A word becomes a sound

by Kate Bollinger

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1.
You always told me when I was wrong I never minded it, I needed someone to tell me okay If I mess up a couple things, if I mess up a lot of things If I fuck up a couple things, well What if I fuck up everything? You always told me to listen better So I tried listening to the blues You always took care of all my baggage It's hard now it's somethin' I gotta do If I mess up a couple things, if I mess up a lot of things If I fuck up a couple things, well What if I fuck up everything? If I mess up a couple things, if I mess up a lot of things If I fuck up a couple things, well What if I fuck up everything? If I mess up a couple things Or if I mess up a lot of things If I fuck up a couple things, well What if I fuck up everything?
2.
Grey Skies 02:44
Why do I wish for something more When it's all said and done? Why do I long for springtime Only when the winter's come? I'll chase the sun escaping And later ask what for Only find my mouth agape when I'm at a loss for more To quit would be too simple To go on is what I'll do Now I know when my heart's in the middle It'll snap, break, unsure back to you Maybe it's worth analyzing Maybe with a quick check it's fine Could take some compromising To come out right on the other side Grey skies, they don't scare me I find them unnecessary There's no tellin' when the bad's gonna come around And it'll come around no doubt I find my own suspicions And plenty an inhibition If I wait long enough I can see the ground Start to crumble underneath my feet (Ooh) I don't want it If I can get it I don't need it If I can have it I don't see it If it's knockin' at my door And then I turn around and change my mind but it's gone And I ask what for Grey skies They don't make me nervous Make me feel fine I feel just fine Grey skies They don't make me nervous Make me feel fine I feel alright
3.
Always try to rearrange the pleasure so it outweighs the pain It doesn’t work all the time, doesn’t work all the time When daylight comes I call my friend She won’t pick up I call her back again I wanna spend all my time... And I feel like doing nothing I feel like doing nothing again I feel like doing nothing I feel like doing nothing Late yesterday I’m home with all my bags Take a seat on the couch can’t get up again I wanna sit for a while I wanna sit for a while Then she comes home sits next to me Got a reason, now two that I can start to believe Why I can waste all my time And I feel like doing nothing I feel like doing nothing again I feel like doing nothing
4.
Again, again I'm frightened by the thought of you Again, again But then you go away and by that I'm frightened too Again, again A word only a sound if you misuse it Again, again And I'll be made a clown if I abuse it Get so blue when I'm next to you Oh what it is I've done that I don't understand? With the guessin' I'm through I've been wrong before, I don't mind I don't think about it so much anymore I do, I do, I do I don't, I don't, I don't A word only a sound if you let it Things become only their name so instead it Takes its new life you never meant to give it wings that way Watch it take flight and then land in another day Get so blue when I'm next to you Oh what it is I've done that I don't understand? With the guessin' I'm through I've been wrong before, I don't mind I don't think about it so much anymore I do, I do, I do I don't, I don't, I don't
5.
Take me by the hand and I'll be the sweetest to love When writing fills the air then I'll be the last to go What I mean to say is I'm scared of being queen to nobody But I'll know when it's time to go the other way You sing the sweetest tune Trust me, you know it when it's not around You sing the sweetest tune I get so blue when I don't hear your sound Seems though nothing's wrong but I sense something's been forgotten Waiting for someone to speak in a deserted place The things I think to say sound unlike the way I thought them up Look to you in search of things that don't break You sing the sweetest tune Trust me, you know it when it's not around You sing the sweetest tune I get so blue when I don't hear your sound

about

For Kate Bollinger, knowing how to articulate exactly what she means would take a seemingly unattainable level of communicational prowess. Because of this, her nuanced songwriting gives listeners a framework within which they can project their own experiences. “It is rare that my words represent my thoughts accurately and even in the instances where I feel that they do, I know that I can't be responsible for the hearing of those words or for the interpretation of them,” she explains. “Sometimes I write in a very specific way, but sometimes it is better to write only the skeleton.”

From a young age, Bollinger turned to songwriting as a way of testing out ideas and stringing together words, perfecting them until they matched her intentions. Memories of her childhood in Charlottesville evoke melodies emanating from the stereo and experimental sounds leaking out of the basement, where her two older brothers recorded with their bands. Bollinger’s mother, a music therapist, released a handful of children’s albums, and she welcomed her daughter into the accompanying choir. Being a small part of an ensemble was freeing, and Bollinger went on to perform in local opera productions when she was still in elementary school. “I was shy when I was little and didn’t want a speaking role, I just wanted to sing and be on stage,” she recalls, laughing. “I still feel that way.”

In adolescence, Bollinger absorbed a spectrum of genres that came to influence her future songwriting. On the family’s CD rack it may have been possible to find pop icons of the early aughts stacked up against classics of her parents’ generations. Feist soundtracked drives with dad, and Bollinger marvelled at the dexterity of those albums, the way they would move from a dance track to R&B to something spare and wholly unexpected. Taking inspiration from her siblings’ musical projects, Bollinger began writing songs, and at 14, her brother Will helped her record one at home for the very first time.

From there, Bollinger started gigging around Charlottesville and eventually won free studio time in a local songwriting competition, but put off studio recording until years later when she had a backing band in place. Bollinger met her primary collaborator, John Trainum, while working on her cinematography degree at UVA. Once Bollinger had a collection she felt especially confident in, she booked her free day of recording and knocked out the songs that made up her EP, I Don’t Wanna Lose, in a single day. The self-released collection presented Bollinger with new opportunities, like opening for Soccer Mommy in Richmond and hitting the road with Wild Nothing while she was still finishing her degree.

On August 21st, Bollinger will release her second EP A word becomes a sound. “I'm really happy with the way that I Don’t Wanna Lose turned out, but everything was so new to me, so I didn't take things where they could have gone. Every song you hear is a live take and I was so excited to record the songs as I had written them, so there wasn't much in the way of production after the fact,” Bollinger says. “When we recorded A word becomes a sound, I really pushed myself to actualize what I heard in my head.” Recording the EP was hard-fought; the COVID-19 crisis hit before the band was able to finish, so Bollinger and Trainum were forced to complete the project under unprecedented circumstances. The resulting collection comprises five songs, all of which flit between sonic sensibilities, never once settling on a single sustained mood. Taking inspiration from pop, folk, jazz, and beat-driven experimentation, A word becomes a sound grounds itself in Bollinger’s nimble voice, which fits a torrent of emotion inside of it. “My music has a really soft center and when I write I am finding a balance between something delicate and the darker feelings surrounding it,” Bollinger says. “Many of my songs are about childhood, because I am lucky to have had a pretty idyllic one.”

But what happens when childhood ends and the anxieties of adulthood come to dominate a once-carefree mind? “My songs, and the sadness in them, comes from reflecting on an easier time.” You can hear that sentiment especially well on lead single “A Couple Things,” which is the oldest song on the EP and has been a part of Bollinger’s live repertoire since 2018. It finds Bollinger steeped in shifting familial and interpersonal dynamics over a bed of breezy instrumentation. “You always took care of all my baggage/ It's hard now it's somethin' I gotta do,” she sings. Bollinger describes “Feel Like Doing Nothing” as a dream pop song, one that was written in close collaboration with Trainum and is unlike anything she’s recorded before. Its lyrics yearn for a respite from the weight of responsibility, coalescing with the moody, R&B imbued “Grey Skies,” a song that provokes a sense of ease though it contemplates the inevitability of oncoming sorrow.

“I try to write in a way that leaves each song open to interpretation because I want people to hear their own relationships reflected back at them when they listen to my music,” Bollinger says. She has described it as a collaborative coloring book, a series of outlines waiting to be filled in by a listener’s experiences. To that end, the EP’s title track, “A word becomes a sound” produces a lens to read the collection through. It was inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s short story “Terror,” in which a man slowly begins to disassociate from his surroundings. Eventually, words lose their meaning entirely. A house is no longer a “house.” A tree is no longer a “tree.” The “self” becomes something spectral and impossible to define, deferential to the porous boundaries of the world. On A word becomes a sound, Bollinger harnesses that sensation of terrifying and enlivening free-fall.

credits

released August 21, 2020

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Kate Bollinger Charlottesville, Virginia

contact:
eric@saltymgmt.com
tony@saltymgmt.com

us press:
jaclynu@grandstandhq.com
eloyl@grandstandhq.com

uk press:
michelle.kambasha@s-414.com

na booking:
wilson@highroadtouring.com
sam@highroadtouring.com

eu booking:
will@primarytalent.com
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