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March 29, 2011 / punkcakes

Folks Not Dead! An Interview with Robin Bacior

There has been a recent whirlwind of Folk artists emerging onto the music scene, but with artists like Robin Bacior it makes it really hard to deny. Her recently released E.P, Aim for Night, seems almost perfect with lyrics that sound like poetry and rhythms you want to repeat over and over again. The record just plays beautiful, constant emotion – listen to Familiar Road, you’ll see what I mean. Robin’s future looks bright and sunny, all of us awaiting what she will do next. Download her new single, “Man Before Me“, and go celebrate it April 11th, 8pm at Union Hall with the 7” release show (tickets)!

Read the exclusive Q & A with Robin!

Q: What is your musical background? How did your journey begin?

I’ve pretty much always played music in some form, and I think it began with my parents. They’re both pretty musical, and growing up they would have their friends over to just play music. They would all improve or play their favorite songs on flute, guitar, violin and piano, and having that as part of my childhood background made music a staple. It led to piano lessons, choir, orchestra, college bands, songwriting, basically always having a hand in music somehow.

Q: Who are you own musical influences?

Joni Mitchell is a gigantic influence. I’ve spent way way way too much time reading, listening and learning all about Joni Mitchell and her musical path. I think her honesty but observant nature is so brilliant, and the way she constantly evolves through every album, and has been so fearless in her musical pursuit. I also love other musicians like Jolie Holland, Fiona Apple, and newer folk like Sea of Bees, Y La Bamba and Lower Dens.

Q: I absolutely love your lyrics, so sincere and powerful. What inspires you and your songwriting?

Thank you! Lyrics are the most important thing for me. I think I’m mostly inspired by everyday stuff. A lot of my songs are about me trying to process various chapters of my life, relationships in many forms, a lot of self-reflection. I think I view it like this: my head is a big closet and i’m constantly going in there and pulling out weird clothing and trying to sew it together into nice dresses for other people to wear. I want to write songs that other people can relate to, because that’s been such a powerful influence for me with other songwriters’ stuff. Hearing something and thinking ‘that’s exactly what I was thinking, but i didn’t know how to say it!’ If someone can feel like that with one of my songs, I’ll probably cry with joy.

Q: You are a Brooklyn based singer, do you have a favorite spot in Brooklyn where you like to write?

For a long time I was really only able to write sitting on my bed. All of my EP was written sitting on my bed in various bedrooms. I feel like I’m wearing all these rough lyrics on my face, which makes me nervous to write in public, but in the last year I’ve learned to branch out a little bit, to not feel like I have to hide as much, and feel ok with writing on the subway, or even just sitting down on someone’s steps for a minute to jot down a couple lines.

Q: I truly admire songwriters because not only do you put all of your emotions out on display, but you stand behind it and own it. When it comes to songwriting, do you ever feel nervous/anxious about saying something that you might regret?

Songwriting can be a strange thing. My songs mostly center around things I’m too nervous to say in person, yet I end up singing them, and literally projecting them at full-volume, normally at the person the song centers around. The first few times of doing this I definitely felt anxious about it, but now I feel like after I write it all down, the song becomes its own thing, and I’m ok singing it.

Q: What is the one thing you love most about playing music?

It’s a release. It never gets old, and it always seems to mellow me out.

Q: You just played at SXSW, what was your experience like? Any fun stories?

I had a really great time, it was definitely a madhouse, and by the weekend the chaos was a little overwhelming, but I felt really happy to get to run around with musicians from all over the place and share pretty sounds. You see so many big names strolling down the street, and I did actually have a starstruck moment. When I was leaving my hotel, I passed David Fricke, and I stood in shock for a moment, and turned just in time to see him walking to his hotel room a few floors up. I was so excited that I actually went up to his floor and knocked on six doors ’til I found his room. I shook his hand and introduced myself, then apologized for stalking him. I grew up reading my dad’s copies of Rolling Stone Magazine, so 15-year-old Robin just took over, oblivious to social rules and privacy. He was very nice though.

Q: Your recently released EP, Aimed For Night, has received a much deserved praise and following after its February release. How do you feel?

I feel really happy. It’s really freeing to have let go of embarrassment or nerves and have people tell me certain lines they like or relate to. I was pretty sure these songs would never leave my bedroom, so to have strangers hear and comment on them was at first really startling, but now really awesome.

Q: You recently released the new single “Man Before Me” (which I am currently obsessed with). Are we going to see it on a full-length sometime soon? What can we expect from Robin Bacior in the future?

Wellllll, I am planning on recording and putting out a full-length later in the year. It’s in the works.

Q: If you could give any piece of advice to young artists just starting out, what would it be?

Don’t be scared! For so long I was so so frightened to play music. I’d practice and practice and when it came time to play a show, I’d be too freaked out to sing into the microphone, so I’d stand far away from it and after the show everyone would tell me they couldn’t hear me. It took me years to get over this fear, and I sometimes still get it, but I make myself still sing into the mic. I’ve realized no one’s going to throw tomatoes at me, and I like singing, so who cares. Sing!

Q: The obligatory punkcakes question – Punkcakes is a music blog with a love for the pastry. What is your favorite dessert (or recipe you’d like to share)?

I’m the worst baker ever, but lucky for me, my roommate is a baking queen and makes me delicious treats. I think my favorite would be the standard brownie, or an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, with the chips melting. Or anything involving chocolate really.

Catch Robin at a show!

April 11, Union Hall 8pm

April 21, The Living Room (opening for Sea of Bees) 7pm

April 22, Spike Hill (opening for Sea of Bees) TBA

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