Growing Up Mitski

10/23/2014 12:48 PM |


The latest single you’ve put out from the record, “I Will”, is that one about anything specific?

(long mournful sigh.)

I’m going to transcribe “(long mournful sigh)” in parentheses there…

(Laughs) Well the content is…kind of…telling someone that you love them and you’re going to be with them no matter what and you support them. And I wish that was…OK, so I’m telling you something that I…you know, whatever. It’s that kind of message, but unfortunately it’s not something that I’m saying to anyone else. It’s more like I actually wrote this for myself. I wrote everything that I wanted to hear from somebody, for myself. At the time I felt like I never had that, and I really needed that kind of TLC loving care thing.

A lot of my songwriting is not wish-fulfillment, but kind of patting myself on the back and making myself feel better. The lyrics were just about everything I wanted to hear being said to myself to make myself feel better and to feel hopeful or to feel soothed.

When you play it, or listen to it, does it work?

It’s gotten to a point, when you play a song so many times you kind of start to derive different meaning from it. It’s kind of like being an actor in one of those big Broadway shows that go on for years. You just cannot relive the same moment every day, you have to rethink the moment. Every time it has to be different. Every time I say it, I think of something else, or I’m reminded of something else.


The record title is a Simpsons reference, right?

Yeah! I’m glad you got it.

Do you have a particular affinity for Milhouse?

If I say yes, would that be self-depricating?

He’s a sad sack, that’s for sure.

I don’t think I have an affinity. It was more like I was casually watching a Simpsons episode and I heard it, and I was like, “That’s it, that’s the album title, it has to be that.”

You might seem more like a Lisa. That’s a brighter answer, I suppose.

Oh yeah, I’m glad you say that.

I do think that a lot of the lyrics on the album are funny. It doesn’t tank the feeling of it, but I appreciate that somebody can be sort of feeling down but witty about it at the same time. Sometimes I think that songs that are witty or funny are a bit of a lost art.

I do feel that way as well. Sincerity is important, but there’s also like, severe self-involvement that you can hear in a lot of people’s lyrics. That’s a big turn off to me, because you’re not the only person feeling that, and you’re not the star of the world. I feel that way sometimes, like everyone does. Maybe it’s living in New York, but I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I’m generally self-involved, but I also have an objectivity. Maybe I’m just growing up and becoming an adult, I don’t know.

Do you have a day job that you’re moonlighting from?

I’m still very broke, but I do a lot of freelance stuff using the musical training I had. For example, this Christmas I’m going to do a lot of caroling in rich people’s houses in Westchester for their Christmas parties. I’m definitely struggling financially, but I would rather get to do what I’m really here to do as opposed to having making money be something that gets in the way.

So you’re going to go a-wassailing, basically?


Isn’t that the carol, “Here we go a-wassailing”?

Did you say waffling?

“Wassail,” with an S. Maybe you didn’t get to that one yet.

Oh, oh, oh, OH.


It’s not a word you hear every day.

But yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! Christmas season is the best time for the studio or performing musician. 

Are you going to have to wear an old-timey bonnet?

Oh God, I fucking hope not. If it’s what I have to do, it’s what I have to do. I’ll just suck it up and do it. But I don’t think I’m going to. It’s just like being an iPod at some rich person’s mansion party.

They might dress you up. I’m sorry.

Oh no!