Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Los Angeles’s RVBY MY DEAR. Together we discussed their spine-tingling music, being a multi-instrumentalist, their influences, and their most recent release ‘Lose My Mind.” Lose My Mind is now streaming on all platforms!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Hey Mustard! Thanks for having me. I’m doing well, currently answering these questions from a K-pop festival someone dragged me to against my will… interesting background music that’s for sure.
2. Your music has been described as spine-tingling. What sounds or instruments do you use to ensure this happens? How often do human spines tingle?
Great question. I often find chord progressions and harmonies to be the most “spine-tingling” element in my favourite songs, and I think that’s the case in my own music too. My favourite part of songwriting is coming up with cool chord progressions that make me feel something and establish a sonic mood; melodies and lyrics flow pretty easily from there. I hope everyone’s spine is tingling when they listen to my music!
3. You’re a multi-instrumentalist. What was the first instrument you learned? Do you have a favorite instrument to play? What advice would you give to those trying to learn an instrument?
My first instrument was the piano, my mum put me in piano lessons when I was 4 and a half years old, and I took them consistently until I was 18. I also play bass, which I love, but I think my favourite “instrument” to play is my voice! I don’t need to set anything up or carry anything with me, I just open my mouth and there it is. As far as advice for those trying to learn – everyone learns differently but I think trying to figure out how to play your favourite songs is a great place to start, whether that’s by ear or from sheet music. I actually teach piano and singing lessons so if any of your readers are looking to get some further pointers, feel free to hit me up! 🙂
4. How has moving to Los Angeles helped you as an artist? Did you encounter any big cultural changes from LA to Western Australia? Do you have a favorite place to write or brainstorm in LA?
So I actually moved from Perth to New York first, and I lived there for 9 years before moving to LA in 2020. I was a bit nervous at first because I’d heard about and experienced a bit of the whole “flaky LA influencer” stereotype – but everyone in the music scene I’ve met so far has been super supportive and helpful. Moving from Australia to America, the culture shock wasn’t too extreme since Australia is so Americanised (we all grew up on American TV and music and movies!). But I will say I was very shocked by how big the grocery stores are here, I couldn’t believe how much stuff there was! I usually do my best thinking and writing while driving or walking around my neighbourhood in the Valley.
5. Who (or what) influences you?
I have a endless list of musical influences (everything from jazz to choral music to drum and bass), but some of the most important are my fellow female artist friends. They inspire me so much!
6. What is your creative process?
An endless feedback loop of “I’m amazing-I suck-this is the best thing I’ve ever written-this is awful I should’ve quit years ago” until someone or something (usually my producer or a deadline) tells me to stop.
7. In 2016 you released “Unravel.” Could you share more about this release? Was this release you unraveling yourself for listeners?
Ooo what a throwback! Unravel was a self-produced 2-song EP that was recorded with a previous lineup of my old band, at a studio owned by some college friends in rural Pennsylvania. It kind of symbolises the end of the first era of this project, which was more jazzy and proggy and basically an extension of the songs I was writing in college for jazz school. I made a big push to move away from that sound after it was released. So yes I guess it was a kind of “unravelling” of all the musical habits I’d learned up to that point!
8. A few years later you released your debut album “Waiting” which was included in Trip-Hop Nation’s 50 Best Albums of 2019. What was it like putting this album together? How did you react when you heard the news it was included on an best albums list?
So this was the first project I worked on with my producer Andrew Lappin, and I learned SO much from working with him, especially in terms of editing songs and making things more sonically and structurally focused. This was also the last project I worked on with my New York band before moving to LA and transforming RMD into more of a solo project. I feel like you can kind of hear that push and pull between the more “pop” side of my songwriting and the more jazz-influenced side on this album. It’s a mixed bag of sounds, but I still love songs like “Draw” and “Waiting”, and “Cycles” is obviously a big fan favourite. I actually didn’t find out I was on the best of 2019 list until a few weeks after it was posted, I was very surprised but so honoured to be included!
9. On “Black Moon” you return the instrument that got you started in music – the piano. What role does the piano play on this single? How did it feel to return to it on this track?
My producer has described the piano on this track as the engine that drives the song and I totally agree – without it it wouldn’t be the same. I write everything on piano but this is actually the first song I’ve released where it’s me playing it, not another band member, so I think that’s really what I meant when I said it felt like a “return”. It’s me taking ownership of my own abilities on that instrument.
10. In September you released “Over It.” What was the inspiration behind this single?
I wrote this song at a songwriting residency back in 2019, based on an idea I got from a conversation with another songwriter about mental illness in long-term relationships. I wanted to write something from the perspective of the person who’s trying to help and understand but can’t seem to make it work, and yet won’t walk away. Sonically this song is inspired by classic mid-late 90s trip-hop and electronica artists like Massive Attack, Portishead and Sade; sounds that were in the background of my childhood in Australia and that I’ve returned to as an adult.
11. What is on the horizon for RVBY MY DEAR?
Lots of things! I have a new single and video called “Lose My Mind” which releases on October 18th, and I have a new EP coming out via Spirit House Records on November 18th!
12. Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ll be announcing more info about upcoming shows on my social media pages in the coming weeks, but if you’re in LA make sure you save the date for January 18th 2023!
13. Where can readers listen to your music?
You can check out RVBY MY DEAR on any of the streaming services – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, all the things – and you can pre-order my new EP on Bandcamp via Spirit House Records! If you’re into vinyl you can also grab my debut album Waiting on vinyl at my Bandcamp merch store.