Researching any new album is fun, but sometimes new artists can present the fun of finding out the background of the artist or group. Without the body of previous interviews, press releases, artist bios, and the like, sometimes the only way to find the information we here at Ear to the Ground need is to go directly to the source. That was the case with Addie Pray, so here’s a short interview with her to let you know all about this Ohio transplant.
What would you like our readers to know about your music/career/personality?
Well I’m really just playing in my bedroom. I guess I started writing songs as a way to work through things that were difficult to understand. I’ve always been a pretty quiet person and writing music is something I sort of do to move away from that. It’s definitely different now that I actually have an audience, because I find that it’s easier to be self-conscious about what I’m writing. But I’m working on it! I don’t think Addie Pray was something a lot of people expected from me, so it’s been a lot of fun.
What type of guitar do you play? Are you a one-guitar player, or a collector? Any other instruments that you play regularly?
I actually mostly just play one acoustic Yamaha that my parents gave me when I was 14. It has a lot of beer and blood on it that I haven’t gotten around to cleaning off. It’s not fancy or anything, but it’s taken me through a lot! I also play a Gibson Les Paul that was my aunt’s when she was in a punk band in college. Besides that, I use an Angel Glockenspiel for recording!
What does the songwriting process look like for you?
I usually go through periods when I’m not really writing anything I feel too strongly about, and then I’ll just sit on my bed and play covers of songs that I like until I get so bored that I have to write something of my own. But more often I write songs when I’m bummed out or confused about something. I’ve had to really work to write songs that aren’t sad recently.
Who do you consider to be your most significant musical influences?
One of the first bands I REALLY got into when I was in middle/high school was Rilo Kiley. I kind of think of them and Jenny Lewis as the reason I started actually taking an interest in music because up until then I worshiped, like, Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne. Some more recent stuff I really love is Katie Crutchfield and all of her projects, like P.S. Eliot and Waxahatchee. I think her music has had a really big impact on me. I listen to so much music all the time, and I don’t think I would be the musician I am today without all the music I’ve ever loved and/or cried over.
Do you tour, or have plans to tour (with either of your bands or solo)?If so, what regions and major cities will you be visiting? Do you play many shows in local (Ohio or NJ) venues?
As far as SPORTS goes (my band at school), we’ve really only been playing together for a year, so we haven’t played anywhere outside of Kenyon. But we play there all the time! We’re worried people are sick of us. We’re also all going abroad this semester (except for Catherine), so we won’t be around for a while! I’ve played a bunch of solo shows in New York/New Jersey and in Gambier, but I don’t really have any plans to go on tour anytime soon with school and all. Although that would be a lot of fun!
For aspiring musicians out there, what advice do you have to give them? Is there anything you wish you would have known when you started this path?
Well, I’m still pretty much just figuring things out myself. I think the one thing I would tell someone is that there is no right or wrong way to go about music. I literally just [bleep] around with things in my bedroom and right now that makes me really happy. I think the best thing about making music is that you can do whatever you want, and sometimes people will love it, and sometimes they will hate it, but it’s still something you made no matter what and I think that’s really cool.
How do you describe your sound?
I guess the easiest way to describe it would be folk, but I don’t really identify with that too much. A lot of the music I listen to is pop-punky, so maybe I’m like a watered down version of that!
Who are you listening to? What bands and artists should we have our ears on?
I still love Rilo Kiley, and I love Elliott Smith, and Hole, and The Cranberries, and blink-182, and Modest Mouse, and that dog. Some more recent stuff I love is Hop Along, Grass Widow, Carlee Hendrix (You Me & Us), Paul Baribeau, Mirah, Sourpatch… Obviously Katie Crutchfield, plus her sister’s band, Swearin’! I’ve also been listening to Speedy Ortiz lately, who is coming to play at Kenyon while I’m not there (☹), and Chastity Belt from Seattle.
Do you have a favorite song to play from your repertoire so far?
Wearing Thin and I Liked You Best (SPORTS song) are probably my favorite songs, mostly because they’re both just really cathartic and fun to play.