Hillary Capps on her Album: The Way Back Home
Hillary Capps is an alternative-pop singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. Her full-length album, The Way Back Home, will be released in full this year. Until then, Capps is rolling out the album with a unique release concept: releasing in four parts in tandem with the four lunar cycles. Capps stopped by to talk about her writing process for this album and the meaning behind her release concept. Read an excerpt from our conversation below and scroll down to listen to the full interview, with a fun game of Random Question Generator!
*It should be noted that the release date for the album and singles mentioned in the interview have since been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We will change the description with more information*
PR: When did you start playing music?
HC: As lots of singers will tell you, I’ve been singing since I could talk! There were little recordings of me singing at three years old. My dad is a jazz guitarist and also had a recording studio in our house growing up, so there’s a recording of me singing my hit song at three years old, “Puppies Are So Nice.” I had a girl group in middle school as much of us do. I started getting into songwriting when I got a guitar at fifteen. I was really drawn to the city and worked on my songwriting and formed a jazz group. I focused on jazz and songwriting from there on out. Then, I transferred from Wagner College to The New School and went to Eugene Lang College for Music and Culture Media Studies and that’s where I met my current piano player, Matthew Watanabe and my guitarist Anthony Farina. From there, I decided not to do jazz or rock, but pop has always been my calling. I formed a pop band with Anthony and Matthew and a couple guys from The New School and it sort of went from there!
PR: Who were some of the artists you listened to growing up?
HC: My dad was Beatles obsessed so that was one of my early obsessions. Spice Girls, not gonna lie. I also had a lot of jazz influences, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Anita Baker, a lot of classics. I also discovered Sara Bareilles when I was a teenager when she came out with Little Voice and I told myself this is what I wanted to do.
PR: I love how unique this is all rolling out. You’re releasing this in four parts, with four lunar cycles.
HC: It’s a little funky and different plan! Based on lyric content, I decided to pair each song with each moon phase depending on the spiritual representation of that respective moon phase. The moon happens in a monthly cycle: New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon, and Waning Moon. The first groupings of songs, which are out now, were released with the New Moon. The New Moon represents new beginnings, setting intentions, fresh start, and clean slate. I chose the songs that were fitting with that in mind, and did the same thing with the rest of the songs on the album.
PR: Can you tell me about You Could Be The Moon?
HC: You Could Be The Moon was actually the start for this whole thing! I actually wrote this song about six years ago. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure how to produce it, where it made sense. John Roberts, who produced this whole album, was able to put it in the right pocket and breathe new life into it. The song was inspired by a time I went to London and wandered around feeling lonely and lost. I was also reading the book Goodnight Berlin, and I pulled little inspirations for the song from that. Overarching it’s about letting loneliness be okay and being okay with letting go in the moment.
PR: Let’s talk Slow Motion, tell me about that song!
HC: Slow Motion I also wrote a couple years ago. It’s about how you set yourself up and paint this picture of your future when you're younger and often for most people it’s exactly the opposite. It’s about being able to both in a partnership and within yourself, let go and be okay. It’s also similar to You Could Be The Moon in that it’s about starting from a clean slate and slow down. These songs and a lot of my songs have a lot to do with craving to live in the moment more and live in slow motion and hone in on those tiny details when a lot of the time you feel like you’re falling behind.
PR: Did you imagine the production to be the way it sounds now? It’s such a full, heavy, awesome production.
HC: No, I didn’t! This is why it’s so cool to collaborate with people and different producers that you may not have. It’s very different from the way I planned it in my head, it’s even better, and it makes me happy.
PR: Last year, you and Anthony gifted us with Painted On. What was the inspiration behind that side project?
HC: Anthony and I have been collaborating for nine years now since we’ve met. He’s played for me and has his own project, Ghostly Times. We’ve never been a duo before but we were writing these songs that didn’t fit with my music or Ghostly Times and felt right to do a project that was just us. Also, to have control over it, writing a song, let’s go in the home studio and record it and just the ease of that is different. It was nice to birth Painted On and be able to put some other music out there.
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