Photo Credit: Chris Strong Photography
Being told to stay put a couple of years ago, we all started to realize where we were was quite possibly where we didn’t want to be. Major moves were made. I went east, and Rat Tally, with family in the area, headed to Chicago. She’d already gone east to west, and so to be around loved ones in the Midwest was an obvious next locale, “My sister has lived here for about a decade, and my aunt and uncle have lived here since they were in school! A few years ago my parents moved here too, and when the pandemic hit I wanted to be with my family. So here I am! At my mom’s house eating all her food.”
When not taking in delicious delights, Rat Tally is creating music. In fact, she has been hard at work on her debut LP, ‘In My Car,’ out on August 12th. Of course, that was something we went back and forth about, especially the ideas that held the album together at the seams; nostalgia and the frightening reality of adulthood. We also talked about summer memories, what’s next, and more!
Kendra: Do you remember the first time you felt like music was something you wanted to create rather than just listen to?
Rat Tally: I was always writing little songs since I was a kid, but I think when I was in middle school I started to write songs alone on the piano when my family was out of the house. I was kind of embarrassed about it, honestly. I would write things in private and not show anyone, but I remember around then was when it turned into my biggest dream.
Kendra: Then in 2019, you dropped your debut EP, ‘When You Wake Up.’ How do you feel you’ve evolved as an all-around artist since then when comparing that record to August 2022’s ‘In My Car?’
Rat Tally: I take more time with my songs, and I rewrite and rework stuff which I used to never do. I used to think I could only write something in one sitting and if I was really in the mood, but I feel like now I’m able to access creativity more freely! It’s still challenging, but it’s more fun now. I think there’s also a lot of natural growth that happened, too. My life changed so much and so quickly since then and I think the record reflects that tumultuousness.
Kendra: ‘In My Car’ features a dozen tracks, one of them being “Spinning Wheel” which has a line I could not ignore and found myself going back to again and again, “…when getting older was fun.” I think for everyone, there’s this romanticism about being a grown-up, and then at some point, we realize the truth. For you, when did the reality of being an adult become daunting?
Rat Tally: Oh man, that’s a big question haha! I don’t think it was one moment for me necessarily, but in this song specifically, I’m talking about right after college. I moved to LA from Boston, and it crushed me. I made this decision to make a big move for the next part of my life, truly not knowing what to expect, and when I got there I had no idea what to do with myself. I was in a really bad place, and this time my support system was on the opposite end of the country. It was hard to feel like I spent all those years in college growing, only to find myself at the starting point again.
Kendra: You also sing about being too lazy to say you’re not okay in “Longshot.” Something we all can sort of relate to as it’s that idea of being asked “how you doing” and then just mumbling “fine” to move on with the day. In a time where we are clearly not fine, why do you think we still reside in this little white lie?
Rat Tally: There are a lot of factors to this. The biggest one for me is that sometimes I believe I’m this huge burden to people and being honest with how I’m REALLY doing feels like I’m putting it on someone else. There’s also a fear of sharing something honest and having it be invalidated or shot down. It’s a defense mechanism that just ends up hurting me in the end. If there’s one consistent thing in my life it’s therapists telling me I need to open up more.
Kendra: Time for a side note – with it being summertime, I’d love to know your favorite memory from this season whether it was from your childhood or more recent…
Rat Tally: When I was like four or five I lived in Cleveland, and my sister and I would hang out with the neighborhood cat Spanky Doodle and run around in the sprinklers.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘In My Car’ out on August 12th and some shows this summer on the books, what else can be on the lookout from you come the fall?
Rat Tally: More shows I hope, and maybe a tour announcement soon!