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HomeInterviewsAubrey Haddard: ‘90s artists inspire new album Awake and Talking

Aubrey Haddard: ‘90s artists inspire new album Awake and Talking

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 21 – Fall 2022

New York City-based indie-pop singer-songwriter Aubrey Haddard recently released her second full-length studio album Awake And Talking, via Beverly Martel Records, consisting of nine tracks where she “navigates the nuances of love and her relationship to art, and wrestles with existential questions through various lenses.” Haddard was inspired by the “conceptual songwriting and harmonic approaches” of ‘90s music — from Stereolab and Oasis to Björk and the Cocteau Twins.

Haddard’s musical trio consists of her writing partner and multi-instrumentalist Charley Ruddell and drummer Josh Strmic. Awake And Talking is about seeking a sense of purpose,” explains Haddard. “It challenges perception – how many ways can you look at the world before you find your place in it? It is about destiny and the journey to self-acceptance. And, like anything I create, it is about my own personal experience over the past few years. This record makes me feel powerful and confident in the face of uncertainty and it brings me a lot of joy to know that it could offer a sliver of that to anyone listening.”

Your new album Awake and Talking was a project you worked on with your bandmates Charley Ruddell and Josh Strmic. First, share with us how the trio was formed, and second, the writing and recording process.
The trio formed very organically during our years in the Boston music scene. Charley is a wonderful songwriter and visionary and brings a lot of ideas to the table. On this record, we would come into the room with a few half-baked ideas and just flesh them out until they were fully formed.

Let’s talk about your new album’s opening track, “Just a Wall.” It’s written from the perspective of the Greek prophet Orpheus. How did you come up with the idea to do that? Did you have to do any research on Orpheus while you were writing? It’s an excellent piece.
The film Orphee is an old favorite of mine, and as a creative prompt, I decided to try writing from the perspective of others, just to change up my writing style a bit. I did lots of reading up on the story, but I mainly just narrated the film as I watched it and tried to recreate some scenes from the movie as I saw them.

Do you have a favorite track or line from this album?
It’s always changing but currently, “Harbor.” Something about the way the groove sits in my body feels right.

If your listeners could only take one thing away from this album, what would you want it to be?
I stole this mantra from a very wise friend, but I’d like people to pose themselves the question, ‘Are you who you think you are,’ and roll with it — see what they find.

Many of your sonic inspirations for this album came from the 1990s and 2000s European artists. Describe your personal sound to me in three words or less.
Avant-indie!

How has your sound changed since your 2018 album? What has stayed the same?
My voice will always be the throughline, even as it changes, and my sound will always evolve based on what feels authentic to me at the time.

What influence, if any, do you think the pandemic had on the trajectory of this album?
If anything, it gave me some time to write a lot of the music.

You’ve opened for several stellar acts. Is there one experience that sticks out in your mind as especially memorable?
In April, we opened for Sunflower Bean, and I just absolutely adore their music.

Who would you most like to open for in the future?
Cate Le Bon, Julia Jacklin, badass babes.

When did you start playing guitar, and what gear are you currently using?
I started songwriting on the guitar when I was about 16. My Jazzmaster is a beautiful beast, and my two newest pedals that I’ve been digging into are EarthQuaker Devices  Plumes and Rainbow Machine.

Do you have a preference for strings?
Absolutely! I am an Elixir strings artist, and that is a dream come true because I swear by their OPTIWEBs for tone and longevity.

What’s your go-to guitar for songwriting?
I try to rotate steadily between writing on my Jazzmaster, acoustic guitar, piano, and synths.

Will your band be hitting the road in support of your new album?
At some point, yes!

Awake And Talking (LP) Tracklisting:  

  1. Just A Wall
  2. Green As Ever
  3. Somewhere
  4. Harbor
  5. Future Boxes
  6. Processing Power
  7. Doors
  8. Forever Is
  9. Someone’s Daughter
Cece Gair

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