MAYBE THIS IS HARD TO ANSWER SINCE A LOT OF THE SONGS WERE WRITTEN AT DIFFERENT POINTS, BUT WERE YOU IN LOVE WHEN YOU WROTE THIS RECORD? Yes. I mean, a lot of the songs come from a place of being a little younger. I'm 23 now and some were written when I was 19 and 20. Some are directly influenced by essentially being dumped and heartbroken, and some of the record is about longing for someone, longing for nostalgia, or wanting for someone to see you or accept you. The title, Ripely Pine — I made it up, obviously: "ripely" is not a real adverb — means to pine for something with an open heart.
AND THE FINAL LINE OF THE WHOLE RECORD SPEAKS TO THAT TOO. Yeah.
ONE OF THE BIG NARRATIVES OF THE RECORD AND HOW PEOPLE ARE WRITING ABOUT IT IS THAT, YOU KNOW, ALY'S 23, SHE'S "COMING INTO HER OWN," AND SO THIS IS A VERY BIG EXPLOSIVE RECORD IN THAT REGARD. AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF LYRICS ON WHERE YOU ADDRESS THAT TOO. WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR YOU AS A TEENAGER? You mean what life was like before making music?
WELL, YOU STARTED MAKING MUSIC ABOUT FIVE OR SIX YEARS AGO? Yeah.
SO THAT TAKES YOU TO PRIME POST-HIGH SCHOOL TERRITORY. WHAT ABOUT BEFORE THAT? Well, before I started making music I was really into other kinds of creating, and I went through weird blocks of time where I was focused on one sort of medium. When I was really young I liked to write short stories, fantasy stories and things like that. And when I hit high school I got really into music, but surrounding that time I got really into painting, and from there collage, and by my junior year I was obsessed with photography. My dad gave me his old film camera, this Canon AE-1 that he had in high school, and I was really into setting up photo shoots with my friends and writing backstories for them. And then I was into film. I wrote a full-length movie with a friend of mine in high school, and we were really serious about it. And also I was competing in spoken-word poetry slams. I got really into Saul Williams and was starting to write my own poetry, and that was my first experience with performing.
I actually didn't give that much of a shit about school. I have to admit that by senior year I was skipping a ton. I wasn't doing anything bad; just going to library and reading or going to the ocean and writing. I also had it set up in my high school that I was allowed to be in my darkroom until the janitors left at like nine o'clock at night. So, I was hyper-focused but not really on schoolwork — anything but. When I was 18, that determination just transferred over to music. And what I love about making music in the last six years is that all the other forms of art get to be a part of it. I'm really all about the visual. I love thinking of the photo concepts and posters. I've made all my own album art. I just filmed my own music video (for "The Nothing Part II") for this record, and it was really fun to come up with that concept. So I feel really great about the fact that I can still express myself in all the other ways that I was initially influenced by.