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HomeBodybuildingDying, Intimacy, and 'All of the Issues': An Interview with Emily Yacina

Dying, Intimacy, and ‘All of the Issues’: An Interview with Emily Yacina


Lengthy Seaside-based artist Emily Yacina began writing and recording songs in 2010 on the age of 14. She grew up in the identical Philadelphia suburb as Alex Giannascoli, aka Alex G – with whom she has incessantly collaborated – however has since been carving out her personal fashion of bracingly susceptible songwriting, marked by an earnest but usually surreal emotionality extra akin to Frankie Cosmos or Lomelda. After placing out a sequence of lo-fi-leaning releases on Bandcamp, she got here by way of together with her debut studio album, Bear in mind the Silver, in 2019. It was co-produced alongside Eric Littman, who handed away two years later. A number of years earlier, Yacina had misplaced one other shut pal, Mark Ronan, to whom she devoted the 2015 file Smooth Stuff.

This Friday, Yacina can be releasing All of the Issues: A Decade of Songs, a career-spanning compilation that begins with recordings she made in her teenagers and concludes with three model new songs produced with Jay Som’s Melina Duterte. “Too fucked as much as be actual/ However I do know greater than something you’d need me to snicker/ I wish to dedicate my life to your thoughts,” she sings on the wrenching ‘DB Cooper’, wherein she honours Littman’s reminiscence. As a complete, the gathering serves as a rigorously curated doc of her life in music as nicely her private development. The way in which it recontextualizes and attracts a line by way of seemingly disparate songs is hanging, revealing her distinctive perspective as a songwriter whose work has at all times been attuned to the tender edges of expertise, however who, with time, has solely change into extra conscious of all of the issues – new, outdated, and all-consuming – that compel her to maintain exploring.

We caught up with Emily Yacina forward of the discharge of All of the Issues to speak concerning the means of compiling her songs, how they relate to at least one one other, grief, and extra.


What’s your headspace like with the discharge developing? How do you are feeling concerning the new songs which are out?

I really feel actually excited. The brand new tracks which are on there occurred so organically, they usually have been meant to be the ultimate songs to this ten-year group of songs. I wrote them in a really natural method, and recording them felt form of the identical. Generally you will be uncertain about issues proper earlier than they arrive out, as a result of there’s a lot time between it being completed and when it’s revealed to everybody. One thing I lean on in instances the place I’m feeling a little bit bit like insecure about issues that I’m about to place out, I’m like, “I do know that once I was making this, it felt very true and proper and pure.”

My pal, Matthew [James-Wilson], who I work with right here in California, he’s a superb pal of mine, and we met in faculty truly, in all probability in like 2014. We lived on the identical corridor, and we’ve been actually tight ever since then. He was form of the one who proposed the thought; I hadn’ actually considered a compilation or thought that might be doable. We have been speaking about it, and he is aware of me so nicely and is aware of my relationship with music so nicely. I used to be speaking to him about simply how my songwriting, though it’s developed for certain, I nonetheless really feel like there’s like a whole lot of issues that make it what it’s, and the frustration that comes with that. I expressed to him feeling like I used to be like on the verge of one thing completely different, like I’m in a really experimental part of my life and I don’t understand how lengthy it’ll final or what it’ll lead me to. However his thought was, why not make one thing to rejoice this time, all of this music that’s been revamped the previous 10 years? And to do it in a method that feels true to me, as a result of I get to pick out those that I most resonate with and organize the songs thematically and chronologically. It felt like a very nice strategy to honour this time, though I really feel just like the world round me is altering a lot and I’m altering a lot.

The gathering begins with ‘As We Go’, which you place out once you have been simply 14 or 15. Given how a number of the newer songs cope with loss, I used to be struck by the road “I’ve acquired this foolish worry/ That every thing is leaving me.” It’s so near the “everybody” that comes up a couple of strains earlier, however “foolish worry” makes it a bit lighter, the “every thing” much less private, although nonetheless real. What do you keep in mind about writing it, and the way does the tune communicate to you now?

Yeah, that’s the oldest one which’s on there. I used to be a sophomore in highschool, and I had a very life-changing 12 months that 12 months. I believe lots of people can relate to highschool being – you’re beginning to perceive who you’re a little bit extra and what the world has to supply to you. And for me, socially, that was a very impactful 12 months. I wrote that tune about this group of youngsters who have been in my highschool who have been a couple of years older than I used to be, they usually form of took me underneath their wing. It was the primary time that I used to be feeling so satiated by, like, folks, and what different folks have been into, and it was simply so thrilling. I used to be like, Wow, there actually is that this entire world. However the impermanence factor, like “every thing is leaving me,” I believe I used to be pondering, like, ’trigger they have been seniors… [laughs]

Oh, so it’s not like a mortality factor.

Yeah, completely. However I virtually really feel prefer it form of like holds arms with it in some kind of method. It’s understanding that that is so fleeting, and I really feel that method about simply life typically now. And a whole lot of that has to do I believe with my relationship with grief. However for this tune, I used to be simply keenly conscious that the way in which that that is taking place now could be solely going to occur for this 12 months, after which who is aware of? Who is aware of the place they’ll be?

‘As We Go’ and ‘White Bull’ are separated by a decade, however they each, not directly, talk the sensation of somebody new coming into your life. However whereas within the first case it stirs up this worry of impermanence, on ‘White Bull’ you’re conscious of the self-confidence that makes you embrace it, and it turns into virtually dreamlike. Apart from time, what else did it take to acknowledge that bravery in your self?

Every little thing that you simply stated about ‘As We Go’ versus ‘White Bull’ undoubtedly is true and resonates so much with me. And yeah, I believe simply time and the standard of relationships that I’ve been capable of acquire. I assume that is extra like about romantic relationships, however not being ashamed of my wants, having them be met, and the boldness that comes with that. Like, I do know what I would like, and feeling far more assured in that, as a substitute of like, Is that this an excessive amount of? Is that this reasoable? There’s a confidence in understanding myself a little bit bit extra by way of time. That’s undoubtedly one a part of it.

One other half I undoubtedly really feel like is the experiences that I’ve had with demise, and the way these experiences have been essentially the most formative in how I situate myself in life and the way I really feel about life. It’s only a knowingness that it’s so impermanent. But in addition form of leaning in to that, too, if that is smart. Perhaps acceptance, like there’s much less of a battle – every thing’s going too quick and I can’t like course of all of it and I don’t have management over something, to extra of a spot of accepting, like: We’re solely right here for this period of time, issues change on a regular basis. And the one factor that form of centres me in that information is simply attending to take pleasure in every thing when it occurs and appreciating it. Expressing like to folks is a giant factor.

I really like the phrase “muffle the damaged sound of every thing” as a method of expressing that. It jogs my memory of ‘Smooth Stuff’, the place you describe this tender intimacy that fills up an area between two folks. All these years later, what does “tender stuff” imply to you – not essentially the tune itself, however the factor it evokes?

Yeah, it’s attention-grabbing. I haven’t considered that phrase in a very very long time, however it undoubtedly has to do with a whole lot of issues that you simply’re speaking about. The intimacy that’s shared between pals or lovers, that’s so fleeting and tender, like the alternative of concrete. I haven’t considered that, however it’s so true that it pertains to the issues that we’re speaking about.

There’s a form of imprecise vagueness to “tender stuff,” and I used to be shocked how usually you utilize this kind of language all through the gathering – “all of the issues,” “all of the items,” “all of the tales” – all these everythings. However once you put them collectively this fashion, it made me take into consideration how every every thing, as sincere and complete as it might appear within the second, is fleeting, extra like a snapshot. And it’s at all times altering and increasing. I’m curious if arranging this assortment has led you to that realization as nicely.

Completely. And one thing that I considered once you have been speaking about every thing and the way there’s a vagueness to that: I used to be simply having a dialog with my pal the opposite day, and he or she instructed me – I used to be form of processing one thing together with her and explaining all of the completely different emotions that have been developing on this private scenario – and he or she was like, “Isn’t it loopy how a lot we are able to maintain without delay?” , there might be like a major feeling, however there’s additionally so many different issues that you can be feeling on the identical time which are in your physique. I really feel like that speaks to the every thing, all of the issues – it’s not that there’s a restricted area for every thing, that there’s a capability; all of this stuff are coexisting on the identical time. And I believe that’s additionally what I used to be making an attempt to get at, too, with the title. I believe I’ve gotten extra comfy with the concept that so many emotions can coexist without delay, even when they appear like they’re contradicting each other.

There are a number of the earlier songs right here that attempt to nail down a particular feeling, and you then get by way of the gathering, and also you get to ‘Dominos’, and that’s the place all of those emotions that you simply wouldn’t essentially think about co-existing, do. There’s the all-consuming need that you simply categorical in a whole lot of the primary songs, and there’s the grief that permeates the newer ones. They usually each really feel like they’re a part of the identical factor. And there’s an acceptance that was absent on ‘As We Go’, the place you’re perhaps making an attempt to suppress it a little bit bit – that worry – however on ‘Dominos’, you’re able to embracing it.

Yeah. 100%. [laughs]

Do you wish to speak a little bit bit about that tune? 

I’m actually enthusiastic about that one. The primary strains are, “That should have been you/ Shifting balloons throughout the lounge ground.” Final 12 months, I used to be dwelling with a very good pal of mine, and I’ve such a tender a part of my coronary heart for her. It was within the earlier days of the pandemic and we have been feeling a bit extra remoted. I had simply moved to LA, and we have been simply spending a lot time collectively on this dwelling that we shared. It was simply such a bizarre 12 months, and he or she bore witness to a whole lot of loopy stuff in my life, and I did the identical for her. It was a really particular time.

It was her birthday celebration – I assume it was like two days after her birthday celebration, however we nonetheless had balloons in our house. And one of many balloons, we seen, even when the air was off or the home windows have been closed, saved shifting round. After which I form of jokingly stated to her, and to the balloon: “Mark” – Mark is my pal who handed away once I was in my early 20s – I used to be like, “Mark, if that’s you, I need you to maneuver to my bed room door.” And I stated it fully simply off the cuff, and the balloon began shifting on a really straight path from my lounge, after which went proper up and knocked towards the door to my bed room. And that’s what that a part of the tune is about.

I really like that particular person a lot, Mark. And it’s been I assume like seven years since he died. It’s so attention-grabbing, the ways in which he’s nonetheless very a lot current in my world. And though the sides are a little bit bit softer, with time, I nonetheless very a lot really feel him, like, in me. I nonetheless form of hear his reactions to jokes, or, like, new issues in my life that he doesn’t know. I really feel him on a regular basis.

Should you’re comfy, might you share a latest second the place you felt his presence not directly?

Yeah, I’m making an attempt to assume. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of, final 12 months, I misplaced one other actually good pal of mine. And I don’t wish to say that that have has overshadowed my first expertise with demise. In a method, it form of has made all of it join a little bit bit extra to me. Actually, it’s the one factor that I can examine this latest loss to, is my lack of Mark. It’s the one factor that I can relate it to. So, it’s been attention-grabbing, as a result of as I’m processing this newer loss, I’m fascinated about Mark so much – much more than I used to be the 12 months earlier than. And it’s in a method that’s useful, but in addition has its personal unhappiness. I really feel like I now have the information that point does go on, and that’s one thing that I’m actually scuffling with this most up-to-date one: I do know, due to this expertise with Mark, that the world will in 5 years will look fully completely different than when this particular person was in it. And so, there’s that information, but in addition, in a method, I really feel like Mark’s form of serving to me with this most up-to-date scenario, if that makes any sense. That entire expertise is informing my strategy now, to grief.

One thing that I take into consideration so much is how that have was so formative and felt so private. After which with this most up-to-date expertise – and I’m certain anybody who’s had shut demise can form of relate to this in a method – however with my pal who handed final 12 months, there was this sense like, Oh my god, this is part of life. Like, this isn’t only a one-time, random, loopy factor. And in some methods it’s, however the greater image – everybody goes to die. [laughs] And that’s essentially the most unavoidable – that’s the most important reality to me.

I neglect how I used to be gonna join that to Mark, however I assume simply that knowingness. I actually attempt to internalize it in a method that makes me appreciative of the time that I do have with folks. Going again to love the expressing love factor – that’s a giant a part of my life.

There’s one a part of it, proper, which is about expressing that love within the current second as really and actually and absolutely as you’ll be able to. After which there’s one other side of it, which I really feel is partly realized by way of this assortment, that has to do with the act of remembering and reflecting. I wished to return to the title of Bear in mind the Silver, which I learn is from a ebook about alien abduction, and it refers to this mantra about remembering how actual every thing felt. I’m wondering, once you look again on all these items – all of the songs and the recollections that they comprise – what helps you keep in mind how actual it truly was?

I believe songwriting typically has at all times been a automobile for that for me. Simply making an attempt to encapsulate precisely how actual a sense was on the time. It’s additionally the overarching theme, in a method, of this assortment. Numerous the songs are outdated, however they’re so actual in what I used to be experiencing on the time. And I believe writing songs has at all times been a method that I can honour that. I’m actually grateful to have had this apply for thus lengthy, as a result of it’s a strategy to honour the load of the emotions. Even when they modify or if I develop, I did really feel these methods once I was making these songs.

I really feel prefer it’s additionally a uncommon factor, as a result of a whole lot of the time, musicians will really feel extra distant in the direction of their songs as time goes by. Are you in any respect afraid that these songs may change into much less intensely linked with the sensation that they’re capturing over time, in a way, that they are going to be simply songs?

Yeah. I additionally simply assume that that’s such a cool and distinctive a part of music typically, it’s actually such a time capsule. And even if you happen to as the author are now not regarding what you’ve written up to now, there can be people who find themselves feeling these issues at that second. If folks message me about older songs, they usually’re like, “I do know precisely what you imply and I can relate a lot this sense,” I believe that’s such a cool a part of music and one thing that’s very particular to music. And even when I really feel distanced from it as a result of it’s recorded on this place and time, there can be different people who find themselves on their very own journey who may come throughout it and relate precisely to 14-year-old Emily in that second.

You talked about earlier that you simply’ve been experimenting with new sounds and altering up your course of a bit, and we talked about how a technique of channeling how actual a sense was is thru music. Is that one thing that you simply’ve been contemplating as you’ve been taking this new course? make a sense sound extra actual and particular?

Yeah, undoubtedly. In music, sure, but in addition completely different mediums as nicely. And that’s been form of enjoyable, too, as a result of I really feel like I’ve been doing music for thus lengthy, and I’ve been making an attempt to problem myself to tackle different inventive initiatives. That’s at all times difficult – only for an instance, with drawing, I’ve been making an attempt to attract a little bit bit extra and I’ve been noticing, like, Whoa, I’ve to be comfy with being unhealthy at one thing to work by way of it and be ok with the issues that I’m making. However there are a bunch of various issues that I’ve been pondering of that I really feel equally about.

I’m working with two of my actually good pals proper now, one in every of which is my pal Sierra, who was my roommate final 12 months. We’re writing a film collectively, me, her and my different pal, Corinne. And that entire course of has been such a visit, and it’s so completely different, as a result of it’s so collaborative. We every are bringing all of our concepts to the desk, whereas music may be very a lot this insular factor, very in my head. This collaborative course of that I’m experiencing is difficult on this entire new method, however it’s additionally going again to capturing a sense – that’s additionally what we’re making an attempt to do once we’re writing collectively. I believe that’s one thing that hasn’t gone away with no matter artwork I’m making an attempt to make. I believe emotions are, like… [laughs] the perfect a part of life. It’s what life is.


This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.

Emily Yacina’s All of the Issues: A Decade of Songs is out July 29 by way of Hazard Collective.

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