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Interview: Doja Cat on her new album 'Hot Pink'.

Interview: Doja Cat on her new album 'Hot Pink'.

"You have the cutest voice ever," Doja Cat excitedly declares less than a minute into our interview, which sees us discussing everything from her passion for waffles, to her love of creativity in the visuals of her music, and coming up with one-liners for her sophomore album, 'Hot Pink'.

With the album's breakout hit 'Say So' sitting at over 226 million streams on Spotify, and continuing to climb the charts globally (it's certified gold in both Australia and New Zealand), the accompanying disco-era music video includes a nod to the TikTok fame of the song, by including Haley Sharpe who choreographed the viral dance phenomenon.

We spoke with Doja Cat over the phone last week about her creative process, trust and communication, choreography, and more...

COUP DE MAIN: Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you on 'Say So' going gold in New Zealand! It’s also #3 in our charts right now.
DOJA CAT: That's insane. I didn't even know it went gold. It's fucking crazy.

CDM: You need to come to New Zealand so that your label can give you a plaque for it - I saw you just got your 'Juicy' one, so you need a new one to go alongside it.
DOJA CAT: Yes, my walls in my house are empty - I need more art!

CDM: "I'm clumsy, made friends with the floor / Two for one, you know a bitch buy four," you say in 'Boss Bitch', which is very relatable. A lot of that song is powerful, like, "I am advanced, so I get advance," but is it important to you to also show a little vulnerability when fronting?
DOJA CAT: Yeah, I think so. That song was co-written with Ashnikko, so I didn't write that first verse, I wrote the second. But with vulnerability... I just write the first thing that comes to mind that sounds best, I don't know if I'm being so vulnerable. I mean, that whole song is kind of an aggressive and fierce kind of feel. So I'm not sure exactly where the vulnerability would come in on that particular song.

CDM: 'Say So' chronicles the classic dilemma of when you're trying to move from being friends to something more. Why is it so hard to tell someone how you feel?
DOJA CAT: The song was based on my side of the situation. I was more thinking on the side of, "Why are you just standing there in the clubs staring at me, when you could just come over here?" And knowing that the guy would probably come over, or he won't because he has a girlfriend, but there's a lot of different factors that play into it. I really don't know why a guy would be too shy to walk up to a girl in a club. They've probably both dropped some drinks already. So that's why in the video I wanted like, the plumber, he's on this job and he can't really be unprofessional, he's being professional and trying to keep his cool in a situation where I'm literally sucking on ice cube <laughs> while he's trying to fix my console. He's trying to keep his shit together. That was kind of an interesting way to convey it in the video.

CDM: That's cool how you're so creatively involved in your music videos as well. Do you enjoy working on the creative visual aesthetic to go alongside your songs?
DOJA CAT: Absolutely, I'm the most anal about my videos. I need to be involved as much as possible with every single music video that I do. One of my passions, secretively or not, is that I want to be a music video director - maybe not for other people because I'm selfish, but for myself. I try to enjoy it and also be as creative as possible. I feel like there's a lot lacking right now, and I like to play with characters and costumes.

CDM: When do you start thinking creatively about how you want a music video to be? Is it something that happens when you're working on the music, or afterwards?
DOJA CAT: It's different a lot of the time. If I have a beat, it can start from the production. If the song sounds angelic, like 'Talk Dirty' off my last album, I would think to do something angelic; maybe something heavenly. Or I would start with the lyrics, like for 'Rules' I felt like there was a toughness about the lyrics for that, so I was like, "Let me be pretty much a mob, like a mafia boss." I felt like it was the right thing to do and it comes from different parts every time. It's never just lyrics or only production, it's a lot of both and other things.

CDM: I love the line in ‘Addiction’ when you say, “Bitch, I ain’t Gwen, but this shit is bananas,” it’s so funny. When you’re writing lyrics, do lines like that just pop into your head? How does your process work?
DOJA CAT: I get excited. I love making music, and when I write stuff like that, that was one of those lines where I got out of my seat and was super excited about it. It happens a lot when I write - if I write a punchline, I jump up and I get giddy about my own lyrics. It kind of just comes to me and I'm lucky; I would say it's a lot of luck. Sometimes I'm so worried that I'm not going to be able to come up with anything, and then really funny stuff like that... I mean, it's not one of the greatest lines off the album, but funny stuff comes up and I don't know where it comes from. It's kind of a mystery to me.

CDM: Do you ever struggle with writer's block? Where you're like, 'Oh, nothing is coming!'?
DOJA CAT: I think if I'm panicking and I don't know what to choose from, or how to find the next line, I think of a word, or I think of a phrase or something funny, or just by the grace of God, if I see something and it inspires me, then it'll come out - but it's actually a mystery to me. I don't know how I come up with most of my stuff.

CDM: ‘Streets’ has some really heartfelt lines in it - you sing, “You give me energy, make me feel lightweight.” What other things do you think love should bring for each person in a relationship?
DOJA CAT: That's a pretty big question. I think that trust is really important, and communication. I think those are two key things that really hold a relationship together and keep both people moving forward. I just learned that over the last couple years, or my whole life, really. But that's the most important thing. I mean, 'Streets' feels like a very heartfelt song, and it is, but I really was having fun with that too just as much as I was having fun with a lot of my other songs. I just kind of wanted it to musically sound really pretty, and I'm glad that you hear the lyrics maybe more meaningful than I do. But I feel like I kind of ruined my own song. <laughs>
CDM: I like that people can take different meanings from lyrics, even if that's not your original intention for the songs.
DOJA CAT: That's the beauty of art and the purpose of art I think, is people making their own meanings, and pertaining your art to their life.

CDM: Back in 2018, you talked about your Instagram lives, saying you weren’t yet super savvy with production and mixing vocals. Is it something you’ve enjoyed learning more about with this new project?
DOJA CAT: Yes! I kind of put my keyboard down and I haven't been able to produce lately because of the success of 'Say So' and 'Mooo!' blowing up in the beginning - I had to completely stop being creative for a while. It was a lot of just interviews, just press, and not a lot of me sitting in my bedroom eating chips and making beats all day. But now, I'm kind of cooped up right now, so I'm definitely planning on picking up my keyboard again and doing some more production. I'm really not good, I usually just make the beat and I send it to a friend and they make it sound better. So I'm gonna do more of that, I guess!

CDM: When you were younger you did ballet, tap, jazz, and breakdancing. Do you think that dancing experience has helped you work on how you want to bring choreography into your live show?  
DOJA CAT: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, I was rehearsing for a while before the virus kind of took over the world. But I am definitely working on making my shows more choreographed, more unique and creative, and less running back and forth on stage and shaking my ass.

CDM: We're based in New Zealand, so once everything is back to normal, we hope you can come and play a show in New Zealand because you've never been here before!
DOJA CAT: Me too! I'd love to. I got to do it all, at least once.
CDM: And lastly, I wanted to thank you for making a song called ‘Waffles Are Better Than Pancakes.’ So when you come to New Zealand we'll take you to get waffles.
DOJA CAT: Because they are! They truly are. They are the best. Oh my god, if you do that for me, I'll love you forever. I already liked you a lot!

Doja Cat's album 'Hot Pink' is out now - watch the 'Say So' music video below:

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