Doing anything is hard, but doing something almost entirely on your own? That takes a lot of self-determination that not many people have. Whether or not it’s their inner voice shutting them down or the world, it’s an uphill battle. One that Pallas Athene won when it came to her new self-titled EP that recently dropped on October 11. The new record was on the table, as well as technology dependency, Toronto, and so much more…
Kendra: When you first decided to go all-in with music, was there any hesitation from within or were all the little voices in your head onboard?
Pallas Athene: I am often feeling some degree of hesitation in regards to committing to music. The self-doubt I carry with me in regards to music creation has slowed me down a lot– and I’ve found it is consistently difficult for me to let go of that fear! Luckily, no matter what has happened in life, I always seem to return to music. For me, most of the time the magnetism I feel towards music and the catharsis I experience in the process is greater than the self-doubt and insecurity that I feel in moving forward (but this has taken a long time to balance out).
Kendra: You’ve been releasing music for a handful of years now. In that time what significant changes about yourself as an artist are you most proud of?
Pallas Athene: I used to focus on my poor coordination or lack of proficiency in guitar, music production or theory and always felt that I wasn’t able to offer anything of significance – all I knew was that I loved music and wanted to immerse myself in the musical world. I think that I’m most proud of changing that internal story. In the last few years, I’ve taken the time to challenge myself technically to break out of my comfort zone and learn new skills. This has shifted my inner landscape and opened up my creative universe. I’m glad that I stuck with it long enough to see some growth.
Kendra: You’ve noted that your self-titled release is the first one you did almost entirely on your own. Having gone through that process solo, do you think you’ll ever want to have more than one pair of hands on deck again?
Pallas Athene: Producing my own music was something that I needed to do, I needed to know what I was capable of without leaning on others for help. Having said that, it took a long time to get things done. It was easy to get lost in the songs and it was challenging at times to decide which songs would be released and recorded. Initially, I had 15 songs that I edited down into these five. It was a challenge to know when to stop and let it go. For these reasons, I think I would love to work with another producer in the future, but I’d still love to co-produce it in some way. Now that I’ve had this controlled solo experience, I feel much more comfortable in being vulnerable and more comfortable with the idea of bringing in some helping hands.
Kendra: If you had to compare this release to a place in Toronto, what would it be? Which place matches this record’s overall aesthetic?
Pallas Athene: I think that the TTC (Toronto transit system) would be the place that matches the vibe of this EP. Especially rush hour and the last train in the early morning. I feel like this is where so many people, from so many different places and life experiences converge, yet rarely connect or converse. It’s a strange thing to be surrounded by so many people who you will never really meet. There are so many different fates, lives and life experiences passing each other by–all separate but somehow connected.
Kendra: Your current single, “The Wall,” explores something that has fascinated me since college, the online world and how it shapes who we are in reality. Then it seemed like it was just the way we took pictures and overshared but now our mental health and social lives are hurting. How do you think the world would fare if one day we woke up and everything was the same, we just didn’t have the internet anymore?
Pallas Athene: It’s difficult to imagine a world where we could no longer access infinite knowledge at the click of a button or connect with friends and family across the globe but as you said, the online world helps to shape who we are in reality and that reality has become increasingly destructive to our mental health.
If we were to wake up one day and no longer have access to the internet, I truly wonder if a society that has had so much exposure to the freedoms and limitless potential of the internet could readily adjust to a “disconnected” way of life. We’ve built entire economies and innovative technologies around the existence of the internet and it has, in some ways, become instrumental in the fight for collective social change. At this point, I feel it would be devastating both emotionally and economically for us to lose the internet entirely and I would imagine a sort of post-apocalyptic adjustment period of chaos if it disappeared completely. I know that there are a lot of people who have made the choice to go off-grid and off the web– and they are probably healthier for doing so. However, I think it’s much different to unplug an entire society that depends on this technology (for better or worse) than it is to make this choice, independent of the collective.
I’m optimistic that we can find ways to demand a higher standard of ethics in tech and it’s product creation. However, if we did happen to lose the internet overnight, I believe that we are highly adaptable and innovative beings and I’d like to think that eventually, we’d experience a strengthening of community and restoration of our in-person relationships. With the ways things are now, I’m not sure how long we can emotionally sustain being a part of these social networks/ad funnels that perpetuate toxic and unattainable realities. All I know is that we desperately need to make some changes from our current way of living online.
Kendra: With that, let’s end with what the actual future holds for you. Are you touring when the record drops or will you be holding off until the new year?
Pallas Athene: Right now, I’m restructuring 10 new songs that I am hoping to record in 2020 and spending a lot of time editing projection visuals for my live set. I’ll be heading out on the road in March of 2020–once most of the snow clears. This will be my first solo tour, so I want to be sure that I’ve got everything working properly and in good order. I’m a bit nervous, but overall I’m really looking forward to sharing these new songs in a live setting!