Story / Catherine Santino
Photos / Tim Seguin
The last time you saw indie-pop singer Birch, she was throwing punches at the patriarchy in her feminist concept album, femme.one. After a short hiatus spent writing among lush Vermont trees (the inspiration for her moniker) and scoring music for feature films, she’s returning with refreshed sound.
“I’m still very much invested in the topic of feminism, but I was kind of ready to lighten it up a bit,” she says of her single “Your Gold”, out now. “I wanted to talk about what was going on in my own life as opposed to trying to cover this huge topic.”
“Your Gold” features the ethereal vocals and sweeping melodies Birch has come to be known for, but incorporates more electronic elements and lyrics that give us a peak into her lovelorn psyche. “I love the way that you’re loving me / I close my eyes and I see your dreams,” she croons before launching into a chorus that’s sure to get stuck in your head.
Check out the pop-driven single and our interview with Birch below, and keep an eye out for her forthcoming releases.
This song has a different sound than your album, femme.one. What was inspiration behind it?
I put out the album back in April and I’d been working on those songs for two years. It was a very serious subject matter. I’m still very much invested in the topic of feminism, but I was kind of ready to lighten it up a bit. I wanted to talk about what was going on in my own life as opposed to trying to cover this huge topic. So, I went away to Vermont, and this song is kind of what came out of that time. It was really nice, it was kind of like getting back to my roots because it’s where my family is from and where the inspiration for the band name comes from. So it was really nice to get back there and write this new song. And then I kind of quickly made plans to record it and put it out before the year ended just because I want to keep the momentum going.
You just finished scoring the music for a film. What was that process like?
I scored this film called Asking For It, which we just finished last week and is being submitted to film festivals and everything.
Is the music similar to your style, or something totally different?
It’s a little different. I worked on the score with my boyfriend who is in the band Cape Francis. He is a really great guitar player and the movie is like a feminist comedy/horror film. The music is kind of like feminist punk rock. So I was able to use a lot of my electronic tendencies and vocal looping style and then use Kevin’s guitar’s behind that. It’s much more urgent than my music, it’s a lot more heavy. But it’s still within the umbrella of feminist music, so it was really fun to do. And then there’s horror elements too, so I had to learn how to write horror music, which was interesting.
You’ve used your environment in previous work, like shooting the video for femme.one while running through the streets of New York City. How do you find the music community here in New York? Do you think it’s drastically different other cities like Los Angeles?
It’s funny you should mention that because we’re moving to LA next year [laughs]. I’ve been here for almost six years now. I think there is a good community of indie musicians in New York and I’m friends with a lot of them, but it’s small. And I do sort of have this feeling that I’ve kind of done everything I can do here. I kind of see New York as the indie world and LA as a little more mainstream. There are more projects out there, especially in film, obviously.
I feel like it’s more of a career city whereas New York is a career city in everything but the arts. Everyone I know who lives here and is an artist also has a day job and is struggling and running against walls left and right. It’s an expensive place to live and it’s not really kind to artists. It’s made up of artists and art is what makes New York but they are not given the financial respect that they deserve here. And I do feel like LA has a lot more opportunities for actually making a living from your art.
I’ve heard so many artists say this recently so now I’m like, ‘Wait, should I move to LA?”
We’re all gonna move there and we’re gonna sink it [laughs].
What about the other songs you’re working on now? Are there plans for another album?
The next thing I’m writing is definitely more of a collection, but I’ll probably just be dropping singles for a little while. I kind of have no desire to write another full length album at the moment, so it’s probably going to be an EP, but I’m not going to wait to put out the songs. There’s something about momentum right now that feels really tangible to me and I want to keep that going. I don’t want to bore myself with my own music by sitting on it for too long. [laughs]
The way that we’re streaming music now is such a singles world. So I’m not going to fight that. There are people who love albums, but for me right now, I’m just writing songs.
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