"Call Me Adam" chats with rising singer/songwriter Katie Buchanan about her debut full-length album GLOW and album release concert at Arlene's Grocery (95 Stanton Street) in NYC both on March 3. Showtime is 9pm! Click here for tickets!
1. On March 3, you are releasing your first full length album, GLOW. What excites you about this album? On a purely personal level, this is the first piece I’ve put out that I have no regrets over. No "well that’s good but this could be better..." I’m sure I’ll get there—self-doubt is life blood of singer/songwriters everywhere. But for now I’m pretty darn happy with it.
2. What do you hope people come away with after listening to GLOW? I hope people come away from GLOW feeling lighter. People keep calling it "uplifting," which I think is kind of hilarious. The lyrics are pretty transparently about death. But that’s partly why I was so focused on making the tracks feel good outside of the song content, you have to pad musings on mortality somehow. And hopefully that feeling can extend beyond the record. So maybe "uplifting" is right.
3. What made now the right time to release your debut full length album? This sounds like a line, but it was the right time to release an album because there was an album to release. I had planned to follow up the last EP with a string of singles. Then five or six tracks go by and I realize it might be something a little more. It was such a quick process that I didn’t have much time to think about it as a "DEBUT full length," which ended up being so freeing.
4. You are celebrating this release with a concert at Arlene's Grocery in NYC on March 3. What are you looking forward to about performing at this famed NYC landmark? Why did you choose Arlene's Grocery as the venue you wanted to have your album release concert? The thing about being a NYC musician is that half the venues are already famed and half of them will be (eh, maybe a third of them, let’s go with a third). So it kind of takes the edge off of "LANDMARK." Or at least that what I keep telling myself. But aside from Arlene’s deserved place in the history books, it’s still a really current venue with a good room that sounds good and is run by good people. Sometimes it’s that simple. Also they’re totally down with loud. Loud is essential for a Katie Buchanan release show.
5. What do you enjoy most about performing live? I’m a total hermit when making a record. Before it goes off to be mixed and mastered, no one else touches it. So playing it live is like discovering the songs all over again. I’m blessed to play with really amazing musicians (Christian Nourijanian, Goh Izawa, and Lauren Falls) who take the tracks and make them their own. So the audience gets something representative of the record, but also something fresh and new.
6. For someone who has never seen you perform or really know your music, why should they purchase GLOW and/or come to your concert at Arlene's Grocery? Because it’s good. (Honestly, I totally typed that as a joke, because: holy narcissism Batman. But you know what, I’m leaving it. Stand behind your product, I say!)
But also it’s going to be a genuinely fun night. I asked two of my favorite NYC bands, The Nepotist and Raye, to join the bill and they said yes. And there will definitely be a whole slew of glow in the dark stuff flying around. You don’t put out an album called GLOW and not play into it.
Plus my reputation for whiskey drinking and bad jokes is there for a reason.
7. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting an album together? When it comes right down to it, I’m mainly a songwriter. I’m completely addicted to the feeling of finally finding the prefect line. And putting an album together feels a lot like that. So much of it is chasing random whims and finding new sounds and surprising yourself. It’s a big part of the reason I chose to work alone on the creative half of this record. I was completely free to chase any idea. I’m not quite evolved enough as a person to do that collaboratively.
8. Who or what inspired you to become a singer/songwriter? I was born into long line of musicians. My grandfather put a fiddle in my hand when I was four. So music got me early, I didn’t really have much choice in the matter. Not that I mind, starting at such a young age has been an invaluable gift. Plus, I have far too much to say (see: this interview) to ever be a non-singer/songwriter musician.
9. What is the best advice you've ever received? Always leave them wanting more via my grandfather via the world. I’m finally getting that right on a record (GLOW is only about 32 minutes). Still working on it otherwise (see: again, this interview).
10. What have you learned about yourself from being a singer/songwriter? This is one of those questions I never quite know how to answer since I don’t really know what it’s like to not be a singer/songwriter. I literally don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, when I wasn’t singing. It’s as much part of my DNA as my DNA.
11. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Teleportation. The magic kind, not the science-fiction kind because that theory is way too morbid.
12. If you could create your own signature drink, what would you call it and what ingredients would you put in it? I would call it whiskey. It would be whiskey.
Originally from Kansas, singer-songwriter Katie Buchanan explores a vein of subtle guitar pop steeped in Americana and heartbreak. She plays around New York rock clubs, drinks too much whiskey, and combines Midwest honesty with the directness that accompanies living in the city. Obsessively prolific, she will be releasing her newest LP, titled Glow, out March 3rd. Her first single, "Honey Don’t," is an intense kernel of pop that combines pristine guitars and synths with Katie’s smoky, cracking voice. The result is a deep sense of longing and catharsis – less an update of her sound than a deepening and strengthening of what makes Katie unique.