Interview: Pollyanna and Coming to Terms With Our Crazy Side

Interview: Pollyanna and Coming to Terms With Our Crazy Side

Feel like you’re going a little crazy? We’ve got just the thing. New Jersey-based indie-rock trio Pollyanna recently released their new single ‘I Promise, I’m Lying‘ along with a colorful new music video to take you inside the mind of somebody who feels like they might just be the one losing it in a relationship. It can sure apply everywhere else though, and hey, we’ve all been there, right?

We got to talk to Pollyanna’s lead singer and guitarist Jill Beckett, their drummer Dan McCool, and their bassist Brandon Bolton about their new song, what went into creating the music video and so much more.

Hey guys! You’ve just released the music video from ‘I Promise, I’m Lying’ What can you tell us about the process of the making of the new single?

Jill: The process of making “I Promise, I’m Lying” both musically and visually has been gradual but also so much fun every step of the way. This song was first written November 2018 and we immediately were jamming it and working on it during practice. Slowly but surely, we pretty much had the song finished as much as we could by April of 2019 especially once Brandon (our bassist) has joined us and put in his touch to the song.

We knew that this was the song we first wanted to make a real music video to and the concept of the video was so clear to us just from the entire vibe of the song. We recorded it with Nick Star in Long Island in June 2019 and we spent so much time together making sure the song was the best it could be, it took us like about 15 hours to track from beginning to end. The part that made it so much fun was the danciness of the song. We actually used a shaker that looks like a banana in the song which was a memorable moment in the studio and did some other fun sampling that secretly added character to the song being created.

The music video was a huge process in its entirety. We did it the most DIY way you possibly can shoot this type of video. We used a music venue that our friend owns called Boontunes in Boonton, NJ and wallpapered 625 square feet of walls as well as creating the wall with drywall to the right to have the narrow look we wanted to have. It was definitely the trickiest thing we have ever had to do so far in our career of music but was some of the most fun days we have had yet. 12 hours later of building the set with our small crew, we finally we were set up to shoot by 5pm. The craziest part about this video is that because we started so late, we shot through the entire night straight and wrapped up at around 7:30am the next day. So shooting overnight definitely brought out our natural chaos for the video.

The single is the kind of song that made us mutter “ME” under our breath through the entire thing. How do you come to terms with your crazy side? And how do you find a balance between accepting that side of yourself and giving yourself a healthy slap in the face and a reminder to chill out?

Jill: That’s incredible, that was the entire intention!! The lyrics were very personal to me at the time that I wrote it and yet I was hoping it was a feeling everyone else can also relate to but was afraid to admit.

Honestly I think coming to terms with our crazy side has to do with if we are ready to be truly honest with ourselves and sometimes that can take a little bit of growing or a situation that makes us open our eyes. For a long time in my life, I hated feeling like I was in society’s terms, “crazy” or if someone who I was dating said I was just being crazy for feeling the way that I did, I would beat myself up about it. Which is so crazy to think now because I’ve learned that we literally can all feel like that and we all get crazy and can have that side to us. I learned to come to terms with that side of myself once I finally allowed myself to feel the way that I did without giving excuses to myself or anyone else for it.

It can be difficult to find that balance because I think it’s so so important to accept all sides we have and to even embrace them when we need to but the first step in chilling out and stopping yourself from an unhealthy behavior is to actually acknowledge and accept that that is what you are doing! Because if we don’t accept that part of ourselves, then how will we ever solve the behavior you know? We should allow ourselves to feel that but then once we do it’s important to communicate to others around you how you are feeling.

Do we detect an influence by The 1975’s bouncy 80s electric guitar vibe in your newest release?  If that’s accurate, what do you take from their sound and message and how do you apply it to your own sound as far as functionality goes?

Jill: Very interesting comparison! I think the guitar in this song was definitely influenced by Paramore’s After Laughter album, but The 1975 is a band we have admired and listened to for a very long time now. Little guitar licks and riffs they do that are very 80’s style is definitely an influencing factor to little tasteful guitar riffs and tones throughout ‘I Promise, I’m Lying.’

What’s cool about The 1975, is that Matty Healy’s lyrics are so incredibly honest that he doesn’t even care what people would think of him. People love his personality and character because his lyrics are so brutally honest and that’s definitely something I strive for, especially in this song

What encouraged the idea of such a simple yet effective music video as opposed to the type of Hollywood-style plots we are often seeing these days?

Jill: When this song was written, it was like the music video idea came so fast and we knew what we wanted. Such a cliche but sometimes the more simplistic the more effective it can be. When we were 17 we put out a video that had a whole storyline to it which can definitely be cool but we wanted something that genuinely represented us as a band and displayed the vibe we were going for in the most organic and fun way we can. I love when music videos can look so simple but there is still some concept or storyline behind it.

For the IPIL music video, it in a way is telling a story of someone looking like a “put together” glam pop star, and overtime that person loses their shit and ruins their makeup and hair because they went crazy and unleashed that side. If you look closer to the video section by section, my hair and make up and even clothes looks more and more chaotic as the entire video goes on and then obviously by the end I look exactly how the song is describing I felt the whole time. It’s definitely a simple video being that we are in a pink box the entire time but it’s so funny how that simple concept took so much tedious time to make work.

Your fashion is super loud yet pretty incredible in the video! Would you say fashion plays a part in Pollyanna? Who inspires you in terms of style?

Jill: Absolutely! I am still constantly growing and trying to find myself as we all are but expressing myself and coordinating outfits especially as a trio is so important to me and definitely is a huge hobby of mine. Especially for this video, I wanted our vibe and aesthetic to be loud and seen throughout the entire video. For my whole life, I was always shopping in men’s sections at the mall and was able to understand and relate to a more masculine style not just for myself but for coordinating outfits for others as well(hence the reason I have so much fun putting together outfits for my bandmates!). As I got older, I tried new things and found myself a bit more and I definitely would say my style is pretty fluid. My androgyny is an important part of who I am and I wanted to capture that in the video as well as a bit of a glam 80’s style.

For Dan and Brandon, they both have their own style too which is what made the outfits so much fun to figure out. Dan is a very flowey type of guy and he is sporadic and adventurous and somehow just throws on whatever he can find in his room and still look great, and Brandon has a very neutral and muted way of dressing yet very 90’s style and super grunge. For this video, the style was 80’s inspired. We also wanted to capture the whole “manic” feeling by using such bright and chaotic colors. As for who inspires us, Paramore has an incredible style and vibe with their outfits even just at shows, also Pale Waves is a bit darker but their style and all of their outfits are incredible.

What was your biggest dreams when you first created the band at 13? Have they changed to this day?

Jill: When Dan and I started this band as little awkward 8th graders, our dreams of being rock stars never changed, to say the least. However when we started writing original music, our music taste and outlook on music definitely has changed immensely. I think the only thing that changed was who and what we wanted to be as a group collectively. It’s crazy how many things have changed and how much more real our dreams have gotten since then, but when I really think about it, we were always best friends just wanting to create music together for a living that was the best it can possibly be for ourselves and for other people as well. And that’s something that has never changed once.

We’d love to get to know your music taste a bit better! Putting your playlist on shuffle, what are the first 5 songs?

Jill: Lately it would be: Pristine by Snail Mail, Old Wounds by PVRIS, She Plays Bass by Beabadoobee, Much After Feeling by Turnover, and Cuz I Love You by Lizzo.

Dan: A Little Piece of Heaven by Avenged Sevenfold, Throw Me To The Wolves by Elder Brother, This Is It Chief by Lil Tracy, Cutting Corners by Transit, and Book by Chon.

Brandon: Show & Tell by Melanie Martinez, idontwannabeyouanymore by Billie Eilish, Method Man by Wu Tang, Ali For Cody by Senses Fail and Buttercup by Jack Stauber.

You’ve opened for a few bands on tour, have you learned anything valuable from the experience of being on the road with bigger artists?

Jill: We have all learned a lot of valuable lessons on what to do and what not to do from touring with other bands. We definitely learned some things like to never overwork ourselves if we are tired while on the road. Also learned a lot of tips from touring bands we went out with for saving space in the van, having a more organized system and saving money while on tour!

A lot of artists these days are just releasing a numerous amount of tracks rather than a body of work like an album – how do you feel about this? Is this the kind of style you feel would fit Pollyanna or are you more inclined to work towards creating a full record?

Jill: I think the reason for that being is because Spotify has gotten so huge and in the generation we are living in and growing as people have a shorter attention span with listening to new music so it’s becoming more like a “wow this song is really good” rather than “wow this album is really good” at least for new artists that are still growing so much. It’s probably just a smarter way of putting out music if you want as many people to hear it as possible and that’s the reason most artists are doing it like that.

Our plan until we are on to the next bridge for now is putting out a bunch of singles and then release an EP collectively. We absolutely would love to create a full length and that’s something we are always building and working at doing but we want to do it when it’s the right time and when it’s ready so it can be a huge stepping stone in our career.

What would you say are the key ingredients to the perfect formula of a Pollyanna song?

Brandon: Jill’s emotions, Dan’s technicality and my mediocre bass parts.

What can we expect from you in the new decade?

Jill: In this new decade, expect that we will never stop growing and no matter how many no’s or “not possible’s” we have gotten and will probably continue to get, we don’t think our optimism and determination for this band to lift off as far as it can possibly go will ever diminish. You can definitely expect a lot of new music and definitely more videos and lots and lots of touring. The sky is the limit for us so hopefully this new decade is where everything we have been working for pays off.

What do you guys think of Pollyanna? Let us know by tweeting us @thehoneypop or visit us on Facebook!

Pollyanna is on tour December 1st through the 14th, you can buy tickets here. Check out ‘I Promise, I’m Lying’ and other songs by Pollyanna here.

Pollyanna
Image source: Pollyanna on Facebook

To learn more about Pollyanna: Twitter|Instagram|Facebook|Website

Feature Image Source: Benjamin Lieber

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