Artist to Watch: Molly Burch

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Like a well-maintained and beautifully hand carved wooden sculpture, Molly Burch’s music has a sort of softly natural, matte glow to it. Influenced by the music of her childhood spent growing up in LA, her early country influenced songwriting and equally paisley patterned arrangements have caught the ear of record labels, including Captured Tracks (who released her debut album Please Be Mine) and many publications, ourselves included.

Her voice, which some would compare to Angel Olsen, has a well-trained crushed velvety texture that sets it apart from many other vocalists in her field. Having gone to school for jazz singing, her emotive vocalizations lend itself to the cinematic or melodramatic nature of her band’s music. That being said, there’s a gentle sentiment of something that isn’t quite like full on naivety there, but more like a gentle innocence behind her croons.

Currently on the road supporting Alex Cameron on the tour for his new album, I got on the phone with Molly to have a quiet conversation to get to know her better both as a songwriter and as a person.

VM: After reading your bio, I saw that you did your growing up in LA, but then went to school in Asheville and then moved to Austin, correct?

MB: Yeah. I graduated High School in LA, was born and raised there, and then I spend one year in New York at Sarah Lawrence College and then decided to transfer to UNC Asheville, because my mom had moved to North Carolina, so that made the most sense at the time. I graduated there then spent a year out of college in Asheville feeling pretty lost, so I just moved to Austin on a whim.

VM: I can definitely relate to that. Would you ever move back to Asheville or NYC?

MB: Uh, I don’t know. No. I wouldn’t want to live in New York. I’ve actually just recently moved to an even smaller place in Austin. We live right outside of Austin. So I’m sure as I get older and also with playing music and touring I’ve been more attracted to like smaller cities, smaller towns.  I guess I don’t know.  We recently just went to Asheville on tour, and it was really lovely. I really do miss a lot of it, but I don’t know; I don’t think I would want to move back anytime soon.

VM: Austin is really cool. There are a lot of really cool weird places to go. Do you have any specific places you like to go to when you just want to chill out or have an escape within the city limits?

MB: Sure. Right now we live a little outside of Austin, so I feel like that, plus being on tour for more of this year makes me feel a little disconnected from Austin but let me try to think of where I’d go; I’m very much a homebody. A really nice bar to go get a drink is this place called Kinda Tropical. And there ‘s a little coffee shop on the east side called Bliss Coffee that one of my good friends runs, and the thing is a little Air Stream with a really nice outdoor patio. It’s really gorgeous.

So after taking a few listens to Please Be Mine, I immediately thought Nashville. There’s a very old school country vibe to it. Were there any artists from Nashville that you were listening to while you were writing those songs, or that you grew up listening to?

MB: Not really.  These songs are like a collection of the first songs I’ve ever written, because that sort of just came later for me. I wasn’t comfortable writing before these songs. That style is just what comes natural to me. I went to school for jazz, and I would listen to older country music, but I don’t feel up to date on current country or Nashville music. Classic sounds for sure. And I wasn’t really listening to anything at the time, since I wrote the songs over a period of a couple of years.

VM: So it’s much more holistic. So, when you write songs, do you prefer to write alone, or do you have a favorite houseplant that you sit next to, or do you have a pet? Or do you like to write with your friends?

MB: I do have a cat, and I do have a lot of houseplants, but I feel like it’s different every time when I’ve been in different homes over the past couple of years. I definitely need to be fully alone. I don’t like to write anything if there are people at the house, or if my boyfriend is there. What I usually do is, I’ll write the song and get it fully done, and I’ll show it to Dailey—who’s my boyfriend and lead guitarist—and we try it together, and we figure out at that point if we like it or if I need to work on it more. Then we bring it to a band.

VM: So you’re signed to Captured Tracks records. What’s your experience being signed to a label like for your first record?  Is it really laissez faire, or have they been very involved in the album process for you?

MB: They’ve been sort of involved, but in that sense they’re really supportive. They really support and believe in the artists they have. Going into signing with them and not knowing anything about labels, I sent them a cold demo submission. I have definitely learned a lot pretty quickly signing with them and not being used to it. It’s been a lot of new things signing with them and releasing my first album. They’re wonderful, and I feel extremely lucky. They’re really open, supportive, and they make me feel like I have tons of freedom. They’re just really cool people in general.

VM: So, have you been listening to any other artists right now? Has anyone excited you or just drawn your attention?

MB: I’ve been listening to a lot of Alex Cameron every day.

VM: Since you’ve been on tour with them?

MB: And my friend and ex-band mate Katie Schaffer and her boyfriend Shane just released a new album. Their band is called Olden Yoke. Also some friends of mine just released an album. They’re called Loma, and I’m excited for that. And my friend Jeff Williamson also has an album coming out.

VM: Well, thanks so much for talking with us! Do you have any other miscellaneous shout-outs that you before we wrap up here?

MB: I have one more friend, I just remembered [laughs]. This girl who lives in New York named Nadia but who records under the name Nadine just released her first album.

Check out Molly’s album Please Be Mine here and on all streaming platforms and follow her on Facebook

 

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