As soon as I listened to Ariana and the Rose
's track, "Supercool," I knew that it was a song that was going to be spinning in the back of my mind for the rest of the day. Harnessing some major
Robyn vibes - and even some Gwen Stefani attributes at times - Ariana is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to "Supercool," she has some other great cuts off of her latest EP Retrograde
which came out earlier this year. We had the opportunity to chat with the synth-pop star about her inspirations and the curiosity she intends to always explore in her music. We also have an exclusive look at her dark, sultry Manhattan Rehearsal for "Supercool," below.
You released your EP Retrograde earlier this year, which featured a lot of different producers. What was it like working with so many different people? Was it a challenge to keep your voice/style as the main focus?
It was actually a bit out of character for me to have so many different producers come together on this record, that was part of the reason I called it Retrograde,
since everything in my life was thrown up in the air, including how I was making music. I had spent some time making music with one producer and co-writing with the same group of people and decided I wanted to branch out and just explore writing with all different people in many cities. Having a distinct sound and perspective is my main priority with my music and I discovered that as I wrote with other people that that signature sound and mood ultimately comes for me. After that realization I just felt free to explore and have fun with creating rather than constantly checking to make sure it was all in one line.
The whole thing came together in this really amazing way though, which felt like a metaphor for this phase of my life. Embrace doing things differently than you ever have before and you'll end up somewhere you never thought you'd get to be as well.
Who were you listening to during the making of this record?
I'm always listening to artists like Goldfrapp and Robyn. I think the songwriting first and foremost is stellar and then the production comes in to support that. RKCB, who I wrote "Love You Lately" with, have a sound that is more R&B-tinged than I had previously written and that influenced my writing as well. I wrote "How Does That Make You Feel" after spending some time in the studio with them and a few other producers that live a bit more in the R&B world. There's something I really love about those kinds of grooves mixed with electronic instrumentation, it's so sexy.
You've said this EP is a sonic exploration of who you were as you were growing and finding yourself - so what can we expect the next project to sound like?
came together in a way where I didn't realize I was making a collection of music. I had just been writing in a very broad way and realized that it deserved to be put out as a body of work. What I've been writing now is far more pointed and I feel like I have a better understanding of the things I want to say and subjects I'd like to explore. Creating music for me is always about getting to know and express myself in a way I haven't before, so I think this element of curiosity will always be in my records. My goal is to have an audience learn something new about me and see a different side to me with each new release.
What was the hardest song for you to write?
All of them flowed out pretty organically, but "These Ruins" was absolutely the hardest to record. We must have gone into the studio on 7 or 8 different occasions, each days at a time to get that vocal right. That song is so personal to me and it's interesting the transition you have to make when you write your own music, from being the songwriter to being the performer, the relationship between the vocal and the instrumentation on that song was such a balancing act and we really wanted to get it right. I love performing that song live, it was one of the first songs I wrote that I felt the lyrics were exactly as I would have spoken them to someone.
Can you tell us a little bit about this live New York session?
Yes! We filmed a series of videos in NYC, I wanted to give people a taste of what these songs are like live. There's so much energy in them when we play them and I wanted to represent that mood for people in a video. There's something that shifts between hearing a recording and loving it and seeing someone live and loving it as well, we just wanted to give people a glimpse into what you can expect if you come see us play.