Roughly a month ago, I found myself trudging through my Facebook feed, through all the trippy baby photos and wedding engagement parties and Happy Birthday’s, until I saw a Bandcamp link. Finally, I thought, something important.
The link took me to Rather Be, Brittany Myers’ debut album, and I was fully ensnared by the understated magnetic timelessness evoked by a singer-songwriter in the purest sense. While the album is decidedly down-trodden, the messages are nestled in comfort of universality; restlessness in the present and an overwhelming uncertainty of the future.
I caught up with Myers to talk about the project, whiskey and the tragic beauty of Elliott Smith.
Nada Mucho: I was really impressed to learn that you started playing guitar in 2012 and you’ve already released an album. Talk a little about how you started writing music.
Brittany Meyers: Thanks! Yeah it is kind of crazy when I start to think about it like that. It was that piece of my life that I didn’t know I was missing until I picked up the guitar. Everything just fell into place. When I was first learning it, singing went hand in hand with playing. It felt weird to play without singing, and it felt weird to sing without playing. I taught myself how to play mostly by looking up cover songs and playing those. Then I started realizing I could make my own melodies and chord progressions and set them to my own words and feelings. In a way it became a sort of therapy for me. When I released my Demons EP in 2012, it was mostly just to say that I did it. I didn’t realize it was going to be something that I wanted to pursue so badly.
NM: Your website says you’re a California native. What led you to Seattle?
BM: There were a lot of reasons I needed to leave. After college I moved back home and started to realize that I wasn’t growing as a person there. I felt like I was stuck and there was nothing there for me anymore. Seattle was the only other place I could see myself living at this point in my life, and I was tired of making excuses not to go. So I found a roommate on Craigslist, moved here not knowing anyone and started from scratch. I would be lying if I said I didn’t move to Seattle in large part for the music scene. It’s a lot more welcoming of my style of music. Los Angeles is full of pop songs and rock bands, and that’s just not what I wanted. Seattle focuses more on folky acoustic music and the content of the songs. So yes, I did move here for music, but I also moved here to just start over and be someone different.
NM: After spending time with Rather Be, the album seems to be centered around a general feeling of malaise. Do you agree?
BM: Absolutely. Most of my music is depressing, and by “most” I mean “all of it.” At the time I was writing most of the songs for the album, I was in a pretty rough spot. Like I said, I was stuck at home, I was making a lot of decisions I wasn’t necessarily proud of, and I was unhappy a lot of the time. And then the songs that weren’t written at home were written in Seattle when I was drunk, homesick and lonely. So I turned to my music to get those feelings out instead of letting them get the better of me in my day to day life. The album is essentially a collection of the songs I wrote at my darkest and lowest moments, so malaise is a very accurate term.
NM: In your opinion, what is the most ideal way to listen to your music? Be as specific as possible.
BM: Alone. Sad. Angry. Lonely. Confused. With lots of whiskey (Bulleit Rye). Neat (none of that ice shit). You know what, maybe just straight from the bottle. Crying. Ok maybe not the crying, but at least listen to it carefully enough that you hear the words and feel something. Preferably when it’s gloomy or rainy. Seattle has really been killing that vibe with the sunshine this summer and fall.
NM: If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would you want to work with?
BM: Elliott Smith, R.I.P. He’s gotten me through some tough times, and his lyrics are unreal. He also has that way of making an extremely dark and depressing song sound deceptively happy, which is something I greatly admire.
NM: Do you have any plans to tour behind this project?
BM: As of now I’m just trying to book shows around Seattle, which is really difficult being an outsider and a newbie to the scene. I would love to tour, but I’m just focusing on trying to get my music out there in a more general sense. Obviously I wouldn’t say no if someone wanted me to hop on tour with them though. One day…
NM: What do you hope listeners takeaway from your music?
BM: I just hope that it makes them feel something. I think everyone can relate to the songs on some personal level, and if there’s even just one song that makes them think “damn, she knows exactly how I feel right now,” then I’d be really content with that.