by Olivia Baxter
We all encounter moments that play within and bounce between the dualities of life — the light and the dark and the spectrum of and between the two that make up the experiences within and around our lives. These experiences give us an opportunity to gain insight into who we are, how we feel, what we think, what we need, what we want.
They provide us perspectives about what is happening to and around us, to and with others, and within our individual and collective lives and environments. Music is often used as a medium for sharing these experiences; To express our pains, pleasures, and how they impact us, and how we transform those intricacies into the make-up of our beings and lives.
As we anticipate the arrival of the band, and their show Tuesday, September 17th at the local Philly venue, Boot & Saddle, we can learn more about Gina and her project, Rose Of The West. She delves into how her newly released album, Rose Of The West, is a vehicle for expressing how she engages with and embraces the polarities in and around her life in an interview below.
Olivia: How would you describe your new album?
Gina: A soft, dreamy landing in a lonely world.
O: What are you trying to express, convey, share through the songs on this album?
G: I really just write about my deepest experiences in life. All of which are usually painful experiences that we all journey through — and hopefully recover and grow from…
O: Which song on this album was most impactful to write?
G: “Count the Days.” I wrote it at a time in writing that record that had me by the throat. I was about to lose the matriarch of my family and I felt like I was standing on a cliff waiting for my emotions to just stop so I could breathe. It came out in that song in a hotel room in North Carolina where I would frequently go for work, it wrote itself in an hour.
O: What messages were most imperative to get out through this album and what personal experiences or perspectives inspired/influenced them?
G: The world feels especially heavy these days — I think this record acknowledges that, on that human individual level. I tie in all my whole heart in every song — hopefully, someone finds solace in listening to it.
O: You said in a video (on your Youtube channel) that your music is ‘dark’– can you elaborate on what that means? Do you still feel that way about this new album?
G: The darkness can mean many things. I think I am naturally drawn to things being a bit dark, but not so dark that I can’t see any light. We all need the slivers of hope and moments that lift us out ourselves, so we forget everything else. Making this record was a joyful thing for me. It reminded me of the feeling of being able to share a knowing smile with someone.
O: The song “Hunters Will” was featured on the Netflix show YOU — tell me how that feels to have one of your songs transcend creative platforms?
G: Really amazing. It such a strange sensation to see how someone else uses your art to enhance something else. I hope we have more opportunities for that kind of thing!
O: The EP, Hunters Will/Love & War, is very melodic. What spoke to you through the composing of that album?
G: That EP was something I had to force out into the world. The songs had been with me a long time, and I had a no or never feeling with them. I knew that would be the start of music becoming a bigger part of our lives for the band. The content was very personal, and I wanted to share it in a haunting and powerful way. I think the songs stand out in both those ways equally.
O: “Eye to Eye” and “Darkest Horse” — these songs, to me, sound like incantations. Do you feel your music plays within necromancy?
G: I think your choice of the word incantation is spot on. And you might be correct, I had lost a few very important people and I really think part of the healing process for me is twisting my questions to them and the world into my songs what weaves a layer of magic into them.
O: The name, Rose of the West, is inspired by an image you saw of a tree indigenous to the Australian desert — how did you come to meet this image and how does this plant best represent what you and this band and your music are?
G: This came after the previous version of the band had broken down and I was left at the core of it trying to figure out my part in it as well as what moving forward looked like. The plant spoke to me because of its singular beauty, its a rarity and its name. It made me feel similar to how I feel when traveling through the Southwest, the spooky feeling that I know well that will follow on my travels there. It’s always a big creative draw for me, that feeling. It resonated with me and just made sense.
O: You have a few songs on your new album, like “Tiny Knives”, that transport me to the 80’s—is that an era of music you most resonate with? What other eras inspire you/the band during the creative process of song-making?
G: I do like the 80’s quite a bit, but I also find myself drawn to ’90s for the most part. That particular song was a collaboration between myself and Thomas Gilbert, our guitar player. He really loves his synths sounds, which are heavily present and dripping with that’s 80’s vibe.
O: Rather than genre, if you had to describe your music in terms of any artists’ sound, who do you feel your musical sound is most aligned with/influenced by?
G: I tend to veer in the direction of things like The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Siouxsie Sioux….and many artists along those lines.
O: If you/the band had to pick one song from the new album to be the theme song to your year — which would it be and why?
G: Probably “Count the Days.” There is still a presence of what that song is lingering in my life personally. I think the band would all have different answers though….:)
O: What can we anticipate at your Philadelphia show? Of this tour?
G: We want to share what this record is like live with you all! Hopefully, everyone will sway in the dark dreamy haze with us. The tour will be a couple of weeks, so fairly short, but the experience so far has been inspiring for the next release we do. I can’t wait to see what is born of it all.