beats loops and sound kits to vocals lyrics, graphic design, and more dozens of top charting songs from the past few years were actually made on beat stars or created by beat stars, producers. Like I mentioned, Lil NAS X old town road, as well as CJ's whoopty Soja boys. She make it clap and many, many more beat stars has helped pay out over 200 million in music sales to hundreds of thousands of musicians, whether you're an independent artist, singer songwriter, rapper, a and R or label, there are millions of beats available to you on beat stars in any genre or style beats can be leased on beat stars at very low rates, sometimes even free and are available for sale exclusively. Beatstars (13m 0s): If you're interested in writing songs, but you don't play an instrument or produce beat stars is the perfect place to start. Beat stars also offers music distribution to dozens of streaming platforms for less than $20 a year for unlimited song releases. Don't forget. Beat stars is free for beginners and bring to backwards listeners. Get that free one month premium subscription to open their very own virtual music store with code B I B Bring to backwards listeners can go to beat stars.com forward slash B I B to get started on beat stars. Huge shout out to beat stars for sponsoring this episode. 3 (13m 40s): Planning on traveling this summer, make saving at the pump part of your plans with two times the fuel points from Harris Teeter it's easy. Download your Evie coupon and for every dollar you spend with your V card, you'll get two fuel points. That's up to $1 per gallon on quality fuel at participating BP and Harris Teeter fuel centers. Download your EIC coupon today and save money at the pump all summer long with EIC and Harris Teeter fuel points. 5 (14m 9s): Custom Inc is an awesome way to recognize employees thank customers and outfit your teams with their favorite products and brands customized with your logo. Custom ink.com lets you make your mark on water bottles, backpacks, polos jackets, and a ton more custom ink is your go-to custom gear partner with great customer service, quality products and all in pricing along with personalized help when you need it and an easy to use website when you don't. Oh yeah. And everything is a hundred percent satisfaction guaranteed. Check out what we can do for your business@custominc.com 4 (14m 40s): Exactly in the like 11th, 12th grade. That's when they offered a course at school called songwriting. And I was like, sure, I'll sign up for this. This is like the first creative course that they've now offered at this German school I was going to cuz everything was always very kind of like, it was very much like a university, but for like a kid. So like you're always studying. You're always, you have to pay attention every class. Like it it's, it wasn't fun going to school in Germany, but yeah, so they offered this one course that was like, you can be creative and, and I loved it and that's what led me to where I am now. 0 (15m 21s): Okay. Were you writing creative writing before that or no? 4 (15m 25s): In Canada? I was. I love okay. We had creative writing as a subject in Germany that didn't exist. 0 (15m 32s): It was like, so how old were you when you moved to Germany? Just to for timeline line 14. 13. Okay. And you lived in Canada from what, what ages? Or roughly? 4 (15m 40s): I from one or two to like 13. Oh, 0 (15m 43s): Okay. So you're there kind of yeah. Big chunk time. Yeah. I 4 (15m 47s): Was there for like 12, 13 years and moved, moved around once then in Canada. 0 (15m 52s): Okay. But you're in Canada until you're about 13. So you were creative writing in Canada then? Yeah. When 4 (15m 57s): You, so they offered that at school there. Okay. But then as soon as we moved to Germany, 0 (16m 3s): It changed 4 (16m 4s): It basically. Yeah. It was more about like analyzing poems and writing. I, I only know the German words for it, like and sets as like you'd write, I mean you'd write essays anyway, but we only like essays. That's still like a personal kind of opinion on something. When you're writing an essay about something that only came much later in Germany. Like they really, they didn't do anything when I say anything creative, I mean anything creative, like it just didn't exist. It was 0 (16m 38s): Just so no art classes, nothing. It was just all academic. 4 (16m 43s): Sorry there was art classes once a week. 0 (16m 47s): No, but it wasn't like something that it 4 (16m 49s): Was like, even then it wasn't like, yeah, like feel free to do whatever. It's like, you get a mark for how good this is or how bad this is. And it's like, compared to what I had in Canada, it was, it was nothing. So I was very sad when I moved cuz I was like, suddenly I felt like my creativeness was being put into a, like, it was just being kept. Like I couldn't be the person I wanted to be. 0 (17m 17s): Yeah. I mean, I know Canada is awesome when, when it comes to supporting their country and their arts, I mean you can get grants and like they're very, very supportive of which is awesome. I think the only other country I've heard that does that is New Zealand. They're also like very supportive like that and I'm sure that's so tough to go from that to now. You're not allowed to be creative. Like you can paint and then that's it. Or you can do this little bit of our project and that's it. Yeah. But then they offer songwriting. So you take on the songwriting class and do you have to know an instrument or like at that point, like when you go into that, cuz you were classically trained right on piano. 4 (17m 51s): I was classically trained on the piano and I also was classically trained on like vocals. So I'd been taking classical vocal lessons for quite some time, which was kind of difficult because I then didn't really know how to sing in like a more singer songwriter poppy way, which came later when I actually got accepted to study songwriting. So. 0 (18m 16s): Okay. 4 (18m 17s): Yeah. 0 (18m 17s): So when you went into this class, it was, were you, I mean, tell me just you get this, you get in this class or teaching out a song. Right. And are you you're playing guitar or you're writing on piano? 4 (18m 27s): How did that work? I started guitar. I started with guitar even though I had no idea how to play guitar, but that was the refreshing part of it. It was like, oh, take an instrument that you haven't classically learned yet. And that has all these rules do whatever you want with it. Write a song. And then that's, that's when I really discovered the love for songwriting, cuz it was just, there's no more rules anymore. And I love that. 0 (18m 48s): And I know you had, you went to school for music, right? You ended up going to college for that. 4 (18m 53s): I studied songwriting when I, I I think I was 20 when I got enrolled in the course. Yep. 0 (18m 59s): Okay. And were you living in, in Germany at that time as well? 4 (19m 3s): I was, I had, we had just moved to England, but I had moved then to study to Germany afterwards. 0 (19m 10s): Okay. Did, were, did you move to Germany back to Germany to pursue music then? Or was it just, you wanted to go to that specific school there or I 4 (19m 17s): To go to that specific school and the problem was I didn't have any money to afford like English, English, universities. That was the year where they raised the prices, still nowhere near as high as American prices, but still high. And I was like, I don't wanna come out of college or university with a bunch of like a huge amount of debt. Sure. So there was this one university that offered a course for free and it was a bachelor's degree and I was like, okay, if I get in here, it's a sign. I won't apply anywhere else. I'll just apply here. And if they take me great, if they don't, whatever it is, what it is. Yeah. Go back to studying business or whatever. 4 (19m 57s): And they took me 0 (19m 60s): And you said it was a grueling process to get in, right? Like the, 4 (20m 3s): Yeah, it's a lot of like 0 (20m 4s): She had to jump through to just even get in after you get accepted or whatever. 4 (20m 8s): Well, they, they, they say they have like a thousand applicants and they take 10 songwriters. 0 (20m 15s): Oh my gosh. 4 (20m 16s): So I, I felt really like relieved when I got the email being like, Hey, you've made it to the next round. 0 (20m 22s): Right. It was what a validating moment like, okay, I'm actually, I should be doing this. Like this is something that other people are kind of cossetting on. That's awesome. I think 4 (20m 30s): Exactly. And I think that's what also gave me a little bit of a boost in confidence because I thought to myself, you know what, maybe I'm not as shit as I thought I would be. And maybe there are some people that think my songs are kind of cool. So that's kind of where it started to, to happen. And I met my band there. I met my manager there. We were all just friends in the same semester. 0 (20m 54s): And you guys have stayed that way at least up until 2019 since. Right? Yeah. I mean, 4 (20m 59s): I mean my unfortunately, so I mean not, unfortunately my guitar player then kind of left us and said he wasn't really feeling like the tour. I don't think he was, he wanted to be a touring musician. Cause we then started 0 (21m 10s): Understandable 4 (21m 11s): Touring a lot. Yeah. 0 (21m 12s): Yeah. 4 (21m 13s): And so then we got Reggie on board who I also met at university, but he was from America. So he lives in Seattle. 0 (21m 20s): Okay. Yeah. And he's the one that I think has been playing with you for a while, Reggie playing together. So I met him like in 2018 the first time I met you. Yeah. I was working at a radio station when we interviewed, I interviewed you there and you did like a little three song, acoustic E set in this little studio thing and he, he played guitar then. 4 (21m 38s): Yeah. Okay. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. That's him. So he joined a little bit later. He joined like I was in 17, 18, but still we've been together ever since. And, and I love like, I really feel with my band, it's not me and a band. It's like my band and they were just too lazy to figure out what we'd call ourselves. So instead we just call, it's just Alice Merton. Yeah. So yeah. I love them and I, and I, I don't wanna ever replace them. I love playing with them. My bass player kind of also is still on, on the fence of like, do I wanna be a touring musician, especially now since COVID like a lot of them unfortunately had to get like full-time jobs and 0 (22m 22s): Right. I mean, What a devastating for, I mean the music industry took such a hard, I mean, not that everyone else didn't but like if that's your livelihood is just touring and, and doing that, like yeah, it's all too. Beatstars (22m 35s): Would you agree? Lil NAS X is one of the biggest artists on the planet with old town road. What if I told you they bought the beat for old town road for 30 bucks on beat stars. And the song currently holds the record for the most time ever spent at number one on the billboard hot 100 chart, beat stars is the world's number one digital music marketplace to buy and sell beats, bringing it backwards. Listeners can go to beat stars.com/b I B to get started on beat stars. Beat stars is free to use for beginners and bringing it backwards. Listeners can also get a free one month premium subscription to open their own virtual music store with code B I B beat stars also allows music creators to sell their products worldwide. Beatstars (23m 23s): Everything from beats loops and sound kits to vocals lyrics, graphic design, and more dozens of top charting songs from the past few years were actually made on beat stars or created by beat stars, producers. Like I mentioned, Lil NAS X old town road, as well as CJ's Whoopie Soja boys. She make it clap. And many, many more beat stars has helped pay out over 200 million in music sales to hundreds of thousands of musicians, whether you're an independent artist, singer songwriter, rapper, a and R or label, there are millions of beats available to you on beat stars in any genre or style beats can be leased on beat stars at very low rates, sometimes even free and are available for sale exclusively. Beatstars (24m 15s): If you're interested in writing songs, but you don't play an instrument or produce beat stars is the perfect place to start. Beat stars also offers music distribution to dozens of streaming platforms for less than $20 a year for unlimited song releases. Don't forget beat stars is free for beginners and bringing it backwards. Listeners, get that free one month premium subscription to open their very own virtual music store with code B I B, Bring it to backwards. Listeners can go to beat stars.com/b IB to get started on beat stars. Huge shout out to beat stars for sponsoring this episode. 3 (24m 55s): Planning on traveling this summer, make saving at the pump part of your plans with two times the fuel points from Harris Teeter, it's easy. Download your EIC coupon and for every dollar you spend with your Vick card, you'll get two fuel points. That's up to $1 per gallon on quality fuel at participating BP and Harris Teeter fuel centers. Download your EIC coupon today and save money at the pump all summer long with EIC and Harris Teeter fuel points, 1 (25m 24s): Bridgestone tires just rolled into Midas and a few roll in. We've got an exclusive deal for you. Get $70 back in Bridgestone rebates, plus a $50 reward card with paid installation. Shop Bridgestone tires@midas.com. 4 (25m 39s): It's awful. And I'm so lucky. Like we, we said to the guys, we will pay for the concerts we would've had, which was our a few, but not that many in that in 2009, 2020, but still like we were, I was lucky that I kind of owned my, my own. Right. So I could kinda off of that for a little bit. But yeah, like if you're either working on crew or, or touring musician or building stages, I mean, it was an awful time for so many people. And, and I think that kind of is really shaped everyone's perspective now as well. Cause everyone's a little bit nervous. Like what about if it comes back to that, you know, like what about if we're gonna go back the lockdown, the numbers are going up again. 4 (26m 21s): They're saying the variants are actually just as bad as the first variance and then it's, it's getting into it. Like, I don't know how it is in America right now, but it's in a, we're in a really weird state at the moment in, in Europe. I find like, no, obviously no one's wearing masks or not many people are wearing masks anymore. 0 (26m 41s): Yeah, no one, I mean, at least I'm in Tennessee and no one, I think people just gave that up a while ago. Yeah. Unfortunately it's 4 (26m 47s): Like, but the numbers are rising here. Yeah. So rapidly. And I'm, I'm hearing more and more people actually getting quite sick. And when I had COVID in February, I was out for five, five weeks. 0 (26m 59s): Oh my gosh. Yeah. You had bad. 4 (27m 2s): Yeah. And I, oh my gosh. I had the job. I had the vaccine. 0 (27m 8s): Yeah. Oh my gosh. My, my son that you met my older son, he got it. But his was really bizarre. Cause like he didn't feel bad, but he just didn't, he couldn't taste anything for like a month. Mm 4 (27m 20s): Okay. 0 (27m 20s): Like he was really sick for about 48 hours and then it kind of came through our house, but you know, my wife and I have got the vaccine. So it was like, it didn't really hit us that bad. Yeah. But even for him, but like I said, he didn't, he lost his taste and nobody else did in my house. So that was really bizarre. 4 (27m 37s): I had this weird thing with my taste where I didn't lose it. I gained this awful taste in my mouth for like weeks where everything tasted like metal. 0 (27m 47s): Oh, maybe that's what he had. He had like a, he can't even eat like certain things that he used to love anymore. Just cuz it reminds him of that taste. 4 (27m 54s): Yeah. Cause it reminds you of that taste like it, like a lot of people are like, oh I can't taste anything. I would've rather not tasted anything than having everything that or certain things taste like metal. 0 (28m 3s): That's what it was. That's exactly how he had it. It was things tasted terrible. One of the things that was where Oreos, I remember he's like de gross and I'm like, oh man, that's a bummer. 4 (28m 13s): And I remember being so confused in the beginning cause I was like, this, this isn't one of the symptoms they're talking about. They're saying you lose your taste. And so I was like, are these now new things that I'm smelling that are actually in there the whole time. But we as humans can't smell and they're actually like all these toxins in these things and it's hob. Like I was so confused with me. It was like pickles, ketchup, fries. It was so weird. All these things that I love chips. I couldn't, I kept smelling chips and be like gross 0 (28m 46s): Man. 4 (28m 46s): It's so confusing. I was so confused, man. 0 (28m 49s): Yeah. Well I'm glad you're feeling better cuz that sounds awful. That sounds it was awful. 4 (28m 53s): I think the worst part was realizing that, that I was really like, I couldn't sing for five weeks because I was just out of breath all the time. I, I completely forgot that it's not just the voice that could be affected, but the lungs, if my lungs don't work, I can't perform. So that was terrifying. 0 (29m 15s): Yeah. I bet you're. Yeah. Cuz if, if that doesn't work then yeah. It's I mean, what do you do at that point? You just sat. I 4 (29m 22s): Sat on the couch for weeks and oh my gosh, my bed. And would go walking once a day and then feel exhausted afterwards and have to lie down. 0 (29m 30s): Oh my gosh. Well I'm glad again, I'm glad that you're feeling bad. That sounds terrible with, with like, okay. So we met last time in no, in November, 2019 and then a few months later, obviously COVID hits. And when do you start writing this record? And actually my first question on the record is, I don't know if you've answered this or a million people have asked, is sides an acronym for something? Or you just put periods. It's acronym, 4 (29m 55s): It's acronym. But it's an acronym that I wasn't that I'm that I decided not to tell anyone. 0 (30m 1s): Oh, okay. Kinda 4 (30m 2s): Like, so with men's I realized I was having a lot of panic attacks because I felt like I was giving something so private to the world and sharing every detail of it. And I kind of thought I had this idea, like what about for this album? If I avoid that, like to avoid that I would keep one thing private that only I know that is so personal and there's, there's another reason. Like I didn't call it sides because of the acronym I call it sides because it was a word that kept coming in. Every song were not two sides of the same team. Oh sure. Blindside the other side, it wasn't like I picked, it just kept happening. And I realized kind of that this album felt like a journey on a Rubik's cube for me where the Rubik's cube keeps turning. 4 (30m 48s): But I keep like trying to find a different side and keep trying to find a way out of the situation and going from one kind of phase to the next, like that's what this album is. It's like this roller coaster of emotions and events that happened in my life. And, and then when I decided to call it sides, I was like, you know what, I wanna make it an acronym and keep that one thing for me so that it never feels like I lose the control over it. If that kind of makes sense. It's no, 0 (31m 18s): It does. 4 (31m 19s): But it's like, it's this one thing that I get to keep to myself that I know is there, but I'm not that I won't share with anyone at the moment because I can hold onto that. And I didn't feel like I had that with men. Like I was very open with all the emotions and the panic attacks and the fear and men, my childhood and, and I, it freaked me out and it caused me to have a lot of anxiety. And so I thought to myself, it would be kind of nice with sides to kind of just have one thing. That means something to me. 0 (31m 49s): I love that. Cuz I, I was trying to figure it out. I'm like, how come? No, one's like, I don't see the answer. It's like, I'm like, I don't wanna come off like an idiot. You're like, yeah, it's blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm like, oh, but now it makes me feel better that you haven't 4 (32m 4s): Like there, but it's it's I don't think anyone would come up with it because it's a very personal kind of message in that, in those letters. Sure. 0 (32m 13s): Well, I think that's cool that you have that and you, you do keep control of that because, but I think not saying that you shouldn't do that, but the, the, your records resonate with people too, because you're so vulnerable. Do you feel like that? Like, you know, with the, the EP and then mint, the, the, the way you taught or the, the, your lyrics and the way you present yourself is very vulnerable. And you even do that in the new album, aside from the acronym. 4 (32m 40s): Yeah. Aside from that one from that one word. 0 (32m 43s): No, but I mean, just from that one thing, I'm not saying that like, oh, like I can't believe you're not. It's just, 4 (32m 48s): I could, like, when I told my dad that my dad just shook his head, he was like, he's like, you don't make sense to me, dad. I, I really feel like I wanna do this. And the thing is the great thing about this whole thing is that no one can say no, because I'm like, I'm not in, there's not like 10 people in the decision making of my albums. It's like, right. I can call it whatever I want. Like I could call it dog poo and no one would complain. 0 (33m 14s): Well, if that's the greatest thing about your career that you've built for yourself, right? I mean, nobody can tell you what 4 (33m 20s): I just, I mean, I hope it's sustainable. I really hope that people will still be interested in the music. You know, I hope I don't go too off the grid where I just start writing things that no one can relate to. I 0 (33m 30s): Don't think that will happen. I, I mean, you're, you're two full albums and EPN and, and, and I don't think that you have to worry about that. Never, 4 (33m 40s): But yeah, we'll see. No, I, I enjoyed making this album. It really helped me out of an awful time in my life. And I really, I really feel like this album saved me in a lot of ways without sounding too dramatic. No, 0 (33m 54s): But Beatstars (33m 54s): would you agree? Lil NAS X is one of the biggest artists on the planet with old town road. What if I told you they bought the beat for old town road for 30 bucks on beat stars. 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Huge shout out to beat stars for sponsoring this episode. 0 (36m 13s): Bridgestone tires just rolled into mid. And if you roll in, we've got an exclusive deal for you. Get $70 back in Bridgestone rebates, plus a $50 reward card with paid installation. Shop Bridgestone tires@midas.com 6 (36m 29s): Reman your life by becoming an RN at duke health, a recognized health system in north Carolina's area, known as the triangle home to award-winning restaurants, beautiful scenic spaces and a eclectic art music scene. You'll have plenty to enjoy in the area and cities beyond what's more, you'll have a career filled with purpose and opportunity matched by benefits that best support your wellness, family, and future offering sign on bonuses and relocation apply today@dukenursing.org. 4 (37m 0s): Yeah. 0 (37m 1s): With, well, when I talked to you last, you said you were working on an album. You're like, oh yeah, we're gonna record some of it in Berlin and then maybe Toronto and LA and like, and you were, you were, but you also made a point to say that, cuz Nico's the person you work with, correct. On all your stuff. 4 (37m 18s): I work with him on my first album. Oh, okay. I work with him on this album. He, yeah, that's kind of, 0 (37m 25s): Oh, I'm sorry. 4 (37m 26s): There's a lot of him in this album as well. 0 (37m 28s): Okay. Well, I, that was a thing that you were kind of discussing with me was just like, so that sounds like this record was done com completely different then. So you were, had had a, 4 (37m 38s): Sorry. 0 (37m 39s): No, so yeah. It, so what the point of where you were when I spoke to you to where the record ended up, it sounds like it went into to a totally different course. 4 (37m 49s): Oh, a hundred percent. 0 (37m 51s): Okay. Yeah. I don't know if you feel comfortable talking about anything about that. I mean, 4 (37m 55s): No, no. A hundred percent. Like I, when I, when we had our conversation and I'm remembering more and more of this place now where we had the conversation and your family meeting them as well. And I think I was sat in like the middle of you guys and then 0 (38m 8s): Yeah. And you're like, I feel like I'm at tea with, with your family and then we invited you to dinner and you said, you'd come. So we're, we're still holding you do that. I don't know if you know that my wife, you better next time. I'm, 4 (38m 19s): I'll let you know, 0 (38m 20s): We you're coming over and you're like, what are you gonna cook us? And, and I'm like way to put me on the spot and we didn't have an answer for you, but we've what we've, we've discussed it. We're gonna, my wife's have Filipino. So we're gonna make you some Filipino food. 4 (38m 33s): That would be amazing. I'd love to try some, some Filipino food, especially if it's like authentic, you know, because oh it is wife would be really good at making that. 0 (38m 40s): Yeah. So you're definitely invited over and I heard you bake and my wife bakes too, so 4 (38m 44s): Perfect, perfect combination. 0 (38m 46s): Yeah, exactly. So, sorry, back to your, 4 (38m 49s): It basically turned out everything other than how I expected it would turn out like, okay. I thought I was making it with the same person. I kind of made the first album with. I thought I was also gonna be working with people in the us and an amazing producer cause who I also met in Toronto and then the pandemic came and I, and I don't do, like, I don't really do zoom conference or zoom sessions. So I kind of was like, you know what, I'm just gonna create this album in Berlin. This is gonna be a Berlin album. And, and I, I was able to work with, with two producers in London, which was great, cuz I was kind of, when things opened up a bit more, I was going home to visit my parents and then wanted to work in London a little. 4 (39m 34s): So yeah, it was the process of, it was very different than how than when in 2019, when, when you and I kind of talked about it and that's okay because I really feel like it helped me open my eyes to a lot of things that I knew weren't good. Like they weren't healthy in a lot of ways. Like the producer that we were talking about before, who did the first album kind of didn't feel comfortable with me working with other producers, which is something that I've always been doing. Like I even did it for the first album, but kind of said to me like, Hey, I'm either doing all of your album or none of it. 4 (40m 21s): Oh. And I was like, and that's really where kind of the idea of blindside, I think, originated of someone holding a gun to your head being like you do this or there will be consequences. And I, I don't like it when someone puts ultimatums on someone else and makes them feel trapped. And so I think that kind of made us go into kind of two different directions when it came to music. I don't think we were inspired by the same things anymore. And then I went through a very traumatic breakup, which for me was awful. I, I felt awful for a very long time. 4 (41m 1s): My grandmother passed a few months later. Oh my gosh. And I wasn't able to say goodbye cuz she was in Ireland and couldn't go to the funeral and I felt horrible. And it just, I really felt like it just kept spiraling, downhill reading the news every day. Like I, I'm lucky that everyone in my family is healthy, knock on wood and during that time was healthy and we all kind of came out of that. But just, yeah, I, I feel like that was, was just such a rollercoaster ride for so many of us these past two years and I'm kind of happy I can kind of close this album and be like, okay, I'm ready for whatever else is gonna happen. 4 (41m 43s): Like let's open this next chapter because I am ready. 0 (41m 47s): And yeah. And that's what I feel like when I listen to the record. I mean the last song on the other side, I mean you, then it's okay. We hopefully are past this and we are, you know, now looking towards the, the future with, with this album when you got it out or when, when it was finished, was it like a, a therapeutic moment? Like, ah, you know, here, it's done. 4 (42m 8s): Yeah. The moment I handed in all the masters, which was quite a few months ago, I was so like, I really pushed myself to get to, to finish everything. Cuz I was, I was the executive producer on this album. There was no one overseeing the whole project. It was literally me. Wow. Working every production with every single producer I worked with. And that was a lot of work. And I really feel like my ears at some point were just like, they felt like they were bleeding because I was just so focused on certain details and the productions and the mixes and, and figuring out like what the right snare was and the certain tempos and like cutting out low ends and figuring out like it was a lot to kind of balance on 15 songs as well. 4 (42m 53s): So yeah, I was very overwhelmed, but just very thankful that it was over and that, and that I could kind of close that chapter and be like, okay, I'm ready for the next project. 0 (43m 3s): Yeah. And was it, I mean having time, right? It was probably unlimited time to put the album out just in the sense that, well, you don't have a, a label to really answer to, which is awesome. Not somebody going you need two weeks and then we have to see a new record from you. But having more time, 4 (43m 19s): Exactly. 0 (43m 20s): Sit with these songs. Like, do you feel like you ran into a spiral of listening to something like blindside, you're listening to the song. You're like, oh, I don't really love this one little snare hit. I'm gonna have to go. Were you going back and forth and back and forth? Absolutely. 4 (43m 33s): I was letting my, this is basically how it happened. I would write the song. We'd work on the production. I'd let it sit for a month. We'd go back to it. Whoever I did it with work on it, change certain things. I was changing things until the day blindside was released. That was the hardest production for me to do. Okay. Because I kept hearing different things. I kept thinking, oh, I have to take this out. I have to put this in. So that mix had been changed literally three days before I put it out. Oh wow. I was yeah. Like the, the, the version on the record is actually on the vinyl. Cause I had to hand in hand that in earlier is different from the version you'll hear on like streaming platform. 0 (44m 10s): Really. I'm glad I bought the vinyl. I bought the peach one. 4 (44m 13s): You bought the very nice, I think that's so, so sweet. 0 (44m 16s): Of course. Well, I will say when I ordered it, I had the website that's producing your or distributing. Your vinyl is in German and you have to like hit the thing to make the switch. But when I get the email confirmation, it was in German and, but I, it worked out, but I have, oh, 4 (44m 30s): No's deliver. 0 (44m 32s): No it's no, but Google is smart enough to be like, oh wait, would you like to choose English for, would you like 4 (44m 37s): To translate 0 (44m 38s): Please? 4 (44m 40s): Yeah, that's 0 (44m 41s): Funny. Yeah, we're gonna, it was the teal of the peach. We went with the peach, but now I kind of wanna go back and just buy the teal to have it. So we might have to do that, but I love it. I, and that's cool. Can't wait to hear the, you know, the different version you'll hear. Yeah. 4 (44m 55s): You'll hear some of the songs have a, like, I don't know if you'll notice it with blind side. There's one very like obvious one in the very beginning of the song, but I'm not gonna say what it's you can, that'll be something for you to, 0 (45m 6s): To figure it. I'll see if I can hear it then I I'll. I'll bring it up when we have dinner at my house. 4 (45m 11s): All right. Sounds like. 0 (45m 15s): Alright, I'm gonna, I'll let you go here in a second cuz I know you you're. You're busy. I think 4 (45m 19s): I have. I think I have the next interview with exactly 0 (45m 21s): Right now. 4 (45m 22s): Right? I think it's at half past. It's a very strict, 0 (45m 26s): Yeah. Sorry about this. 4 (45m 27s): I'm okay. Oh, please do not be sorry. This is amazing. Yeah, I've got, I've got one more a podcast as a so, but this has been really lovely as 0 (45m 36s): Well. Yeah. I have one more quick question before you then before I let you go, do you have any advice for aspiring artists? 4 (45m 44s): Okay. I don't know if it's good advice. So I'm just gonna put that out there. That it's advice, but it's, I don't know if it's, my advice would really be follow your gut when it comes to music and not what everyone else is doing or what the industry is saying. You should do. The people that have always inspired me have been the people that kind of had had the risks in their career of being like, you know what companies labels have been telling them this song is too long or this song is not good enough or it's not gonna make or break you and then them doing it anyway and, and somehow making it work. 4 (46m 23s): And that would be my piece of advice to kind of just go forward with what you think sounds good to you and also figure out if you're gonna love a song years later after writing it. Like maybe. So I think it's sometimes nice to sit on a song for a few months. If you have that opportunity and see like, do you still love it in six months time? Cause if you do, the chances are that you'll love it in five years, time is pretty big.