interview – kate teague

– featured image courtesy of benjamin davis 

the oxford, mississippi songwriter kate teague tested the waters early this year with “low life,” a commanding debut single that has resonated throughout 2018.  thankfully, the track was less a one-off and more of a placeholder, tiding over an audience while teague prepared her first solo full-length, due in the coming months via muscle beach records.

today, teague returns with “good to you,” ramping up anticipation for her album’s impending release.  as compelling as its predecessor while charting new sonic territory, “good to you” relies on a robust rhythm section and a stuttering guitar motif for a foundation, the song’s title swirling as a repeated pledge throughout its chorus.

in a recent conversation via e-mail, teague spoke about writing her debut effort, oxford’s arts community, and the excellent cut “good to you.”  check out the transcript, alongside her new single, below.

this solo project came about after your previous group, reels, disbanded.  do you perceive any conscious shift in writing style from your former project to your present one?

in terms of my own writing style, not particularly.  i still generally write the chord progression and melody line first before bringing it to my bandmates who help flesh it out.  i think the difference is that i have a much better grasp on my own sound and how to articulate that sound to my band.

to that end, were there any touchstones you found yourself returning to for inspiration and influence while recording this batch of tunes?

maybe not directly, but ive been listening to copious amounts of fog lake, pure x, grouper, land of talk, chris cohen… im sure im spacing on some other essentials ive had this past year.

my main exposure to oxford has been through muscle beach, who are putting out your album later this year, but I suspect the town’s music scene is rather vibrant.  can you speak to your experience within that community?

absolutely.  oxfords arts community is the reason i stayed here after college.  everyone is incredibly supportive of local artists, and the town is small enough to where you have a grasp on the art that is being made around you.  i feel like oxford is an incubator for independent artists.  i dont know if that boils down to the fact that we are a college town, or because we are a literary town, or if mississippis vast musical history has something to do with it, but all i have to say is that i am so thankful that i chose to start my musical career here.

your latest track, “good to you,” is out today; is there anything you’d like to share about its genesis and/or construction?  

im really excited that we chose “good to you” as our first single because it was written in an unconventional way, for me at least.

i sent a piano chord progression to adam porter, my bassist (also starman, jr.), who helped me develop a cool drum beat.  we brought that basic demo to the studio and ended up fleshing it out there.  i loved the fact that everyone really had to rely on their own creative instincts, and you can hear those influences very directly on the track.  i didn’t end up write the lyrics until after i had the rough mixes back and it felt like i was making up words on top of a karaoke track.  that part was challenging but ultimately super satisfying.

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