The sparsely winsome and uniquely haunting music that permeates Desirae Garcia’s newest EP Dying to Break Your Heart is far beyond an easy classification of genre, nor would one do music this powerful any real justice.
Sure, the songs arrangements on the album pay a certain stylistic homage to various American roots music and vintage baroque and psychedelic Pop, and the production from Colorado Springs production house Right Heel Music calls to mind indie darlings such as Neva Dinova and Rilo Kiley, but the irresistible draw of Desirae’s music lies in her voice. Always planted firmly at the forefront, like the the song of a siren luring you downward, the arresting vocal incantations conjured by Garcia can and will stop you dead in your tracks.
She has the unique musical ability to sharply express complex emotions with succinct wit and perhaps the most soul per measured syllable of any artist I have encountered to date.
PULP: In an earlier conversation we had, you said that you had recorded these songs initially four years ago. Why release the record now?
Desirae Garcia: It was actually three years ago, almost to the day. I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about releasing it ever since I recorded it. I guess I felt like there wasn’t any pressure to do it and maybe it just seems like the right time is now. It’s so overwhelming to get it back and try to put it out right away. Two years ago I was like okay I’m ready to put out but it was poor timing then. So finally, I just decided to do it and just ripped the bandaid off and be brave and put it out to the world. Also, I decided that since I still liked it after three years that it was maybe still a good album.
Do you feel like write songs the same way now, years later? Have you shifted at all musically?
No, I feel like it’s all extremely similar still. I feel like I write really different when it comes to writing songs for the (Haunted) Windchimes than when I’m kind of just writing for myself. Ill Fitting sort of bleeds into this new record, which is still like super similar to how I write.
You write differently for the Haunted Windchimes songs?
I definitely feel like when I’m writing for the ‘Chimes I tried it and go out of my way to keep that sort of upbeat Folkie style, which is not something that I do naturally. I’m always writing sort of like emotionally driven self analysis for my songs, and when for the ‘Chimes I try to actually not write from an emotional place as much, and keep the tempos up that night keep the energy upfront.
What kind of mood do you think Dying to Break Your Heart gives off?
Hmm. I think it’s like, mildly jaded with like a little bit of hope. (laughs) Maybe? There are moments of the sort of of getting older and how it’s hard; hard for me I guess. I’m getting older, and it’s hard, and then they’re also these moments of determination to be happy, too. It’s a heavy and light record at the same time.
Yeah, I don’t know. It’s so weird. I think it’s maybe a byproduct of trying to evolve musically, but finding myself sort of like repeating the same cycle all the time. I find myself telling myself “you can’t sing about the same themes over and over again”, and I think that when I try to stop doing that is when the tone shifts.
Do you feel like you’re trying to fight against the way you write songs?
Yeah, but it doesn’t make any sense. Because I feel like the better songs I write are the ones where I just kind of give into what I feel like is the natural pattern anyway.
How was working with Right Heel Music on the recording?
He’s so great! I mean, the reason that I worked with them in the first place is I was talking to Adam (Hawkins/engineer at Right Heel Music) one night. We were having drinks, and I was telling him how much I love the first EP of It’s True! that he had recorded on a four track tape recorder. I was telling about how that EP was what inspired me to view do a four track recording of my own. Half a year later or so I went and started recording with them in the basement of their house, which is where Right Heel was at the time. And and was such a great environment; real mellow. Perfect for the kind of music that I do, which is pretty like simple and quiet.
It got to be my wintertime ritual; I always went up by myself, which was pretty cool. I always play music with other people all the time; I’m never doing it alone, so it was really interesting to like, pack up all my instruments in the car and like drive to Colorado Springs and I work for five or six hours, grab some fast food, and then drive home. I loved it.
You talked about the fact you always play music with other people. Is it a lot different to play solo shows?
It’s super scary sometimes. I think it it becomes less scary the more often you do it; I’m not used to the feeling of being by yourself on stage, but I don’t do it all that often, but enough to not feel terrified I guess. When I do play solo sets, I like to still put together a backing band to support me, which makes me feel a little less terrified. But it is really something to put yourself out there as like the front person for your songs and ideas, and to take ownership over the songs that you write and the feelings that you had when you wrote the song to begin with. It’s a very vulnerable feeling.
One of my favorite aspects of Dying to Break Your Heart is the really great use of the audio space. But is it weird to have that space when play these songs live?
There’s actually a song on the record called Do You Know, and it’s the most heavily produced on the album. Adam handled the production on it, which I love. It’s got his wizard sonic magic happening all over it, and it’s very formally dressed up. If this if this album were a runway fashion show it would be the ball gown at the end of the show. But I feel like that song in particular is like really kind of like sparse and redundant; it’s just a verse and a chorus verse and a chorus, it doesn’t really ever build, it doesn’t really ever change. And I really enjoy that for some reason. But at the same time, if I’m sitting on stage by myself in front of an audience I feel like I get lost inside of like the repetitiveness of the song, and I get self conscious about it. Can the audience stay with me you know if I’m bored I they’re probably bored. So I really about that stuff, how adding instrumentation to change the vibe is really helpful, but at the same time I love the sort of like droning aspect of it. There’s a time and place for everything though. (Laughs)