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Interview: Claire Rosinkranz talks '6 Of A Billion' EP.

Interview: Claire Rosinkranz talks '6 Of A Billion' EP.

"Screaming out songs like there's nobody there, we're 17 and idiots who play truth or dare," sings Claire Rosinkranz on the opening track of her sophomore EP, '6 Of A Billion'. Rosinkranz makes it her mission to take the listener through a journey of growing up and finding yourself in Los Angeles with all the complications, creativity, and courage that comes with that. She's creating a world that's exciting, vibrant, and encouraging you to have fun and enjoy yourself - just like she is. 

We caught up with Rosinkranz to discuss all things from people watching and cowbells, to partying without your parents' knowledge...

COUP DE MAIN: I feel like a natural place to start is with your song ‘Backyard Boy’ and just how huge it got so quickly. How does it feel knowing your song is just existing in heads everywhere, all over the world? 
CLAIRE ROSINKRANZ: I don't really know. At this point, it's still weird to me because it just happened really, really, really fast. I always said before that I wasn't able to fully process it because of how fast everything moved and how fast everything went and I still feel like I haven't fully processed it or maybe I never will, but it's very strange and crazy and amazing. And obviously I'm very grateful for it.

CDM: You said you haven't even processed it since it all happened last year during the Covid lockdown. Have you had the chance to meet any of your newer fans that you will have only seen online yet? 
CLAIRE: I have a tour coming in November and that will be the first time I get to play live for people, hopefully! I mean, nobody is telling me about whether it's gonna be cancelled but there's always that possibility, but I'm really hoping that doesn't happen because everything happened during Covid and I haven't been able to see anyone. This will be the first time I actually get to perform my own songs and stuff, which I'm very excited about! 

CDM: Like you said, you're going on tour in November later this year which is very exciting! Do you have a song of yours that you’re most excited to perform live? 
CLAIRE: Probably 'Backyard Boy' just because everyone knows that and a lot of people who just don't even know me, know that song. So I feel like that one will be a good anthem in concert. 

CDM: And do you have a date that you’re most excited to play from the shows? 
CLAIRE: I feel like LA will be really fun. Just because that's where I live and I'll definitely have people who I know coming to that show, but I don't know, honestly, anything. I don't really have a specific one; anything! 

CDM: In your song ‘Frankenstein’ you talk about building the perfect person and you say, "Draw the picture, colour all the lines / When it's right I'll take a test drive," do you believe that the perfect person for everyone is out there or we just find someone we like and learn to accept them as they are? 
CLAIRE: Yeah, they're not always gonna be perfect in every single little thing. There are certain standards that you should have for yourself, I guess. But everybody has their flaws and their imperfections, and you're gonna have to accept those things with whoever you get, because nobody's obviously perfect. But definitely still look for somebody who meets your standards, and there is somebody who's going to meet your standards, so definitely hold out for that person, but you're still gonna have to accept them and all their flaws as well.

CDM: The book called ‘Frankenstein’ written by Mary Shelley in 1817 has had so many different versions and iterations of it over the years, with your song being one of them. Did you have any other literary or film references that have inspired your music? 
CLAIRE: I believe this will be the first one. Everything else, I just write in so many different ways. I got to partner up with some people on 'Frankenstein' and that would be the first time that I've made a song from that perspective. But it's definitely an interesting way to write so I feel like that's something I should do more often. It's a good way to write, there's a lot of creativity that can be sparked from that, you know?

CDM: Do you prefer to write from your own experience or something other than yourself?
CLAIRE: I like writing from my experience, but at the same time, everything's different all the time. I'll write from different people's experiences, and different people's shoes and perspectives, and I'll write about things that I haven't experienced, but I want to. Just thinking about my emotions, other people's emotions, and creating different worlds and atmospheres. It's always different, it does not have to be my own experience, but I totally write about my own experiences and how I'm feeling all the time. I mean, my songs are basically like a personal diary. Everything's just whatever's on my brain. I write it down, whether it's a song or poetry or a story, or whatever it is, I write it down. So it just depends.

CDM: Do you have a favourite lyric on the new EP? Or of any song you've ever written? 
CLAIRE: Yeah, I probably do, I'm trying to think.  I feel like one I got a lot was people would ask like, what my favourite lyric is in 'Boy In A Billion' and my favourite lyric from that is probably "two good souls with a million memories made" and then there's definitely probably one in 'Fall Apart' as well. When I think about it, my brain just kind of goes blank with all my lyrics. I don't know what my favourite one is because I feel like there's so many lyrics in each song, so it's like, I don't know how to pick!

CDM: You’ve said before that you have been writing songs since you were 8 years old - do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
CLAIRE: I wouldn't say it was good. I have a song in my head that I think is the first song that I wrote, or it's the first song that I remember writing, and it was about a pond in Paris and lily pads - something super weird. It was very dramatic and it definitely had a lot of detail in it. But I don't know if I would consider it good. It's kind of cringey, but I was eight years old. And I think it was decent for an eight year old, probably.

CDM: In the song ‘Hotel’ you talk about how your parents think you’re honest, but you’re really partying in some random hotel. You also made the song with your dad so how did revealing that to him work out for you in the songwriting process?
CLAIRE: It was a weird kind of experience. I mean, I do write from different people's perspectives, and a lot of 'Hotel' was based off of my friends' stories that they would tell me as well. It was fine, like the thing is, when I make music with him, he doesn't pay attention to the lyrics when we start off. He'll just be paying attention to production and then halfway through the song, he listened to lyrics, and he was kind of like, "Oh?" And both my parents were a little bit unsure. But I was just like, "It's very relatable for high schoolers and teens and I wrote it off my friends' stories and all that stuff!" <laughs>

CDM: How much of the creative process is divided between you? Or is it quite collaborative between the two of you? 
CLAIRE: It's pretty collaborative. The songwriting is usually completely all me, and then production, I come into the studio, I'm like, "Hey, this is my song idea; I picture this instrument, and this part on here." I just kind of come in with all my notes and what I see for the song and then he'll kind of go in and do his own thing. He'll add what I put in there, and then he does a bunch of other stuff and then I'll come back in and I'll listen to what he did. I'll be like, "Okay, I like this, don't like this one, this blah, blah, blah." It's like a back and forth thing. It's definitely collaborative, but we definitely have our strengths. He's really good with all the instrumental stuff, and I write everything by myself.

CDM: The closer of the EP, ‘LAX’, is pretty much all about people watching and you even say, "People watching's an obsession." Are you worried that you’re not going to be able to people watch anymore with your music getting so big?  
CLAIRE: Oh my god. I mean, I don't think so. I feel like in an airport, especially, there's so many people around. I can't help myself. It's just so interesting to me. There's so many people around you living different lives and some people are in this whole entire chaotic mess and other people are really put together. It's impossible to not, so I'm not really worried about it, but it would be awkward if somebody was like, 'Dang...' <laughs> I'm not being creepy about it, I'm pretty discreet.

CDM: And recently, you've talked about how you've started learning a lot of different instruments - is there one that you feel like you've mastered yet? 
CLAIRE: I wouldn't say mastered, but it's always a work in progress. I took lessons for guitar, it has been my favourite - like electric guitar. That one I've enjoyed, by far the most, and one that I kind of practice the most. But then I just kind of chilled out and didn't really go past what I had learned but I definitely want to get back into it. I think it'd be just really cool to be able to be really, really insanely good at the electric guitar. I wouldn't say mastered, but I'm decent. I can get around on multiple instruments and write all my music on it, or I have written all my music on it so far. So it's been great.

CDM: And in the vein of instruments, I’m also obsessed with the cowbells in ‘Frankenstein’ and think it gives the song such a completely fresh and summery vibe instantly. What made you keep that little audio snippet about the cowbells at the start of the song?  
CLAIRE: So originally, it was from an SNL skit and it was like, 'Can we get some more cowbell?', and that was the the original audio thing and then there was like a whole entire thing... <laughs> It kind of opened the song well, and it was fun. Not many songs have cowbell either, which is nice. It's different. On one of my shoots, somebody I was working with got me like a little cowbell for my keys and it's really cute and it's kind of annoying sometimes too, but I like cowbells now.

CDM: I read a review of the ‘6 Of A Billion’ EP that described it as a ‘sonic playground’ and you really cover such a range of styles from the more tech/drum-based feel in ‘Boy In A Billion’ to the guitar and vocal-led style of ‘Fall Apart’. Was it a conscious decision to try out all these styles or did it just end up happening that way?
CLAIRE: I think it just happened in that way. It was just another thing of how I did my first EP, which was I took a couple of my notebooks and voice notes, and I go through all of my stuff that I've written and pick out which ones I want to do next and which ones I would be most excited to hear. I think they were just all kind of taken from different periods and times of my life. It's not super spread out but I would just take songs from a day when I felt a little bit sad or a day when I was feeling happier. All those songs have been written in different times of my life and I think they all kind of came together and it just happened organically.

CDM: I feel like I am so aware of the tracklisting of EPs and albums and the thought behind where each song should fit into the story and I noticed with your EP it kind of opens with this fun, young, kind of careless track and then closes with a song about self-reflection and almost a freeze frame on your world. When sorting out the order for the tracks, is there a moment when you feel like it’s complete? Is it like a puzzle you’ve spent so long curating and then it’s done?  
CLAIRE: It was funny because we had all the songs in just a bunch, and somebody from my team came over, Chris, and he was like, "Okay, we need to line them up in order," and I kind of just randomly put them together, but something about it when I read them after putting them together, it felt complete. It started off really exciting with 'Hotel' - there's a lot of adrenaline in it. It was some people's favourite song when I was teasing it. Then there's still some upbeat songs but then it like goes to a place where people haven't really heard me do sadder or more emotional songs, which was 'Fall Apart' and kind of 'Pretty Little Things', which is still sweet. But then 'LAX' at the end was kind of... I feel like it's a piece that reminisces over all of my other stuff. So it just felt complete when I put it together. But it was very just random.

CDM: After dropping two EPs now, are you working on making an album? Or what’s next for you in terms of new music?
CLAIRE: So, first tour in November, which I'm very excited for obviously. Then I want to work on an album; I don't really know when that's gonna happen. First, we'll do a couple of singles and then I think we're gonna work on the album. I don't know when that's gonna come out, but really, I just want to work on music, like, I don't even care. I just want to keep putting it out. I don't care what form it comes out in but I just have written so much that I just want people to hear it. I wish I could just release a song every other day, but unfortunately, that's not how it works. But yes, probably an album and shows and hopefully meeting people, and I kind of just play it by ear to be honest, like I always do.

CDM: What do you hope people take away when listening to your music?
CLAIRE: Honestly, I hope that they just feel better and they have another song that they can relate to. I hope that when they listen to it, they're like, 'Oh, yeah, this is like gonna be my go to song when I feel like a certain way.' I think most artists, they want their audience to be able to relate to the things that they're saying because I relate to a lot of the stuff that I say and it's really cool when somebody else is like, "You literally captured exactly like how I feel," and stuff. I love getting those messages!

CDM: I feel kind of obligated to ask about New Zealand because that's where I am right now. So would you ever consider coming down here to play a show, or vacation/sightsee?
CLAIRE: Anytime, anytime I can go over there, I will go over there. Whenever this whole entire Covid thing lets me, I will be on my way. 

CDM: My final question for you today is: Do you have any big future plans/goals/bucket-lists/pipe dreams that you want to put out into the universe and manifest today?
CLAIRE: Oh my god, playing big shows! I don't care! Coachella. Lollapalooza, whatever it is, just big, big shows. I just want to tour big, I want to do a world tour. I just want to meet people. I'm very in the moment right now and kind of I'm focused on what's realistic so I don't really let my head go there. But to be honest, I really just want to do a big tour and perform for as many people as possible. 

Claire Rosinkranz sophomore EP '6 Of A Billion' is out now - watch the 'Frankenstein' video below:

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