Katie Crutchfield is a singer and songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. She’s been making music under the name Waxahatchee since 2010. Her fifth album, Saint Cloud, came out this past March. Pitchfork named it Best New Music, and The Guardian called it the best album of the year so far. In this episode, Katie breaks down how she made the song “Fire."
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You listening to song exploiter, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name. Is case. Your way song exploder is sponsored by Dave's killer, bread actually love Dave's killer bread, but they gave me a script to read so his attention. Shoppers We now have taste in the bread, I'll Dave's killer, bread, that's right and organic bread, it's no longer a sedative for your taste, buds, Dave's, killer, red is on a mission to make the most of the loaf to rid the world. Of Gmos, heifer, high fructose, corn syrup and artificial ingredients and plant the seeds of good and all that they make killer, taste killer, texture, always organic Dave's, killer, bread, bread, amplified. This episode is sponsored by indeed, indeed makes it easy hire great talent, and you can do it all in one place which is why more than three million businesses worldwide use, indeed to hire great talent fast,
start hiring now with a seventy five dollars, sponsor job credit, to upgrade your job post at indeed dot com, slash song exploder, this offer is valid through March thirty, first good, indeed, dot com, slash song explode. To claim your seventy five dollar credit before March thirty. First, indeed, dot com, slash song, the terms and conditions apply need to hire. You need, indeed there black is something I experience with every record in one way, shape or form. I have the feeling of the universe allotted a certain number of songs and I hit my quota and how now I'm we're going to write another good song again, but usually the door it moments of writer's block right when it really gets hard you're, really kind of bored, panicking over it. That's usually when you push through and my experience, kept, putting one foot in front of the other kept doing the next thing.
Before I knew it? I wrote fire and it really felt like okay. I got this it's going to be. Okay, I am any Crutchfield from lacks Katie Crutchfield as a singer and songwriter from Birmingham Alabama she's been making music under the name wax since two thousand and ten, her fifth album St Cloud came out. This last march, pitchfork names. Best new music and the guardian called it the best album of the year? So far in this, so to Katy breaks down how she made the song fire. Some senior eating as I was preparing to write the song I
traveling. I had been spending a lot of time here in Kansas, which, where I live, It was winter and I was sort of hammering away at writing the record. And then I went on a trip with my Partner Kevin to Birmingham Alabama, which is where I'm from. We were very my family and as we were leaving. I got this melody in my head and it wishes sort of the most awkward timing because it was, as I was saying, goodbye to my family as I was about to get into a car for a very long journey with Kevin and I just kind of couldn't find an easy. Way to hold onto it. Like, usually, I would just record vat on my phone and then forget about it until I had some time to actually sit with it. But I was too distracted with what is happening right in front of me. So I started the drive and I She repeated the melody just sort of over and over and
I kind of lose it for a second and then it would come back and when, by the time we got to Memphis, that's when I started to really put lyrics to it and then the mo and then I got home. I recorded the very first demo of the whole song I gravitated toward electric piano with every album. I usually have an instrument of choice. That sort of is the thing. That's inspiring me and guitar can. I'm hyper aware of the chord progressions that I like tend to go to and with piano. I just know so little. I like it takes me a minute to even figure out. Is this a c chord? You know it's like my knowledge of it is like pretty limited, so I can like let go I some of the hang ups that I have just because I don't really know what I'm doing so. I can kind of just sit to what sounds exciting MILAN. Play to me rather than get in my head about corporations and things like that.
The first line that came to me was What I wanted where then a that, as we are driving over them should be river over a bridge from Tennessee Arkansas to estimate this and the sun was kind of going down in the light was reflecting was so bright. I was just trying to find a way to like medically talk about that and like also talk about what I wanted in that larger moment. You know I going through a lot of dark stuff. I just gotten sober and I had chosen to take a lot of time off for music and I think was having a little bit of an identity crisis and then having these panicky writer's block feelings so I wanted to find a way to poetically, say I can
I myself through this dark is happening the summit Amy the I was thinking a lot at the time about unconditional love and really kind of thinking. That is like the ultimate position. They take this. Softness around anybody unconditionally, loving yourself unconditionally I was thinking a lot about that is like something that I wanted to be able to achieve,
in all my relationships are just not let it have terms to just except people except myself, so I had like a loose idea, but I knew I needed a fine here I needed like other people. They come in and help me figure out what next phase of the song was going to be sent this song to Brad Brad Cook. Who is the produce of the record. Who is really like my main collaborator on the whole thing when you're in a project for you're you know it's really just like a solo project, it's so important to have a sounding board to have a collaborator, a person who you can bounce idea, after or talk to you about your songs. You know from the beginning Brad really shared my exciting and about the song, and then I pretty quickly sent it to the guys who I knew were going to be the band on the record,
at Kinsey who's, a great drummer and Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, who are both in the band Bonnie Doon amazing band in their own right. There was one time where the band was in Durham and everybody was together and we were all demoing and most of the songs that written for the record were really forward- and it really felt like okay, we're all just going to set up in a room as a band and like knock all these songs out. But you know Any time we got to fire, we I'll, just kind of looked at each other and be like. Let's just get, this one will come back to it, and then we just ended up doing that until it was time to go into the studio. I think we were I'll scared to over think it, and we were scared to like make it go through a million processes. We all kinds of new like this. One is going to be different. It was like there was this unspoken agreement. Between all of us, that let's talk this one away and then when we get in the studio we'll they have some kind of magic happens
we made the record at Sonic Ranch in West Texas. It is a amazing studio that is a like four thousand acre pecan ranch and there's like a compound of recording studios on the property, and I went back and re recorded my electric piano. And we started with the beat I had just anticipated, like this is going to be a drum machine song and the rest of the record. It's going to have analog drums, so I don't know how it happened. But Brad was like, let's get Nick in there its work on the drum sound to make it sound a little bit more like a dryer kind of like manufactured, beat we just courtier like a really basic sort of track, just doing for on the floor and then and the snare. The act of the times
the beat sort of grows and evolves and we were just also excited about. The drum sounds were like this is actually so much better than a machine because it really does feel like a performance like there's a warmth to it. I believe I came where the guitars- and that was what was the most surprising about this song, a really even think about guitars on the song. I kind of didn't really see it and then Bobby just kind. If pulled out this part. He started doing that along with Nick I was like. Oh my god, and then Bill wrote this beautiful sort of complementary live, on the song right after Bobby yeah
That's just totally pulled out of thin air and was not at all part of the plan. And yet now I'm obsessed with it I was feeling kind of sick going into sonic ranch. I came to record straight from Barcelona, and I had this fear of like I'm, going to get on that long flight and I'm just going to get sick right as I'm going into the studio to make my record and they did so. This feeling really nervous about the vocals I I warned. Everyone which is just like a fatal flaw was like guys I'm going to take this slow. Okay, I'm going to do like one line at a time, then we're going to need to stop and I'm going to like take a sip my tea and we're going to like have a breath and then I'm going to do the next line and everybody was like yeah whatever you need. It's all good, like you, don't have to stress, and then I did that and it sounded so wrong and so forced into performative
and I was really frustrated and then Brad was like just go in there and like lay down one more scratch vocal. I just do the whole thing from top to bottom and then we'll just move on and we'll come back to. Vocals, don't worry about it! okay, so I went in the booth and then I did that and now down and everyone was like. That's it, that's the vocal take it just had like an easy to it. The I love you unconditionally. I Could I en de Jesus guess for some I see it. I knew IDA Heenan. I really feel, This part of the song is really for me. I was like. I want to write a love song that sort of about this turbulent relationship, but I want the relationship to be sort of between me and my
asked forces me at my worst and set of those two voices negotiating with each other and trying to come together as like one. At the time that we drain me back yeah. We last may believe that eyebrow do. The fan hundred is made in slough and two as sort of, folky as it had become with the analog instruments, we still wanted it to feel poppy and Cynthia. So we sort of put some layers different. In Oregon sounds to sort of blend, just like extra atmosphere to build the vibe of the song
the whole song. At the end, when I finished recording it, I realized pretty quickly that it did. Do everything I had set out for it to do Stepping into that power, I, like I'm, going the song- that's gonna, be about this kind of tormented relationship that I have with myself and actively kind of piecing that together honest, I feel like this idea. Unconditional love as something that I could have and hold for myself. At least that being a, goal was kind of a new thing. For me yeah. I'm sure that In hindsight, when I look back on things in my life, I will certainly see that as a just a step in interaction. I guess
even just with the sounds, even when you take the lyrics out of it. Just the mood of the song is that, like warm, loving, uplifting energy like it's supposed to make, people feel good and happy and excited, and I feel like this is yeah weirdly, exactly what it was supposed to be, and now here's fire by Waxahachie in its entirety, hmm hmm hmm I
is that a West Memphis is on fire that day Gimme some a new name in the eating, the good eye in the sky for some of the seating in the eating and the GOP that pass plays, suspend that show the drain. That may believe that the slough and to the matinees, the A's as the West Memphis, is the visit song exploder dot net to learn more about
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.