June 6, 2022
PaviElle French brings her full self to her music.
“When I’m blocked I’m still writing constantly; I just don’t really like what I’m writing. What usually helps me isn’t anything fancy, but I’ll just take a break. Maybe for a day, maybe a week, sometimes a month. But every time I take one of those breaks, there’s a song that just falls out of me that I’m absolutely thrilled about, and it’s like the flood gates get opened up. That’s essentially how I’ve written every album so far. Also, every time I finish an album I really think it’s going to be my last and I’ll never be able to write again. It’s a whole thing.”
I didn’t think that the environment would be that much of an influence, but over time it certainly feels like it does. I think there’s something really magical about Los Angeles. Having time to really experience that city, and spend time writing every day was a really special experience. I certainly wouldn’t say that I chase new environments for the purpose of writing, but I do think a new place can open up a lot of creative paths you wouldn’t have taken otherwise.
First off, yes Ram is a perfect album and I adore it with my entire being. I do think that it’s unpolished approach was appealing to me for sure. I’ve always gravitated toward more raw or honest sounding production. I think that may come from being extremely into punk rock as a kid, and realizing that approach can be really incredible for other genres as well. Damien Rice’s O was made with really bare-bones production as well. Bon Iver’s For Emma was another game-changer as well. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been under the impression that if there’s a sound in your head, and you know how to get there, it doesn’t necessarily matter how fancy the tools are to make it.
Usually when I’m blocked I’m still writing constantly, I just don’t really like what I’m writing. What usually helps me isn’t anything fancy, but I’ll just take a break. Maybe for a day, maybe a week, sometimes a month. But every time I take one of those breaks, there’s a song that just falls out of me that I’m absolutely thrilled about, and it’s like the flood gates get opened up. That’s essentially how I’ve written every album so far. Also, every time I finish an album I really think it’s going to be my last and I’ll never be able to write again. It’s a whole thing.
When I was first learning to play, my brother and I would just play and sing blink-182 songs with each other. We never really told each other that we enjoyed each other’s voices, but I’d get all the Mark songs and he’d get all the Tom songs, and we’d just sing until we couldn’t talk anymore. I never stopped doing that.
It’s hard for me to say, because as a straight white man I don’t feel like I’m really in the position to say whether or not it’s improving. I feel like if that behavior is happening at all, it isn’t an acceptable level. I think the conversations are happening, which is a great first step. I want to say that people are becoming more aware of this behavior, but the sad thing is that non-men in the industry have been made painfully aware of this through every step, and it’s kind of our job to make that right. It’s a process, and I wish it moved faster, but it’s seemingly moving.
I like to think all of my albums are very honest representations of where I am at that moment. Tell My Mother I Love Her was written in the wake of a relationship that lasted most of my life up until that point, and I felt like I had to re-learn how to become my own person. Devastator was largely written in the wake of my brother’s passing and navigating that immense grief. Sunbleach was written during a really weird time in the world, while simultaneously falling deeply in love. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s triggering, but it does help me sort through those emotions in a very therapeutic way.
Constantly. For example, I just released an album of instrumental songs, and I have another 14-track record of instrumentals as a companion piece that I want to release later this year. On top of that I’m working on another record with my dear friend Nate Van Fleet (who played drums on Sunbleach) and we’ve got about 20 songs so far for that. If I had it my way, they’d spend all of about 30 seconds on my hard drive before they were released, but that’s just not the way the world goes around.
I just released Lull, which is the first part of a two part instrumental series, and I will be releasing the second part hopefully by the end of the year. I also am currently working on a record, with words, and usually that means I’ll have two records worth of material by the time that comes out. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to.