Funky Soul-Pop From Nashville’s Poster Child On New EP, Super Nova, Out Today
I love a great groove, and funky grooves are plentiful on this new release from Nashville’s Poster Child. I talked to the band’s powerhouse lead singer Theresa Gorella and multi-instrumentalist/producer/engineer Andrew Royal about writing for this release, what drives them, and the story behind the video for “I Need Your Love”. I’ve been spinning tracks from Super Nova on The Local Brew Hour as they’ve been teasing us with singles leading up to the EP release today, listen for more this Sunday at 8am or Monday at 7pm at 89.5 WMOT.
AnaLee: Congratulations on releasing your new album, Super Nova today! I know it’s been a long time coming. Before we dive into the record, tell us about the band members and where the inspiration came from to put together such a groovy, funky sound?
Theresa: I grew up in California and Andrew grew up in Charleston. We both spent some time in the northeast and moved to Nashville around the same time. I like to say Craigslist brought us together. We were roommates for a little over 2 years. Funny enough, I moved to Nashville to be a country artist but didn’t really feel like it fit. Andrew moved in right around the time I was digging into Etta James, Grace Potter and Amy Winehouse. Andrew turned me on to artists like Sharon Jones, and Charles Bradley. We spent a lot of time listening to music and showing each other what we were working on. I showed him “Roll the Dice” and he started playing a guitar line. It was a lightbulb moment. Eventually, I’d hear a cool guitar riff coming through his bedroom door and I’d just kind of barge in and start working on it with him. It did take a long time to home in on a sound that felt like both of us. I grew up on Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift, while he listened to Radiohead and Portishead. When we wrote “Death Star Cadillac” it all sort of fell together. I feel like our sound is a true melding of Andrew’s and my creativity.
AnaLee: When I first met you several years ago at 3rd & Lindsley, I knew you as a server there and you were always so kind and a tad bit shy. When I found out you were a musician and heard the title song from your 2019 EP, “Death Star Cadillac”, I was completely knocked out by your voice and that groove. Powerful, playful and such a rich tone. Tell us about your journey as a singer from your early exploration of the craft to where you are now.
Theresa: I got a late start singing. I remember being around 5, sitting in the dentist chair and the hygienist asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told her, “a singer...duh” When they asked me to sing I got so embarrassed. I think I might’ve cried. I played saxophone in marching band and a little piano, but it took me moving to NYC to feel brave enough to start singing. I had a volleyball scholarship, and when I was a junior and could see that my athletic career was soon coming to an end, I threw myself into music. I took a voice class and my professor suggested I double major in music. From then on, I had 5 or 6 singing classes a week. I bought my 1st guitar and tortured my dorm mates. I was lucky enough that my volleyball scholarship carried over into a 5th year and I was able to spend an entire year learning as much as I could. Alan Bowers and Jan Douglas were my main voice teachers and I’m so incredibly grateful for the patience and kindness they showed me. Since then, I’ve used my voice as a way to show the most honest version of me, which can feel terribly hard some days and very rewarding others.
AnaLee: Celestial themes run throughout this collection of songs. What inspired the writing for Super Nova, and would you tell us about Poster Child’s writing and recording process? Is there a principal songwriter or are these songs group efforts? Where did you record it and who produced?
Andrew: Super Nova was really a direct product of living in a band house. In the spaces between daily life Theresa and I were always throwing things at the wall to see what stuck, and whenever something seemed good but not unique enough, I tended to throw in a monkey wrench - something wacky. The song, “Space Camp”, just started off as a really good feeling, Khruangbin-esque groove and I decided the wacky idea of the day was going to be a kid version of myself falling hopelessly in love with my Space Camp instructor - a totally fictional idea. I never went to Space Camp, but somehow the contrast of the intense, endearing nerdiness of space camp and romance was really funny to me. That one was actually a co-write between me and our other housemate Taylor, who we used to jam with quite a bit in that house. “Queen Bee “I wrote in the shower - where a lot of my best work gets done, and the rest Theresa and I co-wrote. The album was tracked by myself and close friend and collaborator, Nick Parades, in my home studio. I mixed and produced this one as well which is always super rewarding.
AnaLee: The song, “Falling Apart” has sort of a 60s feel to me with a little bit of a Steely Dan vibe too. Tell us about “Falling Apart.”
Andrew: Oh cool, yeah thank you! I love Steely Dan. Their song, Babylon Sisters, is one of my reference mixes for setting up a mix room. Falling Apart I wrote back in college about a 10-year long relationship that had just ended. I was listening to a lot of Grizzy Bear at the time, which I still love. Fast forward several years to, again, that seminal East Nashville band house experience - I’m in the garage vamping on it and Theresa comes in and helps me revamp the lyrics and melody to something a little more accessible - a little more us. The “60’s feel” you hear is definitely part of the updated arrangement.
AnaLee: The video for “I Need Your Love” is so fun. There’s a lot going on, it’s like a mini movie in three minutes! I noticed in the description that the characters names incorporate pieces of some of your previous song titles. Arianna Hodes is great as Becky. I love this video and song. Had you or Andrew ever directed a video before? Tell us about making it, who shot it and the concept behind it. Also, great job rhyming Fro-Yo and chateau!
Theresa: That Fro-Yo and Chateau line was all Andrew. He always comes up with the coolest and quirkiest lyrics. All of our album art is done by Tyler Champion. We’ve collaborated with him to create a universe where each of our songs tell part of a story about one night at Chateau Disco, a fictional club set in an alternate timeline in which Disco never died in 1979. The music video has a bunch of characters and moments from the album artwork, all interacting and playing out at once. I think Andrew and I spent a full week together losing our minds ironing out all the details for the treatment. We never have a huge budget, and we wanted to try our hand at directing so we called up a bunch of our friends and talked to some local restaurants and businesses for sets. 3rd and Lindsley and Swaney Swift’s generously donated their facilities. It was a party. I mean we were working our asses off trying to get everything right, but it was also just a great time with friends “I Need Your Love” is a sequel to the track, “Look In Your Eye” from the first album which tells the same story from a different perspective. The main story line follows Becky, meanwhile various sub plots play out among characters from the other works. Again, we basically had no budget, so we made sure we could use all the B roll as teasers for the other singles on the album. I knew Ariana would be amazing, but she truly went above and beyond. Andi Marie Tillman also perfectly embodied Queen Bee. It was really cool to see our actor friends in their element. In keeping with our obsession with vintage processes, the music video was shot on Super 8 (Kodak Vision3 500T in case anyone’s interested), by close friend and collaborator, Nick Parades. Kirsten Barnett helped with the lighting. Nick did all the video editing, and we could not have been happier with the result. We flew by the seat of our pants and somehow, our vision came together.
AnaLee: Do you have any shows around town, or a tour planned?
Andrew: We’re taking a little break from shows at the moment. I’m in the process of moving my studio from East Nashville to a little cabin wayyy out in the woods south of Nashville, so that’s been pretty time consuming. Plus, the focus lately has been on releasing this album, tracking the next one and all the administrative stuff that comes with being an independent band. So, at the moment the only thing we have scheduled is a little festival called Tree Tunes, put on by our good friend Luke Thacker, September 2nd. Some really cool artists on that line up. Come Fall though we should have more in-town and weekend warrior shows on the books, and we’ll be booking festivals more for next year as well.
“I Need Your Love”