Interview: Augusta Koch – Gladie

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by Jessica Flynn

Philadelphia indie outfit Gladie released their debut LP Safe Sins last Friday through Lame-O Records. The album was shaped by a series of journal entries written by frontperson Augusta Koch (formerly Cayetana). “I really wanted it to sound like reading a diary” stated Koch. And what a perplex diary entry it reads. Recording the various stages of grief, Safe Sins is a sonic representation of overcoming anguish.

Comprised of: Augusta Koch (Cayetana), Matt Schimelfenig (Three Man Cannon), Ian Farmer (Modern Baseball), and Pat Conaboy (Spirit of the Beehive), the group is a powerhouse, playing off each other’s strengths to create an astounding collaborative soundscape. Take a listen to the record while you read our interview with Koch below.

Safe Sins is a narrative about processing grief, where did you come up with the idea for this? Did the concept present itself naturally, as you continued writing?

Koch: The lyrics for the record came from journal entries I’ve written over the past two years. They all started out as a stream of consciousness. Once I was able to see them grouped together and elaborated on, it was clear to see the narrative. Songwriting is funny like that because it’s holding up a mirror to your past self like “damn so that’s what you were thinking?”. My life has changed a lot in the past few years. I felt an immense amount of grief, constantly getting caught in negative loops. This record is really about searching for optimism in the midst of that and how the path there is never linear. 

Could you expand a little more on the inspiration behind the record?

I really wanted it to sound like reading a diary. I also really wanted to challenge myself in ways I hadn’t before. I was listening to alot of Sharon Van Etten, David Bazan, Lorde, and Granddaddy at the time of writing the record. We wanted there to be more of a palette of electronic sounds. 

What do you want listeners to take away from the content of the album?

There’s so much good music out there so if anyone took the time to listen I’d be flattered. If it comforted them in some way it would be worth it to me. 

What advice would you give to those having a hard time processing/handling grief?

Try and find an outlet where you can express how you’re feeling. Don’t expect it to go away. Be kind to yourself. 

How did you go about experimenting with different sounds?

Since we really took our time on this album we were able to really dig into different sounds. We wanted the music to really mirror the message in each track. In the opening song “Pray”, which is about laying in bed in a bad shame spiral, Matt added these intentionally jarring loops building on the tension until the song breaks. The synth and drum sounds on the record are so expressive. I’m very excited about that. 

When did you know what felt right? Were you fitting the music to what you already had written lyrically?

It changed so many times. Whenever I write a song, it’s always lyrics and guitar at the same time. I’ll pull from a line or poem I wrote before, but for me the two have to go together. What’s different about this band is the songs usually sound completely different from the demos. They get stripped back and rebuilt. 

Why did you decide to re-release “Twenty Twenty” on this album?

“Twenty Twenty” was the first song I wrote for Gladie. I felt like it really fit the theme of the record and sort of served as the moral of the whole thing. Also, with the state of the world today there’s an overarching anxiety. That song is absolutely about optimistic depression. 

What do you enjoy most about recording as Gladie as opposed to your other projects?

Matt challenges me in ways no one ever has. I’m an extremely impatient person with horrible trust issues. This record made me confront both those appalling qualities head on. If I could record and put out a song the day I wrote it I would. Matt is the complete opposite. He has an amazing attention to detail and his creative brain blows me away. He’s constantly pushing for more. I have a really hard time slowing down. We took a lot of time recording, changing, and developing this album. It was hard at first, but it was a great lesson to learn.

What do you like most about collaborating with each other? What are some strengths you pull out of each other?

I’m such a lyrics/feeling person and Matt can hear and manifest all these beautiful soundscapes. The magic happens for me when those two align with each other and there’s a blind trust in each others’ strengths. 

Do you have any goals for this release?

If I could play more shows than waiting tables this year that would be perfect for me.


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Emily Kitchin//@deathnapcutie