Just over a year ago, the incomparable GAYLE was just starting to take off with her now-viral hit ‘abcdefu’ and we got to ask her all about it while TikTok was working its magic. Flash forward to 2022 and GAYLE is proving her status as a future pop legend, dropping a two-part project in the form of her EPs, a study of the human experience volume 1 and volume 2.
The brand new volume 2 is a masterclass in human emotion, drawing from all sorts of experiences GAYLE has gone through and aiming to help others feel less alone if they’re dealing with something similar. As usual, her songwriting skills and the way her vocals capture her emotions so well, make this project an absolute standout, delivering some of her best work to date. Catch us listening to it every morning while we’re getting ready like…
From front to back, a study of the human experience volume 2 feels like a diary written in a beat-up composition notebook, with poems, rants, and polaroids glued inside. It opens with the almost indie sleaze track ‘indieedgycool,’ which sees GAYLE acting nonchalant about just how cool she and her weekend plans are -where’s our invite? This song definitely reminds us of UPSAHL’s effortlessly chill sound and the feel of Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘jealousy, jealousy,’ but if it was from the perspective of the person Olivia envies.
Next up is the hot-and-cold love anthem ‘fmk,’ a collab with blackbear that details all the twists and turns of a relationship where you love each other one moment, then can’t stand each other the next. Sonically, it evokes Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ – which makes sense since GAYLE adores Avril – but it also feels like something only GAYLE and blackbear could make.
Get your Burn Books out, because it’s time for a little rant session on ‘ALEX!’ The details in the lyrics make it sound like a conversation with a friend who’s venting about her no-good boyfriend, and poor Alex is that no-good boyfriend. GAYLE admits she got caught in that “I can fix him” mentality that so many of us can fall victim to, and mourns the future they couldn’t have together while acknowledging that she deserves better and wants to move forward.
Once we’ve gotten Alex out of the way, GAYLE’s ready to start shutting the door on her past and move forward into a stronger version of herself. ’15’ opens with her shutting a door and taking a deep breath in before diving into her experiences with sexual assault at just fifteen. It’s devastating yet oh, so powerful, calling out the person who did it while showing us a side of GAYLE that’s stronger than ever. ’15’ gives us some of her best vocals to date and is sure to help so many fans who have dealt with a similar situation.
’15’ is followed by yet another vulnerable track that GAYLE clearly poured her heart into: ‘god has a sense of humor.’ The song mentions a friend of GAYLE’s who passed away at 13 and contemplates both human nature and what happens after someone dies. It also mentions GAYLE being lost at 15, giving us a little continuity and a lot more growth! “No one’s good or bad, it’s just we don’t know what we’re doing,” she croons while making us rethink our own views of the world.
GAYLE’s Avril Lavigne influence returns on the closing track, ‘snow angels,’ which totally gives us the same vibe as Avril’s celebratory ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up.’ It picks up the EP’s tempo and energy again while encouraging us to enjoy the time we have left while we have it – you gotta live every day to its fullest! This is such a fun closer that’s definitely gonna be all over our playlists.
After having such a lovely interview with her last year, the THP team got to talk to GAYLE again all about a study of the human experience and her growth as an artist! Keep reading to get all the deets on her latest project, music videos, and more.
It’s been a year since you’ve signed with Atlantic Records! Looking back, is there any particular moment from the last year that has had the biggest impact or is the most memorable for you?
I think about the day I signed the papers when I was with my mom, and I think about how I knew absolutely nothing of what my future was going to look like. I could have maybe possibly had an idea, but I had absolutely no clue what 2022 was going to do for me.
I reminisce and I think about almost, like, my innocence back then because I had no clue what ‘abc’ was gonna do and the other music I was gonna put out. And I had no idea what shows I was gonna do. I had no idea I was gonna hear my song on the radio for the first time. Another memory I have is when I was put on Today’s Top Hits, that was so exciting. I remember I was with my best friend and when we saw it on the playlist, we jumped up and down and were screaming on the top of our lungs and were so excited. And if you’d have told us that wasn’t even the most exciting thing that was gonna happen for that song, we wouldn’t have believed you.
It’s incredible to think about what that song has accomplished.
You’ve blown up thanks to the viral success of ‘abcdefu.’ Have you found any pressure or challenges on working on new music to live up to the expectations following such a massive hit?
I put pressure onto myself to make the best music that I possibly can make.
I don’t feel any particular pressure to recreate the success of ‘abcdefu’ because at least for me, I understand the fact that this is an almost once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something that doesn’t get to happen for everybody, or for many people at all. So I don’t feel any pressure to recreate it, and I don’t think I can recreate something that happened organically due to people liking that song.
I just think about trying my best to have a long-term music career and doing what I want, not particularly recreating a moment of time that happened for me when I was 17. My goal is just to build off of it and move forward.
What’s been the biggest life adjustment you’ve had to make in the past year?
It was definitely an adjustment touring for 11 months straight and not being home for longer than a month. But it was very exciting, and it was such a privilege to get to see the world while doing music at the same time.
Dealing with attention from the internet was also something new, and how it affects me and my body and my mental health and my brain was something new. So there’s definitely adjustments to how much power I give strangers that I don’t know on the internet, and that’s something that I’m still learning about.
Artists have what they call the “creative process” to produce a piece. What or how is yours?
My creative process usually starts with a word or an emotion that comes from something in my life. I try to figure out a hook that captures the emotion I’m feeling, usually starting with the chorus. After we figure out something hooky with the melody, I finish writing the chorus lyrics before going into the verses and the pre-chorus, second verse, etc.
‘fmk’ sings about young love, and while young love may not last forever, we definitely learn from it. What was your inspiration behind it? Has your experience with love at a young age taught you anything important?
If I’ve learned anything about young love, it’s that I don’t need it. I found that I used to crave relationships, wanted to constantly be in one, and didn’t want to be alone. And if there’s anything I learned about young love, it’s that to be successful, I don’t need to be in a relationship.
My inspiration for ‘fmk’ was just the intensities of love. When I love somebody so dearly, it gives me the ability to absolutely hate them. Loving somebody gives you a lot of access to a lot of ranges of emotions, and I wanted to write a song about that perspective without necessarily being sad about it. Just understanding it’s not the healthiest perspective and it’s slightly toxic, but being fully accepting of it and kind of having a happy, sarcastic spin on it.
Your music videos are always next-level, with ‘abcdefu’ seeing you sneak into an ex’s house and ‘fmk’ taking place in a dollhouse. Is there a song that wasn’t a single that you wish you could’ve made a music video for?
It was fun to put out visualizers for every song on the EP, but I guess one song that I wish I could have had a kabillion-dollar budget for is probably ‘kiddie pool.’ That’d be sick. Like drop me in an ocean or some sh*t.
But I feel like every song that I’ve put out, I’ve been able to make some piece of content for it that’s done what I’ve wanted in some way. You know, like even ‘kiddie pool’ has the strings visualizer for it and every song has been able to have little visuals done.
We absolutely loved the orchestral visualizer for ‘kiddie pool,’ can we expect any songs from a study of the human experience volume 2 to get a similar treatment?
Possibly! I would love to.
You’ve had so many incredible tours already over the past year, including supporting some huge names like My Chemical Romance! Who would be on your dream tour lineup if you could pick anyone dead or alive?
Taylor Swift, Big Time Rush, Lizzo, and P!nk!
We’re obsessed with what we’ve heard from your two-part project, a study of the human experience! Which part of the human experience has been most interesting for you to explore in your music, and what have you learned about the human experience since starting to work on it?
Something I’ve really enjoyed about life and the human experience is getting to see the difference in people and the differences in the lives that they’re living and what live music means to them. I loved getting to see small snippets of almost thousands of people’s human experiences just in being an opener for people. I think about the AJR shows and I was able to do meet and greets and I met probably a hundred people a day ish.
I got to see very small snippets of their lives and what that music meant to them, and they’re able to share some of their stories with me. And I got to do that in a different state almost every single day.
Something I learned about the human experience is that I’m just gonna be constantly living it and learning from it. You know, at some point my human experience is going to end, but until then, everything is a lesson and an opportunity to learn something, and I am very excited that I get to do that.
We’ve seen a few rewrites of ‘abcdefu’ on TikTok and we have to admit some of them are pretty good! Have you heard any and do you have a favorite?
I’ve seen ‘abc’ translated into different languages and that is always something that really makes me happy. It’s awesome to see people doing something for the song that I can’t, and opening the song up for more people to be able to listen to it and relate to it in ways that I just can’t do. The fact that people would even care enough to do that really means a lot to me.
Now we wanna hear from you! Have you listened to GAYLE’s brand new EP, a study of the human experience volume 2? What’s your favorite track? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more exclusive interviews, click here.