interivew: Indigo De Souza

words: Zoë Madonna

This is my first piece for The Grey Estates, and I'm so happy to be contributing to something I consider not just a great music blog, but one of my favorite places on the Internet. I found this blog via The Verge's piece on finding music through the recommendation of humans, not algorithms.

Fittingly, I would probably have never found Indigo De Souza's music if not for humans.  A college friend posted a GoFundMe that Indigo had been running for a music video on Facebook in early December. I listened to her dreamy “big fall” on repeat on the bus home, because life felt more beautiful in the face of the encroaching midwinter darkness with her powerful, tender voice in my ears. As the song bloomed, I remembered spring.

I learned about Indigo’s new album, “I Love My Mom,” when my phone pinged on June 8 with an automatic Bandcamp notification. I listened once, wondering at her personal and poetic lyrics, and knew I had to talk to the human behind the music. She was kind enough to answer some questions about moms, ghosting, and her hometown of Asheville over email.

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The Grey Estates: Describe a perfect day for you.

Indigo: Oof.

I think a perfect day for me is a day void of anxious energy and spent just kind of moseying from place to place.

I really love to connect with people above all else, so I spend most of my time with good people just talking and laughing.

In the album opener, “How I Get Myself Killed” you ask, “Did you say anything on the night of my first hit, on the night of my first kiss, on the night of my first runaway…” but the way you sing “This is probably how I get myself killed” sounds very matter-of-fact. What inspired that song, and who is the “you” it’s being addressed to?

Woah, I really haven't thought about this very much. I think the "you" in that song is probably more of a "me". A lot of the time, even though I write lyrics as if they're directed towards someone, I think they are really more directed toward the old and new embodiments of myself.

I think that aging is a huge inspiration for my writing. When we are young, we do a lot of things for the first time. Everything feels fast and big and wild. Aging is really heavy because it carries this jaded kind of heartbreak and awareness of mortality that is shared amongst most of us, but that we don't always give much attention to. Which makes sense to me. If that heavy weight were all I focused on, I would be crippled. I don't know, I feel like I'm breaking down a stranger's song! But yeah, the thing that's probably going to get me killed is just being a person. And that's okay. I've come to terms with that I think.

“Sick in the Head” is maybe the most haunting song on the album. Can you tell me the story behind that one?

Oh my gosh, I don't know where that story came from either, honestly! It's not a real memory, it's more of a feeling I think. Just the feeling of pure nostalgic loss and hope at the same time. The feeling of losing someone you love to time and space and being left with only the memory of them. A feeling that no matter what happens within your story, the world keeps turning, and there's nothing you can do.

When you imagined the songs for this album, how much did your imagination of them resemble the final recording version?

I think the finished project sounds actually a lot like I imagined, which is sooo cool. I used to play the songs just on my own, singer-songwriter style, before I had a band, and I always hoped that I could someday manifest a loud, garagey, yet intimate sound. When my band came together, I felt a real kind of fulfillment. Jake and Owen literally fell from heaven and helped all my sonic dreams come to fruition. If anything, the love that they poured into the album made it even better than I could have ever imagined. Colin Miller engineered, mixed and mastered the album and he is a baby genius. I am so grateful to him.

“If you ghost on me again, these tits will ghost on you forever” is an amazing line, and relatable for pretty much anyone who’s been on a date in the past few years. Do you think ghosting has gotten more common recently? Why do you think people ghost?

I think ghosting has definitely become more common lately, mostly because our current social framework makes it easy. The majority of our communication is via text and it can be so insanely nuanced. If you don't want to talk to someone anymore and you don't know how to properly communicate that, you have the option to just never contact that person again rather than being honest about what you're feeling. There are two types of ghosting. One is a temporary ghost: someone who stops answering your texts for a short or long period of time, but eventually gets back to you. And the other is a permanent ghost: someone who essentially drops off the face of the earth and never responds to you again.

I feel like in most cases, temporary ghosts have bad intentions. They only reach out when they need or want something from you.

Ghosts are not good! They can make you question your self-worth, they can make it hard to sleep at night. That's why I wrote this song. I want to remind the ghosted that they are in control, they are important, and they don't need anyone but themselves. If someone's not seeing you and not attending to your basic need for clear communication, get outta there!

On that same song, you sing “I love my mom more than any of you fools,” the album is called “I Love My Mom,” and if I understand it right your mom provided the beautifully macabre album cover. So tell me about your mom!

Um, my mom is the coolest and most wildly talented person I know. She is an artist, a chef, a mom, a motorcycle hottie. She rocks my world.

She is the kind of person who can just build a house without any planning or know-how. She is the kind of person who glues naked barbie dolls and action figures onto the front of her truck, paints flames on the sides, and flying bombs labeled with the names of countries that have been attacked.

For the past 6 years she has been caring for her father, who has dementia, and she hasn't been able leave the house that much because she can't leave him alone. She's always painting and creating and making the best of her circumstance. I asked her to paint the cover because she is a badass, and I really respect her vision.

I think it's funny how, when we are young, we see our parents as only parents. And then later, once we are somewhat conscious humans, we start to see them as whole people.
My mom is my best friend, my greatest hero, and also a girl that I just really love.

What do you love about Asheville? What can’t you stand?  Have you seen the influx of breweries affect your community, or the culture of the city

I like that people are nice in Asheville. I always forgot that I'm in a kind of bubble until I travel outside to other places, and people just are not as nice as they are here. I also appreciate people being real though, and a lot of the time, too nice can feel dishonest.

I don't know. It’s been nice living here, I like the way it feels and looks. I LOVE the mountains. But it's not my final destination. I'm pretty uninspired by the music scene in Asheville. I don't know if the breweries are to blame really. There is just a serious lack of culture here, and I think that the major influx of tourism has a lot to do with it.

I'm hoping to move to Brooklyn soon. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm obsessed with New York City. I want the rise and grind. I want the subway cars and the street fights and the grit. Makes me feel very alive and very resilient. It's important to break out of your comfort zone.

You’re playing the Hopscotch festival in Raleigh in September. Have you been to the festival before? Is that going to be your biggest gig ever?

I have been a couple times before, and I am so pumped to be a part of it this year! And, yes, definitely the biggest gig so far. I'm really looking forward to it.