GRRL011: playing solo vs ensemble and physical products, featuring Carrie Gillespie Feller of Hexa

For episode 11, Carrie Gillespie Feller invited me into her home for the interview. I have to admit, I would’ve stayed forever if only to cuddle with her cat some more…

This episode is especially exciting for me because we talk a lot about her new project, Hexa and her debut EP Bata Motel that came out only last week. Although the album was recorded with other musicians, her live performance is just her, with a keyboard, loop pedal, microphone, and drum pad. It’s really amazing watching her build layers and layers of sound and harmony… Honestly, it’s a great live experience.

Besides Hexa, Carrie has been in several San Diego bands, the two most recent being ILYA and Lunar Maps, which you’ll also get to hear during the course of the episode. Because of her experiences, we talk about the differences between playing solo versus in a band, and we also touch on creating physical products in an industry run by digital downloads.

If you liked this episode, rate us on iTunes so more people can find the podcast. And as always, feel free to leave a comment, email me, follow me on Twitter, or like Grrl on Grrl on Facebook.

Listen Here

Download here. [41 mins, 47MB]

Shownotes

  • [1:00] Hexa, Carrie’s latest project
    • Finding a creative space
    • Inspiration for Hexa–moving to a new neighborhood and dealing with her living situation
    • Challenging herself with the solo project after years in bands
  • [3:00] Learning to play live as a solo artist
    • “Things can go very, very wrong.”
  • [4:00] Differences in songwriting in a solo project versus in bands
    • Learning to “scale back” lyrically
  • [6:30] A call back to the episodes featuring Lori and Paloma about extra scrutiny as a woman on stage
    • Being patronized at the music store
    • “How I look on stage” versus “the work I’ve put in as a songwriter and musician”
  • [8:30] Hexa – “Campo” from her new EP, Bata Motel
  • [12:30] The process of putting out her album
    • “This was definitely my most favorite recording experience I’ve ever had.”
    • Making a physical product to go with a download card
    • Using the skills of creative friends
  • [14:15] Releasing records independently
    • Making a “band family”
    • “You can kind of do everything you need to do…”
    • Having a supportive community even if you’re doing things on your own
  • [16:00] Pricing for album
    • Pay-what-you-want: Is it sustainable?
    • What are the pros and cons? Depends on your goal, where you are in your career
  • [18:00] Writing new material
    • Scaling back from her current songs
    • Being conscious of how she would perform the new songs live
  • [19:20] ILYA – “Gomez”
  • [27:45] Music as its own rewarding experience, not about “making it big”
    • “Music and writing… not as glamorous as I thought I’d be” (June)
    • Playing music because it feels good
    • Challenging yourself
  • [29:45] Songwriting process
    • Words first? Arrangement first?
    • Lyrical inspiration
    • Creating an impactful performance
  • [31:00] Haunted house as inspiration for Hexa (CityBeat article)
    • “I wouldn’t write songs [about it]… I’d get the hell out.” (June)
    • “I’m going to drive the ghosts out with these songs!”
  • [33:30] Lunar Maps – “Diamond Seas”
  • [39:30] Don’t forget, I’m still looking for contributors for the inaugural issue of the Grrl on Grrl zine! Shoot me an email if you’re interested in submitting.

Other Notes & Thanks!

Thanks again to Carrie for letting me into her home–*June says as creepily as possible*–for the interview.

Special thanks to: Sullen Ray who graciously allows me to use their song “Get Up Got It” as the Grrl on Grrl podcast intro and outro–listen to and buy their album Blue Minor on Bandcamp and look out for the upcoming new album Outside the Color Wheel; Greg Guiliano for his financial support; and Gary Hankins for making the episode sound good.

And to all my friends who have been so supportive of this project, I love you!

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