Amelia Day is a singer-songwriter from Sumner, WA and a senior at Vanderbilt University. Citing queer folk titans like Tracy Chapman, Brandi Carlile, and The Indigo Girls as influences, Day presents confessional songwriting with an indie pop-rock punch. On Wednesday, April 17th, she makes her major venue debut at EXIT/IN with her backing band, The Cloves.

Holt Templeton (HT): I gotta say, you’re an incredibly erudite songwriter. In addition to other songwriters, are there any poets or writers that influence you outside of music? 

Amelia Day (AD): That’s a great question – I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that before. It’s always [about] what other artists that I really love. I mean, this is a pretty classic answer, but I do genuinely love Emily Dickinson. I think she’s masterful at being concise with language and still getting across some really, really deep, impactful ideas. And that’s something that in songwriting is huge because you have a very limited space, especially if you’re writing a pop song. 

Also, I love Fleur Adcock. I love her use of the bizarre associations between images and how these different visual images make you feel, even if they aren’t really associated together in a single scene. They’re still emotionally cohesive and she plays a lot with that concept. It reminds me of if Fiona Apple was like a poet. 

Oh, and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, is probably the best book I’ve read in the past couple of years. 

HT: Yes! I love that book. 

AD: I’m just blown away by it. It’s tooled in a very fragmented style, even though it’s more chronological… I definitely want to experiment with some of that kind of fragmentation technique, even in my songwriting. I mean, Phoebe Bridgers kind of does a similar thing where she’ll take a bunch of disparate images and put them next to each other and you’ll get something new out of these little vignettes.

HT: It almost feels more honest than artificially constructed linear memories.

AD: Absolutely. Memory is fragmented — especially traumatic memories. There are some blank spots in places, and then some things that are just crystallized. You don’t walk through memory like a path, you kind of jump back and forth between different years. 

I felt In the Dream House was a very realistic depiction of what remembering a traumatic event is like, which is powerful. So yeah, those are some of my favorite writers and poets. 

HT: One of the reasons I’m looking forward to the EXIT/In show is to see how you translate the kind of delicate, baroque pop arrangements you have on your record into a live setting. I’d love to hear a little bit about that process.

AD: Oh, my gosh, that’s actually something I enjoy. To structure a live show you really need to think about it like an album. You’re not just putting all the most popular songs together, you’re making it say something together as a concept with a consistent flow throughout. 

You need to be concise in a recording, but in a live setting, you can be improvisational with it. I love trying different solo lines and letting my guys in the band put their own mark on the music. We can take an extra 16 bars here, just on this groove because people are really into it and are dancing around. 

William Yuk (WY): My first exposure to the songs on that Little One EP was actually at your live performance a year ago… Relistening to them recently, I can clearly remember that when you were playing “Therapist’s Wet Dream,” a bunch of people started bursting out of the Macarena out of nowhere. Do you remember that?

AD: Oh my gosh, you can’t beat house show energy man. Yes, I do remember that. That was  something else. 

WY: What’s the difference between performing at a major venue like EXIT/IN compared to these more intimate settings like house shows?

AD: I structure house shows differently from venue shows. For house shows, you can’t have many slow songs. You just gotta hit ’em with the energy, because people are unfortunately as there for the music as they are for hanging out with people and drinking, but that’s still awesome. People just want more of a rock energy to it so I’m going to be belting even more and putting more rasp in stuff. Not that I’m not going to bring that into a venue setting too when it’s tasteful, but people are there more for you and the music. So you’re able to have more of an ebb and flow to the set, because you’re able to put in some of those slow and reflective songs, but then also have those really big energetic moments.

HT: Super excited to see this, because it sounds like you have all this so delicately put together.

Not to be that guy, but will we be hearing new songs… maybe? 

AD: Yes, actually. That’s probably what I’m most excited about, about the show…

WY: Having this be your first big venue show… There is very much a possibility that there is some kind of “sleeper” in the catalog that starts becoming your most popular song…

AD: Exactly. I feel like there’s one in particular — it’s “Alma Mater” and I love this song. And, you know, people do listen to it. The bridge is genuinely one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written and performed. It’s one of those that you promote and then it just didn’t really find that audience when it came out. But with the live shows most recently, it’s gotten some more traction, which is nice because it’s pretty special to me.

WY: What’s the story behind that track?

AD: I grew up in a really small town… I lived there my whole life — around the same people. The main idea behind the song is that you need to leave those things behind in order to grow… It’s necessary, as painful as it is, to allow yourself to be who you want to be. 

WY: And are we going to be getting an “alma mater part two” dedicated to your Vanderbilt experience? 

AD: It probably won’t be “Vanderbilt University, how I miss thee,” nothing like that. I’ve written a lot about that transition between high school age and in college age, pseudo adulthood….

I’m about to graduate in a few weeks. And this is another one of those big transitions where it’s like, okay, I’m actually… living fully on my own for the first time. 

WY: Oh yeah, I’m so excited for that “Big One” LP.

AD: I think that would be so funny. 

HT: Brandi Carlile is mentioned twice in your Spotify bio, and I respect it… clearly you take after her — I mean, you both have the appeal of being queer powerhouse vocalists and killer songwriters. So, I have to know if you have your own Hanseroth twins. In The Cloves, If you had to assign two of your members to be them, who would they be?

AD: Oh my god. I would say they’ve got to be Michael and Kevin. They’ve known each other since they were five and have been playing music together since. They grew up together in the same small town of Sumner, where I’m also from, and they just have stayed best friends their entire life. I’ve been through a lot of stuff together. They started the band together. 

HT: So The Cloves come together independently from your solo projects?

AD: The Cloves have been a band for over 20 years… They started as Michael and Kevin, basically, who write all the songs together. I don’t know who came in first, but then they added Jason, the drummer, Chris the guitarist, and then way later Alec out was the young guy in the group. 

HT:  How did y’all end up joining forces?

AD: When I was in middle school, […] I went with my dad to their vinyl release. It was a show at a coffee shop and I bought one of their CDs and I was blown away. I vividly remember singing the whole way home in the car with my dad and I think I just sat in the garage to sing along to my favorite songs for a bit. That day was pretty impactful for me. 

In high school, I put together this benefit concert… I wanted The Cloves to headline so I got in contact with them. I started working with Michael.

Last summer he randomly texted me: “Hey, I have an idea. Are you free to speak?” And he had the idea to partner up for some shows — or at least one show as Amelia Day and The Cloves. 

WY: What a full-circle moment, that’s insane!

WY: So looking forward, what’s the thought process behind the next projects that you’re doing? Are you thinking about doing a studio album in the future?

AD: I’ve got this year pretty much planned out, which is very exciting. I’m doing a crowd-funded project; it’s going to be short. I’m going to be releasing acoustic demos on a website, and people can vote for which song they want to have released off of it. Then, I’ll be releasing three songs from that project on a little, mini EP. 

To get to know Amelia Day, check out her socials & music below. Also, see the link for purchasing tickets to her show tonight with The Cloves, which are still available via the EXIT/IN Venue.

, , , , , ,
, , , , , ,
, , , , , ,
, , , , , ,