// Letters to YVYNYL //
premiere: Steffaloo - Happy
/ / I’ve been blessed to get to know so many artists all around the globe and I am so proud seeing them thrive. Steph Thompson graced me with this stunning new single she’s finished recently, and she wrote me to tell me about the struggle, illness, and death that went into the process in creating such a warm, gauzy, and mellow song:
hello friend! i do hope this note finds you and your sweet fam happy and well. i have to say i absolutely love this section of your blog. writing a personal letter about music seems so fitting to me when thinking about sharing new creations, because that’s what music is after all.. personal.
i wanted specifically to write you here when thinking about sharing my new single from my upcoming EP ‘happy’ because it has been such an intense process creating it, and i wanted to release it with as much heart and realness as i could.
i was talking to my brother, tim (he says hi ha), a while back after finally finishing this EP about how i should release it. as you know, he helps run a rad cassette label (chill mega chill). i was asking him what he thought the best way for me to do this was and he asked me, “well, what do you want to get out of this?” i love him for this because i had been quite caught up in the ‘business’ of it all and his question quietly brought me back to the heart of things. my answer to his question was that i just wanted it to mean something. i wanted to share it with some sort of intention that felt true and real. i think this is often a hard thing for artists, feeling like our work will mean as much to other people as it has meant to us. after all, it IS a piece of us. our souls are poured into the nooks and crannies of every melody, every chorus, every line drawn, every word spilled.. the thought of it going unnoticed into the abyss if often times a crippling thought for me.
it’s been over five years now since i released my first ever ‘album’ on bandcamp. i say album loosely because i literally recorded the entire thing on my MacBook at the time using nothing but garage band and the built in microphone haha.. the funny thing about that album though is that it was my most pure and honest offering. it might sound like shit but it was real. i had no agenda in sharing it apart from the fact that it was necessary for my souls survival. this is the place i want to come back to as i release this new EP ‘happy’. just me.
i started recording the songs on this EP over three years ago. between beginning this process and now, i’ve experience some of the best and some of the hardest moments of my life. i fell in love. i lost a dear friend to a sudden accident. he was my best friends fiancé (whom the song ‘jimmy’ on the EP is written for). i’ve been in the hospital with sickness and in the process learned i have an auto immune disease. i’ve lost jobs. band members came and went. i’ve lost dear friends and gained new ones. these hard life events simultaneously derailed everything i had going creatively while also setting them all on an entirely new course. i began to hear music in a way i never had before. i remember sitting at my desk at work shortly after jimmy had died, i was playing music as i often did, and ‘berlin’ by RY X came on. it was as if i’d never heard music before in my whole life. it was so utterly and painfully beautiful. it wrecked me. right there at my desk at work it completely destroyed me and i just sat there and wept.
everything i thought i had inside of me creatively just halted. i could barely pick up a guitar and attempting to write anything new seemed impossible. so i began to listen. i began to sit. i began to slowly pour what i could, even if it took three years to finish. this EP was a process in grief. in wholeness. of letting go. it was a slow unfolding. it was an act of patience. it was a reminder that life doesn’t always work how we think it will. sometimes things have to come in and rearrange our entire perception of things. i am finally learning to be ok with this and let things piece themselves back together how they are supposed to.
'happy’ is about pain and loss. it’s about love. it’s about letting go. but it is also about being happy. it’s about somehow uniting the pain and the beauty. because i think when you see the dark side of life and look it right in the face, everything beautiful and good and right in the world becomes that much more present. this is art to me.
so, as i write this i’m excited to share this piece of art in a way that is most true to myself. in a way that somehow feels noble to the art itself. so here is the single, the title track ‘happy’, off of the new EP. i’ll be releasing the entire thing on my bandcamp on february 3rd.
thanks for creating this space for music and art to be shared so honestly and beautifully. it truly is a rare thing.
i hope to see you in the coming years at SXSW or some other beautiful music filled place! keep on being rad and amazing.
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