sky ferreira on masochism and much, much more
The singer opens up about her new album.
Photography Sandy Kim
It's easy to feel like you "know" Sky Ferreira. The combat boot clad indie pop-rock singer who was discovered through MySpace when she was fourteen years old has always has an intimate connection to her fans. For one, she actually replies to comments left on her Instagram and Twitter. "People think they actually know me but they don't," Ferreira told i-D from Portland, Oregon where her boyfriend's band DIIV was playing a show. She'll make her way down to Los Angeles later this week to perform at Sundance NextFest, an event that pairs movies with musical acts at the Ace Hotel. Ferreira will perform after a screening of Mistress America starring Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke. We chatted with the singer about her upcoming album Masochism, the fans she's had since she was sixteen, and her complicated relationship with the Internet over the years.
You've been working on a new album--how will it be different from Night Time, My Time?
I think what's different about it, well, I'm having a lot more fun. There's pressure obviously, a lot, but I'm not taking it how I did the first time. You know how people have that pressure for their second album? I had that for my first album. It's still intense, but there isn't this big build up in my head. Also after all the setbacks last time, I'm having more fun writing.
I was writing lyrics for the past two years while I was touring, but I needed a little bit of space. I needed to live my life outside of touring. I couldn't write a record about that. Like I was in a van, tour bus and plane the whole time. It's weird and isolating in that sense. It's like I'm around so many people and then suddenly stuck in a hotel room by myself. That was a bit much. I feel like this one is weirdly more personal. Last time I was talking about things that were happening to me more than how I feel. This time it's more from the perspective of myself, the emotions more than the situations I'm in.
So did you come up with the album title Masochism before writing the music?
Yeah, I always knew that was going to be the title. It's so funny because last time I didn't have the album title until I wrote Night Time My Time and I was like, 'OK, that's the album title.' But forever in every interview people would ask, "What's the album title?" and I felt pressured from publicists and the label, like, "You have to have an album title" so I just gave random ones. This was the complete opposite. It clicked.
Do you feel like it's a theme in the songs?
A bit. But I don't mean it as a sexual thing. But, then again, that's never what it meant to me anyway.
You started out on MySpace and the internet has been important in your career so far. Has that relationship changed at all over the past few years?
No, I announced my album title that way. I didn't even mean to announce it really. It wasn't an accident but that's always how I've always done it. I do it directly. I don't have press releases.
[In 2013] I put [the words] 'Night Time, My Time' in my bio and a blogger spotted it, Bradley Stern, who I actually really like. He left a comment asking [if it was the album title] and I was like, 'Yep! That's right.'
But the thing is, I got signed through MySpace so I've always had a very personal connection with my fans. I still have the same fans I had when I was 16 for that reason.
You do? How do you know?
Because I talk to them. I mean not on the phone, but they comment on your stuff and after so many years you recognize the person. I think that's also the weird thing--I'm pretty private about stuff. I only say what I want to say, if I have something to say. I don't talk for the sake of talking. So I feel like because of that my fans feel very connected to me because I've always had direct contact with them. Sometimes people think they actually know me but they don't.
Has that led to any bad situations?
Not bad, just frustrating. People have so many perspectives on who I am based on what I've chosen to share on social media. I mostly talk about personal things through my music. I'm also a very sensitive person. It's intense for me.
You and Miley Cyrus went on tour last year. It seems like a good match. You're both young female pop stars who do things the way you want to do them. Do you think we'll see more of that from pop artists in the future?
Yeah, because you're able to have a voice on the Internet. You don't have to go through your label all the time. You label still has a lot of control and political bullshit frankly but that's how I've made anything happen that I want, by publicly saying it. If I had to depend on other people it would never get done. But money still talks.
You're performing at Sundance NextFest this weekend alongside the new movie Mistress America. What's your favorite movie?It depends on how I feel, you know? I love David Lynch. He's my number one. I like Jeff Nichols work. I think he's really great. And obviously David Fincher.
Text Austen Leah Rosenfeld
Photography Sandy Kim