What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I actually wrote my first original songs at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where I went to school, after I had been playing at the on -campus venue The Cabin for a couple of years. I played covers to start, mostly Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, and Radiohead songs from Ok Computer. Then I actually recorded my first compilation of songs with Justin Vernon, he mixed and produced the little collection of covers and a few original songs and it was for my boyfriend at the time. I called it “almost completely unoriginal.” It was almost all covers, hence the title, with I think three that I had written on my own. It meant a lot to me that he loved my rendition of “Karma Police”, we had a lot of similar music tastes.
After that, I moved to Italy, and that’s where I really started making music. I had become friends with a great group of guys in a band called Addamanera, and their friends with the label Trovarobato. I was so blown away with how much fun we had just playing around at friends’ houses jamming and writing songs, and eventually they asked me to play keys and sing some backing vocals for them. Their influences—Franco Battiato, Lucio Battisti, Rino Gaetano—all became huge influences for me as well. Their music was very psychedelic, and I fell in love with the idea of music being psychedelic too.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
My most recent single, “Alis”, is off of my upcoming album that’s called “The Sim Is Real”, which is going to be released April 29th of this year. Up until this point, I had been doing a lot with electronic components; I was programming orchestral tracks and drums that would go in the background of my songs, and I was going by the name “Littlefoot”. Then, I met up with Walt Vincent, who was interested in my music and I had been on a long hiatus from writing songs up until last year when we met and chatted at a little pizzeria near my house, Carbone’s. We look back on that meeting and laugh actually, he said it was really quite a story, coming in and seeing this woman in a booth in a little hole in the wall pizzeria to talk about possibly working on a pretty big project. We hit it off right away, and I sent him the songs that I had been working on up till then but since they had been primarily for Littlefoot, I decided that I was going to write new songs for this album. For about a week, I was waking up at 4, 5 a.m. every day inspired with new ideas, and I would send Walt a song idea, and he’d say “I love it!” or “This is great!” or “F—yeah!” And his encouragement, since he had produced some of my favorite artists like Liz Phair and Pete Yorn, Scarlett Johanssen, really was a strong force pushing me to keep writing. Essentially I wrote I think ten new songs in the span of a week, and almost all of them are on this album.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
A huge musical influence for me has always been Aimee Mann. I feel like especially today, her voice remains so unique and so purely original, like she was never afraid to just be herself. Her writing continues to blow me away, every album, every song, has some moment where I just pause and go “Wow. Holy shit.” She’s amazing. And she never fails to surprise me.
Another main influence is Franco Battiato. When I first heard “Mondi Lontanissimi” playing on vinyl at my friend’s house in Messina, Sicily, with the sound of the sea in the background, it was like magic. I wanted to listen to it over and over. I think you can definitely hear his influence in all of my music.
Non-music wise, I think some of my biggest influences have actually been film directors. Fellini, Wes Anderson, most recently Ari Aster, have all strongly influenced my writing and the vibe that I want in my songs and my music. Kim Ki Duk is another huge influence. Comics have influenced me greatly too: George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor. Something about the comic and how dark they can go, and how creative they can be at looking at the world, has always left me with a strong imprint of that darkness, and that sensitivity.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I think that maybe something I have been told, by Walt and others, is that my voice doesn’t sound like I’m trying to be anyone else right now. I love all types of voices and singing, but I think it’s true that my voice doesn’t really fit in any specific genre right now, which sometimes makes me feel extremely insecure but I think I could also embrace it as a positive thing. As for my sound, I think that maybe in not being totally out-there, as much as I have been with Littlefoot, was one of the more daring things I’ve done with my music. I think it sounds like something from the 90’s, but with all of those influences I mentioned mixed in. It’s a little secret wish I have, to bring back the 90’s.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Franco Battiato: Mondi Lontanissimi, Aimee Mann: Charmer, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis.
Wes Anderson: Royal Tenenbaums, Paolo Sorrentino: The Great Beauty, Kim Ki Duk: Three Iron.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
That’s a tough question, I love both! I think I’d have to go with live performing. There’s just something about the spontaneity, the chance, the synchronicity of playing live that really makes it magical to me. It might not be as perfect or as studied, but with the energy of the audience going back and forth between you and them, I really love it.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I think that maybe the most unique story and funniest in relation to my music career would have to be the time I trusted this person who wanted to manage my social media and my music career in general, and at the time I was pretty naïve and I had no idea that there are just always going to be people that you have to set some boundaries with. Anyway, this woman ended up just changing my whole Twitter profile to “Young Moon”, she had decided that that was to be my new name, and she was introducing me to people as Young Moon and every time I felt like I was going to puke hahaha. She wanted me to have a really tight blond ponytail braid and dress like Nicki Minaj, and I just remember as I was sitting in this little shop on the beach getting my hair yanked while she was jabbering away pouring warm wine into a plastic cup and saying how great this all was, that I didn’t know how I was going to escape. Luckily I came to my senses and it was never clearer to me in that moment that you have to take charge of yourself, and your identity, or anyone can just steamroll you and take over. I don’t think she was a bad person, just a little over zealous.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I think I’d have to say “Divine Cum” off of my album “Symbol Of Love.” It’s a mix between noise and pop, and I make weird barking noises throughout over the tracks that I recorded with space echo. It’s not for everyone, but I still like it.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I’d love to. Right now, I’m focusing on this upcoming live that we are doing at Pachdyerm Studios in Minnesota, which I’m so excited about because I’ve never even been there let alone recorded there and my hero Kurt Cobain recorded there, so I’ll be looking for his ghost! We are going to play a couple of tracks off of my album that will be filmed, and made into a video that will be released on April 29th, the day of the album release.
And then in July, I’m currently in the process of having a tour booked on the east coast. I don’t have too many details to share yet, but I would just say stay tuned and I’ll announce them soon!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Ooh, free question! Okay. “If there was one song you wish that you had written that exists, what is it?”
“Masterpiece” by Big Thief. I don’t think that any one song has ever hit me as strongly as that song did when I first heard it. I’ve always been blown away by Adrianne Lenker, but for whatever reason, “Masterpiece” just feels like it became a part of me, I listened to it so much. And the lyrics are genius to me, so I would have to say that song.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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