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Interview + Playlist: Libby Larkin

Photo by: @ewood

Singer/songwriter Libby Larkin describes herself as a verified fool, but in the case of her latest EP, L|A, it’s safe to say she was simply fooled. After catching her best friend and her ex in a secret affair on tape, she channeled the betrayal into four melancholic pop grooves. Larkin serves emotional intensity with a distinct bright airiness on this project that’s one big beautifully packaged ‘fuck you.’

Don’t get it twisted though, although the EP is totally a sonic slapback, Larkin is far too dynamic to be fit into one idea. Her songwriting is as catchy as it is deep and her vocal is as sultry as it is strong. Each song covers personal ground in clever ways, at times slipping into her natural comedic side, speaking her truth into the mic, and even fully exposing her heartbreakers with distorted snippets of the recording that started it all.

We spoke with Larkin about how she’s coped with the pain of this event through her comedy and continuously creating. Read on to hear about her writing process, dive deeper into the story, and get advice for experiencing heartbreak as a queer person. She also shares a playlist of her inspirations for the EP and talks about her podcast that stemmed from this EP called, “Here for the Heartbreak.” Clearly, she’s doing real fine without the fools that fooled her, and that is the ultimate revenge.

Written by: Deanna DiLandro

1) At what point did you know you needed to record your ex and your best friend? Why do you think they chose to hide the truth from you?

There were so many red flags as soon as I landed in LA. The way they would look at each other and the energy that they were emitting towards me. My gut was screaming the whole time I was around them and I finally just snapped. They claim they didn’t want to tell me because of my depression, which I know now is some serious gaslighting, but they honestly didn’t want to lose me from their life. Which sure is sweet and all but the damage they caused to my mental health after this whole experience was unbelievably difficult to move on from.

2) Who is having the conversation with you about the recording you took of your ex and best friend on this EP and how did that conversation strengthen your decision to move on from these people who hurt you?

The person I’m having a conversation with is my best friend from college Satya. Their artistry name is Satyam. They truly were my rock during this whole break up. They supported me throughout all the highs and lows of the creative process. Creating this EP was extremely intense so I’m grateful for the support I received from my creative team.

3) Who were some of your musical influences when making L|A?

I had so many influences for this project and I added them all on my playlist “Fuck L|A”. My top ones would have to be bülow, Fletcher, Noah Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Cigarettes After Sex, and Lennon Stella.

4) What was your writing process for this EP? How did you choose which parts of the recording to include throughout?

I actually went upstate to stay with my two good friends Zeno Piteralli and Alyssa Demarco (acdemarco) . They produced and co-wrote the project with me along with my songwriting partner Joe Wood (Elegy). The writing process was extremely emotional and definitely brought up a lot of intense realizations about the relationship that I simply ignored because I was blinded by lust. I sat there and re-listened to the recording and picked out the parts and gutted me the most. Definitely abused my psyche during that section of the creative process but once we began writing and recording, it was unbelievably therapeutic.

5) How has putting this project together helped you heal?

It was therapeutic to piece everything together and really face how incredibly toxic these two people were for my life. Not to mention how toxic I was in their life as well. This whole experience was a blessing in disguise. Once it released to the public it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was so terrified to release something so intense and vulnerable but now that I faced that fear I feel more empowered than ever.

6) How do you think the people exposed in L|A reacted when hearing this music?

Oh they reacted very poorly and so did all of their friends, but what did I expect? I received a lot of threats. I regret nothing about this EP because I know that it not only helped me but it brought a ton of comfort to others who have gone through a similar situation. I altered their voices and never exposed their names to protect their privacy, but on release day they were the ones that called themselves out on being the voices in the recording. So at that point I took matters into my hands and mended all I could on my end by replacing the audio in the EP and took accountability for my actions. They on the other hand have not taken accountability for their actions and I’ve made peace knowing that I’ll never receive the apology that my heart wanted many months ago. Closure doesn’t exist. No one owes you anything and sometimes you have to find closure on your own. I’m lucky to have found closure through making this EP.

7) Your natural tendency to use your gift for comedy (as seen on your TikTok & beyond) is reflected in small bits throughout the EP. How does this part of yourself help you cope with grief and even anxiety?

Comedy has always been my coping mechanism. I’ve learned to not hide behind it like I did when I was younger but it definitely has made this healing process a lot easier. I started a comedy podcast called “Here for the Heartbreak” where I bring guests on to tell their heartbreak tales and we dissect them and find the lighter bits in all the darkness. I believe it's important to be grateful for your lows because there are so many lessons you learn through your hardships. Trust that you're going to come out the other end stronger. You shouldn’t wallow away in your self pity and grief. I'm not saying to suppress or run from your feelings. I think you should take time to feel all your emotions, but at some point you're going to have to look at your situation from a more optimistic point of view.

8) As we know heartbreak is universal, but there isn’t a ton of this representation in music for the queer community. As a queer identifying person, how do you hope this EP resonates for others in the same position?

The EP was obviously healing for me, but that wasn’t my only goal. I had a video that featured one of the songs on the EP called “To My Face” go viral on TikTok and reading the comments of how many queer people have experienced the exact situation was insane! The situation I found myself caught in happens all the time, so knowing I made something that helped others brought me and my team so much happiness.

9) After all of this, how do you trust again? How do you begin to trust others and your own judgement after being lied to at length?

I don’t know to be honest. I hate relying so much on the phrase “time heals everything”, but I think that's the best answer I can give right now. I already had so many trust issues before this situation and now I think I need to embrace the art of letting go of fear and not projecting my past traumas onto my future relationship. That can be done through therapy, becoming more self aware, being patient with myself, and communicating with my future partner. I know I’m definitely going to take some time to be alone and not jump straight into another relationship. I think everyone needs to take a significant amount of time in solitude so they can face their fear of being alone and learn to truly love themselves.

10) How will your podcast “Here for the Heartbreak” shed light on relationships that have fallen a part?

The platform is there to make sure no one feels like they’re alone in their struggle or pain. There's something comforting knowing another human is experiencing similar hardships. I want the listeners to experience moments of reflection and to have a light laugh in the mist of their heartbreak. I also have so much fun doing this podcast and so do my guests so honestly it's a win, win across the board.

11) What is your biggest advice to others who have been betrayed by people they love?

Forgiveness doesn’t make you weak. You’re forgiving them for yourself not for them. You're not punishing them by holding onto resentment you’re only punishing yourself. Focus on yourself and your healing. Don’t look at their social media, block them, and practice letting go of your false idea of them. It's okay to not be okay. Be patient with your healing process and your growth. Just know you’re not alone. You deserve love and you deserve respect. Also if you get to a place in your relationship where you feel that desperate need to cross the incredibly, invasive boundary of secretly recording your partner or friends to get the truth, don’t. You should probably take that gut instinct as a sign to end the relationship and move on.

12) What’s next for Libby Larkin? In music? In life?

Right now I am focusing on my songwriting career. I typically only release music under my artistry name when something pivotal is occurring in my life. My dream is to be a songwriter for others so that's going to be my main hustle. I'm moving to California for the summer so I’m super excited for that journey. I might release a couple singles but not for a couple months. The world is filled with so many opportunities at the moment so I'm going to take a leap into a bunch of new experiences and see what I learn about myself and what the universe has planned for me


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