Pearla discusses the influences behind her debut LP, shares new “Unglow The” video
Brooklyn-based artist Nicole Rodriguez's debut LP as Pearla, Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming, is out today via Spacebomb Records. It's full of beautifully realized indie pop and folk tracks augmented with touches of country twang and stirring orchestration, and you can stream it below, and watch a new video for "Unglow The," which Nicole directed and edited.
To celebrate the album's release, we asked Nicole about its influences, and she made us a list that includes The Microphones' The Glow Pt. 2, Virginia Woolf's book The Waves, and more. Read it, complete with her commentary, below.
Pearla has a Brooklyn release show for Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming happening later this month, on February 25 at Public Records with Closebye and Katy Rea. Tickets are still available.
PEARLA's OH GLISTENING ONION, THE NIGHTTIME IS COMING INFLUENCES
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
This book has become sort of a guiding light for me - in my work and in my life. Her words so often bring me back to myself. This book specifically is about six characters dealing with the death of a friend. Throughout the book, each character just sort of blends into one another and becomes one consciousness. It explores so many themes that are always swirling around in my mind…the idea of a “self”, perception, relation to others, and mortality. I’m really inspired by her use of stream of consciousness, her imagery, and the rhythmic quality in her writing. It made me want to free myself from typical song forms and let words flow in new ways. A lot of this album was written using that stream of consciousness style.
So much of this album is about my dreams. Almost every song mentions a dream I’ve had! Even if it doesn’t, there is usually a dream associated with the song. My songs and dreams very much live in the same world!
My friends and fellow musicians really helped me make this album a reality. While writing this album I was constantly sharing songs back and forth with my friends, playing a lot of shows and recording a lot. As I wrote the songs, they immediately had a place to go and grow in the hands of my friends! So many of these songs wouldn’t be the same without the specific people involved with them.
Many friends also make music of their own that always inspires me! Here are some of their projects: Miss Grit, Closebye, Léna Bartels, Rektagon, Ole Kirkeng, Jack Sasner, Izzy Oram Brown, the list goes on!
“What’s With All The Animals?”
This guy came up to me after my set and asked me that on the last opening tour I did lol. Along with each song being related to a dream, almost every song also has an animal or some other creature. And I really don’t know what’s with all the animals! I’m just really interested in the different ways that life can take form. I am so inspired by watching animals; how they move and behave, and how they are experiencing this unique reality that we know nothing about. I feel like sound and song connects all life forms in this weird way, so I just have this urge to sing about them, or to them. And they make my songs feel less lonely.
Buses and Trains
I’ve spent a lot of time on buses and trains going back and forth from New Jersey. I love looking out the window and seeing the world whir by. I love to be in motion. This is when my songs come to me!
Joe Pera Talks With You
Here’s a song-specific one, but I was getting really down on myself, and having one of those “what’s the point of anything” nights. My good friend told me to watch Joe Pera Talks With You and I’ll remember the meaning of things. That’s when I wrote “Balm.” Lol. It sounds like a romantic song but it’s really about being reminded that there are things in the world, in places that you don’t really expect, that can be healing and make life feel worth living again.
Angela Carr Poetry Workshop
During my last year of college I took a poetry workshop with a poet and professor named Angela Carr. She was a professor who I felt really understood me and what I was trying to do. She really created a space for me to figure out how I wanted to write. In the class I had to write two long form poems, which turned out to be two pieces called, “Turkey Swamp” and “Vomit Poems.” So much of this album has come from those two pieces. I hope to share them both one day!
Kosciuszko Bridge Lights
A lot of my songs are an expression of my own… misinterpretation of the world… lol. There’s a place in the sky where the lights from the Kosciuszko Bridge just hang there in a blob and change from blue to pink to purple to red to yellow to green all night and you can’t really see where it’s coming from. The first time I saw it I thought it was a UFO or that the moon exploded. That’s when I wrote the line from "The Glistening Onion," “Later the moon let go of its circle and turned to a big splotch of light / Neon pink heaving up above McKibbin and its source was nowhere in sight.”
The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2
This album was a huge influence for me but in a little more of an abstract and indirect way. I'm always inspired by Phil Elverum’s lyric writing but that album particularly… it's like an epic poem but also feels like this collection of vignettes. Sonically it is such an adventure… it’s always taking you somewhere strange and new. That idea was a lens through which I approached Oh, Glistening Onion. I wanted it to feel like a collection of different worlds… an ever-shifting sonic landscape that mimics the ever-shifting emotional landscape that I feel in my life.
I feel like I am always looking for answers. I have this desire for everything to be buttoned up, settled and solved before I go to sleep at night. On this album, I played with the idea of letting questions be questions, and finding peace in uncertainty. Knowing that not everything has to be figured out before the nighttime comes.