convo: juliet garrett, 2021 (nyc)

It’s about making work that I’m proud of and that I believe stands on its own in the world.

Juliet Garrett

Couldn’t be more thrilled to have had Juliet Garrett take over Left Bank this week. Women’s History Month has been full of highs and lows, and we are honored to have a little part in highlighting some of the women making history today. Her debut EP Corners of Pretend just came out Friday, so we thought, what better way to end her takeover week than discussing the new album.

Left Bank: What was your process in making Corners of Pretend?

Juliet: I’m not entirely sure where the beginnings of songs come from, but when they appear I do my best to catch them. I write really well in the shower and on long walks. But each song is different. When I met Fiona [Cruickshank] (who produced this EP), I played her a bunch of songs and we selected our favorites that we thought would work well together. Fi chose Grownup to be in this collection almost immediately—which surprised me. But she heard that far-out bridge in her head from the get go, and I’m really happy I trusted her on that. 

What’s your favorite track or line from the EP?

My favorite line is probably “come back again- we can dance around the corners of pretend”… from Follow the River… which is why I named the EP Corners of Pretend. I like the idea that our imagination constructs our reality – and it has corners, it has boundaries – but maybe those are up to us, you know? I always want to know what’s on the other side. 

Wow that is really special to me. Especially as we are learning to craft our realities in such strange and unpredictable ways these days. Why is this EP important to you?

Honestly, I think it’s important to me because it’s the first collection of songs I’ve put out under my own name as a solo artist. That is wild to me, as a timeline thing, because I’ve been writing songs since I was 12 years old. But I was very private about my own songs for the longest time. And then I sang in a rock band in and after college which was a lot of fun, and we put some music out, but it took precedence over my own solo writing at the time — I didn’t have the wherewithal as a 21 year old to do both things at once. It feels like a very long time to have come full circle, but I’m really proud of the songs that are on this EP and the work that Fi and I did on it and I’m excited to share that with the world.

Now for the hard question: what’s your idea of success?

Oh gosh. To write a really good song that makes people happy. To not have to do anything other than music to earn money. To play a big festival and play “Carry On” and have the audience sing along— like, know the words. That would be incredible. But perhaps the truest definition of success, like real fundamental success— to earn the respect of my peers whose work I admire. Ultimately, to me, it’s about making work that I’m proud of and that I believe stands on its own in the world. If the next song I write is better than the last song I wrote, that feels like I’m heading in the right direction. 

And what’s next for you?

I’ve been writing and recording a lot during lockdown. New tunes, learning Logic, making demos. So the big challenge for me now is just — what form do I want them to take entering the world? I’d like to put out a second EP by the summertime, though that feels ambitious. But also, I have all these songs. And, as my friend Gabriel says, ‘songs want to be heard or they get angry at you’. So expect new tunes soon. 

Coming up this week, I’m contributing a song to non-profit Reflections in Music’s first virtual, interdisciplinary concert — “Mostly Music Inspired by Poetry”. That’s on Thursday, the 25th, at 8 pm. It’ll be online for a week. Tickets are free and you can sign up here:

Photo by Katya Wolosoff

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