Photo Credit: Jaclyn Campanaro
Even before the pandemic, Los Angeles seemed like a lonely place to me. Move more than a mile from your friends and seeing one another becomes a whole issue. Of course, 2020 added a whole new layer to the solitude, and Corrina Repp poured her heart and soul into that feeling. From it, her November 2021 release, ‘Island.’ We talked about the record, her photography, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: When many think of an island, their minds instantly go towards paradise but being that your album, ‘Island,’ came about during the isolating time of the pandemic, I’m going to assume the land surrounded by water you’re speaking of was less than ideal?
Corrina Repp: ‘Island’ was written and recorded during a very isolating time. The more I sat with the album and looked back at the process and those months, the more I realized how truly isolated I was.
Living alone on a very quiet hill in Los Angeles where I went days and weeks without seeing or talking to anyone. It’s not that it wasn’t ideal, because in some ways suddenly not having a day job was a dream come true, but in others, every other constant I had in my life just vanished. That’s a lot to come to terms with, and a colossal unknown to process. I’m also the strange combination of being someone who LOVES my time alone, while also being an incredibly social person. I feel lucky that the isolation suited me, and I made the most of it. It wasn’t always easy, but I went inward and came out of it with a lot to show for it.
Kendra: How was your creativity level during those early months? Most days I was on the couch drowning in a puddle of fear and anxiety.
Corrina Repp: My creativity was at an astonishing level for me. I have never experienced the kind of output that was flowing out of me. I think it was just a response to living alone, being completely alone, and suddenly having all of the time in the world. I was also processing every single emotion through my songs, so it was definitely a very cathartic process for me. To be honest, I cried a lot. The catharsis was real.
Kendra: Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a lot of records inspired by the various aspects of 2020-today. Do you feel we’re maybe over the hump and heading toward a more cathartic moment in music now?
Corrina Repp: I think music is always cathartic no matter when, where or how. That’s the beauty of art. It’s a language that will always be there for us, and through whatever we are experiencing.
Kendra: A big part of catharsis is accepting what’s before you and moving forward, something that I feel resonates when listening to “Count The Tear Drops.” Was this a song you penned early on in 2020, or one you came around to after you dealt with the ideas this song speaks of, finding and appreciating those small bursts of joy in life?
Corrina Repp: “Count the Tear Drops” was one of the last songs I wrote for ‘Island,’ and it does center around feeling grateful for every single day we get to be here, while also seeing sadness and grief all around us. I think that allows us to see what we have more clearly by having empathy for what other people are going through and allowing ourselves to find joy in the small things. It’s hard to not be swallowed by the big picture sometimes, but if you break it down to all of the small things, and how beautiful they can be, it somehow makes life more manageable.
Kendra: With vaccines and whatnot, we’re able to enjoy a lot more than we were this time last year. You even got to head to Gonerfest in October. How was it being engulfed in live music again?
Corrina Repp: Gonerfest was a wonderful example of how seeing live music again is absolutely possible and can be done safely. They required proof of vaccination, it was outside, and most people still continued to wear their masks. It was awesome to see the level of respect people had for each other. It was a blast to see so much incredible music, and with such force. People have been needing this so bad. I got to see The Spits perform an incredible set on Saturday night and the audience, AND the band were all definitely going through some sort of release. The intensity and the energy coming off of everyone was pure electricity. Everyone was sweating out 2020 in a big big way. It was fantastic.
Kendra: Will you be hitting any stages yourself soon?
Corrina Repp: I don’t have a booking agent at the moment, so it’s really just about me sending a couple of emails to try and make it happen in the cities I consider home. LA and Portland. I’m hoping to book a couple of shows come early December, and hopefully return to Europe in 2022.
Kendra: Now you’ve had quite a few songs pop up on some major shows like ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Better Things.’ Is there any song off ‘Island’ that you feel would be the perfect fit for a current show? If so, which song and show?
Corrina Repp: I’m a huge fan of ‘Better Things,’ and Pamela Adlon has been a wonderful supporter of my music. I hope she uses every song on ‘Island’ in the new season. Haha! That would be awesome. She’s such a force, and so is her music supervisor Nora Felder. They are an incredible team.
Kendra: On top of all you do musically, you’re also quite the photographer. We can see some of your work in Lou Crisitello, owner and founder of Perpetual Doom Records’, new book. Is photography something you’ve always had a knack for?
Corrina Repp: Photography was always something I was drawn to. I gave up film photography back in the ’90s and early 2000’s because the process just got too expensive for me. With the iPhone, and always having a camera on me it slowly found its way into my life.
Also, years of being single, and finding myself in Los Angeles opened up a whole new portal of visual accessibility and inspiration. The light and the shadows are just so beyond here it’s easy to walk out the door and find a dozen things I want to photograph. I started seeing someone who is a great photographer, and who also knows the medium of shooting film really well. He gave me an old Minolta this summer, so I’ve started shooting film again which has given me a whole new well of inspiration.
Kendra: In books and on TV, new music is coming too – what else can people be on the lookout for from you as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022?
Corrina Repp: I have a whole batch of songs I wrote in 2019 that I was intending to record up in Portland before the pandemic. They are still floating around waiting to be captured. I’m hoping to make it up to Portland sooner than later to record my next album. I’m also wanting to make an instrumental album.
After I recorded and mixed ‘Island’ I found myself taking a break from writing lyric-based songs, and dove right into my obsession with playing guitar. I can’t wait for both of these albums to come to fruition, but it’s all about the money which I need to find first. I’m looking forward to 2022 honestly. It has a sexy and enticing ring to it. It just does.