Katie Buchanan Rocks New York with Kansas Roots and Healthy Cynicism
Kansas-born, New York-based Katie Buchanan isn't afraid to play her guitar from a place of cynicism. Her sonically sparse new EP Go officially comes out Tuesday, August 5th, and she's celebrating it with a pre-release party this Sunday, August 3rd, at the Rockwood Music Hall and a new video for the title track, directed by Nicolas Pesce. We spoke to Katie about how this new EP, sparked from the falling out of a longtime friendship, finds the light a midst the darkness of a toxic relationship.
Isaac Alongi Katie Buchanan
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You've referred to Go as "a dark record in a peaceful place." What made the project so dark?
It started after I had a big falling out with a childhood friend and it spiraled into this record. The more I listen to it, it sounds bright and cheery, but it's all rooted in a very dark place for me. It was probably the first time I let music be cathartic in a way. I don't believe in music just being cathartic, there has to be a reason for making music other than making yourself feel good. But, [I] embraced writing to get things out and wind up figuring out situations, in a peaceful place.
What was the falling out over?
It was one of those childhood relationships that became toxic. When you're in a friendship and start seeing it from the outside, you have a tiny fight over something and it spirals out into everything that was wrong with how we treated each other after all these years. It just all fell apart. It was very much a parasitic thing.
When deals with something that personal, is it a challenge to do songs inspired by such an event live?
It hasn't been too much because I've been playing them a while now. Like I said, it's a dark thing but it ends in a peaceful place. Except for "Go," they're all rationalization of what's going on, at least in my mind. While there's definitely an emotional chord in that dark place, I find it peaceful to play them because they lead me out of it.
You mentioned that the opener "Shakedown" explores the "Me and You Against the World" concept, but from a cynical place. Does your writing often come from a place of cynicism?
My writing is probably more rooted in cynicism than it should be sometimes. I'm pretty cynical and I'm not really interested in happy songs, but I don't want to write depressing songs all the time, so that results in writing songs from a cynical point of view. Maybe cynical in't the right word, but I always try to approach songs with a critical eye. I think that's something I've always done, but I've finally just found a way to capture that without being off-putting to people in a song.