Interview: Rachel Browne of Field Mouse

We recently shared the first single from Field Mouse's upcoming Episodic out 8/5 through Topshelf Records. Leaving an immediately lasting relationship, we were happy to speak via e-mail with Rachel Browne, one of the founding members. 

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Photo: Shervin Lainez

The Grey Estates: A lot of press and your biography mention that this album is one where Field Mouse is coming into their own. What is it about this release that you feel really signifies what the band was meant to be?

Rachel Browne: I think part of that is because this is the first time we (Andrew and I) really sat down and wrote an album. The last record was a mixture of new and old songs that we wanted to record, and that made for less of a cohesive sound and energy. This one was very purposeful. We wrote it after a ton of touring and most of the writing was completed within a six month period.

TGE: This was the first time the five of you recorded an album together. How did that process go? And how do you incorporate all individual ideas into one cohesive thought?

RB: It was a lot of fun, especially after getting to know each other intimately as our tour selves. Recording selves are a little different. Andrew and I wrote the basics, and usually Andrew writes drum and bass parts/ideas for Tim and Saysha to mess around with. Zoë played synth and wrote some great harmonies and I loved recording with her for the first time because she’s my sister and I can’t believe it took us this long.

TGE: Is there a particular track on this record that you really feel epitomizes this new identity or what you wanted the album to reflect?

RB: I don’t think there’s one track that defines an identity, but as a whole the record does reflect where I am at - or certainly where I was at when writing it. I think that after a long stretch of touring, we were able to go into recording knowing exactly what we did and didn’t want to bring to the table. It’s closer to how we sound live, in a major contrast to the last album; it’s loud, angular at times, more dynamic, more energetic, the vocals are more upfront.

TGE: "The Mirror" really struck me with the lyrics and I was wondering what in particular that single was about? Do you ever find that it's hard to include the best and worst of life into your writing and share it so openly? I ask because I have journals of terrible and good things that I'd be mortified if someone found.

RB: I also have journals that I would be mortified if ever read by another human being. I guess parts of The Mirror’s lyrics did come from journal-ish stream of thought, but at the time it felt perfectly natural singing it. Without too much detail, I will say that it was exactly how I felt at the time of recording, and while I am not that angry perso now, I am glad it was documented.

TGE: There are quite a collection of guest stars on this album. How did that come about and what was it about those particular musicians that drew you to include them on the project?

RB: The three people who are guest musicians are close friends of mine and happened to be around during the weeks we were in the studio. They were very gracious to contribute. Everything they added to completely made those songs for me. I love what they do and I love them as people.

TGE: You live in different, but close parts of the US. How does that work as far as collaborating and working on stuff together?

RB: It’s not so bad. Andrew and I are in pretty constant contact about something or other, music-related or not, because we are friends. When we practice Zoë and I usually go to NY together. When we write, Andrew and I hang out in one of our cities for a few days and bring our ideas to each other. It works.

TGE: When someone listens to Episodic for the first time what do you hope they hear? Like what message do you want the listeners to gather from it or what message do you hope is reflected in it?

RB: If people do find any of it relatable, I hope that it is helpful or comforting. There are a lot of defeats in there, but a lot of small victories too; it’s important to recognize and appreciate them.

mp3: "Edible Complex" - Ghost Gum

mp3: "Thick Skin" - Bellows