SONG PREMIERE: Kristina Stapelfeld’s “Hell Night”

Kristina StapelfeldPhoto by Ben Gibb

Kristina Stapelfeld isn’t cool.

The Somerville-based musician plays the kind of stripped-down, heartbreak folk that’s reminiscent of Rilo Kiley or early Waxahatchee—all breathy vocals over sparse, acoustic arrangements. But it wasn’t until she left the bright lights and band-of-the-week mindset of New York City for Boston that she felt comfortable settling into that style rather than playing into the sounds of the scene around her. “I just feel like this is a nice place to find your sound without being influenced by what everyone else is doing,” she says. “My style of music, folky, singer-songwriter music, is not cool right now.”

Stapelfeld is currently releasing songs each week as she prepares for the January release of her self-titled full-length, and you can check out her latest, “Hell Night,” below. We also caught up with Stapelfeld, who you can hear perform a live set on 88.1 WMBR tomorrow night at 8 p.m., to talk unconventional releases and ending on a high note. Interview after the jump!

Scout Somerville (SS): Why did you land on using this drip release method?

Kristina Stapelfeld: Well, I’ve been seeing people do the drip release a little bit more. I got the idea from other musicians who have just been releasing songs periodically. I think Shannon and the Clams did it for their latest album, and I’ve been really into them lately. I just think it’s a good idea to kind of give people a taste, because everyone has ADD nowadays.

SS: Right, people can only take things in in three-minute intervals anymore.

KS: Right, exactly. It’s like, give ’em a whole album, and it’s too much to handle.

SS: How did you determine the order of the release—does it follow the sequence on the record?

KS: We actually started releasing stuff as it was done being mastered, basically.

SS: Really? That’s wild. I feel like even if musicians are more often doing a drip release, you don’t often hear about people releasing them on the fly.

KS: Yeah! We were just so excited to start putting them out.

SS: Tell me about some of the themes on the record. There’s definitely some love and loss in there.

KS: Well, I just got out of a serious relationship at the beginning of the year, so it was a lot about that and just kind of going back into writing and stuff, I guess. I took a break from music for a while, so everything on the album is something I’ve written in the past year. It’s just the story of my entire year. Everything is new, there’s no old material on it.

SS: So is it following trajectory of relationship and breakup, or…?

KS: There’s one song that’s about the breakup, it’s called “Doldrums,” which I just put out an animated video for. But the rest is kind of about everything that’s followed since.

SS: And are things looking up?

KS: Yeah, I mean, the album sort of ends on this hopeful note with this song “From Now On.” It’s all turbulent throughout the whole album, but it ends on sort of an optimistic note.

SS: You recently moved to Somerville from New York—how have you found the music scene to be here? Obviously it has a different vibe from NYC.

KS: I think Boston is a great music scene. I think people overestimate the scene in New York. It’s completely oversaturated and really difficult to break in. Once you do, it’s not a bad place to be, but I just feel like this is a nice place to find your sound without being influenced by what everyone else is doing. I remember for a while being, like, “Oh man, I should be in a chillwave band or something.” [Laughs]

SS: Let’s start a noise band!

KS: Right, that’s what everyone’s doing. My style of music, folky, singer-songwriter music, is not cool right now. But then I moved up here and I was like, “I don’t give a shit. This is what I like to make.”

You can hear more of Stapelfeld’s music on her Soundcloud, check out “Hell Night” below and keep up with her on Twitter and Facebook for more on the January release of her debut full length.

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