On Tour with Molly Burch

Photo by Julian Neel

Last year, vocalist and songwriter Molly Burch released her second album First Flower, an intimate and honest collection of songs that deal with themes like overcoming anxiety and navigating relationships. Burch’s music exudes an authenticity that is laid back without being apathetic. It’s easy going, but that doesn’t mean it lacks power. Burch herself can be described this way as well. In this interview, she talks about how the album ‘First Flower’ came together and about her current tour.

Evelyn Allee: First of all, just tell me a little bit about your latest album First Flower?
Molly Burch: First Flower was really the first album I wrote with the intention of making a full album. I wrote it after touring really heavily, so its sort of just a response to all of the changes in my life. I had toured in early October and I toured all fall over most of the US, but I am on tour in this part of the country for the first time. For some of them its the first time I have ever been in these cities, including Indianapolis.

EA: What was the biggest challenge in creating this album?
MB: I think I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and self-doubt which can be really challenging when you’re trying to create. Songwriting isn’t second nature to me, I’m more of a vocalist. Having a ton of anxiety and overcoming that was probably the biggest challenge going into this album.

EA: I really liked the lines from the song ‘Wild’, “It’s in my nature to be guarded, I wish I was a wilder soul.” Do you feel like that sums you up pretty well?
MB: Totally. That whole song is really about anxiety and comparing yourself to others and really trying to break free of that habit. In this day and age of Instagram, it’s really easy to compare yourself to others. I feel like I’m in this really great place where I don’t do that as much as I used to, but it’s still pretty common. And that’s what that song is all about, not having such a negative image about yourself, not getting wrapped up in what others are doing. Everyone is dealing with really universal things so sometimes if you’re idealizing somebody it’s good to realize they are probably insecure also. That always brings me back to a good place.

EA: What do you hope that listeners get from hearing this latest album?
MB: I think I would really like to be relatable and open and honest. And I hope that listeners enjoy my music, that they can find something about my music that makes them feels better in some way. I guess I hope that people can find comfort in my music.

EA: What about your music has changed since your debut album came out?
MB: I changed up my band, so it was a whole new life with a whole new band in the studio. I learned a lot of hard lessons on how to be a bandleader. Recording with a new band I felt like a new life force was in me and I felt refreshed, which brought a lot of new energy to the music. I was in a very different place than I was with ‘Please Be Mine’.

EA: You studied jazz vocal performance in college. What prompted your interest in jazz and how has that impacted your music?
MB: I have always been interested in jazz because that style is how I like to sing. I had no concept of how my life would be after college, but I had this drive to play music and sing so it felt really natural. I used to have stage fright so it was useful to help me craft my voice.

EA: What was that like having stage fright but still needing to put your music out there? How did you overcome that?
MB: It took me a while, but it was just baby steps. I have always had this inner drive to push myself to make music, so I just had to do it over and over again. I think it took me until I toured ‘Please Be Mine’ to be comfortable, but ever since I toured I got so used to it. And my older sister Samy pushed me to do so I had that support as well.

Photo by Kelly Giarrocco

EA: Do you think that your music fits into a particular genre, and if so what is it?
MB: It’s kind of hard to describe your own music, so I don’t really know how to describe my music, but I just see it as indie pop with a jazz influence. We all have jazz in our background in the band so that has definitely impacted it. But I also enjoy pop music, and our label Cacophony Records is an independent label so I guess that puts it in the indie pop genre.

EA: I loved the music video for the song “Candy” on your new album, the clothes and the aesthetics were so gorgeous, could you tell me a little bit about the inspiration for that?
MB: The director was the actress and musician Noel Wells, she used to live in Austin but is now based in LA. We connected on Instagram, probably messaging each other about cats or something. I was in the beginning stages with that video. I described the song to her, how its all about pushing away anxiety and the idea that you aren’t good enough. She came up with the concept and filmed on an 8mm which I love. We filmed it in one day, Noel directed it and my sister Samy cast the video. I love [Noel’s] imagery, I thought it really fit the song well- I mean it’s about anxiety and I’m running away from things the whole time.

EA: What are the best and worst parts of being on tour?
MB: The best parts are when you are traveling with the right people, it’s so fun, and I am! I also sell my own merch after the show, and I really enjoy meeting and talking to people, seeing different places, like we got to see Cleveland yesterday before the show today. I also love staying in Airbnbs, it is one of my favorite things. The worst this time was having PMS on tour and on stage, being sick on tour sucks. I really learned my limits on the last three-month tour. I’m very much introverted. The hard part is when you need space and can’t get it.

EA: You’re based in Austin. Has living there impacted your style or creative process?
MB: I feel at home in Austin. I started writing music when I moved there, its a really good, positive environment. The community there is an active community but not a competitive community. There’s an industry, but not as much as L.A. or New York. Its a more positive place. I feel peaceful when I am in Austin. I really like living there.

EA: Where else will this tour take you?
MB: We are only a week in, so after Indianapolis we’ll be in some other cities, traveling to Birmingham, Lexington, Nashville, just covering cities we didn’t hit last time in October.

Molly Burch will be at the Lo-Fi lounge this Tuesday, May 21st at 8 pm, doors open at 7pm. Tickets will be for sale at the door for $15. To keep up with Burch and her music, you can visit her website, and she is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.