Bailey Larkin

Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018
Tagged As: singer-songwriter, folk

Bailey Larkin describes her music as "DIY for underdogs" -- lo-fi and ultra-personal recordings in the tradition of early Cat Power that simultaneously channel dark moods with a sense of levity. It's the sound of a songwriter at ease with the rough edges and reaching for something larger. The title of her recently released "I Hate the Chicago Cubs" EP is a good example of Larkin's sardonic humor. Even Cubs fans can admire these sounds of an emerging songwriter. We're lucky to share an interview with Larkin about the origins of the new EP, her creative process and book recommendations.

Please introduce yourself. Describe your music for new listeners.

I've heard my music described as "DIY folk for underdogs", which I interpret as songs for people down on their luck. who feel like the world is against them. It is very sad and emotional at first glance, but there is a shimmer of hopefulness there as well. I, along with my co-writer Elijah Hazim, write about my struggles with depression, addiction, and anxiety as well as the difficulties of being a queer person in the world today. 

On Facebook you describe your Band Interests as “making bad music.” How is this “bad music” the result of an intentional personal aesthetic?

In my experience, I have found it helpful and much easier to undersell yourself. I mean REALLY lower the bar so that no matter what you give the people they eat it up. In all seriousness, I hate talking up my own art so advertising it as bad music just feels easier and makes me sound less pretentious.

What continues to motivate you as a songwriter and performer?

On my first EP, all the songs were about my own struggles and issues, a pity party for myself. But as I prepare for my next project I find myself looking outward for inspiration. I began recording conversations with friends and family to document my emotions. I also write much more about current events than I used to, now that I have a small platform to display my thoughts. I find much more inspiration in my interactions with other humans than I ever did sitting alone in my room thinking about life, which is how I used to approach songwriting.

When did you start writing songs? How has your approach to songwriting evolved over the years?

I started writing original lyrics my sophomore year of high school, using dumb metaphors for love and writing breakup songs. As I improved (or perhaps, worsened) as a writer I started ditching the love songs and started writing about real emotions i was feeling. I have never truly been in love so what was I doing writing all these love songs? My new goal has become to feel an emotion, capture it in song, then do everything I can to make the listener feel that same emotion.

What inspires you about original music in Kansas City?

I play a lot of shows in a somewhat underground DIY scene and it is truly inspiring seeing all these other young bands playing music that they love simply because they love doing it. It is so remarkably human. No money is being thrown to the local artists but we come out show after show because we love playing music for people and want to do it as often as we can.

Bailey Larkin's book recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:

Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Scott Pilgrim V. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 

Reviewed by Bryan V.
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