For Southern California native Bloodboy, music is just one of her many passions. But – though we respect and admire her ability to be a part-time school teacher as well – we are absolutely floored by her vocal abilities. Not only does she write all of her own material, but she is a multi-instrumentalist, which can be witnessed in her compositions. Her first single since last year – “Important To The World” – dropped just a few days ago and, in light of that fact, we got the opportunity to ask her a few questions.
What was the first song or album you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
I have an absolutely wretched memory, so I’d be lying if I said I was one of those people who has kept a mental record of all their musical milestones, but I do remember the first record that really impacted me was Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. My uncle gave it to me when I was twelve and I had it memorized within a few days. I still listen to it all the time– the lack of restraint, the provocative lyrics, and John Lydon’s deranged vocal style never get old.
Was there a defining moment when you realized you wanted to pursue music in your life?
Okay, this I actually do remember. It was my senior year of college and I had just finished taking the LSAT. I recall driving into an outdoor shopping mall in Newport Beach and thinking that I didn’t particularly care about my test results because I was ultimately going to be a musician anyway. It was a very naïve thought, in retrospect, but I really believed it.
What is the official origin story of Bloodboy?
Once upon a time, there was an eager OC girl who wanted very badly to GTFO of the electronic music world and be in a #postpunk band. She found one on Craigslist that was “seeking female lead singer” and joined two days later. The band imploded after a few short months and only two live shows (RIP), but the experience provoked a shift in her writing style. She finally found herself able to marry her love of alternative music with her innately pop songwriting, so she started a solo project called Bloodboy. She and her devoted husband, James Murphy, lived happily ever after. Oh wait!
“Important To The World” has such a driving, anthem feel to it. What inspired the track itself?
I very rarely co-write because I tend to clam up the second I’m in a room with another person, but my good friend, Eli (who used to play guitar in my band), loves co-writing and was very persistent about trying to come up with something together. He’s a really talented writer, so I finally agreed to give it a shot. At this time I was involved in a rather bizarre relationship with someone on my team and Eli helped me unravel the complexity of my feelings for that person during the writing session. I came to realize it was more of an ego thing for me than truly romantic feelings, because he was constantly telling me that what I was doing creatively was unique and important and all of the psychological stroking got to me emotionally. Really, that person was just doing his job in trying to get me to trust myself creatively because he believed in me, but I came to rely heavily on his approval. After finally admitting that to myself (and Eli), I jokingly said something along the lines of “Ugh, I guess I just needed someone to tell me I’m important to the world” and we both went “Hey, that’s kind of a cool line…”
What made you go so theatrical with the sound? Is that something that happened immediately, or did it happen with time?
I’ve never thought consciously about trying to sound theatrical, but all of the artists I’m influenced by are fairly theatrical so it would make sense if that’s coming through to listeners. I also went on a writing trip to Arnaudville, Louisiana last summer, which is a tiny town near the Atchafalaya Basin (alligators!!!!!). There was no public transportation there so when I wasn’t writing or hanging with the biker gang at the local bar, I was pretty much just watching Happy Days or Gilligan’s Island on acid, and I was very inspired by the old TV scores.
What’s your writing process like in general?
It’s always changing. I have to mix it up or else everything I write sounds the damn same. Recently, I’ve been writing on the piano a lot which is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager. Other times, I’ll start with a bass line or just a tempo and shitty programmed drum pattern. The one constant is that I need to have a working song title or concept before I start something. Lyrics have always been the most precious element to me, so I don’t like to tailor the words to the track too much.
Who would you collaborate with if you could, and what would you create together?
Bowie, and we would create a baby. JK! Bowie and we would re-score the soundtrack to Repo Man, even though it’s already perfect.
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when pursuing a career in music?
Personally, I have to remember it’s not the 70s anymore. It’s not just about being a good musician or band. By no means am I condemning technology, but the internet has provided a platform for everyone and their mother to get their music “out there.” Sometimes that’s a wonderful thing and sometimes it’s really frustrating because the industry has become so saturated that artists who may be really talented but aren’t willing to “play the game” have no shot in hell. As someone who loathes self-promotion, I am constantly being reminded by my team that if I’m not more open to utilizing social media as a tool to expand my audience, I’m wasting my time and theirs. I understand that it’s impossible to get people to care about my music if they’ve never heard of me, but I don’t think of myself as a “brand” so I’m not going to spend all day hashtagging to get my followers up. I’ve also had “patience, patience, patience” drilled into my brain because there really is no such thing as an overnight success.
What’s your favorite beverage?
Coffee (no room..) I can appreciate the expensive, hipster coffee but I drink it all. Iced coffee, hot coffee, gas station coffee, instant coffee. Whatever is there.
What’s down the funnel for you in 2017?
I’m finished writing a new record so that will likely come out in the fall, with a couple more singles released prior to the real deal.
Keep up with Bloodboy here.