We spoke with Molly Burch about her debut album on Captured Tracks, Please Be Mine.
You spent some time living in Asheville, NC. How did your time there affect your creativity and songwriting? What were the things you liked most about Asheville?
Yes, I did. I went to college there for music. It was there where I started to branch out into songwriting. I also got experience performing which I was still very new to at the time. Asheville is so small and it felt like the safest place to begin to write. I really miss being in Asheville during the Fall - it’s the best. And I miss Taco Tuesday at Mamacitas!
You're currently based in Austin, TX, a place flooded with great musical talent at all times. Do you find challenges to living in a place like Austin or does the magnitude of music happening inspire you and push you as an artist?
I love it here in Austin. Most of my friends here are musicians and it feels very supportive. It’s never felt challenging to me. It’s always felt like a very positive thing. So many amazing Austin bands are getting recognition outside of Austin — Cross Record, Adam Torres, Lomelda, Jess Williamson, RF Shannon, Jesse Woods — to name just a few. It’s so inspiring to see. And we’re all friends!
You were a student in the jazz vocals program at UNC-Asheville. How did your studies impact your songwriting? How do you think having this type of background separates you from other musicians in the same folk genre? Does any part of the education provide a challenge to songwriting outside of the jazz realm?
I think what I gained most about attending college was the experience of performing. Before UNC-Asheville I had very little opportunity to sing in front of others. I was always wanting to explore outside of jazz. I wasn’t the most dedicated student, haha. I was mainly interested in partying at that time and I admit I had a couple boyfriends do my science homework for me… But I still learned a lot!
Please Be Mine will be released on Feb 17 on Captured Tracks. How did you get connected with the label and what was the recording/production process like?
I recorded it in Dripping Springs, TX at Dandy Sounds Studios with Dan Duszynski who engineered, mixed and co-produced the album. We (Ignacio Guerrero, Dailey Toliver, Caity Shaffer, and I) recorded the basic tracks live in one day. It was a very organic process. We had already been playing the songs out live so we felt tight enough to record live. The vocals are live too, which I hadn’t planned on, but ultimately happy about. We spent another day adding keys and back up vocals. After I had the album mastered by Carl Saff, I sent it to Captured Tracks as a demo submission. I'm extremely happy they liked it! They are the best.
You've admitted some of the songs were about a troubled relationship you were in at a time in your life. Was it difficult opening up about such a personal experience or do you find refuge in songwriting and see it as a therapeutic outlet?
I find it to be very therapeutic to write about love and loss. I wrote many of the songs that were about that relationship you mentioned when I moved to Austin by myself. It was a very lonely time. I didn’t have friends or a job. I just had an empty room and felt very introverted. Writing those first songs really helped with my transition.
Who are some artists that influenced you during the writing and recording of Please Be Mine?
I am constantly influenced by Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, and Dusty Springfield. Those voices are always in my head. I was listening to Timber Timbre a lot at the time of recording. I love them. I was also so influenced by the beautiful musicians I was working with — everyone in my band and Dan Duszynski.
What's your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory is my dad filming me singing “A Whole New World” from the Disney movie Aladdin. I was four and I couldn’t hit those low notes.
What was the recording and production process for the album? Have you recorded under another name or with another band in the past?
This was the first time I have ever recorded. I had saved up money and was really ready to get it all out there. Dandy Sounds Studios is out in Dripping Springs, TX which is such a beautiful part of Texas Hill Country. It felt very calm and organic recording out there.
You've been announced as a showcase artist at SXSW. Have you played the festival before? What are your expectations for the festival?
I haven’t played SXSW before so I am very excited. I am expecting to have fun and take lots of naps with my cat.