"My mom is teaching me to sew during the quarantine and have been sewing masks for people and donating them. I have made about 300 so far" We chat with Katie Toupin
2018's EP, Moroccan Ballroom, announced Katie Toupin's return to releasing music that she really cemented with 2019's excellent Magnetic Moves long-player. We caught up with Katie to check out what she's up to in lockdown and find out more about her album.
Hey Katie, how’s your day going?
Just getting going. Sitting in bed and drinking coffee :)
So... where are you right now?
I’m at my moms in Lexington, KY where I have been riding this out.
Tell us a bit about you, what do you do for fun?
I try not to do anything that isn’t fun! Obviously I make music and that is fun. But outside of music, I have my dog Cheeto who is always up to play. I exercise almost daily in some way, whether with my trainer Ashley Borden (over Zoom). I ride horses. I love watching movies and new shows! I even got to star in a short film last year which was an amazing experience. During the quarantine, I got back into Call of Duty so that is my current guilty pleasure. My mom is teaching me to sew during the quarantine and have been sewing masks for people and donating them. I have made about 300 so far and on the side, I’m currently making myself a romper!
You released your debut solo album last year, what can you tell me about Magnetic Moves in two sentences?
It was from the heart and I’m proud of it. I wrote and produced the whole thing alone and that was a huge milestone for me as an artist.
What’s the story behind one of my favourite songs, ‘The Hills Are Calling’?
That is one of my favorites also! It is a song about infidelity but from the other side of infidelity. There’s always empathy for the cheated on person in these situations, but there’s no win. There’s pain that goes both ways. It was the first song I recorded for Magnetic Moves. I did it on a house show tour on a day off in Austin at the finishing school. After recording it knew I wanted to to make my record there with the people I recorded that song with. Alexis Mahler was on tour with me and played the cello parts which really make the song to me. There was a lyrical bridge for the song that didn’t seem to fit after we recorded it so I set Scott Davis loose and he created that very cool bridge. Josh Blue happened to have tablas in his car which was bizarre and perfect. I love that song!
I love the title track, can you tell me how it came about. And why you chose it as the title track?
I had that song for a few years and kept tweaking it. I must have recorded it 4-5 times before landing on the released version. It was called Dreaming for a long time. I love the words magnetic moves and it wasn’t until much later realized I had snagged them from 'To Ramona', the Bob Dylan song. But I love the idea of drawing attention to someone's magnetism. We all have it and we all should do what we can to learn to control it. It just seemed obvious for me to have it as a title track as it sort of encompasses the eclectic nature of the record.
If I only had three minutes, what song should I listen to from your album?
I CAN’T ANSWER THAT. The record truly is eclectic so it really depends on “who” you are.
What’s the key to writing a damn good song?
Get out of the way and let it write itself.
Has anything surprised you about the difference between being a solo artist and being part of a band?
A lot. In many ways it is much more difficult and in many ways it is much more rewarding. I think having to prove myself all over again was a surprise. But the ownership of the project is something I am extremely proud of and is irreplaceable. I love getting to surround myself with people I choose and it’s always positive vibes!
I usually ask, what have you got planned for the rest of 2020, but I’m not sure any of us know… so, what’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing most when things settle down?
Well I am scheduled to be on tour in the fall! We will see! I will be releasing a few more singles over the course of the year no matter what the case.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in general at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
I try to see it as a powerful position and not look too much at the difficult stuff. Like, I can stand out if I keep my head down and focus in on what I do. But the reality is, women have work twice as hard to get the same amount of respect. The plus side is we are few and far between so you can stand out if you are good at what you do. I pride myself on being a good performer and someone who can write hooks. I love the entertainment side of it all as much as the artistry side of it all. I feel like I have crossed a threshold with gaining respect in the industry, but it can still feel difficult. I still show up at gigs and people think I’m someone's girlfriend in the band. But at this point I just laugh! How silly it all is!
Have you noticed a difference at all in the last couple of years?
I’m not sure.
Can you give us a taste of the kind of music you listen to in your spare time?
I am truly all over the map. I can listen to Billy Holiday, Shania Twain, Jack Harlow, Van Morrison, Father John Misty, and The White Stripes in one sitting. It’s easy for me to find value in almost everything. Which made it difficult to bust out on my own. It took a while to settle in on my voice and as an artist, that is constantly moving and growing and changing. I try to stay in tune with that growth and go with it.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
My artists who have been on my Sunday live streams! This week it is Willie Watson!
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What is Cheeto doing right now? He’s guarding the bed.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
With cream. I like that sweet cream stuff.