FYIG Chats With “Anti Folk” Artist Roxy Rawson

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My background in music is through classical training on piano and then through frustration with the regimented teaching styles I was exposed to, I eventually joined an African choir and drumming group, as well as an anti-folk collective in London and started writing my own music as soon as I graduated.

I am now based in the east bay of San Francisco. I love the originality of the music here, any artists musicians sticking around here with the increase in living costs and rent have to really care about the art they’re making, so I find this environment to be tough, but also inspiring and stimulating in terms of the arts scene here. There is a lot of social commentary and sophistication in the musicianship I hear here.

Talk to us about growing up in a Mormon community and what that experience was like.

Mmm…well there were both good and bad things about it. The best things about it were feeling part of a community and connected to people of different ages and generations. I didn’t have much contact with extended family growing up so that was great.

However, when it appeared that I wasn’t living a strictly Mormon life as I was questioning and exploring in my teen years, there was a lot of judgment and one person even denounced me at the pulpit.

People who I thought loved me didn’t really check in with me or stay in touch when I left, but they did all turn up to my wedding 10 years later and seemed very happy to see me, so those connections were kind of strange..the bonds are strong in some senses, knowing people for so long, but were a bit conditional.

I also appreciate the validity of having a spiritual side to life that growing up in this community gave me- which is not necessarily something one experiences growing up in a generally secular society. I found that even after I left, that sense of having a spiritual self, or it being okay to explore that idea, that it wasn’t irrational, was very important for me a person, because I do feel more whole when I acknowledge that I have a spiritual self and have a spiritual practice built into my life.

How would you describe your musical style?

Roxy Rawson

It has been described by others as anti-folk or freak folk, I would call it feral chamber freak folk 🙂

How important was it to immerse yourself with different musical styles like the jazz influences from Paris and your experiences in an African Choir?

It was hugely important to me, it opened up my ‘sonic palette’ and helped me to validate the urge to create and be part of music that was not solely about honoring, or rendering homage to classical composers.

You recently released a new album called Quenching The Kill. What can audiences expect from this collection of songs?

They explore opposition in life and the validation and celebration of different feelings about the darker and lighter experiences in life. They also explore just and right anger, survival anger, the type of urge to kill for survival that animals have.

What was it like working with producer Ben Lamdin?

Ben was great, he wanted to help me make a record I could be proud of and seemed to understand well what kind of sound I was aiming for.

That was actually really important when it came to mixing, as I was unable to be present for that process. I was falling ill with Lyme disease at the time and had to trust that he would be able to translate what I wanted into a mix that I would be happy with. We did speak about the sound we were aiming for, but I really had to put a lot of trust in him as I wasn’t present for the mixing process.

What’s next for your career?

I’m hoping to record my second album and I’m starting to work on my third. I’d like to think wider in terms of the instrumentation, start incorporating orchestral instruments along with electric guitar and drums. I’d also love to be able to tour or have some more support to be able to do that.

What advice would you give to aspiring singers/songwriters?

Mmm…write music that pleases you, that isn’t calculated for others, be true to yourself. But make sure you’re not going completely insular and ignoring the outside world too. Performing regularly if you can, can help with your music writing connecting to others. And carve out time for creation and self-care amidst all the admin demands and need to make money.

What’s your life like outside of the studio?

Well, I’m only in the studio every few months as I save up for studio time. In between, I teach piano, violin, and voice. I perform quite regularly now and I’m also co-founding a non-profit organization, record label and concert series in support of musicians in the bay area.

Let the readers know where to find you online.

You can hear my album here:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5hNvEZdGZNSJm6cdh1IkxE

You can support me by purchasing my album here:

https://roxyrawson.bandcamp.com/album/quenching-the-kill-2

Here are my socials:

https://twitter.com/roxyrawson

https://www.facebook.com/RoxyRawson/

https://www.instagram.com/roxyrawson/

However, my mailing list at my website is my preferred way to stay in touch. You can sign up here: http://roxyrawson.com/