New Music Experience: girlhouse Listening Party

At WNXP, we are unabashedly, big time girlhouse fans. She was the first artist to perform in the Sonic Cathedral, had multiple singles on the air and is one of the most frequent flyers on the New Music Experience. So for this week’s show we decided to do something special — a “Listening Party” to celebrate her new release, the Fourth EP. girlhouse joined in-studio and we listened to tracks and talked about her journey from lockdown project to touring artist in need of new songs for the mosh pit.

The best way to experience this is to listen to the episode (above) but here is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.

girlhouse: (Launching during lockdown) makes me feel like it’s an End of the World project. I do feel like I completely shifted into this kind of new, more aware and braver person that I am now. Because, before that, I was acting for a really, really long time. And I was always so obsessed with fitting into whatever mold anybody wanted me to be. And so girlhouse was so freeing because all I could do was just kind of play and tell my story in a way that felt fun and interesting.

Jason Moon Wilkins: Let’s talk about your new EP. It’s called the Fourth EP because it’s the fourth EP that you’ve done. I figured this out with my math skills. So, I guess my very first question is – why just EP’s?

Girlhouse: I don’t know. For a minute, I thought it would be really funny to just only do EPS. But also, it’s just. I know I we’re such a new artist. I think it kind of gives us an opportunity to try a lot of different directions and only focus six songs at a a time, except for five songs on this EP. I think a whole album just felt like things would have just gotten lost. And I wanted to get to know people and I wanted to get to know the project. And I was just trying to figure out what the heck my voice was in this, you know? And so, it gave space six songs at a time, really just gave space to figure that out.

Jason Moon Wilkins: There is a through line musically through the EP’s, but with this one there is a departure. There is some “rawk” in there. There are some heavier elements. So, two-part question. First of all, where does that come from? And did getting out and playing shows, inspire you to come back into the studio with a different feel for what kind of songs you might want to do on stage?

girlhouse: So to answer the first part, it came from a release. It really felt like a release. And answering the second part of your question. It was so incredibly helpful being able to go on tour. This EP was the first batch of songs that we wrote post being able to go on all the amazing tours that we went on last year. And so that changed everything. Now everything is character. Everything is what’s going to be so frickin’ fun to play live. And I want energy. I want to be able to go back to these songs in case we want something like really, really hype. And so, yeah, just definitely playing live inspired a lot. I just want to mosh a little bit.

Jason Moon Wilkins: Like you said before, this project was really born during lockdown. So you were discovering your voice at a time when you were also in a bit of an echo chamber., a vacuum. How has that changed for you as you’ve been able to not only go out and play these songs live, but also collaborating with people?

girlhouse: Yeah, I think I’ve been able to work with people that I never would have even thought that I would meet. Like Aaron Gillespie (from Underoath). Incredible. I’m just like texting my friend from high school ‘You won’t even freakin’ believe who I just met!’ But I get to work with them, you know? It’s been really rewarding and, really, really cool. Imposter syndrome kicks in all the time but being able to meet all these cool people has been really inspiring to, kind of feel like I can (do it). It gives me a little oomph, gives me a little confidence boost as well that I haven’t really experienced in my life, period. In acting I was always ‘chorus.’ Like, don’t step out too much. Don’t shine through too much. Like just blend. And so being able to step out has been different and it’s been really fun.

Jason Moon Wilkins: I want to ask you about the song “Til I Do.” Yeah. Songs structurally, thematically can be all about one thing, but even within a song, one little part can be its own little meaning. And I love the line “I’m not losing my mind in a good way.” I know what it means to me, but I want to know where that came from for you and what you were trying to communicate with that?  

girlhouse: It’s like I’m not losing my mind in a good way. I’m losing my mind, like, in a cute way. It’s that release we were talking about earlier. You know, it’s… can we talk about drugs?

Jason Moon Wilkins: You can absolutely.

girlhouse: So I was in a really deep depression, and back when I was living in L.A.. And my friend, she has this company where she makes these amazing mushrooms. And she gave me this mushroom. We were going out dancing and I was like, okay, I’m just going to try this. I went off on my own in this club and I was just kind of dancing and I felt like I had a moment of happiness and serotonin for the first time in a long time. But too, I felt like I reached this acceptance with depression and I reached this acceptance with anxiety and darkness that I was like, okay, that can service me in a way. We’re not all light or all dark. We can merge together and we can, it’s so Oregon of me, but it’s like we can dance together you know? I guess the song is just acceptance. It’s just loving all the parts of yourself. That’s what I wanted to relay in this song is just the (parts) spending time together and going out dancing together.

Jason Moon Wilkins: There’s an interesting thing that you may have noticed happening in Nashville. There are some… I wouldn’t say that things that sound the same, but it seems like musically they are coming from a similar place. Artists like Samia, who moved here. Annie DiRusso. Savannah Conley… As you said before, you were making a lot of this stuff in a bit of a vacuum. But as you have escaped the vacuum and are out and about do you feel connected to some of these artists? Have you met some of these folks or is it still everything kind of existing almost in little bubbles?

girlhouse: I’m still just admiring and amazed of these people from afar. I feel like I would be so uncool meeting them. Like Samia. I feel like I would be so uncool. She’s really amazing. I feel like I would probably be, like, a weirdo, you know?

Jason Moon Wilkins: I’m a weirdo. And she was nice to me.

girlhouse: You’re a weirdo in a fun way (laughs). I don’t know. I’d bring up, like, a ghost that’s been haunting me for years.

Jason Moon Wilkins: I want to hear that.

girlhouse: I could tell you I got a long story.

Jason Moon Wilkins: We will save the ghost story for another day, and I truly want to hear it. But, you are part of this scene, right? Even if you feel disconnected in some ways. Especially, I think, from outside folks who are looking at what’s happening in the city, and artists who are affiliated associated with it. We were talking earlier about some Nashville artists who you listen to. Is there anyone in particular who has made something that you really like right now?  

girlhouse: There are soooo many artists I want to mention like Joy Oladokun. And Ruston Kelly. The last show I saw of his was at the Ryman. My heart is beating just thinking about that show. It was my first show post-Pandemic and my first time at the Ryman. And I got to see Reston Kelly, who I very much associate with being on the road and touring and just, like, screaming along his lyrics with my friends and my band. But the new album, the new album was just… He always has such a good story arc and his honesty about mental health and recovery. It was everything that I needed to hear right now made me just, not weep outwardly, just weep internally. “Better Now” was the first time that I heard a song in a really long time that I really, really connected to.

Jason Moon Wilkins: Do you have a show coming up in Nashville?

girlhouse: Well, we have stuff we can’t announce. Stuff we’re doing this fall. And then we are still making a lot of music. I said after the fourth EP. I was like, ‘This is it!’ But I think we’re going to do maybe an album next year? Who knows maybe it will be the fifth EP. So there’s more to come. There’s going to be a lot more to come. There’s more story to tell. And yeah, just excited to hit the road.