Way To Go marks Survival Guide's first release as a solo project, and as frontwoman (and now only member) Emily Whitehurst says, she couldn't be happier with the final product. While there are obviously some struggles in transitioning from a duo to a solo act with a new release, it seems that Whitehurst has taken the challenge in stride and then some.
We had the chance to chat with Whitehurst about the new album, her growth as a musician, and much more! Check out the full interview, as well as Survival Guide's most recently released single, "Nowhere Anywhere" below!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Congrats on the release of Way to Go! How does it feel finally having the album out?
Thank you! Oh man, it feels great. A huge weight has been lifted and my goal has been achieved.
What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
The writing was spread out over a good few years' span - I wrote it with my former guitar player, Jaycen McKissick. We recorded it slowly in bits and pieces as he transitioned out of the band, then when I wanted to wrap it up I went to Paul Haile at Greenhouse Recording to record all the vocals and mix everything. It was a weird experience, going from a two-piece to a solo artist during the process! There was definitely some internal struggle and I had to constantly tell myself to keep going. Hence the great relief that the record is finally 100% done and released!
Were there any subjects or themes you wanted to touch upon with this album?
My lyrical content seems to be always conflicting itself - I go from positive and uplifting to defeatist and apocalyptic, sometimes all within the same song! It's not really a conscious decision to write this way. It reflects my personality and how I'm generally a positive person, but the things that move me to write tend to be negative.
Was there anything musically that you really wanted to be able to accomplish?
The only thing I wanted to accomplish was to not restrict myself. That's a constant goal of mine for songwriting, and I plan on continuing to strive for that in the future.
How do you feel your songwriting has changed or evolved with Way to Go?
I feel like I've definitely gotten more free with the writing, although I'd like to do better (as mentioned in the last question). Not that I hope to write music that's completely freeform - I just want to allow myself the freedom to write whatever I feel.
Do you have a favorite track on the album, or one that really stood out to you while writing and recording?
I'm usually kinda partial to the underdogs, and I feel like "Get Your Don't" is one of those. It's kind of a strange song but weirdly catchy at the same time...? I'm not sure what people will think of those mixed up words as a chorus, but that's a small example of allowing myself to do something slightly off-kilter.
What do you hope that listeners can take away from Way to Go, or simply your music in general?
I hope people can hear that it's genuine. I also hope people can connect to it and find their own meanings in the words. It's rewarding when people tell me my lyrics spoke to something they're experiencing in their own lives -- it's one of the ways music connects us all.
Now that Way to Go is out, what’s next for Survival Guide? Do you have any big plans for 2015
I've got a music video coming out soon, then time to start thinking about the next record! I'm also hoping to release a few acoustic piano versions of the songs this year, make a few more music videos, and keep playing more shows. I'm formulating plans for a little west coast tour sometime in 2015 as well.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for having me! Everybody come see me online by searching "srvvlgd". That will lead you to all of my social media, and from there you can find links to my album on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. Let me know what you think!