Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. The Amps – Pacer

I think Pacer is super underrated. If I can have a place to put it in a list, I’m going to put it in! If I picked my favorite band, it would probably be The Breeders. But I think this album just soundtracked a part of my life that was right when I moved to the city, went to art school, and met a bunch of weirdos. I felt alive as myself for the first time. I was showing people things that usually would be something that would be made fun of, and they were like, "Yeah, I’m like that too!" This album was playing during that whole time, when I was 20 or 21. What I like about her is that her lyrics are nonsensical, and sometimes I’m kind of weird about lyrics. I listen to lyrics maybe too seriously. But hers, even though you don’t really know what she’s talking about, just the way she uses words is really surprising and fun. You can tell there’s some kind of weird, magical, but super casual connection between all of them. She’s so cool about it, and though she would maybe never say it, there’s something maybe divine or spiritual about how all those weird words come together. She feels like she’s tapped into something, like her own wavelength. It is very clear with every project that she does.

But is that something that you identify with, tapping into something else? Or do you feel like you are completely 100 percent you, all the time? I don’t think you tap into a different persona, but it seems like you connect with something bigger when you’re onstage.

Oh yeah, and that’s become a lot more fun. The more that I do, the more dramatic it gets, the more that I write. I’m very dramatic. I feel like I’m trying to be very spiritual, trying to conjure something. It feels a lot more witchy now, but I also feel like I’m getting a lot better technically. I’m mapping the chords out and thinking about song structure, but also the base of it is that I’m singing in gibberish until I write lyrics.

How did you first define what kind of voice you had, or what your voice embodied. With Kim’s voice, it has such a unique character, which is something I know is important to you as well.

Well, it just has to be because my voice is so weird. I have to champion that. If I could, I would just sing like Adele, and would probably go out there, put my hand up, and sing soul music, but I can’t really sing like that. If I ever get embarrassed about how craggy and weird my voice is, I just try to think, "Maybe it’s like that. Maybe it’s singular." So, even if I hate it or it makes me uncomfortable, at least no one else can sing as bad as I can.

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