Interview: Tenderheart Bitches

Published on 19 September 2022 at 09:35

1: How did you decide on the name, “Tenderheart Bitches"?

It's a pretty funny story, and I think to have a name like "Tenderheart Bitches" you kind of need a funny story, right? Basically I was working on a project with a really difficult cis male producer who had been shooting down my creative ideas all day and in the same breath he was like "you don't have to be so emotional, so tenderhearted about this. You're kind of being a bunch of bitches" and I just *knew* I couldn't let that one go. So it has stayed.
2: What inspires you to create?

I'm a pretty voracious creator. When I'm not writing songs for THB, I'm an experimental classical composer -- even when I took a break from making new music during the pandemic, I made a lot of visual art. My brain processes life and the things around me through creating. Truthfully, what you see in the real world is like 1/8th of the stuff I've started to make, it's the sharing that's hard--and the finishing. I'm a notorious non-finisher.
3: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession?

Just freaking do it. You only have one little life, and such a short time, and the world needs to hear your story. Just make the thing. The rest will come. You'll be better, happier, freer, once you've made the thing. Just make the thing. Why are you reading this, just go make the thing!
4: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone?

Oh boy do I. My Spotify listening habits are bonkers. I'm a pretty curious listener, and like getting to know a lot of varied things--different genres, different time periods, weird pockets of music making. I'm very into experimental classical music and very inspired by modern opera, literal Gregorian chants, protest music, and Baltic folk music. If you want to get into a niche pocket of music, I probably have a weirdo playlist for that. 
5: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.)

I wish I was better about this -- Oftentimes I'll read blogs or just listen to what people are talking about. Social media has been a great way for me to find out about bands or projects that I never would have stumbled on ordinarily.
6: What is your favorite format to listen to music on? (CD, Vinyl, etc.)

Anything! If it's music, lemme at it. I do like vinyl because I think it forces me to slow down a bit.
7: How do you feel the internet has impacted the music business?

I think a lot of people demonize the internet, but frankly I think it's awesome -- smaller bands can find their community in a much broader way, more people can be exposed to a wider variety of music, and also creatives and fans can connect on social media. Of course, there are major problems with the internet, but I think it has helped people find their people.

8: Who was the first band/artist that became your favorite band?

I think for a long time I liked bands that I thought people expected me to like, but I remember when I discovered like St. Vincent and Mitski....what a time. They really hit me exactly when/where/how they were supposed to. 
9: Do you have any hobbies outside of music?

I wouldn't call either of these hobbies per se, but I definitely have had a huge need for mental space outside of music. Generally that includes my partner, our dog, and some little adventure. I try to get breathing room from music these days. I think weirdly enough it makes us better musicians.
10: What was the inspiration for your song “Branding Irons”?

A few years back I got a text from a former friend about how I was a toxic friend towards the end of our friendship. It was a huge wakeup call. I already felt so much self-loathing, and realizing that I hurt someone I really cared about really messed me up. I was in an Airbnb in Belgrade at the time and I wrote it all in voice memos to myself and then added guitar when I got home. I remember playing the song for our producer Mori Einsidler being like "yeah, it's not good enough to be on the EP" and she was like, "wtf Jess, no its awesome". Here we are.


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