“ANYTHING YOU FELT” – TENDERHOOKS

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TENDERHOOKS ANNOUNCES FORTHCOMING DEBUT EP TENDERHOOKS AND REVEALS NEW SINGLE “ANYTHING YOU FELT”’

The tenderhooks EP emerged as a consequence of profound, life-altering changes for tenderhooks. Having departed from a long-term relationship, a rapidly advancing career in technology, and a consistent upward trajectory in New York, she returned to her native Ireland at the onset of the pandemic. During the lockdown, music evolved into her avenue for self-expression and rediscovery. Each of the three songs in this project paves a distinctive artistic journey for tenderhooks.

In “Anything You Felt,” tenderhooks grapples with the disorienting self-questioning that accompanies post-breakup reality. Utilizing dark, brooding synth and minimal vocals, she embarks on a sonic exploration of her unresolved emotions. “Enemy,” characterized by a juxtaposition of classical piano and echoing, postmodern auto-tuned vocals, was penned on the day her previous career concluded. It delves into the endeavor to surpass the self-imposed limitations of one’s self-esteem. Meanwhile, “tenderhooks” serves as an anti-love song, produced by the collaborative efforts of tenderhooks and fellow Irish artist For Those I Love. The EP’s artwork, photographed by Finnish artist Jenni Granholm, known for exploring the constraints placed on women, results in a cover that seamlessly balances femininity with darkness, effectively unifying the project. The complete EP tracklist is provided below.

STREAM “ANYTHING YOU FELT” HERE

Photo by: Zhong Lin

INTERVIEW WITH TENDERHOOKS

The pandemic seems to have played a significant role in your life journey, prompting a relocation from New York back to your native Dublin. How did this period of isolation and uncertainty inspire your reevaluation of long-term goals, leading to such a transformative change? Do you think experience had an impact on your music? If so, how?

I had never written a song before the pandemic. Before the lockdowns, I had already gone through a difficult year where almost every part of my life exploded. I was putting the pieces together in early 2020, and then covid happened and that was confirmation I wasn’t getting my old life back. I went home to Dublin to wait it out. At that moment, I turned to music and it got me through that time. Music made me happier. I didn’t know that it would lead to releasing songs and falling in love with the process.

Your upcoming EP, ‘tenderhooks,’ is described as a reflection of your departure from your old life. How does this project encapsulate your artistic identity and serve as a powerful statement about your journey?

You can hear that there’s a confrontation on the record. I think you can hear resistance too. Maybe you can hear trepidation. I like that about it.

I’ve been trying to get comfortable with the vulnerability of being an artist. I think the journey is in trying to find the power in that. As it relates to the visuals around the EP, I wanted to play off the name and what images it brought to mind. Tenderhooks sounded to me like an intimacy with sharp edges, like a paradox of materials, something sharp and also soft. We talked about wearing ribbons, thorns, silhouette, words – elements that you could put on and we played with that as a lens throughout the artwork.

The cover for example has ambiguity; some people see a sweet photograph, a neck adorned with ribbons– but others think it’s dark, like sutures on a cadaver. I love that duality. It’s feminine and sweet and dark and medical. There was also something about bearing the neck, its vulnerability and stance. I chose a Finnish artist, Jenni Granholm, to photograph the cover artwork. Her work has been dealing with similar themes as those in mine, but I didn’t realize that before I was drawn into the art. The sensibility is unashamedly feminine. She binds parts of the body in ribbons which represent the expectations that women live under, their restraints and their desire to be free. Her photographs are composed using a soft pastel color palette and she always conceals the face. There’s a privacy to the photography that speaks to subjects on the record and how it came into being.

The next single, “Anything You Felt,” explores the aftermath of a breakup. How did your personal experiences shape the brooding and questioning nature of this breakup ballad, and what message do you hope listeners take away from it?

This started as an anti love song about using someone to get out of a feeling. But it didn’t have a proper chorus for almost a year. Then somehow the chorus came and the meaning of the relationship changed too. The song became more vulnerable and about the end of something meaningful. I’m realizing songs can make you wait a long time til they are done. Maybe it’s because the subject isn’t done with you, you haven’t lived all of it, but you’re onto something. I think the message behind the track can speak to a common experience. That moment after a connection has ended when you start to doubt if any of it was real.

How do you uniquely blend your musical influences to create a sound that is both fresh and ethereal, establishing your distinctive musical style?

I grew up playing piano. And I love classical music. I am drawn to weirder chords. I also love great pop music and classic songs. I have really eclectic taste. I’m drawn to music to enhance my mood and I like to experience all of them, so as a songwriter I’m the same; I want to feel it all.

As a feeling, I’d love my music to mix the melancholy of the voice with a lot of melody and hooks that drive an opposite feeling. I’m thinking of references like Lana mixed with LCD Soundsystem.

I studied creative writing in college and I write poetry and in that world I have my own style but with music I wanted the voice to be different, to be clear and to connect.

“Enemy,” a track from your EP, was written on the day your old career ended. Could you share more about the inspiration behind this song and how it addresses self-imposed limitations, marking a pivotal moment in your artistic journey?

I went to Brighton for a few days of recording.  I remember hiding in the vocal booth on the phone. There was a piano in the booth and while I was waiting for another call I was playing arpeggiated scales. The song came fast after that. Just singing shapes into autotune over the classical chords. I finished the lyrics the next morning and just left them unfinished. There’s a self directed rage on the song I thought it was best to leave there and not polish. I still hear the fury and the pleading in my voice.  Thematically the song is describing a confrontation with yourself, wanting to push past the limits of your self esteem to really express who you are. The enemy is vanity.

Your music is described as thematically relatable, with a focus on self-discovery and authenticity. How do you incorporate your personal experiences into your songs, and what impact do you hope this relatability has on your audience? Does your authenticity come easy for you?

In the writing process it feels good to be vulnerable, it feels honest. I try to go on the emotion more than a thought – it always comes on a feeling. I think that’s because most of my songs were written on my laptop while I was hiding in my bedroom and not telling anyone I was writing songs. There wasn’t an expectation that those songs would be heard, so they’re intimate. But then actually sharing that type of music with real people is vulnerable. I want this project to find the strength in that.  I can understand why a lot of artists have to move away from that type of music to something that makes them feel powerful so they can actually perform it.

Tell me about your presence and aesthetic on social media. Specifically, on Tik Tok, your aesthetic is fascinating, beautiful, and mysterious. What role does this play within your music? 

I love tiktok because it feels it can be more casual than other socials and I want to think about it like a sketchbook that shows the brainstorm behind the artwork or the song, rather than the finished thing. On instagram and youtube, I’m focused on building the visual world and playing with different materials that can represent tenderhooks, like tenderness as something you can wear. A lot of the artwork has me wearing my lyrics, but we’re playing with other materials too, like ribbons, thorns, shadow. 

 Tell me about the inspiration behind your visuals for your track “Enemy,” and “Anything You Felt?” What influenced this vibe?

I wanted to focus on lyrics for the artwork. What’s so cool about the text is that it’s a visual representation of the melody. The height and weight of the text are set to the volume and pitch of the melody, so you can see how the lyrics are sung. I love seeing that intersection of the word and the vocals.

CONNECT WITH TENDERHOOKS

Instagram | Twitter | TikTok

Words // Will Bollini

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