The last two years have been a whirlwind of unexpected and significant change–and, Girlpuppy’s new EP Swan is but a representation of that. Started over a year before the pandemic, Atlanta-based musician Becca Harvey, fueled by her heartbreak and an abundance of idleness, picked up her writings where she left off.
The finished collection is one of sincerity and grace as Becca navigates the loss, growth, and healing that arose during a time of such upheaval. It’s a debut that although rooted in her day-to-day life, finds its strength in its storytelling–delving into love and relationships with heartfelt honesty and embraced introspection.
We got the chance to catch up with Becca this summer to delve into the influences and inspiration that motivated Swan. In the process, we also chatted about her love of Taylor Swift, the Atlanta music scene, and her future as she heads into writing a debut album. Additionally, Becca took some photos of her life, friends, and band practice–check out our conversation and her photos below:
Slumber: This is your first time releasing an EP under Girlpuppy. How would you describe this new project in three words to someone who’s never heard your music before?
Becca Harvey: Sad, shoegazey, and nostalgic.
Slumber: You’re finally getting to tour Swan this fall right? What’s your go-to road trip snack and album you’re hoping to bring along for the trip?
Becca: Yes I am! We’re all so excited. I’ve never actually been on tour before, but the go-to snack will most likely be Nerd’s gummy clusters. Those are the BEST. The album we’ll be listening to is Pang by Caroline Polachek. That album never fails to put me in a good/inspired mood.
Slumber: You started writing some of the music for Girlpuppy over a year ago and picked it back up after the pandemic started. What’s maybe one similarity, and one difference you’ve found between the periods when you first wrote some of the first ideas for these tracks and as they exist on this new record–whether thematically or sonically?
Becca: Well, when I first started writing songs for Girlpuppy, I didn’t have any idea how I would make them. I don’t play any instruments, so “making songs” for me was just writing lyrics and humming a melody in my head. It wasn’t until during the pandemic that I was able to show my songs and a cappella voice memos to an actual producer, and see them come to life. Thematically, I think I was also just a lot sadder during the pandemic, as was everybody. I went through a really bad breakup right before lockdown, so I was mostly just cooped up in my room crying and writing everything I was feeling.
Slumber: You grew up in Georgia & live around Atlanta — how have you found the music community there? Are there any other local musicians that you love?
Becca: The music community in Atlanta is very interesting! I think I got into [it] a little bit later than others, so sometimes it can feel a bit clique-y. The people who come out to shows though are so friendly and wonderful. I was lucky enough to play my first show ever in Atlanta on August 19th, and it sold out, and everyone who was there just made me feel so welcomed and loved. As for other local musicians I love–Faye Webster is a genius, and I love Kibi James too. Big Trouble Recordings is a fantastic studio in Atlanta as well, they’re making great music there.
Slumber: Can you tell us about the artwork for this release? What, perhaps, inspired it?
Becca: One of my longest and best friends, Em Davenport, painted this swan on canvas in Chicago. Our friend Lola Dement-Myers designed the “girlpuppy” logo in the corner. The black background with the neon green swan was Em’s idea, which makes sense because their favorite color is green. I think it’s such a beautiful piece, I knew I wanted a swan and some funky new font but Em and Lola really put their hearts and souls into this, and I feel so lucky to have such a beautiful EP cover, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
“I wanted [Swan] to just feel very cohesive like everything is in its right place and that you learned a little about me within it.”
Slumber: Could you talk a little about where you took your camera for this feature? Any places or memories or inspirations that stick out to you from the process?
Becca: So the first place I took this camera with me was to my bedroom, which is where I have all of my sonny angels and swan trinkets. I like to make it a game when I have friends over to ask them to count how many swans they can find in my bedroom. Then, I took it to my boyfriend’s studio space, which we’ve been using to rehearse for Girlpuppy shows. I also included a picture of our dog, Laurie, who always sneaks upstairs while we’re rehearsing. After rehearsal, I went out to dinner with my friends, Kiara, Savanna, and Alex, to one of my favorite asian restaurants in Atlanta, Ruby Chow’s. They have the best vegan general tso’s chicken, and their drink “soy cowboy” is delicious. I recommend this place to everyone in ATL.
Slumber: What’s something outside of music that’s been exciting you or inspiring you recently? Whether that be a new hobby, interest, activity…whatever!
Becca: took a small break from watching TV but I’ve recently gotten back into it, and I’m OBSESSED with Gossip Girl (2007). I had never watched it because I was so young when it came out and I couldn’t relate to it, but my older brother watched it all the time. I needed to watch it this year I think. The writing is actually so genius and it was so ahead of its time!!! Don’t be surprised if I write songs about Chuck and Blair or something….I’m so involved.
Slumber: What’s a song on the record that stands out to you as a favorite? What influenced it and how do you view it?
Becca: My favorite on this EP changes all the time but currently it’s “Hideout.” This song was influenced by that terrible breakup I went through last year. It was just such a therapeutic song to write, and it was also the first song I wrote in person with Marshall Vore, who produced the EP. We also called in Charlie Hickey and Ruby Henley for some help on it, and I think they all understood exactly what I wanted. I just love the nostalgic feel to it and how the lyrics tell a story, which is my favorite way to write songs.
Slumber: Who was a musician you heard growing up who convinced you that you could make music exactly how you wanted to?
Becca: Taylor. Fucking. Swift. She can do anything. I truly don’t think I would be making music at all if it weren’t for her. She’s the one who taught me how to tell stories with my music and to just be as honest as possible with my lyrics. She also never stays within one genre, which is what I’m trying to do too because I love so many genres of music.
Slumber: What kind of meal or drink would pair well with this EP?
Becca: I think a white wine, like a chardonnay, would pair nicely with this EP. And a charcuterie board. For my underage or sober readers- a charcuterie and a blackberry spindrift.
“I want to...show people a different side of music I can make, that it’s not all depressing music. I really want to experiment with a lot of different genres...I’m just doing whatever feels right.”
Slumber: What’s something you like your listeners to gain, learn, or feel after they listen through this release. How is it different from your past releases?
Becca: I’d hope that they’d feel like they just listened to a whole story. I wanted this EP to just feel very cohesive like everything is in its right place, and that you learned a little about me within it. It’s different from my past releases because the only song I had released before this EP is my first song, “For You,” which is a very upbeat love song. I still love making music like that, and that song is also a great example of storytelling, but my EP shows a lot more vulnerability.
Slumber: Outside of your musical influences, what are you inspired by? Possibly a space you gravitated towards, or an image you couldn’t get out of your head when writing and recording for this new EP?
Becca: I’m inspired a lot by cities. For this EP specifically, I was inspired by Chicago, IL, and Pasadena, CA. I was traveling to those cities back and forth while writing this EP, and meeting so many new people. 3/5 of the songs on the EP were written in Pasadena. ‘Cheerleader’ was written in between Atlanta and Pasadena, with me writing some lyrics in Atlanta, and Marshall and Ruby writing some in Pasadena. ‘Surprise Me’ was written in my bedroom in Atlanta. I mention traveling and cars a lot in this EP, mainly because I was driving and flying around just to distract myself from the breakup I was going through. But when I found time to write, it’s all I could write about.
Slumber: Lastly, where do you see yourself and your music going next?
Becca: I’m starting to write songs for my first album! I want to keep touring, and also show people a different side of music I can make, that it’s not all depressing music. I really want to experiment with a lot of different genres, because I listen to so many different kinds of music and am constantly back and forth with what kind of music I want to make. Maybe I’ll release a hyper pop project or something LOL. I’m just doing whatever feels right.
Listen to Girlpuppy’s new EP, ‘Swan’, below: