words: Kat Harding
Meet Maura Lynch of Brooklyn’s Blush. With friends Jonathan Campolo of Pill, Nick Campolo, and Andrew Chugg of Pop. 1280, she makes dreamy, intimate pop music. She spent eight years with her first band, Darlings, after graduating college in New York, putting out a handful of records and playing in NY’s most iconic venues. In 2015, when that band ended, she spent time in band Beverly, but wanted to get back to creating with friends. She gathered her bedroom-recorded demos, a “diary of sorts of (her) late 20’s” as she calls them, and turned them into Blush’s debut self-titled album, due out December 8 on Arrowhawk Records.
Maura answered a few questions for us while crisscrossing the US on tour. We talked about inspiration, advice, and more.
The Grey Estates: What did you grow up listening to?
Blush: I was big into Alanis and Green Day and Oasis in elementary school— the first song I ever learned to play on guitar was “Wonderwall” (I was like the “Anyway, here’s ‘Wonderwall’” person, unfortunately). Middle school was spent listening to Lauryn Hill, No Doubt, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, Elastica, and a lot of movie soundtracks. In high school, I definitely had a pop-punk/emo phase which eventually led to me loving the Strokes. I supplemented with Top 40 radio and New York’s Hot 97.
What are you listening to now?
The new Anna Burch songs. Girl Ray’s Earl Grey. SZA’s Ctrl. Kero Kero Bonito’s “Trampoline.” The Reverberation Radio weekly podcast. Songs of Leonard Cohen. My dELiA*s rock playlist. Lots of podcasts.
What advice do you have for musicians?
I can’t say I’m qualified to give advice to anyone, but a piece of advice I really cling to is from this interview with Kelley Deal: “If you feel like doing something, saying something, making something, just do it in whatever way feels right for you.” Basically, be your own creative North Star.
What's your favorite hobby to do to relax?
Playing music with my friends is definitely one of my favorite ways to relax and have fun. My friend Jinnie and I co-run a site called STET all about emerging writers and new books, so I’ve always got something good to read. I also watch a lot of TV and movies — probably too many. This weekend I watched all three Decline of Western Civilization docs, which I highly recommend.
What are you inspired by?
I’m most inspired by all of the women in my life. Whether they’re writing, teaching, making music, running their own businesses, volunteering, making art, raising kids, designing clothes (or, usually, many of these things at once), they inspire me to work harder and be a better person to the people around me.
Tell us about your songwriting process?
Usually I’ll come up with a little guitar line or chord progression first, and then I’ll start recording in GarageBand. I’ll start building a song from there, using a really basic placeholder drums and recording guitar and vocal parts, layer by layer. Usually the first lyrics I come up with on a demo aren’t what I keep for the final song, so I’ll just kind of “ooh” and “aah” along until I figure out what feels right. Once I feel good about the demo, I like to listen to it a lot, just walking around, etc, because I’ll start to come up with more parts or changes.
Is there anything about the album you'd change?
It’s easy to think lots of tiny things I could change — little flourishes the band has come up with since recording or lyrical changes that I think are a better fit, maybe a better vocal take. But I wouldn’t actually change anything. The album’s a time capsule.
What do you want people to take away from the album?
I made these songs to help myself feel a little more at peace in the world, so if they can do that for someone else, too, then I’d be over the moon. If the album causes anyone to think, “Hey I could do that,” and encourages them to write and record their own music, I really hope they do that.