Check out our interview with upcoming band Powerlines!
1) Hey Powerlines! Thanks for interviewing with Indie Witches. How did Powerlines come to be?
Thank you for the opportunity! I’ll (Deanna) be answering on behalf of the project, and I am so happy that Indie Witches is my very first interview as an artist!
The original members of Powerlines all met while in school at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. The original bassist, Matt DiIonno, was an RA in my dorm building my freshmen year and heard me singing in the lounge while I was playing the piano. After he introduced himself to me, he said he wanted me to meet his friends in the band he was putting together. A few nights later, while I was walking into the building from one of my many college adventures, Matt was at the front desk with Tyler Anderson and his guitar. Tyler started strumming House of The Rising Sun and asked me to sing. After I did I remember Matt saying something along the lines of, “She’s the missing piece,” and sure enough, a few days later we all got together to jam with our original drummer, Christian Negri, and we wrote our first song that day.
2) Deanna, do you feel there is a stigma attached to being the “frontwoman” in an all male band/industry? What are some challenges you’ve faced or have conquered on this topic?
There is definitely an unfortunate stigma attached to, not just being a "front woman," but being a female musician or a female aspiring to work in the music industry in general. As a female in an all male band, I have been so fortunate to find guys that respect and support me, and I think every female musician, and really anyone, should never sacrifice that when collaborating. I have experienced various ranges of sexism while being a female vocalist, which have included snide comments from venue staff before sets as well as being totally taken advantage of while contributing vocals and lyrics to songs. Also, as I have been booking and hosting shows for the past few years, I've experienced male musicians and show promoters that are entirely rude and refuse to take me seriously. It can get really frustrating especially when I put the entire show together and am offering my space, time, and energy. It has seemed entirely unavoidable, but as I've grown, I've only gotten stronger and I've realized that the only way to combat this is by standing my ground and continuing to do my thing (performing, show hosting, interning, etc.). And doing it well.
3) What advice would you give to other women in the industry?
DON'T GIVE UP. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP. USE YOUR VOICE. ACCEPT THE WAY YOUR MIND WORKS. DON'T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT TO ANYONE. WORK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. DO THE RESEARCH AND EXPLORE EVERYTHING. VISUALIZE YOUR SUCCESS. REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE LOVED AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. (All caps for emphasis on these.)
4) Who were your musical inspirations/favorite artists growing up?
Growing up I fell in love with pop/rock singers like Cher, Stevie Knicks, and during the height of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. "A Moment Like This," the song that was written for the finale of American Idol the year Kelly won it, was the song that my music teacher in elementary school asked me to sing my 5th grade our performance, and after I made a bunch of people in the audience cry real tears with the power of my voice, I knew I had tapped into something special. I've been singing ever since.
5) How has your music evolved since you first started?
As I've been, ya know, living life, I've become interested in a wide range of genres, so my writing and vocal style has constantly been changing as I've been growing. I can write a pop hook for days and days, but I have also been more interested lately with stepping out of that vein and working on experimenting to find different ways for my voice to compliment different styles of music.
6) Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
This process always varies. Sometimes I'll just be walking around and I'll hear melodies in my head, or maybe I'll read something that will inspire lyrics, and a song will grow from there. When I'm writing with Tyler, the guitarist of Powerlines and one of my best friends, he will usually come to me with a riff and I'll start singing the first melodies that come naturally and I fill in the full lyrics later on. If I have already written lyrics, sometimes Tyler will play something and then I can immediately fit the words I've written into a melody.
Tyler and I wrote "Supermoon," two years while we were sitting on a blanket in the grass outside my apartment. I had my astronomy notes open because I wanted to write about the stars and that night we were supposed to see a super moon. It came together really quickly and naturally just by using my notes from class as inspiration.
7) What is your favorite venue you have played?
My favorite venue I've played has been with Powerlines at Maxwell's Tavern in Hoboken. We played three shows there and every show was not only a blast, but the venue was cool and the staff loved us. It's a shame that it recently closed. Powerlines actually played Maxwell's very last show.
8) What is your spirit animal?
9) Who are you currently listening to?
Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Nai Palm (her vocal style amazes me), Shakey Graves, Kississippi, Florence & the Machine (the new album is stunning), Phoebe Bridgers (especially a Manchester Orchestra cover she did recently- I'm obsessed with it), Mitski (really amped for her new record), Tom Misch (also obsessed with his grooves), the new Now, Now album (love it), new Kaytranada features (99.9% is one of my favorite albums), The Fearless Flyers (slaps), and Blood Orange, just to name a few.
I also work in a record store, so I listen to TONS of albums and some of my favorite discoveries have been Herbie Hancock's "Head Hunters," Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother," The Stooges' "FunHouse," and a De La Soul's single called "Say No Go." Again, just to name a few!
10) Any upcoming shows? Where is the best place for fans to follow you?
We're currently planning a release show for the first Powerlines EP! We don't know where or when yet, but it's gonna go down! The best place to follow us is on Facebook and Instagram. Tyler and I run the Instagram so we get really silly on there.