Interview with Your Angel

We got on Zoom with dream-pop project Your Angel and discussed 2000s pop icons, growing up in New Mexico, and collaborating with other artists like Brutus VIII. You can watch this interview here

We’re sensing an early-mid 2000’s vibe from you, what 00’s icon do you resonate with the most?

I fuck with Britney Spears so hard. I like Paris Hilton but I think Britney Spears is such a baller. Did you guys watch the documentary? I think the way she got torn apart, and the way the media treated women before the rise of social media, the way the media functioned was so fucked up and dehumanizing. The way she got targeted was so disgusting. I think she’s a really strong person. Her music fucks, she’s really talented.

I think social media can be super toxic, but the way it gave artists their own voice changed things. Paparazzi don’t have to stalk artists every day because they’re posting their own fucking lives. Back in the early 2000s, a picture of Britney Spears walking out of her house or whatever, you could make a million bucks off that. The people who were paparazzi, they weren’t viewing them as people, they were viewing them as a paycheck.

Social media is tricky, I have such a hard time with it. The “influencers” have kind of taken on the role of giving out the trashy content like [The Hollywood Fix] or whatever. I go into so many YouTube black holes watching shit like that. I’m pretty sure it’s just one dude. Like one guy following these children around. It’s so fucking bizarre. I also think a lot of the time they’re calling him. It’s good press.

Any sort of fame, especially from a young age, and an influencer’s fame is very different than being in a movie as a teen or whatever. The way you’re treated is so different. The people who are in movies or whatever the fuck, there’s some respect there. Like, “Oh you’re famous for your talent.” But these kids on Tik Tok, they’re so worshipped by a younger generation, but most other people can’t find it in their brain to respect them as human beings. They just get so torn apart, it’s so sad.

What’s your favorite Britney Spears song?

When I was really little, I had those little Hit Clips and one had “Stronger” on it. I fuck with “Stronger.”

Your album “Pipe Dream” dropped a little over a year ago, but how do you look back on those songs now that they’ve been out in the world for a while?

They’re such a time capsule, honestly. I was going through something very specific in that time, and I wrote that record and it’s so reminiscent of that. I’m proud of it, but when I made that record it was the first time in my life I had a computer that had enough space to record on it, so I was teaching myself how to record and all that shit. My friend Nonoman, Nick Nonoman, he produced it with me and mixed it. He was in school for mixing engineering. We were both learning as we were doing it. I’m so proud of how it turned out. I’ve grown so much since then, it’s like, “Oh honey, that’s cute.” I think it’s a good record, and I’m very proud of it, but it’s such a peep into that time in my life and what I was going through. It’s so surreal to look back on and have other people resonate with that. I definitely feel like I love them but I’m like, “Okay, we’re better now.”

A “Pipe dream” is “a fanciful hope or plan.” What are some of your hopes and dreams?

I feel like my whole perspective on everything once Covid hit, and I’m sure everybody’s like this, your perspective and your priorities get shifted. I would say that I really want to be successful in a way where I can still be a grounded person, and that I can find a balance between making music that I really love and I like, that also resonates with people.

The first record I made I didn’t even think about people listening to it. But now it’s like, “Oh, people are going to be hearing this.” That was never a thought before. And I don’t want that to be too intrusive. I think it’s a healthy thing to be aware of, but it can kind of spiral you and sway you from what you’re meant to be doing. I hope that I can always fucking find balance in my life and be surrounded by people that I love, and just be happy, you know? And also, be successful.

What’s your definition of success, for yourself?

I obviously want to be able to support myself and whatever. When I say success, I’m mostly just referring to be able to spend my time doing what I love. Like touring, and playing music, and making music. Being able to spend my time doing something that’s deeply fulfilling to me.

How would you describe your music taste?

It’s so all over the place, dude. Thinking you’re too cool for something is so embarrassing. Fuck that shit. If something’s good, it’s good, period. I grew up listening to like, my mom was a Prince and Michael Jackson fanatic. But I grew up on a farm in New Mexico and my dad strictly listens to country music. Like Willie, Waylon, and The Boys, and Marty Robbins, and Bobbie Gentry and shit.

My mom is sick. She would make us little mixtapes for on the way to school and it was like, Portishead and No Doubt. She was always with it. Nobody in my family plays music, except my little brother just started. But everyone loves music, I was always exposed to a lot of stuff. I’m not gonna say I listen to all music, because I’m not bumping polka music. But I’m very open to all music.

In my older age, I’d say pop music, baby. I have a deep, cathartic type love for pop music at this point in my life. Pop and country are my two faves. Maybe I’m not necessarily referring to Top 40 pop. Besides Ariana Grande, I think she’s sick and her last record was really fucking beautiful. But people are making really beautiful pop music. This is the kind of music I want to make: when you hear a song and it makes you feel nostalgic for something that never happened. It feels so good to listen to, you feel like you’ve heard it before, but not like it sounds like something else, but because it just fucking hits different. I feel like pop music does that so effectively.

Your most recent release is a song you feature on called “Ballerina”, can you walk us through this distorted and dreamy track?

I’ll give the most credit to Joe (P.H.F.). He’s my good friend, and DMed me like, “Yo do you want to sing on this song?”. It was a little less distorted then. The production was pretty much the same. It was a little less distorted. Right before he put it out, he made it all fucked up, which I think was really cool. I sang it and sent the vocals back, and then just put it in his hands. He’s so cool, dude. He has a record called, “I Hate Myself.” It’s so cool. He has a lot of early 2000s rock shit, but then he also makes synth records. He’s so cool. He’s just this dude that lives in New Zealand and doesn’t really give a fuck. He just makes hella music and then Danger puts it out. He doesn’t even know how to log into his Spotify account. It’s always just so amazing. It’s mostly him, he just sent me the track and I sang on it and sent it back.

How did you meet your New Zealand friend?

I’ve been in California for like seven years now. I came out for college when I was eighteen. I dropped out after like, two years. My friend Rob, his project is called Boyo, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. He would just leave on the weekends to make music. I was always like, “Fuck you!” because they were my best best friends at school and then they would just leave me there every weekend. After awhile I started hanging out with their friends, and that’s still the group I hang out with and make music with and be creative. And Joe, [my New Zealand friend], had come to The Smell or something a long time ago. Everyone just knew Joe, and then Joe signed to Danger, and everyone was on the same label. He would come out once a year. I was just internet friends with him for a sec, because all my friends knew him. We would talk all the time, and then we met in person. It’s funny how tiny the music scene can be sometimes. Everyone fucking knows each other, it’s so bizarre.  

Do you do ballet or other types of dance?

I took dancing lessons when I was a kid, and I did musical theater. I liked to sing onstage, and I was like, “Oh word, I can just do that.” Then I got a little older and I was like, “Fuck all this,” and would just busk on the sidewalk outside of Starbucks.

I think he had the title for the instrumental. I honestly don’t know why.

A lot of your album art has really fun, summery imagery. What are some of your favorite hot-weather activities?

I used to hate laying out in the sun, and I found this love for laying out. Just to fucking sweat. I felt like it was helping with my anxiety for some reason. I love hiking, my dog started getting good off-leash and I live to see his little butt in front of me on the hiking trail. It makes me laugh so hard. I love going to the beach and swimming in the ocean, it makes me feel reborn. I bought a convertible and like to drive around in the sun. I can’t believe I did that. It was quarter life crisis mode.

What are your greatest musical and non-musical inspirations as of late?

Artists, I think Prince. I love Willie Nelson so much. I think Abba is objectively the best band. Nobody doesn’t like an Abba song. I fucking love Dido. It’s so hard, I feel like I have so many. I love Dolly Parton. In terms of singing, The Sundays, The Carpenters, I think Kate Bush is amazing.

Justin Timberlake, Future Sex Love Sounds is my fucking bible. I think that record is so sick. Timbaland is a genius. And you know, Beach House. I think the thing that inspires me most is the feeling of nostalgia for things that didn’t necessarily happen to you.

The sky inspires me a lot. The sky in New Mexico is so fucking crazy because there’s no light pollution. I grew up in a mud hut. Everything’s made out of mud. You can see the dome in the sky and every star, sunsets are so insane. You feel so fucking small. It’s so humbling and beautiful, and that inspires me a lot.

And also my friends, and love and loss and all that bullshit. You know, the usual. Watching everyone experience their life, I think the idea of disagreeing with shit your friends do or whatever, things that people you love do that bother you, and understand that just because it bothers you doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And acceptance of people you love.

Was moving to California where there’s tons of light pollution a tough transition?

Honestly it made me feel a lot safer to be here, which is so backwards and fucking false. It would get so dark and quiet in New Mexico, and I always felt like someone was watching me. New Mexico is a weird, twisted place. Weird place to grow up. There’s a lot of beauty there, but there’s a lot of dark stuff there, and bad shit happens. It’s a pretty impoverished place, so bad stuff happens. I missed the beauty. But when I came here, I was like, “Get me the fuck out of here now, I’m never never never going back.”

I’m just now getting to a point where I’m like “Oh, I really miss the food, I miss the sky, it’s beautiful.” I can go back there and I can just hang out with my mom and I don’t have to see anybody besides the two people I’d still like to see. I’m learning how to love it again.

Any hidden gems for visitors in New Mexico?

Outside of Santa Fe there’s this hiking trail called Tent Rocks. It’s just formations of giant rocks that look like tents. Really beautiful. Taos, NM is a fucking trip. It’s really beautiful, it’s an artist community. It’s really gorgeous. Santa Fe, where I grew up, if you stay in the plaza where all the tourist and historical shit is, it’s really cool. The food in New Mexico is insane. New Mexican food is native food and Mexican food mixed together. Green chili is from New Mexico. You can really only get it from Hatch, NM, and it’s like it’s own thing. The food is the most special part about New Mexico, to be honest.

How would you describe Your Angel in 5 words?

Cathartic, Big, Dreamy, Sad, Happy.

What are your upcoming plans?

I am almost done making another record. I really don’t know how I’m putting it out yet. I self-released my first one, because I figured no one gave a shit, and it’s my first record. I just wanted to play shows and have somethings people could look up. With this one, I’m gonna play the game a little more and do all the suit industry bullshit that I don’t want to do. I’m so in record-land, I’m not really thinking about anyone else. Another record on the way, but I just don’t know when it’s going to come out. I would kill for it to come out this year. I’m really gonna push for this year. Maybe this year, it’s almost done. It could happen. She’s a little, it’s a different vibe. Not really, but it’s a production record, do you know what I mean?

There’s a song with Brutus VIII on it, that’s my only feature. My little king. He’s the only person I collaborate with. You guys interviewed Jackson, didn’t you? I just worship him. He rocks so much, and he’s so fun to make music with, and we feel so comfortable around each other.

Years ago, I bought this really expensive synth from a high school teacher. I only paid him like 200 bucks but it was worth like 900. He was like, “This used to be pretty cool back in its day.” And I was like, “Yeah dude, it’s still so sick.” Then I went over to Jackson’s house, and we just kind of forgot about it. And then we rediscovered it this year, and it was like, “That song actually fucks so hard.” I’m gonna take off one of the songs on the record and put this one on, because it’s so sick, and it’s kind of a little random.

I’m excited, I feel like this record is a lot more fully realized. It’s a lot poppier, the production is a lot less Beach House dreamy, and more a happy medium of dreamlike but in my own way, with cool production and beats that fuck.

I feel like I finally got good enough to make what I want to make, and have people around me that can help me do that, you know what I mean? I’m still making it with Nonoman, who made the first record with me. The girl who plays guitar in my band, her name is Stephanie D’Arcy. Her project is called AKA Me. It’s so fucking sick, she’s just like genius mode. She’s such a good producer. Having her working on this with us, it’s just dream team style. It changed the vibe, and we’re making what I wanted to make in the first place, I just couldn’t do it before. There’s nothing better. I never want to stop doing that. I can’t imagine going into the studio with some randos. That’s so bizarre to me. But also like, go off, I guess.


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