Phoebe Green - INTERVIEW
Despite all the horrific events of 2020, the year still provided us with plenty of fantastic albums. The hypnotic follow up from Fontaines D.C. (Read our review) the dynamic, fully formed 'Zero's' from Declan Mckenna and the third record from Phoebe Bridgers that has captured the entire Indie scene with its deep introspection and expansive landscapes. Yet, there is another Phoebe making her way into the Indie spotlight, one that is even more honest, more relatable and that takes you deep inside her whirling mind. Manchester solo songstress Phoebe Green has been connecting with fans for years with her deeply personal bedroom pop, yet after her latest EP 'I Can't Cry For You' she has become one of the most exciting new artists in the country! I caught up with her for a digital chat about music, reinvention and identity.
How have you found the reception of your new EP?
It’s been pretty great, obviously it’s slightly more difficult to gauge given the current circumstances as it’s mostly online feedback right now, but radio support has been dead good and the response from family, friends and fans has been lovely.
How have you coped with the frustrations of not being able to tour following the EP?
It’s so fucking tough, I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s proper shit not knowing when I’m gonna be able to actually connect with an audience through these new songs, which to me is my favourite part of being a musician; I love feeling a collective reaction, something that can only really happen in person. I miss everything about touring… luckily I’ve been asked to do some live filmed shows, so I’ve been able to rehearse and play with my band again, that’s been an absolute godsend and is entirely responsible for my sanity these past couple of months.
What is to come for 2021?
SO many things! I can’t wait, I guess the good thing about being stuck at home is that the need for an outlet has been much more intense, I value writing as a means to let off steam and process things a lot more these days, which obviously means more songs are being created.
One of the attractions of your music is how it explores the intricate insecurities that a lot of young people feel such as the need to constantly reinvent themselves - why do you think so many feel this way and do you think it’s related to the Digital age?
I think it’s a combination of insecurity and over stimulation - I think due to being constantly bombarded with online content whether it be music, fashion, lifestyle, whatever, it gives the impression that people have this abundance of creativity and motivation that has the ability to make us feel as though we must be lacking in some way, that we need to keep up and meet this standard in order to feel accomplished. In lockdown especially, so many of us are having to acknowledge the worst parts of ourselves as there are minimal distractions; the discomfort of that paired with the constant consumption of media (as there is literally fuck all else to do) is bound to make us compare ourselves and magnify our insecurities as it’s just human nature to fixate on the things we are unsatisfied with. I think we all just need to collectively realise that everyone questions their worth, no one is entirely content all the time, literally not one person is capable of being productive every single day of their lives, and as cliche as it sounds, being your most authentic self is literally the best thing you can do as no one can be a better version of you than you.
Do you think you have finished reinventing yourself or this still an ongoing process?
I fucking hope so, it’s exhausting! I think I’m realising that the things I like about myself are the characteristics that only really come out when I’m looking after myself, and the things I dislike about my character only surface when I’m falling into self-destructive patterns, or just not being mindful of the things I’m doing on a regular basis that I know result in low mood and even lower self esteem. I think I’m done with reinventing myself, but there will always be room to keep growing.
Do you think lockdown has helped or hindered the process of trying to locate your deep down self?
I think it’s helped massively, being forced to really spend time with myself and evaluate my thoughts, behaviours, boundaries and relationships has been one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done. I am so much more aware and appreciative of my own strength and resilience, I value human connection so much more… it’s been incredibly tough and draining at points, but I spent a lot of time prior to the pandemic desperately trying to avoid being alone with myself, now I’m really appreciative of my own space.
You say in ‘Reinvent’ that you want to be an actress in a film about deception and don’t want to be an open book - what do you want to be now and for the coming months?
I think that line really came from a place of discomfort and bitterness; I kept finding myself in situations where my lack of boundaries and desire to empathise with others would cause people to take advantage of me, it made me latch on to the belief that being open and vulnerable would always result in me feeling used, exhausted and resentful, that it would be much easier if I withdrew and stopped letting people in so easily. Now I’m definitely at a point where I know that there is strength in allowing yourself to be vulnerable, as long as you establish boundaries and there is some kind of mutual exchange; I want to continue to be open and empathetic, to validate my own emotions as well as others, but to know what is and isn’t appropriate or healthy.
How much does your visual style contribute towards your personal and musical identity?
I really enjoy the visual aspect of music and artistic identity, I’ve always been pretty experimental with colours and aesthetics, and I think that for me the sonic and visual elements of my projects will always come hand in hand. A lot of my personality is expressed through my style which I tend to document using my social media, I like to display my various inspirations, transitions and phases I go through, it doesn’t matter if they’re questionable or flat out hideous, exploring your own identity is messy and daft and fun.
How do you feel Manchester has contributed towards these identities too?
I think moving from a seaside town to a city is always going to make you feel less inhibited when it comes to figuring out who you are as a person, I grew up in a pretty conservative part of Lancashire and always felt pretty self-conscious, so coming to Manchester and meeting a load of other artistic young people in bands who were a lot more open about their sexuality, gender identity and completely opposing political views to the ones I was so used to (and repulsed by) at school was such a massive relief. I felt so much more comfortable and understood, and I think that definitely came across in the way I began to express myself.
Finally, who are your favourite new artists at the moment and why?
Okay so none of these are all that new but I can’t stop listening to 'Punisher' by Phoebe Bridgers (obviously), Shame’s new album 'Drunk Tank Pink' is mint, PVA’s EP 'Toner' is sooo good, Sorry’s album '925', Porridge Radio’s 'Every Bad'… I know there are so many more that I can’t think of but all of the ones I’ve mentioned I’m just dead into for completely different reasons.