I like random things. Asking random people random questions is a lot of fun. I recently did that with Josh Shernoff (@sosaysshernoff, you can read that here). Granted it was more than five questions, but the concept is the same.
Welcome to what I’m calling “5 questions for 5 people” Indi music edition! I will be asking 5 indie artists 5 questions each. We’re starting with one of my all-time favourite independent artists, Xarissa, who you may also see as Anna Xarissa James. Her songs are best described as “Chill”, I think. Her music isn’t heavy, it’s very light, and it’s all oh so very catchy. With songs like Popsicle Brain, which is one of my personal favourites, to Manic Pixie Nightmare with a very addicting beat, Xarissa is definitely what you would call an underrated musician.
I don’t use that word a lot, but once you listen to her, as of this writing, her latest song Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl, with phrases like “Paint me as your princess, darling I’m the villain.” and “Your dreams are always perfect wonderful and violent” this is easily one of her best songs. But before she was just “Xarissa”, she was also part of Retrolux. So if you’re looking to listen to all her songs, make sure to look up Retrolux as well as Xarissa. Also since this initial questioning, Xarissa announced her new single, Lunch Money, will be debuting on February 17th. So go do the thing, pre-save it, and stream it when it comes out!
Xarissa: Your Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl
Xarissa thank you so much for allowing me to interview you.
Growing up, who was your musical inspiration?
-Taylor swift was the reason I started playing guitar and writing songs, so I loved her when I was little. In college, I was obsessed with the 2014 Charli XCX. Her stage presence is iconic. I still love her. Now, I really love the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys so I pull a lot of inspiration from them mixed with Ashe.
I loved Charli XCX, her songs were so catchy. Her music was still in that awkward CD/Online age, but in this day and age of almost all digital streaming, in your opinion, does doing local shows and handing out physical copies of your media help your and other artists’ music get out there more than solely online?
– I don’t know. I don’t do that haha. I think online is the main priority, especially since Spotify streams and online numbers are what everyone looks at to determine your worth as an artist.
I guess Spotify numbers are the new “CD Sales”. Amazing how things change so fast! So, Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl is your latest as of this writing, and the song is absolute fire. I know I play it before every Twitch stream. When you write songs like Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl or any song portraying a character, what helps you get in the song’s “character” headspace to write?
-Thank you so much! I actually was the manic pixie nightmare girl for a while, haha. I really connected with the title when I made it the caption of an Instagram photo when I was in a dark place, and I really embodied that “character/mood” for a good year. I’m glad I’m out of there, and I love that I turned it into art.
Sometimes that helps to be in that headspace to inspire you to not only get out, but to create something new. On that note of creating something new, if you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice that she absolutely had to follow, no matter how crazy it might sound, what would it be?
– Practice guitar scales so that you can shred when you’re older (I did not practice and I cannot shred lol).
You’re better than me, I don’t even know how to play the guitar! So the last question, I’ve seen you also are a dog walker. What’s your favourite breed of dog?
– I love pit bulls and beagles 🙂 but I love them all so much. I’m weirdly obsessed with dogs. If I think about them as a whole for long enough, I can make myself cry lol
I love Pit Bulls, they get such a bad reputation, but every pitbull I worked with has been the sweetest dog I’ve ever encountered. Thank you for your time!