What kind of music were you listening to during this album’s creation?
I’m glad you said were, because my taste changes a tone. Tracks like “two door tiffany,” “i’ve heard that song before,” and “please don’t waste my time” come from early Steve Lacy and The Internet, Standing on the Corner, Slauson Malone. I’ve gotten people telling me, “This album is a lot like Red Burns — Slauson Malone this, Slauson Malone that.” It’s funny because we got Slauson Malone to listen to the album and I got his approval to release it. It was cool having somebody I idol so much give me such sincere and meaningful advice: He told me when I drop this album, it may take people [a few listens] to grasp what I’m doing or who I am, ’cause it truly is a masterpiece.
Whenever you say, across the album, “You ain’t never heard no shit like this in your life,” you do something before and after to really hammer that down, like, “Hear what I just did? You haven’t heard that before. Hear what I’m gonna do? You haven’t heard that before.”
Especially with listeners of my more accessible music, they haven’t heard some shit like that. Whether you do or don’t like the album, I’m right: you’ve never heard some shit like it. I wanted to [see] how creative I could get while having the minimalness my production does. I still haven’t reached my boundaries, but it was fun making this album, and I made it my self-titled because it’s the most quinn thing I can do.
The final track concludes with the story of a confrontation you had with your dad when you were seven or eight. It’s a sad story, and it comes after an album where the overwhelming feeling is confidence. Ending it on that note is a curveball.
This whole album represents my thought process. I start on the hustle, I’m excited: “No need to knock the hustle when you kinda are the hustle.” I’m confident in myself. I know I’m about to make some good shit, and throughout the album, I prove that. But by the end of it, I don’t like it anymore. I’m back to square one. That’s why the tracks are arranged the way they are. It’s like, “Yo, I’m gonna get in the studio, make some crazy shit,” and the rest of the album is that crazy shit, and the end is me completely denouncing it — and completely denouncing myself. That’s a result of years of depression stemming from my childhood, but also years of recovery. I’m able to be chill and nonchalant, but I can’t get excited for much.
I have major imposter syndrome. If I release something, I can’t listen to it after. I’m like, “I don’t care if it’s great; I’m embarrassed because I made this and other people heard it.” But it doesn’t happen as much as it used to, especially with this album. It’s the one thing I’ve dropped and can still listen to. When I blew up, I wasn’t taking anything seriously, so people [doubted] my legitimacy. The hardcore music critics made fun of what I could do as an artist and tried to limit me as just a cringy teenager who’s fucking around. (I hate the word “cringe” because it stinks of Reddit.) Part of this album — part of me getting more serious — is proving them wrong. I’m also finding it a lot more fun taking music more seriously, but I’m here to get my name back. I’m here to prove to everybody who ruined my life that I’m something more than they thought.
When you put quinn on hiatus and started making music as cat mother, was that a reaction to that backlash?
Kinda sorta. I wanted to make different shit and I was showcasing it on my social media, but my fanbase wasn’t fucking with that. I thought it would be good if I left for a long time and made what I wanted, so I left for that six-to-eight month interval, making stuff as cat mother and under a whole other Twitter account, whole other fanbase. It felt great, but eventually I came back and merged that with my discography. Anus drive by lullabies, people started taking me seriously and critically rating me. My mix tape [i’m going insane] has been number one on Rate Your Music since it dropped. Why? I do not know. I’m just glad to be taken seriously.
The reception of both drive by lullabies other quinn has been pretty much universal acclaim. Are you still trying to distance yourself from critical adorableness, or are you letting it wash over you?
I’m tryna take away that imposter syndrome, [which] stems from people telling me I’m not good enough. I’m happy to be taken seriously, and I’m happy I can make what I want and people will still like it. It wasn’t like that before: People just wanted “okay im cool” or “i dont want that many friends” over and over, but I couldn’t do that because I know myself and my career path better. It’s not what I want, and I’m smarter than that. Why would I drop the same sounds over and over? That’s how you fall off and are never heard from again.
Two people told me two things that stuck with me: The first said they love when I’m teasing music because they can never tell what I’m gonna drop. It could be electronic, acoustic, vocal, instrumental — you don’t know. It’s like a mystery box. The second said, “You have a vibe I can’t really explain, and I love that about you.” They called me unexplainable and unpredictable, so I was like, “What if I make that my thing? What if I embrace that weirdness?”