Singer, songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has been casting her whimsy on us since her debut album Stranger In The Alps in 2017, bringing with her a grimoire of gothic fairytales ranging from serial killers to ghosts. Her latest release, Punisher, sees her donning a skeleton Halloween costume that she wears like a uniform, as she welcomes you to rich worlds crafted from the bones of an old haunted house. Her assuring and pensive voice eloquently emanating from the cracks between the floorboards. Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew sat down with Phoebe leading up to this weekend’s Grammy Awards where she is nominated for four, including Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. She has also made Grammy history with her nod for Best Rock Performance, in which, for the first time ever, all the nominees are women.
“I find a lot of joy in kind of, goth everything,” Bridgers explains her spooky aesthetic and penchant to write songs about Halloween. The accompanying lyric book for Punisher resembling a Victorian horror novel. “It just makes my life easier. That’s what I look for in stories and movies. I think I just grew up around it, so I gravitate towards it.”
“I love horrible horror movies. I remember really enjoying the second Blair Witch. I need for there to be like some ham acting involved…” She describes her first experience with the horror genre, “I saw Seven when I was 14, I was pretty old into my tweens and had to sleep in my mom’s bed for months.”
Phoebe reflects on the happiness she gets in surrounding herself in dark art curios and tchotchkes. “I really resonate with clutter core and just love everything goth. I love ghost stories. I loved ghost stories as kid.” One of Phoebe’s favorites is The Green Ribbon that shows up in the 1984 collection, In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. “That was in my library as a kid and I would check it out all the time and then Carmen Maria Machado in Her Body and Other Parties writes like an expanded version of that story as the first story and I just was like, oh wow there’s a world for me out there. Like there are people who think about the same stuff as me all day.”
Phoebe also manages to be very creative in the creepy locales she has chosen to immerse the listener in by which to experience her music. Her video for Killer touching on her interest in true crime, filmed at an abandoned tuberculosis asylum. Recent appearances on the late night talk show circuit included live performances from a haunted theater, to LA’s historic Magic Castle accompanied by a phantom piano player.
“I’m obsessed with thin places, which just means, the place between here and whatever else there is. A place where the, kind of fabric of our reality is thin. I feel like everybody has those experiences, whether it’s looking out over the Grand Canyon or you’re looking through a tree on your morning walk or something – but I feel like I have them daily. I’ve never had like a haunted house situation or anything… I think I want it too much.”
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