Los Angeles singer/songwriter Marchelle Bradanini released her latest full length album, Only a Woman, on July 3, a record which sees her tackling “the emptiness of consumer culture and breaking down gender archetypes.” We chatted about all that and more…
L.A. WEEKLY: How do you think your sound has changed/evolved on Only a Woman, from the last record?
MARCHELLE BRADANINI: Only A Woman was about stripping back a lot of the sonic layers. I love huge distorted guitar solos and plenty of slapback and verbed-out vocals, but this collection of songs was really introspective and lyric-driven so production-wise it was just about having the least amount of instrumentation and production. Everything was secondary or supportive of the lyrics.
Tell us about the themes on the album… What’s it about?
Only A Woman is largely a reckoning with contemporary society and also grappling with my new identity as I entered motherhood. I think a lot of women undergo a bit of a crisis of self after having a baby and having the label of mother suddenly be their defining characteristic in society. And while there is a radical transformation that occurs, I felt the new contextualization still felt incredibly stifling and misogynist in many ways. I am also older now and wanted to write about a larger world including the current political system that I see slowly become more autocratic and xenophobic every day. Seeing these faux populists shove their hypocritical and dangerous agenda down our throats every day is something that found its way onto my record in songs like “Red, White & Blues” and “War All The Time.”
When and where was it written and recorded, and who with?
As a new mom, it was hard to initially carve out space to write or frankly do anything besides change my sweatpants. I knew I needed an external kick-in-the-ass so we booked a flight out for one of my best friends and producers, Adam Landry, to come out to California from Nashville and make this record. I also knew one of my other best friends, Amy Wood, was all I would need personnel-wise. Amy played drums and co-produced the new Fiona Apple record. She’s incredibly nuanced and thoughtful as a person and drummer. We also kept the ratio 2/3 to the ladies! We tracked the majority of the record over the span of a few days in Hollywood in an essentially abandoned studio that once belonged to pop producer extraordinaire Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Diamond record here we come. Back in Nashville, I was lucky to have some of my favorite vocalists from Lilly Hiatt to Tristen to Carey Kotsionis contribute harmonies.
Did the lockdown affect the production and/or rollout?
I was initially waiting to release the record a bit later when I could properly tour and have my daughter be a little older. However, as so much of the record was written in a similar isolation to quarantine of having a kid and also coupled with a crushing sense of dread and apathy and anger, I felt the time to release the record was now. I still hope to tour it down the line.
What else do you have coming up in 2020?
I am always working on new side projects and have some music featured in some new film and tv projects that will hopefully be out later this year. I also think it’s ok in times like these just to take a pause and work on making it through the day and taking any spare time to be civically and socially engaged wherever possible.
Marchelle Bradanini’s Only a Woman is out now.