When Sidney Gish came to Middletown in February, she was kind enough to sit down with Aural Wes’s very own Sam Kurlender ‘22 to chat about her music, her busy life as a college student, and how she manages to balance the two. Check out the interview b-low.
Aural Wes: Hey, thank you so much for doing this interview! So, how was your trip down here? Where were you coming from?
Sidney Gish : The trip down here was pretty good, me and Squirrel Flower played in East Hampton yesterday which was only like an hour away, so it was a peaceful, casual drive. I’m excited to be here, I’ve never been to this venue [MAC650 Gallery] before but it’s very cool.
AW: Your music career exists concurrently with you attending college in Boston. Do you ever find it hard to balance performing at shows and going to school?
SG : Well I’ve got a full course-load right now. I’m missing class today, tomorrow, and maybe the next day. It’s kind of just a big question mark right now, but somehow I think things will pull together. But yeah, it’s definitely a bit of guesswork and wondering if what I’m trying to do is going to work out or if I’m going to, like, fail.
AW: And I think I read somewhere that you’re majoring in music right?
SG : Yup! I’m doing a music industry major [at Northeastern University].
AW: How do you think being from New Jersey has influenced your songwriting and the way you approach music?
SG : I’m not entirely sure because I wasn’t really active in music that was physically in the world around me growing up, it was all based on the internet and me being on the computer. Growing up in New Jersey I was deep in the suburbs, so I was lucky to do a lot of choir and music theory, like academic kind of music stuff. But in terms of getting into recording and genres of music that were more specific/present-day active, it was really just the internet that helped me find those.
AW: Were there any artists that you found on the internet that really influenced you?
SG : I was really into indie-pop, like Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson, but I was also into a really internet kind of music when I was a young teenager, like people on YouTube singing over ukuleles and stuff and girls on Tumblr who were recording albums in their houses. Very John Green-vibes kind of music.
AW: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? What do you think about that song now?
SG : The first song I ever finished writing, which I wrote when I was twelve, was about me being mad at other girls who said they were weird because I thought I was weirder than them. So that’s a cringy mood nowadays, but it was just fun to write out melodies regardless of what it was about.
AW: Now this is unrelated, but I noticed your website has a super cool design to it, like a very early 2000s style, a throwback to the early internet days. Do you see a lot of influence from that time in your life now?
SG : Yeah, definitely. I spent a lot of time online as a kid before social media was really popular, so I was watching a lot of flash animations, playing a lot of Addicting Games, and getting lost in weird places that I don’t think were intended for children. But for kids who were looking at screens all day, we ended up finding all of that stuff. There was an interesting wild west kind of vibe to the Internet before social media got so big.
AW: Oh definitely, I still have a soft spot in my heart for Miniclip and Poptropica. Now I’ve seen this said online by other people, but do you consider your music a part of the emerging “Bedroom Pop” genre?
SG : Yes, but I feel like that’s a really vague thing, that bedroom pop is more of an aesthetic not a genre. I think that at the end of the day bedroom pop and bedroom producers are kind of the same thing. Anyone who really makes music on their laptop in their room is technically a bedroom pop artist. It’s a really vague genre, but I think it’s cool, so hell yeah!
AW: Do you have any recommendations for young songwriters who are trying to start writing music?
SG : I think if you’re interested in writing songs and you’re young, I’ve found what helps me is just recording music and uploading it, even if it’s under a different name and especially if you think it’s bad. Because it probably is, but you need to put it out there so you don’t feel like it’s scary to release things. There’s a mental thing where you think I’m not gonna put out music until I think it’s good, and in that case you’re not gonna put out music until you’re old and no one is going to be waiting for you to release it then. If you have some bad demos, just throw ‘em out there. What’s the worst that could happen? Just uploading something even if no one sees it in the end can be really fun and can help you a lot.