I caught up with Hybrid Rose ahead of the release of her second album, WARHOL - it's great and available now in all the usual places! Like Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp!

j: i love the album, it's great, i've been listening to it a whole bunch it's quite different to cosmic, eh?

r: yeah, no, i wanted to jump away from that sound a bit more, i dunno. i feel like when i was trying to write cosmic i was trying to be a bit more... i was trying to commercialise myself a bit more, to be appealing to the people i was sending it off to, like the blogs and the radio and stuff, whoever's listening i wanted them to enjoy it, it was a bit, it's not what i'm completely comfortable with, so i wanted to just kind of make something that was a bit more genuine

j: yeah, it's nice... it kind of starts of similar to cosmic, the first couple of tracks... and then it jumps, right away...

r: where does it jump, where does it change?

j: hold on, i have some notes...

r: i feel like i'm about to be criticised! yeah, there are some different sounds that i've used in the overall album, so i'm just curious as to where it changes, or where it jumps for you

j: so i think, holographic dreams was kind of similar? and then warhol is a jump away

r: ah yes, yes yes yes. i actually wrote holographic dreams back in february last year, so before cosmic was even finished, cos i remember finishing songs the day before it came out, and they were just demos that i had, cos i was just trying to diversify the project, but like i wrote holographic dreams back in february, and like... it sounds completely different now, but i didn't want it to start off too alienated either? like i wanted it to have a similar vibe to what the people who have found me through cosmic, which is actually quite a few, what they think of my music as an overall concept, rather than listening to an entirely different project and being like 'is this the same bitch from last year???'

j: [laughs] yeah, yeah

r: yeah, and, i don't even know how to explain warhol, cos like... that was actually a re-written song that i dedicated to this project, because the overall idea of this album is like, the celebration of self-identity. and i was inspired by that because i had an identity crisis earlier this year! [laughter] so i was like, yeah, this works! so when i wrote the original song, which is called pastel princess, which is on soundcloud, it sounds very very similar, it's just like a repurposed version that has like, carried its legacy on the track onto a proper project

j: yeah, that's really interesting. and i guess it's written differently to cosmic? do you wanna talk about the writing process, and how it sits next to it?

r: oh yeah, that was an interesting time, cos i started just after i finished cosmic as well, i remember someone asking me 'so what's next?' and i was like, i don't know, but i've still got things i want to write about, like, i started holographic dreams in february, new york i started in 2016, actually, so new york has been around for a couple of years, and warhol obviously was written three years ago - well i started writing it three years ago - so i had like these ideas that i wanted to see if i could put them into my music somehow, but a deluxe edition for cosmic didn't make sense cos it just didn't seem right, like there was already enough music out there? and so i started - i wanted to make a contemporary album, a bit more classical i guess, so a lot more acoustic instruments and a lot more classical instruments like harps and strings and pianos and violins, guitars, like i just wanted to go completely bat-shit different, and i do remember from the beginning the whole project was based around art, and visuals and paintings and stuff, which is also, yknow, how warhol came to be as well, and i went through a lot of different phases last year, cos a lot went down, and this year as well like just before i finished the album, like a lot of different self-identity related things, like i guess my gender and my, yknow, the way that i look at myself and the way that i present myself, my musical brand, all the things, and obviously my love life which is quite a recent thing as well. so a lot has been quite.. heavy? and i just wanted to talk about it, which is why the album is a bit more mature as well - which is something people have said, like "this sounds a bit more.. um, a bit more serious"

j: yeah, i think serious is the word i'd use over mature, like, it's, maybe because cosmic wasn't not mature, but it was very, chiptuney poppy, upbeat, fun

r: well at the time the idea was to fabricate any stories that i wanted to tell, so i talk about the same stuff in cosmic that i do in warhol, but it was more fabricated, and more sugary, sugarcoated, and i do talk about that a lot as being part of the hybrid rose brand, but i think a better way to represent the hybrid rose project as a whole is to be completely unfiltered rather than like, trying to be something, trying to tell a story but kind of change it up a bit? it's just better to be like, this is what actually happened, because i could never do that as myself. if i were to write music under my name it would be a different story, because that's my life, i've created something that is completely authentic to me, but it's not under my name so i'm not gonna get in trouble. Not gonna get in trouble if someone's not happy with it!

j: [laughing] yeah, no, fair enough. last time we talked a bit about the character of hybrid rose, is that still like a thing? for you?

r: oh, yeah yeah yeah yeah. now it feels more like a project, cos i do think there's gonna come a time where i step away from it and maybe write music under another name, or start a band, or i dunno, wanna write music under my own name? and also i guess it keeps my options open for the future. i mean right now because it's still quite young it's a good way to use it as a therapy session at night, when i need to make music and i need something to talk about, or i need some type of coping strategy that i can channel into visuals and music. so it's like a way for me to be completely unfiltered - i don't know how long it's gonna be around for, right now it's pretty much my whole life [laughs] so we'll see what happens in about five years time.

j: and there are some really neat collaborations on the album, i really like just press play, it's so visceral, it's fantastic, like the change from the verse into the chorus is just so... brutal

r: it's funny you say that, because i wrote that song the same day i started writing why don't you love me, one of the most chillest pop songs on the album, so yeah, i'm so proud of that song, i was so excited to work with fanfickk, she was perfect. i did have someone else in mind for the song as well, so when that fell through, and me and fanfickk started writing together, the chemistry was just too real. but it was such an exciting song, i still listen to it like every day. and there are more songs that give me that same feeling on the album, don't get me wrong, like ufo and plastic memories, and holographic dreams [laughs] i listen to my music and i'm not ashamed of it

j: no it's good it's so good, i understand that. have you found it like, quite hard getting the promo for this?

r: um, it's been very, like, it's like britney spears 2007 honestly

j: [laughs]

r: it was easy, for the era as a whole... i went through so many different phases, like i said before i went through so many different phases, like when i was... it all starts with the cherry ep, that was all written, i wrote those songs during the creative process for this album, so there's like, a hundred songs in total?

j: oh wow

r: yeah... i wrote a LOT, uh, so i didn't really know where i was going with that, and then i was like, i wanna make the album, i wanna call it kaleidoscope, and i had the kaleidoscope and treehouse song out as a double single, but that didn't get any coverage, which wasn't very exciting. and i had like the album done as well, it's like the original warhol, it's called kaleidoscope, it's like 14 songs and half the songs are different as well. so that was interesting, cos i might put that out later this year or something, just like as a mixtape. yeah, i went through different phases, and i was sending off emails and no one was like listening, i was like 'why is no one listening, am i not being real enough?' and then when just press play started to get like, a lot of attention, i was like, fuck, okay, i think this is what people want to hear. and it was like video game style that i'm known for, so i was like, okay. okay. i know what i'm doing, i know what happens next. so that was quite... that was a weird time, and then, i dunno, i tried to do heart of gold and you must love me, and like, i put two of those songs out at a weird time. heart of gold came out two days after me and my ex broke up. so i was like, i need to get something out there so i feel a bit more like, oof, and also i'd been a bit quite quiet about the music as well. and then i tried singing, and no one really enjoyed it so it was like, oh noooo, arghhh. i dunno, but i think i got it right this time, i think i've just decided to snap down and just make some more video game music cos it's what people like! [laughs] but what i had in mind was completely different unfortunately, but like it's okay now, it's completely fine now cos i'm proud of what has come out of this actually, like, yeah, i didn't expect this project to turn out the way it did either, and i'm glad because i've had more time to sit down and be like, well, i know i can do this much in this time, i can manage all these things at once, but i think like, for the album as a whole people wanted to hear that more and were more interested in that than singles. so i think next time i'm just gonna jump right to an album, like maybe a song, and then put the rest of the album out not too long after that. yeah, i think i'm better at selling an overall project rather than like a singular song.

j: fair enough! and i guess, especially earlier on, people just want to listen to a lot of it, and for like some of the massive acts they can tease out like six singles over a year and then release an album

r: i just don't think i'm that type of, i don't think that strategy works best for me, cos i don't know when an album's going to be done. so it's like, oh, i'll put this out! oh i'll put this out! oh, i still don't know what i'm doing, i'll put this out! and like, and i usually pick the best songs as well, cos at least whatever happens i know they're going to be on the album. i almost released a track in july, july 6 i believe, i was gonna put out a different song that had a different name, and it's not on the final cut. so that would've been awkward if i'd put that out, cos people are gonna be listening to it like, where... where'd it go

j: well, actually...

r: it's not on the album... but

j: yeah, i feel like the long game, it'd just be really stressful? like thinking about how i relate to my own art stuff like, waiting that long i get impatient, and also i get antsy, i just keep coming back and changing things over and over and it kind of, it'll never be done?

r: exactly!

j: sometimes you just gotta let it go... and drop it

r: yeah! i mean you put out music too, don't know?

j: yeah, every now and then

r: yeah! i think i follow you on soundcloud. so yeah, it's cool that you know what that feels like

j: yeah yeah, if i don't, like, decide something's finished i will just keep coming back to it and changing it and changing it and i feel like it just starts to get worse

r: yeah [laughs] that's the worst thing as well, cos you just want the thing done. hurry up! are you working on any albums or projects or anything?

j: um, yeah.. i'm trying to get back into writing cos i haven't really done it for years and years, so i'm getting back into there but i'm playing in a couple of bands that are kind of just fun bands to be in. one of them's like a dance noise band [laughs]

r: ohhh, that's awesome

j: it's just very fun and easy to just, do, which is good. i'm enjoying it

r: oh wicked! and it's just gonna be under your name, at the moment

j: yeah, the stuff i'm writing will probably just be under my name, i like my name [laughs]

r: jen... i think you can make something cool out of that as well

j: it's very interesting, like i definitely chose the name thinking about how it would sound attached to like, art

r: i sense some like, purple-y colours and techno sounds when i think of like, the word jen. i just think of like a weird rave underground and people are like, snorting coke and fingering each other

j: [laughing] it's a fantastic image, nice [laughs] how is wellington treating you? cos last time we spoke you were in like, nelson, right?

r: blenheim. ah, lil old blenheim. um... things have been very, well, in my personal life things have been very like, [low guttural groan]. i think besides the drama... i can definitely say that there's a lot to offer here, which is why i'm still here. there's just so much to do, so much that i can do here. i'm still writing, so, i've still got something to talk about while i'm here

j: i made a note about the little interludes in the album, they're just very well-placed, and kinda makes it suspenseful, or with a narrative, and i really enjoyed that

r: oh! thank you! yeah, sweet dreams was like, i wrote it just after why don't you love me, it actually has the same chord progressions used in the prechorus and the bridge, that like cascading chords just going [imitates chords cascading down] and yeah, i did have one after plastic memories called place the shame, but that's been taken down

j: yeah i noticed that! i thought it looked different

r: i changed everything last minute, which is stupid, cos i had to send off all these emails to people being like 'wait! actually! stop! there's been a halt in this project! pls listen to me!' but yeah, i got rid of a lot of songs actually, i got rid of heart of gold, heart of gold i took down, cherry is gone, take the shame, and... you must love me. because... i dunno how to explain it... [pause] heart of gold was... i wrote in may, i started working on it in may, and finished it in may, but that's when things were dark for like a moment. i think for the past couple of months things were like really really bad, and then like they've slowly started to like cascade back up again. but then again, who's to say, things could claw back down tomorrow. but yeah, i just wasn't in my mind at the time, and i wasn't like, i wasn't dressing like myself or dressing like myself or being the person that i wanted to be, i was kind of playing like this character, i guess? or like this artificial version of myself. i looked like me, but i wasn't feeling like me, or dressing like me. it was like i was doing things for the sake of pleasing someone else. and it was like, really stupid, because that's just not the person that i am. which is unfortunate [laughs] but yeah, i just wasn't in my mind and the song didn't sound right or feel right, like the outcome didn't sound like anything else that i've done, in terms of mixing and production and, i dunno, just nothing about the song was genuine, and it's ironic because that song is about having a heart of gold and being completely like, strong and worth it and knowing your worth and it's like [laughing] i didn't know my worth at the time

j: just writing it down and hoping that it's true [laughing]

r: speaking it into existence! yeah, but yeah, and then cherry, that song was already technically out, and people already, people had their obsession with it and then like, i dunno, then it was like cancelled. and take the shame is the same thing, except what i was writing about in that song and you must love me are lies, like, i was writing about a bunch of lies, because what i thought was right at the time was not right at all, cos i was still like, like i said before i wasn't being genuine around that time so it was like, a bit of a weird state to be in really, and it was just. it was, yeah, i was obsessing over a lie, and it was not very good of me to be singing about it either [laughs] so it was like, girl, calm down, take those songs off and shorten it - and the original plan was just to make like 11 songs cos otherwise the album would be like too long...

j: [laughing] yeah fair enough

r: 14 songs was good once, let's not make another 14 songs!

j: i dunno, some people just put out massive, massive albums... i really love it [laughs]

r: i thought you were gonna say something bad...

j: no no no! some people put out huge albums and i like, i love having a whole heap of stuff to listen to from like one context, it's good

r: i just feel like i would've done that this time, like put out maybe 30 songs, but the purpose would've gotten lost or people would've got bored and not listened to everything

j: yeah, true, i dont know what like, the normal thing is, probably most people don't listen to massive albums, but, i dunno

r: i feel like we're probably forgetting like the difference between an album and an ep, cos someone put out, a couple of people that i follow recently have put out albums, but like, they're 8-9 songs and it's like, that's not what an album is... that's an ep honey... what??? it's like, oh, man, these people just don't know what they're doing! mmhmm. anything else?

j: yeah i think that's it! unless there's anything else you wanna chat about, wanna cover

r: lemme just... lemme think about that a little bit. i feel like we've talked a lot about some important things... i try to be quite purposeful when people ask me questions about the music, it's like, well, there's purpose, and there's meaning, and there's meaning in the purpose [laughs] but yeah, i dunno, i try to be a bit more serious about it, cos it's like, it's a real thing, and people... what i don't think people realise... i know certain people know, like people in my life, my closer friends and family know that i'm going through stuff when it happens. i don't think that a majority of the people who don't necessarily follow me too well in my personal life know that there's shit going on at all times, or there's shit going on in my life, and it's like, i try to bring some light into it. so it's an intimate moment... sorry, i'm just really tired... i was up since 5 in the morning... no i fell asleep at 5 and woke up just before this happened... 'i need to be awake, i need to be awake, i've got an interview to do and i don't wanna be non professional'

j: [laughing] no it's impressive! you've been great for like, 3 hours sleep, it's amazing

r: oh, i'm so blessed, thank you! um, yeah, there's just a lot of things that we've touched base on that i think it'll be good. i think this is good for now.