Photo Credit: Juliet Farmer
Everyone has this and that about them that makes them an individual, but at our core – we’re all pretty much experiencing the same basic things, right? Those love stories that drive us mad, the loss of those we never thought we’d exist without, and so much more. We covered a bit of the aforementioned and a few other things as we dove into ‘We’ll Become the Flowers,’ the new album from Eliza Edens. Out on October 14th, Eliza Edens shared with us everything from the music to the Brooklyn folk scene and a handful of delights in between.
Kendra: Last month I talked to a pop punk band whose latest is called ‘Existential Shred,’ and then here you come with your existential record, ‘We’ll Become the Flowers.’ Making a record this personal and introspective sounds draining. Did you ever find yourself needing to walk away from the writing and recording process for a mental break?
Eliza Edens: The writing process I don’t usually find draining. I’m a pretty introspective person by nature. It’s playful and a lot of it’s spent in a flow state. I had a lot of emotional events happening in my life while I was writing these songs to draw on and process, and many of the songs flowed out of me. And of course, others took more time and were more tedious. But the songwriting itself was a relief – I don’t know how I’d process emotions without it.
I suppose the emotional processing and experiencing was draining, aside from the songwriting. Recording on the other hand is something I find to be very draining because I have tendencies to overthink when I’m in a recording session. Recording is a way of writing a song all over again but from a sonic perspective. I do find it draining, and I want to find a way for it not to be. We recorded the album mostly in two weeks in the summer of 2021 but with a couple of other shorter sessions in the winter and fall of 2021. Breaking it up a bit and having time to rest your ears and reflect always helps.
Kendra: It’s been noted that this record in many ways was a way to plant your grief, and we always hear about the five stages of it. With that, was the record part of the acceptance stage?
Eliza Edens: Acceptance is a continual act and you never fully arrive. Grief works on a warped timeline, not in five simple steps. You’ll always miss aspects of the person who has passed or the relationship that went a different direction than you thought it would. It becomes a matter of adapting and finding the joy that’s still so present all around, and also acknowledging that the loss was/is real and difficult.
Kendra: You were inspired by many things and places, including the cemetery you grew up by for the rightfully titled, “Westland Cemetery.” You mentioned the headstones and thoughts of your mother dedicating her life to gardening came to mind one day. Thinking back to her gardens, what flower or plant do you think you two would have agreed upon and said best represents ‘We’ll Become the Flowers’ and why?
Eliza Edens: Probably peonies. A bunch of peonies blooms on the side of the driveway of the house I grew up in, and my mom always used to love that because it reminded her of her dad who she got her green thumb from (they bloom around when his birthday was in June). So it’s a flower that recalls thoughts of loved ones for both of us and unites us in that way. Also, they just smell so good.
Kendra: On the flip side, you do dive into the aspect of relationships, or rather the end of them. I think 99% of us have felt the situation displayed in “ I Needed You.” Why do you think we, more often than not, try and grasp onto something that’s clearly not working?
Eliza Edens: Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of loss. Mostly just fear, I think.
Kendra: Perhaps it is insanity because that came to mind with “Tom and Jerry.” Like with many shorts in that era – the whole cat and mouse, coyote and roadrunner, rabbit and hunter thing – it’s always the same story because like Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. With that, do you feel like love is the basis for our collective mania?
Eliza Edens: That’s a really cool question that could be approached in many ways. I think to a degree, yes, but it doesn’t have to be. Love is the subject of many works of art and is also a great motivator in people’s day-to-day lives. We are all yearning to be loved, whether we admit to it or not. And perhaps, in our capitalist society which so often profits off people hating themselves, we have the hardest time loving ourselves. And many of the decisions we make every day are based on the fact that we are trying to get someone to love us – whether it’s how we dress, what we say in a job application, or how we interact in a conversation.
I suppose it depends on how you define love because the word can mean many things. I do think desire could be the basis for our collective mania as humans because as soon as we get what we want, we often want more. But love, real love, implies devotion and deep trust (to me). I wouldn’t call that a basis for mania. I’d call it a basis for intimacy and care, or reverence almost. And I digress… but to answer your question, yes and no and everything in between.
Kendra: Now to take it home, you’re a Brooklyn-based artist and that area is known for being such a creative hub. With so much there, how do you feel the folk scene of Brooklyn stands out compared to the likes of LA and Nashville?
Eliza Edens: I’m not too aware of what’s happening on the ground in the LA or Nashville folk scenes so I feel I can’t totally speak to that, but what draws me to Brooklyn is the fact that it’s not just known for a specific type of music – you can really do anything here and you’ll still fit in. Though I suppose that could be the case anywhere. I suppose it’s the experimental aspect too. I also like being at least a day’s drive from my family so that’s another reason I’m drawn to NYC in particular.
Kendra: It’s time for a side note: With it being spooky season, I’d love for you to share your favorite movie to watch around Halloween – could be scary, funny, or a little of both!
Eliza Edens: I don’t have a favorite Halloween movie but I have a favorite TV mini-series that’s kind of spooky! The ‘Over the Garden Wall’ on Hulu. It’s an animated show about these two brothers trying to find their way home in a quasi-medieval time period, and they run into all sorts of strange creatures and characters. It’s absurd and kooky and mystical and plays on a lot of fairytale tropes. Sometimes it’s a musical too. I’ve watched it at least 3-4 times, and I’m due for a re-up.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘We’ll Become the Flowers’ out on October 14th, do you have plans in the works for 2023 as far as touring is concerned?
Eliza Edens: Yes! Hoping to tour down to Nashville and maybe out west too. We’ve got some things in the works.