The New York Times has called Kate Bollinger, “an architect of chill vibes,” while NPR characterized her sounds as, “smart, melodic indie pop music,” and KCRW stated that she, “has a prowess for nuanced lyrics and earworm melodies.” The retro-leaning folk pop musician has spent the past year playing alongside of some of indie music’s coolest artists in some of the country’s most iconic venues, and this April she released the Look at it in the Light EP on Ghostly International, the follow-up to two independently released EPs (Kanye West’s “Donda” sampled the song “Candy” from 2019’s I Don’t Wanna Lose EP.) The Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter is currently on a run of headlining dates that will have her playing Johnny Brenda’s this Thursday, June 16th. I recently got a chance to chat with Kate Bollinger about her music, her latest experiences, and what you can expect this Thursday night.
Izzy Cihak: You recently released the Look at it in the Light EP. How do you feel like the release compares to previous EPs, both in terms of the sound and the process of writing and recording it?
Kate Bollinger: I had more of a preconceived vision for this EP than I’ve had for past projects. My previous EPs were done a bit more piecemeal, whereas Look at it in the Light had more forethought and there’s a stronger relationship between the songs.
Izzy: You’re signed to Ghostly International, which is one of my favorite labels. How is it working with them and being a part of that family?
Kate: It’s been a really positive experience so far. They really seem to understand my vision and taste.
Izzy: Instead of asking musicians about their influences, I often like to ask them about their favorite albums. So, what are some of your favorite albums?
Kate: The Reminder by Feist, Cherry Peel by Of Montreal, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie, Greasepaint Smile by Elyse Weinberg, Lianne La Havas by Lianne La Havas, Rubber Soul by The Beatles, Blue by Joni Mitchell, Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt, Glow by Alice Phoebe Lou.
Izzy: I know that you’ve said that you usually work on music videos with all of your local friends, so I’m curious if there are any visual artists (or even just individual works of art) that you all find to be especially inspiring, or even just especially cool?
Kate: I’ve branched out some with my most recent videos, but when I was working with friends from home we would reference older film stills more than we would a particular artist.
Izzy: I realize this is a big question but, considering that your musical career is still relatively new, what have been some of the highlights for you so far?
Kate: Getting to play at Levon Helm Studios, touring with Faye Webster, Real Estate, and L’Impératrice all in the last eight months. Driving through the Southwest for the first time on the Faye tour.
Izzy: You’re about to play our very own Johnny Brenda’s. What can be expected of the live show, both in terms of setlist and just the general vibe of the night?
Kate: I’m planning to play a big mix of new and old songs. I hope the general vibe is calm and communal and that people have a fun time.
Izzy: You’re on the road with Lael Neale, of whom I’m also a big fan. What are your thoughts on her music? How did the two of you actually link up?
Kate: I’ve been a fan of her music for a while, but when I was home recently I discovered that she’s from Virginia too and is the second cousin of my best friend from high school. Since finding that out there have been a few other serendipitous things that have happened involving Lael. It feels meant to be!
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after these dates wrap? Is there anything you’re especially excited about in the second half of 2022?
Kate: I’m excited to have time to write and make some new music!
*Get your tickets here.