Kate Bollinger has released her new single Yards / Gardens alongside a dramatic, hilarious and ridiculously well-produced music video.
The VA-based artist has also announced signing to Ghostly International and it feels “like a dream”. Lucky for fans, that dreams a reality and Kate is able to continue producing her eloquent songs featuring her hauntingly beautiful and almost vintage vocals.
Yards / Gardens is a light, summery tune with a head-bopping bassline and of course, Kate’s signature sweet voice and bemusing lyrics. The music video is a homage to 60s and 70s films and tells a satirical story of crime and murder, but it’s cute and fun.
In what seemed to be a perfectly fitting method of communication, what with the music video’s vintage themes, we sent Kate an interview by email and were delighted by her eloquent answers.
HAPPY: Congratulations on your new release, Yards / Gardens and congratulations on signing to Ghostly International! How are you finding the recording, releasing and promoting process now that you’re signed to a label?
KATE: Thank you! It’s been really exciting so far. In regards to this EP, my recording process stayed mostly the same. I recorded with my producer and backing band at the same studio in Virginia where I’ve done everything so far. I’ve wanted to be very conscious of not doing too much too soon because I think that’s how many projects lose the soul and charm that was attractive in the first place. Ghostly has been really supportive of the way I want to pace things. That being said, I think this EP will be a timestamp in some ways as I start to take my music in some new directions.
HAPPY: Do you feel like you have more time to simply work on creating?
KATE: Yes, I never imagined that I would have this much time. I feel so unbelievably grateful — it feels like a dream.
HAPPY: It seems as though the new single has two titles, can you tell us what led you to name the song Yards / Gardens?
KATE: It felt representative of the song’s meaning and it serendipitously worked really well with the music video, which ends with the gardener killing me. Many of my ideas are subconscious and develop their meanings later.
HAPPY: Apparently you worked on Yards / Gardens with your guitarist Chris Lewis and with Trainum in your shared storage space. How was it being in such close conditions again being able to creatively collaborate after so long without doing so?
KATE: It was great, we made a lot of songs collaboratively in those months. I’m back to writing a little more in solitude now, but I’ll remember that time forever. It was so cold and small in that storage space, we wrote a lot of songs from that time inside in our coats.
HAPPY: I know you have said you write lyrics in a dream-like state and that you think of them more like shapes as you try to feel which ones fit well or stick to the song. I wonder if you’ve ever found much meaning later that’s perhaps coming out in a subconscious manner?
KATE: That’s how it happens a lot of the time. I never decide to sit down and consciously write a song about something predetermined. The song more often than not ends up telling me what I’m feeling or thinking.
HAPPY: If I were to read any meaning into the lyrics of Yards / Gardens, you refer to feeling like you’ve lost time over the last year, having friends with jobs and “yards”. Of course, it doesn’t seem like it from an outside perspective but do you feel as though you’ve been forced to fall behind throughout the pandemic, whether it be personally or professionally?
KATE: It’s mostly a song about growing up, which is something I write about a lot. The pandemic was such a universal setback, so I don’t worry too much about the ways in which it caused me to fall behind professionally. Of course, it feels like a huge block of lost time, but there are other things that I did during that time that I may not have done otherwise.
HAPPY: You’ve said the music video idea came to you after receiving a voice message, the one that is played at the start of the video. How on earth does an idea like this short murderous tragedy come to you after hearing that you have flower delivery?
KATE: It didn’t come to me all at once! I loved that voicemail from the first time I heard it and knew it was something I wanted to use somehow, so I held onto it. There was a period of time where I showed it to everyone, I just thought it was awesome and that it could be part of a bigger story. I thought about it from time to time and began inventing characters. First, the private investigators, then the others. And it came to fruition from there. I riffed on the idea a lot with my friends, Maddie and Parker. I just became really obsessed with it.
HAPPY: The video shows us this relatively dark story in such a light and camp way. As an aside, that feels very indicative of your musical style overall. It wasn’t surprising to read that the cast was made up of friends and friends of friends because it seems deeply joyful to be a part of. You seem to be having a lot of fun. What was it like for you to produce?
KATE: It was such an exciting and serendipitous project. I found the director, Mitch deQuilettes only a few weeks before the video shoot and he was miraculously available the week that I was coming to town. One of my best friends from high school wrote the newspaper copy, a local Richmond artist designed the newspaper just two nights before the shoot, and we had it printed the day before.
My friend Parker, who played one of the private investigators, came to LA for the shoot and I cast his friend Marcus, who coincidentally happened to already know Mitch, as the second P.I. A few nights before the shoot, Marcus and his girlfriend, Lily, came over to the apartment where I was staying for a costume fitting and I cast Lily on the spot as the gardener. My friend Shags agreed to play the accomplice and Mitch cast the two actors who played the homeowners.
We rented a house in Beverly Hills for 12 hours and were shooting up until the very last minute of sunlight. The director of photography and colorist, Jack Tashdjian, let us use some film that he had been saving for a passion project, which ultimately made us able to do the shoot in the way that we wanted to.
I also had the support of my label and team. I’m not really sure how it all came together so magically, but by some stroke of luck and lots of people who were excited and willing to work hard and quickly on the video, it came to be.
Yards / Gardens is available to stream or purchase now.
Interview by Chloe Maddren