allie is the moniker of Nashville-based musician Allie Cuva. After spending time in numerous musical initiatives and being recruited because the touring/session drummer for Cavetown, Cuva (who makes use of they/them pronouns) returned from touring with a way of artistic restlessness that impressed the 2020 EP Junior Coder’s Experiment, a set of stripped-back however not fairly lo-fi singer-songwriter music. Final Friday, allie adopted it up with their exceptional full-length debut, Maybe Next Time, which was principally written in the summertime of 2020 and recorded within the spare bed room of their residence – Cuva jokingly calls it a “visitor bed room pop” file, however the vibrancy and dynamism of the file speaks for itself. Spanning 16 tracks that showcase simply how well-versed the musician is in numerous strains of indie rock, the album paperwork the dissolution of a romantic relationship between two individuals and manages to stability its overwhelming density – of feelings, of textures, of earwormy melodies – with the nice and cozy intimacy that blankets even its most devastating, distortion-heavy moments. Having your debut album clock in at simply over an hour is a daring selection, however allie doesn’t waste a second of it. Possibly Subsequent Time serves as each a snapshot in time and a promise for the longer term, however whenever you put it on, it looks like the complete image.
We caught up with Allie Cuva for this version of our Artist Spotlight interview series to speak about opening up via songwriting, the method of creating Possibly Subsequent Time, the significance of self-love, and extra.
How do you assume the musical initiatives you’ve been concerned in over time have formed you as an artist?
I don’t give it some thought lots, however I feel one of many major issues that’s helped about enjoying with individuals and being a collaborator is that it’s a little bit of a necessity to pay attention to what’s occurring round you. And so though I’ve been making extra solo stuff just lately, particularly with this challenge, it’s given me a way for giving consideration to all of the little components and noticing how that meeting of every singular component can create one thing higher than the sum of its components, if performed with sufficient intention. I by no means used to think about to, like, basslines [laughs] – you realize, I’m like, the bass performs the roots. However the ways in which the devices work together with each other can create a kind of harmonious existence or a dissonace. And both of these can contribute to kind an emotional palette that may talk one thing not directly, and then you definitely throw lyrics on prime of that and it may be much more direct, if you’d like, or summary.
How did you determine to focus extra on this challenge?
I feel the isolation of the pandemic simply kind of allowed me to do what I used to be already naturally leaning into. I in all probability would have had a tough time simply being like, “Alright, everybody, I have to put aside time for my solo challenge and step away from the bands a little bit bit.” I had been doing a lot of that for thus a few years. [laughs] As if I’m like 50. However the extra I used to be actually confronted with a number of psychological turmoil centered round my gender identification and issues like that, and due to this fact my intimate relationships with different individuals, there was only a lot that I felt like I needed to get out and categorical and externalize, as a result of it was simply accumulating to form of a stifling diploma. I may acknowledge that music was one avenue that I had to have the ability to go and get it flowing and have the ability to talk with myself higher, and so I simply acknowledged that that needed to be one thing I used to be going to prioritize if I used to be gonna [laughs] simply maintain being an individual, form of? It was simply an excessive amount of to carry in in any other case. So yeah, there was by no means any level the place I acknowledged that I used to be going to shift as a lot, nevertheless it simply got here from impulsively simply making stuff and realizing that I’m carrying these songs from starting to finish.
On the title observe of your debut EP, Junior Coder’s Experiment, there’s the road, “I hope there’s a secret lesson in each expertise.” Do you know on the time that you simply had been writing that music what the key lesson of the EP can be?
No, however I like that query. I feel I had a way that perhaps one thing was coming in direction of the top of creating it, however I used to be really largely oblivious to what was [clicks fingers] about to occur. I used to be actually within the throes of simply being depressed and having types of gender dysphoria and physique dysphoria that I didn’t fairly have a vocabulary for. And perhaps I wasn’t keen or conscious sufficient to take a look at that extra straight, so a number of the EP centres round what had simply occurred in my life earlier than this subsequent chapter. So I used to be like, “I have to first have a look at the previous couple of months and report on that to be able to have any sense of orientation about the place I’m going.” After which this new file is like, “Oh, shit, okay, right here’s the place I’m going. [laughs] And right here’s what this all means.”
Did songwriting play a big position on this strategy of externalising what was so inner?
Yeah, it did. Particularly with issues of the romantic relationship that I used to be in. It was a reasonably long-term relationship; I mainly had been with this individual for like six years, simply over that, and so being like 25 on the time, that was a majority of my grownup life, having identified this one individual very intently. And that was extremely disorienting, to sense that elementary shift in our relationship as I discovered the best way to really love my deepest self and acknowledge that I wanted to make adjustments and prioritize my very own self. So the connection began to basically shift and evolve, and I feel songwriting was completely a way of creating sense of all of it. As a result of it was very, very scary, simply the notion of, you realize, doubtlessly not with the ability to be companions with this one that I had deliberate on staying along with. As scary as that each one was, simply with the ability to grieve and cry about that through singing [laughs] confirmed me sure issues that I didn’t perhaps know that I believed or felt concerning the relationship. It simply allowed me an avenue to precise a few of these more durable meditations on what the connection has all meant to me, and simply grappling with that vast shift in going from, like, relationship somebody to being like, “I assume we may be associates now?”
There’s clearly that battle of “Do I need to open up about this in my songwriting?” after which there’s the battle that comes with basically making these ideas out there to the general public. Was that one thing you had been particularly acutely aware of, and did it ever make you need to maintain again in what you wished to share?
I feel that’s a very, actually good query. I actually didn’t give it some thought a lot on the time, as a result of making music normally for me has at all times been a really private course of and one thing that’s cathartic and permits me to get in contact with how I really feel about issues. In order that needed to exist first as an outlet for me to course of what was occurring. I didn’t plan on essentially releasing something particularly, and it solely got here grew to become clear because the months went on and I began to see a set of songs that might be assembled as a file that I began to understand, like, if I’m going to share any of this and put this out, I need to be very intentional in how I characterize all the things that I’m experiencing. Simply because these are massive themes that lots of people expertise in their very own methods, I feel, particularly with breakups.
I simply wished to verify additionally that I represented my relationship with my associate pretty, and though I used to be hurting a lot, and generally that bias of ache may be tremendous slender – you realize, perhaps you’re indignant with the opposite individual, no matter it’s, you need to lean into simply the “What the fuck?” component of this all. I had mainly limitless time to say or make no matter I wished on this pandemic, and so I undoubtedly realized that I wished to make it clear that, you realize, I actually care about this individual. And though we’re kind of parting methods, and it’s altering, that like, love is what permits this to occur, proper? As a result of I like myself, we have now to vary the best way our relationship is. And I wished to construct one thing that felt prefer it was acknowledging all of the facets of our relationship and the truth that this was all performed out of affection, even when there’s a number of ache induced initially.
By way of sharing that, I didn’t actually plan on that till lots later. However now, because it’s all about to return out, there’s undoubtedly a little bit of like, I do know I don’t need to put it out, nobody’s making me and I need to do it, however it’s actually a bit scary, simply being that susceptible with whoever comes throughout it.
What’s on the opposite facet of that worry for you, that makes it price it?
One factor I come again to, which was what I spotted because it began to change into a set, was that this is a chance for me in nevertheless small of a method to not solely be trustworthy about my very own private expertise, however the highest aim for any of these things is that it might be useful to another person. And a number of the stuff that I’ve been confronted with, particularly round my gender identification, comes from – at this stage of my life, being 26 now, it’s like, my life may have in all probability seemed lots otherwise if I had had a vocabulary round gender identification and gender variance, and simply being conscious of any of that. And I had no training about any of that stuff after I was rising up. And so, if this might be useful to youthful individuals or individuals my age or any age, particularly in that regard, that makes all of the vulnerability and the scariness for me personally price it. As a result of I simply don’t need anybody to need to form of do it the best way I did it, in some methods, you realize?
I feel the methods through which all this comes via lyrically are fairly clear, however I used to be additionally curious concerning the musical facet of it, or the musical vocabulary that you simply use to evoke that have. For instance, there are references to feeling unusual or like your physique belongs to a stranger, and I used to be questioning how a lot you wished the sound of the file particularly to replicate that feeling.
I feel sonically, I veered into no matter it was that inflicting me to – whether or not it was angst or confusion, or only a basic dissonance with what’s occurring in my physique and in my thoughts – it form of simply furthered my need to have issues sound dissonant at instances and to create sonic stress. So, like in that music the place that lyric resides [‘quinn’], there’s this fucked-up synth line that’s form of pitchy and never very fairly. And I really feel like components like that all through the file helped me really feel snug in a few of that – effectively, it’s a discomfort, nevertheless it felt like an trustworthy illustration of the expertise. After which additionally simply via distortion and the rock component of issues – every time that does shine via, that is also meant to be a cathartic kind of launch. I really feel like rock normally has given me an outlet simply to let your soul scream a little bit bit, even should you’re not actually doing it. It’s like, there’s a lot shit in everybody’s life and collectively and it may be actually overwhelming, and it in all probability is productive in only a primitive sense to let it go. And generally that appears like an exclamation mark within the sonic format.
‘ghosts’ is the music that involves thoughts, as a result of it is without doubt one of the heavier moments on the album. Was that music particularly cathartic so that you can file?
Yeah, I feel so. Only a massive sure. I used to be like, this wants an enormous sound as a result of it’s a tidal wave of emotion for me. That’s an occasion the place I leaned extra on the instrumentation standpoint than perhaps a lyrical one.
I really did need to dig into the lyrics of the music a bit. I apologize that that is going to be a long-winded query, however in an announcement concerning the music, you said that writing ‘ghosts’ got here with the conclusion that you’re and can at all times be sufficient, though the lyrics counsel that you simply really feel the alternative. And the observe ends with line “You’re treading water, staring again at me,” which made me consider a music referred to as ‘I Tread Water’ by an artist referred to as Fell From the Tree, from their album ENOUGH, which is about transitioning throughout the pandemic. One a part of that music goes, “Tread water haven’t thought of tomorrow/ I’ve tried however I gained’t be sufficient.” And so, making that connection had me questioning how a lot, for you, realising that you’re sufficient was a results of seeing exterior of your self and seeing how many individuals share these emotions – and likewise seeing exterior the longer term or the previous to deal with the current, if that is sensible.
Yeah, completely. A willingness to take a look at what’s occurring now and realise that that’s worthy of consideration.
Initially, this music, I’ve by no means heard of or seen this, however I simply saved it to my month-to-month playlist so I’ll undoubtedly take heed to it. That’s fascinating – these parallels are actually fascinating. Thanks for bringing that to my consideration.
That sentiment [of being enough] even is one which I discovered from the surface world, after which was like, “Oh, what if that is true for me?” [laughs] And actually, simply having it not imply something or simply be too complicated to grasp, which is unhappy, as a result of it shouldn’t be a troublesome factor to grasp. However from the place I used to be at, it actually was laborious to consider that about myself. I’m nonetheless working in direction of internalising that sentiment in a very deep, foundational method. And I feel I’ve come a great distance in even the final yr in doing that, however I’ve an extended method to go. And that reminder, with the ability to see that within the exterior world and see individuals lead from a spot of self-love, and the way further-reaching that may be by way of the influence that you would be able to have with one other individual, how related your relationships may be – that’s been fairly eye opening. It’s like, I believed I knew and understood lots earlier than this final yr and a half, however since then I really feel like one of many greatest issues I’ve discovered is that you need to begin with your self first. It nonetheless feels counterintuitive, particularly in case your aim is to attach with different individuals, serve others, be there for others. However actually, you can not present up for others within the fullest sense with out having a deep understanding and relationship with your self, and that sense that you’re worthy of being right here simply as a lot as everybody else. This stuff are very new to me [laughs].
It’s been inspiring to attach myself with individuals – whether or not I’ve been fortunate sufficient for that to return in my life straight or I’ve sought out queer communities particularly, the place there’s a precedence on having a relationship with oneself as a place to begin to have the ability to join with others. I’ve recognized as queer for over 10 years, however I didn’t realise there was such a group within the exterior world for that kind of philosophy and way of life. That’s simply been my tackle a number of queer philosophy and activism particularly, is like, it has to begin on the particular person degree – the eye, the care, the priority, the upkeep – and that’s one thing I’ve completely discovered from different individuals who have come earlier than me.
And that philosophy, I feel, additionally makes its method into the album. I’m considering, for instance, of the road “Love shouldn’t be a query/ It’s the reply that’s protecting us alive,” which pertains to a selected scenario but additionally feels a part of a common framework. Had been you occupied with these issues when writing that music, ‘first time’?
Yeah. That’s such a great pull, too, that you simply simply thought up. [laughs] I feel I acknowledged that going via this inquiry of self, by way of my gender identification, was from a spot of really desirous to have a deeper relationship with myself for the primary time ever. And there’s totally different sorts of suppression and self-denial earlier than that time, the place I wasn’t even keen to ask the query – it’s not like I’d figured lots out and been like, “I don’t just like the outcomes, so I’m not going to go along with this.” It’s like, I wouldn’t even spend the time to ask myself what I wished for myself. As a result of I assume it simply conflicted with sure beliefs, cultural and societal, that I’d kind of simply absorbed. And after I realised that core components of my identification weren’t really according to what I had perhaps envisioned for myself, and particularly what the surface world was telling me and messaging to me that my position was – largely as only a cis individual, primarily based on my look – realising that that truly was not in step with how I felt at a deepest degree about who I’m, was one thing to essentially reckon with.
However over the course of the file and making all these choices primarily based out of self-love, I acknowledged that like, “Wow, it is a lot of shit to explode in your private life and alter and I don’t need to lose this relationship and I don’t need individuals to have to regulate and tackle me otherwise and it’s gonna be more durable for them.” However all of that, all of these asks and people modulations of my actuality had been popping out of a spot of lastly simply being keen to offer myself the eye and love that I had been additionally giving to the individuals I cherished the closest for years. So I feel I undoubtedly was realising like, “Oh, that is what self-love seems to be like. And this ache that’s induced from this relationship ending, it actually couldn’t be coming from a greater place.” And that music was particularly meant to remind myself and my ex-partner of that. It’s form of like a thanks, and like, “I like you. I’ll at all times love you. I like you, and that is what it seems to be like now.”
Do you are feeling like self-love has form of been the lesson of this complete expertise, or do you assume that there’s additionally a secret lesson that hasn’t perhaps hit you but?
I feel that the latter is solely potential. Typically it may be actually laborious for me to make sense of all the things that’s occurred, and I’m nonetheless completely processing, therapeutic, and grieving from that relationship ending, all of the whereas I’m studying the best way to exist on the earth now as a extra genuine model of myself. So perhaps the key lesson lies someplace in the best way to most authentically continue to grow, as a result of I really feel like I’m simply on the beginning.
Is that one thing that you simply relate to the album title, Possibly Subsequent Time?
Yeah, completely. I like that title as a result of it was one thing my ex-partner really caught in my lyric and was like, “That’s what you need to identify the file.” I favored it as a result of it may be interpreted in a number of methods and it simply feels so evocative to me emotionally, however now that I’m out of it a little bit bit and I’ve a greater understanding of what all of it meant, I feel an important interpretation that I’ve of that phrase is that, now that I get that is all primarily based on self-love and pursuing a deeper relationship with myself, I’ve good cause – and I’m not naturally optimistic, however I’ve good cause to assume that it is a basically good method to be working on the earth and interacting with different individuals. And so due to this fact, I’ve good cause to consider that relationships that I make sooner or later, and simply connections and experiences I’ve, shall be as full as they may probably be. It’s like, we by no means hit that enlightenment level, nevertheless it’s all in pursuit of that.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.