How are you finding the reception of Kali?
Pretty great I think! I can only really gauge the reception by the energy at the show and playing this music live has been the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. Honestly, any reaction is welcome. Music is so personal and subjective, so it’s almost impossible for me to judge it one way or another. When you pour your heart out and leave it on the table, all bets are off!
Has this differed much to your first release?
Yeah in a lot of ways. The first record was recorded live more, a lot of the production and style happened in the moment. With Kali, I took a much different approach. I spent a lot of time crafting the parts and style. The guys and I got down to the brass tacks and just demoed and played and played and demoed until we got to where we wanted to be. I got to a place of trusting myself more creatively and was able to put a lot more of myself into the details.
How was the Kali release show at 3Ten ACL Live?
Magical. If I could have kissed everyone there on the mouth I would have.
How was recording the EP, any hiccups?
It was awesome. The studio is my favorite place to be. Sometimes the hiccups are the best part, it’s when you get to problem solve and get really creative. I did leave a pot of rice on the counter long enough for it to turn into a science experiment though. None of us wanted to deal with it so we just let it sit there and watched it like a petri dish through the glass top. A friend stopped by the studio and was thoroughly disturbed so he took it outside and hosed it down. I guess the point being, the studio has a way of warping your mind.
Why did you choose these songs for this EP?
They were what happened when I got down to writing. These were the first songs I wrote after we lost my partner’s daughter to a chronic disorder. I had these ideas of radical change before she suddenly passed and when she did, I knew that I had to completely throw myself into the deep end because that’s what she would have done and what she would have wanted me to do. It took me a while to reckon with everything and write again, but eventually, I was ready. I wanted it to feel triumphant and not defeating. Feminist anthems while still reckoning with pain and loss.
Which is your favorite song, and why?
I have a special relationship with all of them of course. But I guess right now if I had to name one, I would say Goddess of Destruction. There’s a lot packed into that song. But in short, it’s about embracing anger, that anger can be a very useful catalyst for change. And where we are at today, there are just so many reasons to be angry. It is so necessary that we recognize the anger and not let it fester, but channel it into action.
It is so important that we continue to point out that what is happening in our country right now is not right, that it is putting our most vulnerable citizens in danger. Millions of people marched on January 22nd 2017 because we are very angry at this administration’s treatment of women, the LGBTQ community, the sick, the poor, immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, African Americans. So I’ll choose that song because it’s a reminder that it’s not healthy to allow anger to fester nor is it healthy to ignore it. The only thing do is to use it to ignite continued change for good.
What are your plans for the future?
To keep getting better at what I do. I’m always going to want to top what I just did. So that’s what I plan to do.
What would you tell any young girl who wants to be in your position?
Listen to your inner voice. Take your time and enjoy the journey. Stay hungry for knowledge. There is always something new to learn. Never give your power away to anyone and never compromise when it comes to your art and your image. You are more powerful and capable than you might think. It’s a hard truth that young women are very vulnerable in this business. We have to be very selective with the people we keep around us and who we take advice from. Work with other women, and support other female artists, they are your greatest allies. Take care of your voice. Singers don’t get to put their vocal cords in a case after the show. Your body is your instrument, love it and protect it!
Her EP is available to stream and buy on her website http://www.emilybell.com
Author: Megan Matthews