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Have you been sitting on this material for a while or was there a decision to make a solo record and then you started writing from there?
There are a few songs that I just recently wrote, but it's more stuff I've had for a long time, from when I first moved to New York. A couple songs on it are from far before I was in The Babies and maybe a few even before I was in Woods. I used to play alone as a kid—it'd probably be embarrassing if I'd listen to those songs now—but I've always been interested in solo careers and have always wanted to begin one at some point and [continue] it for the rest of my life. It’s funny, I went in to record, and I had maybe 20 songs. It's ended up as just an eight-song record, but it’s 45-minutes long, so they turned into something pretty different than what I had initially planned.
Were there any songs you had vetted out to The Babies or was there always the intent to save some for a solo project?
I think maybe one of them we had tried with The Babies, but it's lot more rootsy and not as favorable towards a rock band.
Would you say that's the defining difference between the two bands, stylistically?
I would say [the solo material] is more mature in some respects. It’s definitely pulling from a different circle of my influences than a lot of The Babies’ songs. More rootsy. I’ve always been drawn to singer-songwriters, and a lot of my favorite albums have been from them. I feel like there’s a cool resurgence with it right now too—there are a lot of really talented singer-songwriters out there.
I know the country thing gets thrown your way a bunch, but that actually seems pretty fair?
For sure. Absolutely. But I don’t like any actual [Top 40] contemporary country. It's all the "indie" country, which especially seems to be having a moment right now, like with Angel Olsen.
The country influence and a "western outlaw" narrative got talked about a lot about with [The Babies' last record] Our House on a Hill, but the polar opposite is at play too in a sort of sweet, Jonathan Richman-esque innocence and the idea of domestic bliss that's woven throughout—like right there on the album cover. When you call your solo album "more mature,” is it focusing away from that side of things?
With The Babies—I really noticed it on our last U.S. tour—we posted the dates and there were a lot of disappointed people because the shows were mostly 21 and over. We’ve got a younger fanbase, which is rad and amazing. But I think there's a crossover right now where Cassie [Ramone]'s and my songwriting is coming from such a difference place as opposed to a band like Wavves, but the younger crowd maybe sees the two as the same thing, a little bit. I feel like people who would get into The Babies through that sunnier, pop-song pipeline would hear my solo record and be like, "What the fuck is this?"