Last month Anya Marina got insanely personal on her EP, Serious Love. Exploring the stages of relationships gone wrong that we’ve all been through, Anya talked at length about the emotional value of the record, relationships, her label and what’s next when we caught up with her.
Kendra: This is something I’ve always wondered about in terms of music about relationships…Was there ever something in the back of your mind that was like, “I don’t want to write about this person and give them that satisfaction that I thought about what we had that much?”
Anya Marina: Sure there’s often an element of worrying what anyone (never mind the muse in question) will think about your work–who or what it’s about and what you meant when you said this or that–but ultimately that doesn’t affect how I write. First off, even though they’re loosely based on my experience, my songs aren’t autobiographical and they’re definitely not accurate or factual depictions of events (also these four songs were co-written so that takes them even more into a fictionalized realm).
Secondly, I write songs to help me process life, so I have to be more concerned with that than worrying about how a song will be interpreted. Besides, that’s out of my control anyway, so why worry?
I’m more concerned with capturing a feeling and/or vulnerability than being an autobiographer or a historian. I’m a storyteller so I have the luxury of making stuff up. I once wrote a song about wishing my ex would “die a fiery death” but I obviously never meant that literally. I was attempting to capture that moment of desperation after a breakup when a tiny part of you hates the other for even existing (I’m lucky my exes have good senses of humor).
These songs on Serious Love were snapshots of feelings–infatuation, love, deep connection, merging, disillusionment, heartbreak, anger, despair, picking yourself up off the floor and finally walking away with a newfound sense of “actually, fuck this bullshit.”
I do think even if someone has written a mean song about you, you should consider yourself lucky. It’s flattering. I know a few not-entirely-accurate songs have been written about me and I’m still touched by them. I can still appreciate them even if I’m thinking, “Hey, it didn’t really go down that way.”
I do try to avoid hurting anyone. As far as feeling like I “lose” if they know I wrote them a love song, no, I don’t ever feel that way.
The handful of men I’ve loved and written about can have the songs as far as I’m concerned – I mean they can claim them if they want. I don’t feel any less powerful knowing they might flatter themselves with the idea that I wrote a song for them – I did after all. I loved them; they earned their songs. And if anyone’s feelings are hurt, well…it’s only a song, babe.
Kendra: You dove deep for Serious Love, each song representing a different stage of love for you. Was there was a stage that you feel was personally the hardest to deal with when it came time to look back on it and write about it?
Anya: Thank you. Yes. Moving on is hard. All of it is hard. Moving on took me the longest. “Faze Me” sounds like the woman I wished I could’ve been at the moment of creating it. I wrote it when I wasn’t anywhere near over things. But writing it helped me get there.
Kendra: How different would this record be if the relationship had never headed south?
Anya: Probably the same but instead of “Faze Me” at the end, there would be a song about getting back together yet again. A country song called “Third Time’s The Charm.”
Kendra: No matter the outcome, this album would have been released on your label Good Rope. When did you start that up and what was the motivation behind being DIY?
Anya: I started it years ago in San Diego out of a profound lethargic depression where I was in an apathetic paralysis. I had just gone through a breakup and I decided to get out of bed and put out my first album myself which I had worked hard on but was too depressed to do anything about. Within a few days, I started a label and moved forward with releasing it. Within a year or two, I think, I had made another album and released it on a major and was able to quit my day job.
Kendra: The new album’s out, but what else do you have planned this year?
Anya: A lot of travel- Mexico City, Los Angeles, a San Diego reunion with my Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II producer and good friends, Nashville, and hopefully more adventures in New York. I’ve been loving it upstate so I hope to spend more time there. I may play a funny part in a movie too. I’m excited. It’s been a great summer so far. Winter and spring were the absolute pits.
Kendra: Looking back on first falling for someone, if you had to make a mixtape featuring tracks about those first feelings what five songs would have to be on it?