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Big Girl

20th June 2023

Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Photo Credit:  BMILLZ 

Recently dropping their latest track 'Forever'. We got to chat to the lead vocalist, Kaitlin about creating the song, working on the music video with 13 Reason Why star, Brandon Flynn and what we can expect from the new album 'Big Girl vs. GOD'

Big Girl! Thank you so much for taking your time to chat to us! Congratulations on your new single ‘Forever’. How excited are you to have this new track out for your fans to hear?

Majorly excited! And nervous! The track and video for “Forever” are the most vulnerable pieces of art I’ve ever made and I’m incredibly proud of the result. I have such a tender spot for “Forever”, which is the third song on our upcoming album ‘Big Girl vs. GOD’. I wrote it shortly after my mother had a stroke. She passed away in August 2021. It’s got this aching, yearning, repetitive guitar riff; floating, weightless, pedal-steel guitar lines; and a nostalgic, tinkling piano; paired with powerful yet vulnerable vocals; and all too relatable grief soaked lyrics. I wanted it to feel like a bruise. 

I’ve never written a song that elicited such strong emotional responses from people. One of the first people I showed it to was a bandmate who was going through a break up at the time, and we ended up crying on the floor together. There are people who come to Big Girl’s shows regularly who cry every time we play it or have to exit the room when we play Forever because it makes them too emotional. Old friends from high school have come into my life again to help create the music video for Forever as a labor of love including our director Brandon Flynn, Renata Pereira Lima, Jean Louis Droulers, and Rafael Lorié – many of whom knew my mother. 

I’ve listened to the single and I love it! I can hear the power in your voice when you scream out ‘Forever’. What was the process like for creating this single?

The writing process was incredibly raw. I wrote all the lyrics and melody while walking to work every day, while my mom was in the ICU, and I was stuck in this terrible limbo – not sure if my mother would survive, being encouraged by family not to take off work in the hopes that my mother would live and eventually my father would need my help with her rehabiliation back at home. The things we do out of desperation. A kind of optimism. I worked at a music school that was twenty minutes to and from the train. I spent forty minutes a day for about a week, walking and writing those lyrics. 

I was at our practice space in Bushwick, sitting on the floor, completely distraught and overwhelmed with grief when Big Girl’s guitarist & producer Crispin Swank encouraged me to try a pass at recording Forever as a demo. I think he thought it would be therapeutic, and he knows how much I love a goal. So we recorded the first demo of Forever, and wrote backing vocal parts and nailed down that slippery silvery guitar line. So much of the arrangement came together in that pivotal moment. 

For the album, we recorded the core rhythm parts of Forever with Phil Duke at a studio in Bushwick and recorded the overdubs including the lead vocal with Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab Studio in Northampton, MA. I was wearing my mom’s Billie Holiday t-shirt and her old subway token around my neck on a chain while I recorded the vocal part. Justin totally understood the emotional atmosphere we wanted to create with this song and helped coach me to getting there vocally – finding the right balance of vulnerable and powerful. 

Now let’s talk about this iconic music video. The music video was directed by 13 Reasons Why star, Brandon Flynn. The video is so good showing old footage and mixing it with new footage and then having that twist of you being teleported in to the old footage! What was it like teaming up with Brandon and creating this video?

It was a total dream working with Brandon. It felt kind of cosmic how it all came together. Brandon being a dear friend from highschool, who knew my mom, we have this intimate rapport that made it very easy for us to bounce ideas while we were still dreaming up the core concept of the video. That stage of the process was so fun – it was like we were solving a mystery… we knew this video existed in us, we just had to think and think and research and talk and erase and edit until the shape of it finally appeared. Much coffee was consumed. 

Further, working on this video was instrumental in helping me process my grief. We created a language for my grief with this video. Grief can be such a lonely thing. Such an inexplicable deep black hole you’re falling into while life continues around you. I was so thankful for this prompt, essentially externalizing my grief, turning it over, observing it, holding it and being held by my friends who I’ve known for what feels like Forever throughout the process. 

Check out the music video to 'Forever' by Big Girl & Directed by Brandon Flynn

At the end of the month you’re releasing your debut album ‘Big Girl vs. GOD’. What can we expect from this album?

Soaked in grief and TV static, Big Girl vs. GOD is a cathartic and captivating debut record Big Girl’s lead singer, Kaitlin Pelkey, wrote while coping with the loss of her mother. The track list features hot-headed badass bangers such as “Instructions 2 Say Sorry”, “Cadillacs”, and “Mother Tongue”, heartbreaking odes to grief including “Summer Sickness” and the standout third track, a ballad called “Forever”, as well as a couple of otherworldly pieces in a category all their own including “Black-Eyed Susan” “Big Car Full of Mistakes” and a stripped down apocalyptic lullaby called “it’s so pure”. 

Big Girl vs. GOD is a collection of personal stories and intimate reflections on life and loss that unearth poignant insights on inherited trauma, grief, mental health, climate change, and coping with life in the digital age. The music splices together indie-rock vulnerability and deep savory grooves with irreverent punkish energy to create their own hybrid. The result is an expansive and deeply intimate debut record with a moving story, powerful emotionally-raw vocals at the center, and a backbone of primal lived-in rock n’ roll.

Do you have any dream collaborations?

I’m so bad at these kinds of questions. I think it would be cool *af* if Sarah Tudzin from Illuminati Hotties produced our next record. I also just love collaborating all the time. For our record release I’m having a bunch of friends from different bands in Brooklyn sing with us to create a sort of scrappy choir. That was a dream! But we’re doing it! Collaboration is the highest form of art IMO! That’s how Forever turned into the animal that it is now – collaborating with such powerful and passionate creative forces. I don’t think of collaboration so much as a dream, it’s not, it’s right there! It’s more fun this way.  

Lastly, have you got any messages you would like to say to your ReVamp readers?

Yes! Hello! Pleased to meet you. Big Girl vs. GOD is out on June 30, 2023! It’s got heart. Listen if you like things like that. Our album release show is on July 27, 2023 at Baby’s Alright and we’re gonna take it too far! Scrappy choir included. Tickets here 

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