INTERVIEW: Samantha Margret

Hi Samantha, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! Thanks so much for having me. 

I’ve been up and down—riding the waves of the pandemic, the fires, then the smoke, the national need for coalition and empathy. Whew, 2020 is some year. Mostly, I’ve been doing really well though. I’m an introvert, so I have plenty that I like to do alone in my home. I write a lot and have come back around to painting. Before the Pandemic, I was driving to LA every 10 days or so to perform and write. It’s been nice to spend so much time with my cat, and sleep in my own bed.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Feminist gf?”

“Feminist gf” is one of those songs that I immediately fell in love with. I write a lot of songs. Some of them are good, some are a good exercise, and some are plain bad. That’s just how it goes: it’s like panning for gold. 

When I wrote “Feminist gf,” it was all the things I love; confident, honest, original, and a little subversive. That’s the magic of songwriting. I was full of rage with no words to express it and no idea how to untangle myself from it. Then, along comes this song, and that rage is replaced with clarity and joy. Here is this delightful thing that came from something oppressive and painful. That’s what all that practice is for: to be ready when the good one decides to show itself.

I hope that other people feel as liberated by it as I did. My producer, Easy Morning, shared it with his mom and said she loves it. That’s the ultimate goal for this one: to give moms and grandmas who need a little more swearing and hardcore feminism in their lives something fun to listen to.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I had a call with a guy I knew. We were talking about Instagram, and it turned into this discussion of women “sexualizing themselves.” I politely reminded him that women are sexualized by our culture from an extremely, unnervingly young age, that, some women turn that into power, and others are overpowered by it. Then he said, “I love it when hot bitches fail.” I was taken totally off guard. When it comes to strangers, I’m usually pretty quick with a comeback or fine with just ignoring it, but I knew this guy. I had heard him call himself a feminist. I knew his badass girlfriend.

After the call, I wrote “Feminist gf” start to finish. Some of it was about him, but a lot of it was about the way that people use the word feminism like it goes on a t-shirt. I stopped writing with men for a while because they kept thinking it was a date, or, in one case, I ended up stuck listening to a co-writer rant about how women won’t date him because we’re “too shallow.” (I’ve come back around to writing with men, but only by referral from another womxn). I know some truly feminist men and none of them had to tell me they were feminists.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

We just shot the video this week. To be totally honest, I wasn’t going to make one. The logistics of shooting a video in quarantine are overwhelming, and I didn’t have a clear idea of the visuals. Plus, I’m an indie artist, so even if I had a great idea, I wasn’t sure I had the budget for it. Then, my videographer for the “Emotional” music video, David Fitzgerald, heard the song. He’s a phenomenal video editor and had some really creative (and affordable) ideas for a video. We shot the whole thing in my house—just me, David, my partner, and my mom. I don’t want to give too much away, but I had to sing the song at five times the normal speed. 

How was the recording and writing process?

Some songs take a long time to write. I keep lines and ideas on a note on my phone and they simmer until I find the right words or the right co-writer. This one spilled out. I wrote it at the piano, but I could already hear the production. When I’m not producing for myself, I demo everything out to nail down the feeling I want. “Feminist gf” is all rage and power. The demo had heavy bass, and the sound of glass breaking in the percussion. My producer, Easy Morning, really ran with it. He was incredibly creative with the sounds. My goal is always to make something new. I don’t want to use the same tricks over and over, which requires a lot of creative energy from my collaborations. Easy Morning is always up for it.

My mastering engineer, Piper Payne, was a huge help on this song too. We had it ready to go, and I called her in a bit of a panic about making a change. It would mean re-mastering the song. A lot of people would have said, “just go with it. It’ll be fine,” but that’s what is so great about Piper. She cares about each song. She was like, “you need to be happy with this forever.” She’s been mastering for over 10 years. It means a lot to have women in the music industry who care about my music—who care about me. Knowing she has my back is one of the reasons I get to be so excited for this song to come out. I used to always be terrified when I was putting out new music. Now, I’m ready.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! I have a set of singles coming. They’re all written and produced in quarantine and really feel like one project to me. “Feminist gf” is the darkest of the group, but they all have that sense of self and confidence. For me, being away from other people has helped free up my writing. Some of the singles are playful and some are sexy; what unifies them is their honesty and their confidence.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The next single is called “Saucy.” The production is so close to being finished that even talking about it makes me want to go check my email to see if there’s a new version. I brought in a lot of friends on this one, and the collaborations gave it so much joy and playfulness. Fingers crossed it’s all set to go in December.

What else is happening next in Samantha Margret’s world?

I try to walk through whatever door is open to me. In music and in life that has led to my best friendships and projects. I’m headed to Nashville for a few weeks to stay with a friend, Eva Snyder, over Halloween. She and I have been writing together for years, and she played me down the aisle at my wedding. It will be the first time I’ve gone through an airport or anywhere public in months, but it feels like a chance to reset musically and emotionally, so I’m figuring out how to stay calm and safe on the trip. I’m sure we’ll write a few stunners while I’m there.

I’m getting ready to vote too. There are so many things about 2020 that we have no control over; voting feels like a chance to take back a little bit of power.

Other than that, I’m writing, producing, and planning as much music as possible. I’ve spent the last couple of years getting ready, writing, building community, performing, cowriting, producing, whatever I could get my hands on. Now, as life has slowed down, I’m so grateful for the collaborations and mentors I found in that time. It’s like this space opened up for all of that preparation to become new music. I can’t wait to share it.

LISTEN HERE

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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