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Defoe Embraces the Odd on Debut Album

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Producer/artist Defoe recently talked with Alternative Addiction about her single "Something's Happening" and her debut LP, "Too Soon to Cry."


Angela Winter Defoe, or just her artist name Defoe, is a unique person. She’s defiantly weird. She’s a woman producer with exceptional knowledge and talent in an industry that doesn’t see a lot of her gender carry that role. As an artist, she makes odd music in strange ways too. Her music isn’t necessarily undefinable but it’s not exactly easy to categorize either. It’s unpredictable, smart, artistic, and of course sonically brilliant. Angela Winter Defoe is unapologetically herself. That’s immediately the most impressive that came across when speaking her in a recent interview she did with Alternative Addiction.

“Since I was very young, I was always attracted to the very odd,” said Defoe when speaking with Alternative Addiction. “When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an opera singer. Everybody thought it was weird. Nobody in my family liked the opera, none of my friends growing up liked it, I just liked it. I thought it was mysterious and beautiful. Also growing up, I liked weird artists. I listened to music with odd sounds and weird production. I listened to Bjork. I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck.”

Earlier this year, Defoe released her debut, an album called Too Soon to Cry, produced by herself and almost exclusively performed by herself too. Most recording artists attempt to define themselves on their debut release, but they always end up sacrificing something before its release – whether that’s due to business or time constraints. Defoe’s debut album feels and sounds like she didn’t sacrifice anything artistically. The release is the very definition of a defining debut release.

“I had to do it 100%. I was thinking about doing an EP, but I wanted to solidify who I am with a whole album. I wanted to do this 100% myself, but if I do a collaboration in the future, they have the soundscape… the colors I paint with. They have a good reference point with what I do. I also really wanted to do an album because I wanted to prove to myself, as a woman, as a mom, that I could do it. I wanted to do it to show my little one that you can be a mom and follow your dream too.”

Defoe admits that she’s a control freak in the studio at times, but with her own music, she allowed herself to do that. That control and that confidence to do what she wanted to do is a far cry from where Winter started in music. When she was starting out, numerous people tried to make her into something she wasn’t; a pop artist. Working with other people and having them try to make her into something she wasn’t led to her to start producing her own music but building confidence in that was key factor too.

“It’s interesting. It started as a weakness for me,” said Defoe when we asked how she got into production. “I lived in a smaller town where all the musicians were guys. I was looked at as the girl with the guitar. I was always very shy growing up. I was always scared to sing in front of people. I had some studio experience, but that was a little painful for me because it took a while for me to get comfortable. I had the idea that it would be cool to record myself so I could be at my own place and make my own mistakes. I really developed how to sing in a studio by myself. I wanted to work alone. For me, it’s such a solitary experience. I need to reach those other dimensional places where ideas come from. When I have other people in the room, I feel like it can stifle it. It’s an interesting thing and I’ll collaborate in the future, but I became a producer out of need. It’s not the normal way to do things, but it brought me here.”

The confidence she has a producer and a vocalist isn’t something that happened immediately. She worked at it extremely hard for years.

“I’ve been producing my own music for the past 18 years,” she explained. “I treated it as I was going to my Ivy League College. I learned from my mistakes. I learned technique. I was forming an identity and until my identity to myself and what I liked was completely clear, I didn’t want to release anything. It was a process of me growing up. I was skeptical of myself and my own abilities. I needed to mature until I felt confident.”

The songs on Too Soon to Cry are the typical songs you’ll find on a debut album that’s been this long in the making. Some of them are new, some of them are old, and some of them are parts of old songs that have been reworked and redone to be something new. That said, Defoe’s debut album also features a very odd song, “Something’s Happening” – the start of the song was originally part of a score that Defoe did for the film, 4/20 Massacre.



“That’s the most oddball song,” said Defoe when speaking about the single. “That was actually part of the score. That was something I scored during the chase scene, like the pinnacle of the movie. Luckily enough, the director Dylan Reynolds was generous enough to give me all the rights to my music. I asked his permission to use the song, because when you score something, it’s their property. I talked to him about it and talked about how I wanted to give myself an interesting challenge. It would be exciting to have a soft vocal contrasting with the intention the song has. It turned into a song in like 10-20 minutes. All the takes of the vocals were first takes in the studio. I recorded it line by line and it just made sense. It came together naturally.”

“Something’s Happening” isn’t the only unique song on the album, it’s filled with them and all of the songs are different from each other. The only thing specific that you’re getting on this record is Defoe herself. This album fun and strange, depressing and cool, and all around a unique piece of art. Too Soon to Cry is Angela Winter Defoe. Everything she’s done as a producer and artist led her to the album she made. One of the last few things we asked Angela was relating to finding her identity as a producer. How she answered the question and how she did it says a lot about her as a person. It was a journey of discovery and one she traveled on regardless of how hard it was.

“I feel strongly about developing your own style as a producer. When I was learning, I always gave myself weekly challenges, even with genres I didn’t like. I’d discover why I didn’t like it. I’d make myself make a song in that genre. I made a heavy rap song, learned the elements of it and learned about everything that went with it. Then I did black metal. Then I did jazz. I’d learn along the way. Because I didn’t have the skills to completely make songs in that genre, the songs turned into something else. I made music with the idea that I wasn’t going to show anyone else. Then, if it was good, I would show someone. If it wasn’t, I’d keep it to myself. You can’t force feed songs anything, you have to let them speak to you and shut up and listen.”

Defoe’s Too Soon To Cry is available now. Listen to it on Spotify below. You can also check out her video for “Something’s Happening” – it’s posted above.




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Defoe Embraces the Odd on Debut Album


Image

Producer/artist Defoe recently talked with Alternative Addiction about her single "Something's Happening" and her debut LP, "Too Soon to Cry."

Angela Winter Defoe, or just her artist name Defoe, is a unique person. She’s defiantly weird. She’s a woman producer with exceptional knowledge and talent in an industry that doesn’t see a lot of her gender carry that role. As an artist, she makes odd music in strange ways too. Her music isn’t necessarily undefinable but it’s not exactly easy to categorize either. It’s unpredictable, smart, artistic, and of course sonically brilliant. Angela Winter Defoe is unapologetically herself. That’s immediately the most impressive that came across when speaking her in a recent interview she did with Alternative Addiction.

“Since I was very young, I was always attracted to the very odd,” said Defoe when speaking with Alternative Addiction. “When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an opera singer. Everybody thought it was weird. Nobody in my family liked the opera, none of my friends growing up liked it, I just liked it. I thought it was mysterious and beautiful. Also growing up, I liked weird artists. I listened to music with odd sounds and weird production. I listened to Bjork. I’ve always been a bit of an odd duck.”

Earlier this year, Defoe released her debut, an album called Too Soon to Cry, produced by herself and almost exclusively performed by herself too. Most recording artists attempt to define themselves on their debut release, but they always end up sacrificing something before its release – whether that’s due to business or time constraints. Defoe’s debut album feels and sounds like she didn’t sacrifice anything artistically. The release is the very definition of a defining debut release.

“I had to do it 100%. I was thinking about doing an EP, but I wanted to solidify who I am with a whole album. I wanted to do this 100% myself, but if I do a collaboration in the future, they have the soundscape… the colors I paint with. They have a good reference point with what I do. I also really wanted to do an album because I wanted to prove to myself, as a woman, as a mom, that I could do it. I wanted to do it to show my little one that you can be a mom and follow your dream too.”

Defoe admits that she’s a control freak in the studio at times, but with her own music, she allowed herself to do that. That control and that confidence to do what she wanted to do is a far cry from where Winter started in music. When she was starting out, numerous people tried to make her into something she wasn’t; a pop artist. Working with other people and having them try to make her into something she wasn’t led to her to start producing her own music but building confidence in that was key factor too.

“It’s interesting. It started as a weakness for me,” said Defoe when we asked how she got into production. “I lived in a smaller town where all the musicians were guys. I was looked at as the girl with the guitar. I was always very shy growing up. I was always scared to sing in front of people. I had some studio experience, but that was a little painful for me because it took a while for me to get comfortable. I had the idea that it would be cool to record myself so I could be at my own place and make my own mistakes. I really developed how to sing in a studio by myself. I wanted to work alone. For me, it’s such a solitary experience. I need to reach those other dimensional places where ideas come from. When I have other people in the room, I feel like it can stifle it. It’s an interesting thing and I’ll collaborate in the future, but I became a producer out of need. It’s not the normal way to do things, but it brought me here.”

The confidence she has a producer and a vocalist isn’t something that happened immediately. She worked at it extremely hard for years.

“I’ve been producing my own music for the past 18 years,” she explained. “I treated it as I was going to my Ivy League College. I learned from my mistakes. I learned technique. I was forming an identity and until my identity to myself and what I liked was completely clear, I didn’t want to release anything. It was a process of me growing up. I was skeptical of myself and my own abilities. I needed to mature until I felt confident.”

The songs on Too Soon to Cry are the typical songs you’ll find on a debut album that’s been this long in the making. Some of them are new, some of them are old, and some of them are parts of old songs that have been reworked and redone to be something new. That said, Defoe’s debut album also features a very odd song, “Something’s Happening” – the start of the song was originally part of a score that Defoe did for the film, 4/20 Massacre.



“That’s the most oddball song,” said Defoe when speaking about the single. “That was actually part of the score. That was something I scored during the chase scene, like the pinnacle of the movie. Luckily enough, the director Dylan Reynolds was generous enough to give me all the rights to my music. I asked his permission to use the song, because when you score something, it’s their property. I talked to him about it and talked about how I wanted to give myself an interesting challenge. It would be exciting to have a soft vocal contrasting with the intention the song has. It turned into a song in like 10-20 minutes. All the takes of the vocals were first takes in the studio. I recorded it line by line and it just made sense. It came together naturally.”

“Something’s Happening” isn’t the only unique song on the album, it’s filled with them and all of the songs are different from each other. The only thing specific that you’re getting on this record is Defoe herself. This album fun and strange, depressing and cool, and all around a unique piece of art. Too Soon to Cry is Angela Winter Defoe. Everything she’s done as a producer and artist led her to the album she made. One of the last few things we asked Angela was relating to finding her identity as a producer. How she answered the question and how she did it says a lot about her as a person. It was a journey of discovery and one she traveled on regardless of how hard it was.

“I feel strongly about developing your own style as a producer. When I was learning, I always gave myself weekly challenges, even with genres I didn’t like. I’d discover why I didn’t like it. I’d make myself make a song in that genre. I made a heavy rap song, learned the elements of it and learned about everything that went with it. Then I did black metal. Then I did jazz. I’d learn along the way. Because I didn’t have the skills to completely make songs in that genre, the songs turned into something else. I made music with the idea that I wasn’t going to show anyone else. Then, if it was good, I would show someone. If it wasn’t, I’d keep it to myself. You can’t force feed songs anything, you have to let them speak to you and shut up and listen.”

Defoe’s Too Soon To Cry is available now. Listen to it on Spotify below. You can also check out her video for “Something’s Happening” – it’s posted above.

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