The very real evolution of a Goblynne: Goblynne, says indie art-pop artist Molly Kirschenbaum, is a project name that comes from feelings of being a “creature” (their words), when others would try to force them into traditional gender normative boxes. That might have sucked during their formative years, but they’re reclaiming it now.

“The project is a lot about femininity and being told I was a woman, and then realizing that I’m nonbinary later on in my life,” they say. “I often had this feeling growing up, especially when I’d be in ‘girls night’ or whatever, that I was different but I could never describe it. And whenever I’d be asked to look really feminine and this particular sort of girly way, I often just had this feeling of, I’m a creature, I’m a monster. It was this intrusive, at the time very negative self-talk. As I got older and was birthing this project, I had this desire to reclaim or re-explore that feeling as something empowering. Like, if I am something different, how do I lean into that completely? What can my identity be outside of gender and womanhood, and leaning more into the creature sphere of things.”

You simply have to admire that level of strength and self-awareness. And, as is so often the case with musicians, their art helped them with that exploration. The music was therapeutic. Kirschenbaum says that they started “doing music” when they were in high school.

“I moved to New York when I was 18, I went to college over there and started gigging a lot there as a bassist,” they say. “I had a duo project with a friend of mine from home that we kind of kept going. In 2020, right before I graduated school, I got an offer to go on tour as a bassist for the first time, with the artist Claud. I got that job right before I graduated and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m set.’ And then the pandemic happened. Perfect! Then I spent the greater part of lockdown working on my own music and that’s how my solo project Goblynne started. That was my pandemic magnum opus. This one album that I was fixated on and obsessed with. I’ve been producing my own stuff for a while, so I started producing that myself.”

Kirschenbaum moved back to their hometown of Los Angeles in 2021 while the pandemic was still raging. But during the move, their external hard drive fell off of their desk, destroying a fully recorded album in the process (no backups!).

“Two years of total insanity where I was wondering if the gods were telling me to just stop,” they say. “As soon as that happened, I had the amazing fortune of meeting this producer and artist named Adam Rochelle. His job at the time was producing for Kidz Bop. So his job was to listen to music and basically recreate it. I was like, ‘I have eight demos that are half done. If I give you a little bit of pocket money that I can afford, can you help me recreate, at least to help me get where I was before?’ We ended up loving working together so much that we remade the entire album together.”

When the world did open up again in 2022, Kirschenbaum found that the opportunity to tour as a bassist with Claud had re-emerged, so they did that for a bit. But now, they’re fully focused on Goblynne and the album Hot! 🙁 is due out on June 23 (the sad face emoji is part of it – when saying the name of the album, say “Hot” and then add a little sad noise at the end. For real.)

So yeah, the Goblynne album was recorded twice. Thankfully, they’re far happier with the newer version when compared to the one that they lost.

“Contrary to some artist’s belief, I think that you make better work when you have to, and I think that there was a really dark year making that alone in my apartment and doing it with someone else who brought this whole new life to the project,” they say. “It was a million times better.”

Kirschenbaum describes the Goblynne sound as art-pop, but concedes that genre names aren’t really their thing.

“I have an immediate aversion to genre names, just because I feel like they never really cover the sound,” they say. “I feel like the best way to describe this album is ‘maximalist.’ It’s just a ton of sound.”

“Maximalist” is a great word to use for Goblynne’s full, lush music. Phil Spector isn’t a cool reference anymore for non-musical reasons, but the Wall of Sound is alive, updated and non-problematic. Those themes are carried into the live environment, where Goblynne takes a very theatrical approach. On an indie musician’s budget, of course.

“I take huge, major inspiration from my friends that do drag when it comes to live performance,” they say. “I feel like drag is the original artform that’s doing the most on a budget. It’s basically a crash course. You go to see young drag artists, and they look like they have a million dollars and you look closer and you’re like, ‘That’s made of paper towel.’ That’s my number one inspiration. I have a lot of wigs. I have Party City blonde wigs, and I wear a ton of makeup. A lot of bright colors. We have this audio intro playing affirmations for me, that’s comedic and fun. For me, it’s just a matter of how you stretch Party City and Michaels as far as they’ll go.”

Goblynne’s latest release is the “Where This Goes” single, a love song which journals Kirschenbaum’s first trans relationship with a fellow nonbinary partner.

“It was this experience of falling in love as yourself,” they say. “Allowing yourself to be actually who you are in that space. That was pretty much the inspiration for it. Exploring the softness and sweetness that I think the rest of the album very purposefully lacks.”

Kirschenbaum is still playing bass with Claud, and that project has a couple of tour dates with boygenius coming up. Besides that though, Kirschenbaum will be concentrating on ensuring that Goblynne continues to grow. Perhaps in some unexpected ways.

“I’m a big theater person – I really love, not exactly musical theater but theater that incorporates sound and vice versa,” they say. “So I’m working on constructing a live show, but it will be sort of an immersive theater piece that will be set in a 1950’s kitchen and it’s all about this creature trying to escape this kitchen with this album and finding their inner demon, in a good way.”

Obviously in a good way.

Goblynne’s album Hot! 🙁 is available from June 23.
















































































































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