The Hudson River Valley, Stage Fright and Wikipedia: An Interview With Widowspeak

01/30/2013 9:00 AM |

When the band first started, you had a fear of singing in front of bigger crowds. How do you feel you’ve been coming out of your shell as a frontwoman? 

I think I’ve gotten a lot better about it. I don’t know that it’s just time and experience doing it. I think I’ve also become more confident in what I’m doing. I think I used to hide behind the fact that it was a band and I was just supposed to be singing my part and once it was over I could breathe a sigh of relief. So I was getting all worked up about not being able to actively and effectively convey songs as well as I wanted to. In performing, I was afraid that making mistakes was going to take away from the songs. Because as much as you can be confident about it in a practice space or a recorded sense when it’s done, I was afraid that if I didn’t do it as well as I knew I could,  nobody was going to experience it the right way. It was tied into insecurity. I wasn’t just afraid of what people would think of me, it was more like, I didn’t know if I was going to do the proper service to the record. I mean, I guess at this point, I’m starting to enjoy playing live in a way that’s more like, the energy you have when you’re onstage isn’t just about being nervous anymore. It’s about being able to get into your own songs and interact with a crowd. Although with a lot of the songs, it’s difficult to sing and interact and play guitar at the same time because you literally can’t move. But I think that just the way that I play and the way that the band is playing is a lot more not loose, but a lot more relaxed and natural than when I was freaking out and crying before shows. And afterward, just breathing a sigh of relief and having to go outside and breathe for a minute to collect myself. Now, it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun. 

You’ve mentioned before (in press for the first album) how you didn’t see Widowspeak as the center of your lives or what you define yourselves by. With this record out, do you see that shifting into more of a priority?

I would definitely say that since that record came out, it’s become the only priority. And I think that’s because I’ve become more comfortable with the idea of this becoming more of an artistic project and not just something that… my friend Michael from Tacoma was starting a band and wanted me to join Widowspeak. We were playing nothing but DIY spaces, where it seems like, that’s all it would be. I’ve done musical projects, creative endeavors, but I did now expect that I would have this opportunity. So definitely, with this record, it’s become the most important thing in the world to me. And I can’t speak for Rob, but I’m really proud of it. And also, I’m already thinking about what we’ll do next, what will happen next. I’m just really excited about recording and having the opportunity to tour and travel. But also continue to play as much as possible.

So it seems like you’re becoming more comfortable with playing bigger and bigger crowds, and even festivals maybe?

Yeah definitely. Whatever happens, I’m totally excited and welcome to it. And also being able to identify  as I have the opportunity to make something artistic and creative. It doesn’t just have to be about being in a band. It’s like, being some form of artist who plays and instrument and sings, you know? I guess it’s just the way you think about it. being able to think about it like that has actually made me more excited to do it and less scared of messing up. 

Do you ever wonder how your life would have been different had you stayed in Tacoma and not come to Brooklyn?

It’s weird because I originally moved to Brooklyn for college. And then I got so homesick but I moved back to Tacoma and I ended up going there for a year, which didn’t solve the problem because the Tacoma that I grew up around had changed. It just kind of felt like I was homesick for a time and not necessarily a place. It’s weird because I go back and I don’t know a lot of the people because a lot of my friends from Tacoma have actually moved to Brooklyn and a lot of new people haven’t came out of the woodwork back home that I don’t know. You’ll go to the neighborhood bar and everyone seems to know everyone but I feel a little out of the loop. I know that if I was a part of that community, I’d still be making music and being creative. I think I would be happy, so I don’t have any regrets about that. As far as Tacoma versus Brooklyn, I think it’s just been a different experience and I’m so glad that it happened and I feel like it has been a lot more challenging in a lot of ways. Living in a huge city is just harder. It’s way moor emotionally taxing. It’s a difficult experience, but I  think it’s also more rewarding. I love Tacoma and maybe someday I’ll be back there. It is weird to leave  behind something when there was nothing wrong with it. 

And just to clarify, Rob is not from Tacoma; he’s from Chicago. He’s always like, “We’re not a Tacoma band!” (Laughs).

Below, video of Widowspeak performing “Harsh Realm” in the office of The L Magazine way back in July of 2011.