WRITTEN BY: Samantha Sullivan
One of the new wonders of the DIY world Corey Flood is awe-inspiring on their latest album Hanging Garden. Forming in 2017 Philadelphia locals Em Boltz, Ivy Gray-Klein, and Juliette Rando have become accustomed to dwelling in the shadows. Crafting their own form of gloom-pop with shoegaze guitar tones and layers of fuzz they still find moments to let the light in. Ruminating on everything from gaslighting, anxiety, ambivalence, and intuition it’s an unnerving release of repressed emotions. WHIP had the opportunity to talk to them about misplaced devotion, Fire Talk Records, and trying to return to yourself.
Samantha Sullivan: FIRST OFF CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW RELEASE! HOW ARE YOU GUYS FEELING? WHAT’S THE PAST WEEK BEEN LIKE?
Juliette: it’s been simultaneously very nice and very strange! Getting so much positive feedback and support has been great, but it’s weird that it’s all happening online instead of at shows.
SS: HANGING GARDEN IS NOT ONLY THE ALBUM TITLE BUT ALSO POPS UP IN SOME LYRICS ON “DOWN THE HILL.” WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE BEHIND THE TERM?
Em: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The Hanging Garden reference has existed in poetry of mine for years.
SS: ON BANDCAMP IT SAYS YOU WANTED TO EXPLORE AMBIVALENCE, UNCERTAINTY, ANXIETY, GASLIGHTING, IMPOSTER SYNDROME, AND REPETITIVE THOUGHTS ON THE ALBUM. WHY WHERE THOSE SUBJECTS OF IMPORTANCE TO YOU? DO YOU FEEL LIKE WRITING ABOUT IT HELPED YOU WORK THROUGH/UNDERSTAND THOSE FEELINGS?
Ivy: I had a couple really tough years where it felt like my life got flipped upside down. There was a lot of unexpected change followed by complicated relationships that left me feeling lost and uncertain. A lot of these songs were rooted in those feelings of trying to return to myself, to rebuild my life essentially. I’m now in a very different place than I was then, but I’m glad these songs exist. It helped me a lot at the time.
SS: THE FIRST SONG I HEARD FROM Y’ALL WAS “HEAVEN OR” AND IT AUTOMATICALLY HAD A SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART. I REALLY LOVED THE LINE “I KNOW WHAT I SAW-” WHERE DOES THAT LYRIC COME FROM? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO KEEP REPEATING IT?
Ivy: Thanks! I’m glad it resonated with you. When writing this I was coming out of a period of experiencing a lot of shifting narratives and gaslighting. I started to feel like my grasp on reality or “truth” was being compromised. I had to learn how to ground myself again. “I know what I saw” could be interpreted as a self declaration that my feelings are valid, my intuition can be trusted, I’m not imagining things. It was something I had to convince myself of again, so the repetition was almost like a means of self-assurance.
SS: I READ IN AN ARTICLE ON WXPN THAT “HONEY” COMES FROM “MISPLACED DEVOTION.” CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THAT IDEA? YOU ALSO MENTIONED THE VARIOUS THINGS “FLOOD” COULD REFER TO IN THE CHORUS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU PERSONALLY?
Em: The chorus was really just an arbitrary line pulled from a poem that I thought fit with the rest of the song. It originally came from a poem I wrote at the beginning of 2018 when it’d been raining for days and I’d been grappling with a lot of intense feelings. “What is it, a flood? In the corner of my eyes or windows taped shut.”
SS: IN THAT SAME ARTICLE EM YOU MENTION A WHITE COAT YOU USED TO HAVE THAT YOU SAID: “REALLY EXEMPLIFIED A DISTINCT ERA IN MY LIFE.” ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS/PLACES/SONGS/PEOPLE YOU FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT IN REGARDS TO THE PERIOD OF TIME YOU SPENT WRITING THE ALBUM?
Em: Definitely, late June of 2017 I had just moved to Philadelphia so the rest of the year was really just about getting acclimated. I took a lot of long aimless walks because walking was one of the few constants I felt I had. “When I’m so bored into my white overcoat”, was a sentiment I had right before I went to take a walk.
SS: YOU GUYS REFERENCE 70’S KRAUTROCK AND SAMBA DRUMMING AS INFLUENCES ON THE RECORD-ARE THERE ANY BANDS OR ARTISTS IN PARTICULAR THAT REALLY INSPIRED YOU?
Em: I’ve always felt really inspired by bands like Harmonia and Cluster. I felt inspired by Pale Saints and Lush on this record, I really like their guitar tones.
Juliette: In high school I was listening to lots of tropicália artists like gilberto gil, gal costa, os mutantes, and caetano veloso. So those sounds have definitely influenced how I play now.
SS: ANOTHER BIG THEME ON HANGING GARDEN IS RECKONING WITH INTERNAL DISCORD, DID YOU EVER FEEL OVERWHELMED WHEN WRITING THESE LYRICS/WORKING ON THESE SONGS?
Em: No, writing is a really cathartic process for me. It’s more difficult to not write.
Ivy: A lot of these songs came out of such an emotionally challenging period for me. Revisiting some of the emotions was hard at times, but now it just feels like a reminder of something I’ve moved past and that feels comforting in a way.
SS: YOU GUYS ARE WITH FIRE TALK (WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE LABELS) WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE FIRE TALK BANDS?
Ivy: Working with Fire Talk has been great. They’re so on top of it and really willing to collaborate on vision and scope for each release. I feel so lucky to share a label with some of my favorite bands like Patio, Mamalarky, Fran, Weeping Icon, and Dehd.