Mitski joins Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1 to discuss her forthcoming album "Laurel Hell". During the interview, she tells Matt about her decision to return from hiatus, and reveals that she was unsure if she would ever make another album. She also reflects on the writing process for the record, and discusses her popularity on TikTok, despite choosing to be absent from social media.
Mitski Tells Apple Music She Wasn’t Sure If She’d Keep Making Music…
Matt Wilkinson: ...I thought maybe we've had the last Mitski album. Maybe Mitski would go off and do something else with her life and not return to that wheel of campaign, album, press, tour, but here we are.
Mitski: Yeah, here we are. For a moment I thought that as well....I think “Be The Cowboy” is the album that everybody knows, I guess, if they know me at all. But prior to that, I'd been touring and working and putting out albums for many years. I'd been doing it on the cheap, so I'd been doing the most exhausting version of it. I think I was just tired, and I felt like I needed a break and I couldn't do it anymore. I just told everyone on my team that I just needed to stop it for a while.
Matt Wilkinson: How did they take that news? I imagine they have to just be like, "Cool," but did anyone try and say, "Are you sure?"
Mitski: Well, I think everyone could tell I was already at max capacity but also, I told everybody well in advance. I took my hiatus officially starting September 2019, but I think I had known and had been telling people by 2018.
Mitski Tells Apple Music About Ending Her Hiatus…
I mean, there was always doubt that maybe the industry and the fans would not let me come back because I'd taken so much time off and the world is not that forgiving. But after a while of being on hiatus and writing and realising I had enough songs to make up an album, I started thinking, “Oh, maybe I can put out another album.” That's kind of when I started to feel hopeful that maybe I could start again. That was the first song where Patrick and I sort of figured out a sound. Because before that song or before the production of that song, we couldn't quite figure out how the rest of the album should sound. The album went through a punk phase, it went through a country phase.
Mitski Tells Apple Music What She’ll Do Differently Now…
I think it is learning my limitations. I now have the great privilege of being able to say no to most things. So it's saying no to a lot of things and making sure that I listen to my body. I listen to my brain and create space for myself to take a breath.
Mitski Tells Apple Music About The Themes She Explores On Her New Album….
I'm not saying there's no nuance in pop music, but I think a prevailing narrative in pop music is that of the 'good guy' and the 'bad guy'. It's quite simplistic. You cheat on me, you're bad. I'm in love with you. You're good. The protagonist is usually the good one. Those songs never really express the full spectrum of what I'm feeling and my reality. My reality is that, sometimes I realise I'm the bad person in the relationship. Sometimes I'm messing up. Sometimes the other person in the relationship did something wrong, but you understand why, and you see them as a full person. So, you have compassion towards them.
Mitski Tells Apple Music About ‘Working For The Knife’…
I wrote ‘Working For The Knife’ towards the end of 2019. I started my hiatus at the end of September 2019. I finally had this time to sit in a room and write for as long as I wanted to. I never had that time before, because I was always on tour. I was just kind of in this wonderful place of being able to take all the time I want to write. But also, I was feeling a deep surge of regret because I was feeling like, “Oh my God, what did I do?” I let go of this career that I had worked so hard to get and I finally got, and I just left it all behind. I might have made the greatest mistake of my life. So, it was those two kinds of conflicting emotions.
Mitski Tells Apple Music About Finding Success On TikTok…
Well, the thing is, I'm not on social media. The only TikToks I've seen are the ones that people have sent me. It's very strange. I mean, it's a blessing. I'm very grateful for it. I don't know what I did to deserve it. I'm also afraid of truly facing it because I'm afraid that if I start celebrating it, then it will go away.
Mitski Tells Apple Music She Tries Not To Write For A Specific Audience….
I try really hard to keep it out of my personal world, just because I find, I can't write from that perspective of knowing I have an audience I guess, or just knowing that a song could be huge or something. It's too much. It takes me away from why I originally started writing songs, which was, I wanted to express something real and human in me. It's really scary to start mixing notions of commerce into songwriting.