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HomeCultureDemise, Intimacy, and 'All of the Issues': An Interview with Emily Yacina

Demise, Intimacy, and ‘All of the Issues’: An Interview with Emily Yacina


Lengthy Seashore-based artist Emily Yacina began writing and recording songs in 2010 on the age of 14. She grew up in the identical Philadelphia suburb as Alex Giannascoli, aka Alex G – with whom she has ceaselessly collaborated – however has since been carving out her personal type of bracingly weak songwriting, marked by an earnest but typically surreal emotionality extra akin to Frankie Cosmos or Lomelda. After placing out a collection of lo-fi-leaning releases on Bandcamp, she got here by way of along with her debut studio album, Bear in mind the Silver, in 2019. It was co-produced alongside Eric Littman, who handed away two years later. A couple of years earlier, Yacina had misplaced one other shut good friend, Mark Ronan, to whom she devoted the 2015 document Mushy Stuff.

This Friday, Yacina might be releasing All of the Issues: A Decade of Songs, a career-spanning compilation that begins with recordings she made in her teenagers and concludes with three model new songs produced with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. “Too fucked as much as be actual/ However I do know greater than something you’d need me to snort/ I wish to dedicate my life to your thoughts,” she sings on the wrenching ‘DB Cooper’, through which she honours Littman’s reminiscence. As an entire, the gathering serves as a rigorously curated doc of her life in music as nicely her private progress. The best way it recontextualizes and attracts a line by way of seemingly disparate songs is putting, revealing her distinctive perspective as a songwriter whose work has all the time been attuned to the tender edges of expertise, however who, with time, has solely grow to be extra conscious of all of the issues – new, outdated, and all-consuming – that compel her to maintain exploring.

We caught up with Emily Yacina forward of the discharge of All of the Issues to speak concerning the technique of compiling her songs, how they relate to at least one one other, grief, and extra.


What’s your headspace like with the discharge arising? How do you’re feeling concerning the new songs which are out?

I really feel actually excited. The brand new tracks which are on there occurred so organically, and so they had been meant to be the ultimate songs to this ten-year group of songs. I wrote them in a really natural means, and recording them felt sort of the identical. Generally you may be uncertain about issues proper earlier than they arrive out, as a result of there’s a lot time between it being completed and when it’s revealed to everybody. One thing I lean on in instances the place I’m feeling a bit of bit like insecure about issues that I’m about to place out, I’m like, “I do know that after I was making this, it felt very true and proper and pure.”

My good friend, Matthew [James-Wilson], who I work with right here in California, he’s a great good friend of mine, and we met in faculty really, in all probability in like 2014. We lived on the identical corridor, and we’ve been actually tight ever since then. He was sort of the one who proposed the thought; I hadn’ actually considered a compilation or thought that could possibly be doable. We had been speaking about it, and he is aware of me so nicely and is aware of my relationship with music so nicely. I used to be speaking to him about simply how my songwriting, regardless that it’s advanced for certain, I nonetheless really feel like there’s like quite a lot of issues that make it what it’s, and the frustration that comes with that. I expressed to him feeling like I used to be like on the verge of one thing totally different, like I’m in a really experimental section of my life and I don’t understand how lengthy it should final or what it should lead me to. However his thought was, why not make one thing to have a good time this time, all of this music that’s been remodeled the previous 10 years? And to do it in a means that feels true to me, as a result of I get to pick out those that I most resonate with and prepare the songs thematically and chronologically. It felt like a very nice strategy to honour this time, regardless that I really feel just like the world round me is altering a lot and I’m altering a lot.

The gathering begins with ‘As We Go’, which you place out whenever you had been simply 14 or 15. Given how a few of the more moderen songs cope with loss, I used to be struck by the road “I’ve received this foolish concern/ That all the pieces is leaving me.” It’s so near the “everybody” that comes up a couple of traces earlier, however “foolish concern” makes it a bit lighter, the “all the pieces” much less private, although nonetheless real. What do you keep in mind about writing it, and the way does the tune converse to you now?

Yeah, that’s the oldest one which’s on there. I used to be a sophomore in highschool, and I had a very life-changing yr that yr. I feel lots of people can relate to highschool being – you’re beginning to perceive who you’re a little bit extra and what the world has to supply to you. And for me, socially, that was a very impactful yr. I wrote that tune about this group of children who had been in my highschool who had been a couple of years older than I used to be, and so they sort of took me underneath their wing. It was the primary time that I used to be feeling so satiated by, like, individuals, and what different individuals had been into, and it was simply so thrilling. I used to be like, Wow, there actually is that this entire world. However the impermanence factor, like “all the pieces is leaving me,” I feel I used to be considering, like, ’trigger they had been seniors… [laughs]

Oh, so it’s not like a mortality factor.

Yeah, completely. However I nearly really feel prefer it sort of like holds palms with it in some kind of means. It’s understanding that that is so fleeting, and I really feel that means about simply life generally now. And quite a lot of that has to do I feel with my relationship with grief. However for this tune, I used to be simply keenly conscious that the way in which that that is taking place now’s solely going to occur for this yr, after which who is aware of? Who is aware of the place they’ll be?

‘As We Go’ and ‘White Bull’ are separated by a decade, however they each, ultimately, talk the sensation of somebody new coming into your life. However whereas within the first case it stirs up this concern of impermanence, on ‘White Bull’ you’re conscious of the self-confidence that makes you embrace it, and it turns into nearly dreamlike. Apart from time, what else did it take to acknowledge that bravery in your self?

All the pieces that you simply mentioned about ‘As We Go’ versus ‘White Bull’ positively is true and resonates lots with me. And yeah, I feel simply time and the standard of relationships that I’ve been capable of get hold of. I suppose that is extra like about romantic relationships, however not being ashamed of my wants, having them be met, and the boldness that comes with that. Like, I do know what I want, and feeling far more assured in that, as an alternative of like, Is that this an excessive amount of? Is that this reasoable? There’s a confidence in understanding myself a bit of bit extra by way of time. That’s positively one a part of it.

One other half I positively really feel like is the experiences that I’ve had with demise, and the way these experiences have been probably the most formative in how I situate myself in life and the way I really feel about life. It’s only a knowingness that it’s so impermanent. But additionally sort of leaning in to that, too, if that is sensible. Perhaps acceptance, like there’s much less of a battle – all the pieces’s going too quick and I can’t like course of all of it and I don’t have management over something, to extra of a spot of accepting, like: We’re solely right here for this period of time, issues change on a regular basis. And the one factor that sort of centres me in that data is simply attending to get pleasure from all the pieces when it occurs and appreciating it. Expressing like to individuals is an enormous factor.

I like the phrase “muffle the damaged sound of all the pieces” as a means of expressing that. It jogs my memory of ‘Mushy Stuff’, the place you describe this tender intimacy that fills up an area between two individuals. All these years later, what does “tender stuff” imply to you – not essentially the tune itself, however the factor it evokes?

Yeah, it’s attention-grabbing. I haven’t considered that phrase in a very very long time, however it positively has to do with quite a lot of issues that you simply’re speaking about. The intimacy that’s shared between pals or lovers, that’s so fleeting and tender, like the other of concrete. I haven’t considered that, however it’s so true that it pertains to the issues that we’re speaking about.

There’s a sort of imprecise vagueness to “tender stuff,” and I used to be stunned how typically you utilize this kind of language all through the gathering – “all of the issues,” “all of the items,” “all of the tales” – all these everythings. However whenever you put them collectively this fashion, it made me take into consideration how every all the pieces, as trustworthy and whole as it could actually appear within the second, is fleeting, extra like a snapshot. And it’s all the time altering and increasing. I’m curious if arranging this assortment has led you to that realization as nicely.

Completely. And one thing that I considered whenever you had been speaking about all the pieces and the way there’s a vagueness to that: I used to be simply having a dialog with my good friend the opposite day, and she or he informed me – I used to be sort of processing one thing along with her and explaining all of the totally different emotions that had been arising on this private scenario – and she or he was like, “Isn’t it loopy how a lot we are able to maintain directly?” You realize, there could possibly be like a main feeling, however there’s additionally so many different issues that you would be feeling on the identical time which are in your physique. I really feel like that speaks to the all the pieces, all of the issues – it’s not that there’s a restricted area for all the pieces, that there’s a capability; all of these items are coexisting on the identical time. And I feel that’s additionally what I used to be attempting to get at, too, with the title. I feel I’ve gotten extra snug with the concept so many emotions can coexist directly, even when they appear like they’re contradicting each other.

There are a few of the earlier songs right here that attempt to nail down a particular feeling, and you then get by way of the gathering, and also you get to ‘Dominos’, and that’s the place all of those emotions that you simply wouldn’t essentially think about co-existing, do. There’s the all-consuming want that you simply specific in quite a lot of the primary songs, and there’s the grief that permeates the newer ones. And so they each really feel like they’re a part of the identical factor. And there’s an acceptance that was absent on ‘As We Go’, the place you’re possibly attempting to suppress it a bit of bit – that concern – however on ‘Dominos’, you’re able to embracing it.

Yeah. 100%. [laughs]

Do you wish to speak a bit of bit about that tune? 

I’m actually enthusiastic about that one. The primary traces are, “That will need to have been you/ Shifting balloons throughout the lounge flooring.” Final yr, I used to be residing with a very good good friend of mine, and I’ve such a tender a part of my coronary heart for her. It was within the earlier days of the pandemic and we had been feeling a bit extra remoted. I had simply moved to LA, and we had been simply spending a lot time collectively on this house that we shared. It was simply such a bizarre yr, and she or he bore witness to quite a lot of loopy stuff in my life, and I did the identical for her. It was a really particular time.

It was her birthday celebration – I suppose it was like two days after her birthday celebration, however we nonetheless had balloons in our house. And one of many balloons, we seen, even when the air was off or the home windows had been closed, stored shifting round. After which I sort of jokingly mentioned to her, and to the balloon: “Mark” – Mark is my good friend who handed away after I was in my early 20s – I used to be like, “Mark, if that’s you, I need you to maneuver to my bed room door.” And I mentioned it fully simply off the cuff, and the balloon began shifting on a really straight path from my lounge, after which went proper up and knocked towards the door to my bed room. And that’s what that a part of the tune is about.

I like that individual a lot, Mark. And it’s been I suppose like seven years since he died. It’s so attention-grabbing, the ways in which he’s nonetheless very a lot current in my world. And regardless that the perimeters are a bit of bit softer, with time, I nonetheless very a lot really feel him, like, in me. I nonetheless sort of hear his reactions to jokes, or, like, new issues in my life that he doesn’t know. I really feel him on a regular basis.

When you’re snug, may you share a current second the place you felt his presence ultimately?

Yeah, I’m attempting to assume. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of, final yr, I misplaced one other actually good good friend of mine. And I don’t wish to say that that have has overshadowed my first expertise with demise. In a means, it sort of has made all of it join a bit of bit extra to me. Actually, it’s the one factor that I can evaluate this current loss to, is my lack of Mark. It’s the one factor that I can relate it to. So, it’s been attention-grabbing, as a result of as I’m processing this more moderen loss, I’m fascinated by Mark lots – much more than I used to be the yr earlier than. And it’s in a means that’s useful, but in addition has its personal disappointment. I really feel like I now have the data that point does go on, and that’s one thing that I’m actually combating this most up-to-date one: I do know, due to this expertise with Mark, that the world will in 5 years will look fully totally different than when this individual was in it. And so, there’s that data, but in addition, in a means, I really feel like Mark’s sort of serving to me with this most up-to-date scenario, if that makes any sense. That entire expertise is informing my strategy now, to grief.

One thing that I take into consideration lots is how that have was so formative and felt so private. After which with this most up-to-date expertise – and I’m certain anybody who’s had shut demise can sort of relate to this in a means – however with my good friend who handed final yr, there was this sense like, Oh my god, this is part of life. Like, this isn’t only a one-time, random, loopy factor. And in some methods it’s, however the greater image – everybody goes to die. [laughs] And that’s probably the most unavoidable – that’s the most important fact to me.

I neglect how I used to be gonna join that to Mark, however I suppose simply that knowingness. I actually attempt to internalize it in a means that makes me appreciative of the time that I do have with individuals. Going again to love the expressing love factor – that’s an enormous a part of my life.

There’s one a part of it, proper, which is about expressing that love within the current second as really and truthfully and totally as you’ll be able to. After which there’s one other side of it, which I really feel is partly realized by way of this assortment, that has to do with the act of remembering and reflecting. I needed to return to the title of Bear in mind the Silver, which I learn is from a ebook about alien abduction, and it refers to this mantra about remembering how actual all the pieces felt. I’m wondering, whenever you look again on all these things – all of the songs and the reminiscences that they comprise – what helps you keep in mind how actual it really was?

I feel songwriting generally has all the time been a automobile for that for me. Simply attempting to encapsulate precisely how actual a sense was on the time. It’s additionally the overarching theme, in a means, of this assortment. Loads of the songs are outdated, however they’re so actual in what I used to be experiencing on the time. And I feel writing songs has all the time been a means that I can honour that. I’m actually grateful to have had this follow for therefore lengthy, as a result of it’s a strategy to honour the load of the sentiments. Even when they alter or if I develop, I did really feel these methods after I was making these songs.

I really feel prefer it’s additionally a uncommon factor, as a result of quite a lot of the time, musicians will really feel extra distant in the direction of their songs as time goes by. Are you in any respect afraid that these songs would possibly grow to be much less intensely linked with the sensation that they’re capturing over time, in a way, that they are going to be simply songs?

Yeah. I additionally simply assume that that’s such a cool and distinctive a part of music generally, it’s actually such a time capsule. And even should you as the author are not referring to what you’ve written prior to now, there might be people who find themselves feeling these issues at that second. If individuals message me about older songs, and so they’re like, “I do know precisely what you imply and I can relate a lot this sense,” I feel that’s such a cool a part of music and one thing that’s very particular to music. And even when I really feel distanced from it as a result of it’s recorded on this place and time, there might be different people who find themselves on their very own journey who would possibly come throughout it and relate precisely to 14-year-old Emily in that second.

You talked about earlier that you simply’ve been experimenting with new sounds and altering up your course of a bit, and we talked about how a technique of channeling how actual a sense was is thru music. Is that one thing that you simply’ve been contemplating as you’ve been taking this new course? The way to make a sense sound extra actual and particular?

Yeah, positively. In music, sure, but in addition totally different mediums as nicely. And that’s been sort of enjoyable, too, as a result of I really feel like I’ve been doing music for therefore lengthy, and I’ve been attempting to problem myself to tackle different artistic initiatives. That’s all the time tough – only for an instance, with drawing, I’ve been attempting to attract a bit of bit extra and I’ve been noticing, like, Whoa, I’ve to be snug with being unhealthy at one thing to work by way of it and be ok with the issues that I’m making. However there are a bunch of various issues that I’ve been considering of that I really feel equally about.

I’m working with two of my actually good pals proper now, one among which is my good friend Sierra, who was my roommate final yr. We’re writing a film collectively, me, her and my different good friend, Corinne. And that entire course of has been such a visit, and it’s so totally different, as a result of it’s so collaborative. We every are bringing all of our concepts to the desk, whereas music could be very a lot this insular factor, very in my head. This collaborative course of that I’m experiencing is difficult on this entire new means, however it’s additionally going again to capturing a sense – that’s additionally what we’re attempting to do once we’re writing collectively. I feel that’s one thing that hasn’t gone away with no matter artwork I’m attempting to make. I feel emotions are, like… [laughs] the most effective a part of life. It’s what life is.


This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.

Emily Yacina’s All of the Issues: A Decade of Songs is out July 29 through Hazard Collective.

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