Make Mistakes And Do Things The Wrong Way [an interview with SNEAKY MAG]
Isabella from The Preatures on writing music…
On songwriting: I am definitely a restless writer, or a kinetic one; I’m up for a cup of tea or having a cigarette or pacing with an idea – I have to keep moving or the idea goes. Ideas come from anywhere but I can move with them better if the scenery is moving. Once the idea is caught though, you have to focus. I know lots of people write on computers and iPads but I like writing in a book because it keeps a process there for you: you can see what you’ve crossed out, old combinations, how the song has written itself. I usually have a little period of output and then a downtime where I don’t write anything. This is usually the point where I’d like to sleep for three months but have to go on tour.
On The Preatures’ evolving sound: Jack and I were listening to a lot of new records in 2012 that spilled over into making the EP. The new Chairlift, Here We Go Magic, Cat Power and Metronomy albums all influenced the late ‘70s vibe of the EP. We were also playing a lot of Prince and Roxy Music in the studio, Talking Heads… that kinda thing. I think we just wanted to have some fun this time.
On other influences: I’ve always read a lot of poetry. I love economy in writing, so poets like Auden, Margaret Atwood and Bukowski are favourites – they do efficient, acerbic imagery
really well. I have a great impatience for flowery, overworked writing, which I think influences the way I write songs. I’ve heard people describe my lyrics as “simplistic” and “nothing special”, which is interesting to me because I spend most of my time editing and stripping back. Why can’t there be beauty and achievement in simplicity? The rhythm and cadence of a line, internal rhyme, repetition – these are all poetic devices and they’re all there in the best pop songs.
On self producing the EP: It was easier and harder at the same time. We have our own space converted into a studio, which isn’t uncommon now, but after the first EP we wanted time to experiment and just fuck around on our own, make mistakes and do things the wrong way. Jack recorded and mixed all the tracks. It’s hard without an outsider around cracking the whip, but it’s nice too. We had lots of great discussions about songs, what we liked and didn’t like. I don’t remember any fights but Jack and I disagree a lot, that’s just the way we work. At the end whoever has the strongest idea wins.
On the business side: Our managers are fantastic. They handle all that “business” stuff, which is really just a bunch of relationships you don’t need to worry about until you do. You’re not equipped as a songwriter to separate yourself from the music, be impersonal, so it’s important to have someone who can and does. Of course we’re very involved though. It’s always a drag but so is having a bunch of tshirts you hate or crappy album art.
On the track Is This How You Feel?: We knew we had very little time to chase whatever it was going to be, but once we had the chorus we had something. It all happened fast, which is the best way. Then I spent about 4 days working on the lyrics and the structure and took it back to the band. We just wanted to record it as soon as possible, and that comes through on the recording – the excitement of something new.