We speak to Phoebe Bridgers ahead of her headline show at Mirrors Festival this weekend…
The LA-based artist returns to Mirrors, headlining the 2019 edition alongside American Football and Cass McCombs. Her Mirrors show will mark the first time Bridgers will play out new material from her impending second album, the follow up to 2017’s brilliantly intimate Stranger in the Alps.
With a soft, breathy tone to her vocal that can be as intimate as her lyricism, Bridgers’ delicate and dreamy folk is inspired by deeply personal experiences, her music touching and relatable in equal measure. Sharp, warm and with a quirky sense of humour outside the studio (you’ll see yourself from our interview), Phoebe’s fans are as besotted with her as they are in her music, making her 2020 sophomore effort one of next year’s most hotly anticipated releases.
In the time since Stranger in the Alps, Bridgers been making music in two bands; boygenius, formed last year, and Better Oblivion Community Center who formed at the beginning of 2019. Check the album from the latter below:
Ahead of her headline performance at Mirrors Festival this weekend, we spoke to Phoebe, about finding inspiration in your friendships, trusting your instincts, and eating chips before a show.
How would you describe your sound to someone that hasn’t heard your music before?
Divorced folk music.
Who do you think are your biggest influences musically?
I can honestly say my friends are my biggest influences. Conor Oberst has been an influence of mine for a long time, and of course more so now that we’re in a band together. I’ve been listening to The People’s Key a lot, getting production ideas and trying to rip him off as subtly as possible. All my best friends are great songwriters: Christian Lee Hutson, Marshall Vore, Harrison Whitford, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus… All of them are making my favourite music right now.
And what inspires you most lyrically?
Personal experience. But I think about songs like dreams. They’re kind of about one person, but also sort of this other person, and then they turn into my second grade teacher and then I’m falling off a cliff and then it’s over.
What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?
Don’t be afraid to make weird choices. Think of Billie Eilish and Björk. You can’t copy them, but you can do something that’s no one has ever heard before, like they did when they started. I’m self conscious of how derivative my music can be and I hope it keeps changing.
Also, pee after sex.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of your career to date?
Trusting my instincts. Especially when I was younger and it seemed like everyone I met in music was older than me and a dude. But it’s getting easier.
And the most rewarding?
Also, trusting my instincts. When I write a song that no one liked and then I play it for a crowd of people who scream all the words, it’s the best feeling.
Which up and coming artists do you think are doing interesting things right now?
I’ve been listening to Claud a lot lately. Straight to the bloodstream pop that gives me the same feelings as The Cure. So, good feelings.
Where are your favourite places to play, and why?
I love First Ave in Minneapolis. It’s obviously a famous venue but for some reason every show there rules. I loved Green Man last year too. I played at sunset and it’s such a beautiful place.
How do you prepare for a show?
I stare at my phone for a half hour and feel kind of sick, eat a fistful of chips and then I go onstage and feel better. I actually love feeling rushed before I go on stage. It stops me from getting in my head.
What do you do to unwind?
I read sad, horny books, currently The Idiot by Elif Batuman.
How would your friends describe you?
One time my drummer Marshall told me people are afraid of me.
What’s a record that will always make you feel good?
What have you got coming up?
I’m playing the Mirrors Festival in London on November 2nd, and then I’m going to ignore the holidays.