renforshort is part of the new wave of dark-pop teens following in the wake of Billie Eilish's world-dominating success. Much like fellow upstart BENEE, her songs swing from sugary sweet to wouldn't-want-to-meet-them-down-a-dark-alley in a heartbeat. Her recent tune 'i drive me mad' we're quite happy to prematurely pull out as one of the year's best. Those half a million YouTube views? At least 50% us. Don't do the maths there, it's fine. As of today, she's got a new 'un out too, 'fuck, i luv my friends' - a lockdown-friendly banger that's bound to resonate with anyone who doesn't usually spend all their time tippy-tapping on the internet. Give it a listen below, and introduce yourself to one of 2020's breakout artists.
Hi, renforshort! How are you doing? Are you stuck at home a lot at the moment?
Heyooo! I'm doing pretty great! I was stuck at home for a while, however, Toronto is now in 'phase 2' of reopening so patios are open and there's a lot more freedom, but I'm personally not going to patios and what not cause I'm still a little worried, haha.
'fuck, i luv my friends' is really timely given lockdown, where did it come from? Are you part of a tight-nit friend group?
I actually wrote this song right when lockdown started so all these feelings of concern and stress where very fresh and everyone was unsure about how long it would be till we were able to see each other again. I have a few really close friends that I love very, very much and missed dearly. I was very sad about that, but I was really excited to be able to see them all again (a few months later, haha).
Have you always been into songwriting and music? What did you grow up listening to?
I have always been really into music. Since I was very young, I grew up listening to my parents' mixes and was taught about these artists and their styles of writing and the impact their music had on the world. I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, NWA, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Nirvana, to name a few. Those people together have really inspired me and my music in different ways.
Is being a musician living up to the hype so far?
It's interesting because there's a lot you don't expect. I never expected performing on a stage to feel so liberating and exciting, I never anticipated meeting all the super cool, talented people I've met. It feels like a dream most of the time. I think in those ways it really does live up to the hype, haha, though there's a lot of not so fun things you have to do like legal shit, and forms. It kinda compensates for how fun it really is.
What inspires you, both in songwriting and in life?
My surroundings, the people I choose to be around, art, and film really inspire me and my music. These things put me in a certain headspace that affects me sometimes more than I think! That's why I love to be surrounded by good people, and pretty scenery cause it makes me feel really good and ultimately helps my music!
'i drive me mad' is a really great song, how did that one come into being?
'i drive me mad' was an interesting song to write because at the time, I was not feeling so dandy, but I was surrounded by good people who helped me through it. I wrote it about anxiety because at the time I was having a crazy panic attack and I felt awful because I didn't think we would be able to write a song considering the state I was in. But, I was with really good people (Jessie Fink, Pom Pom, and Jeff Hazin) who helped me through it and we got a pretty sick song out of it!
Did you know it was a special song when you were writing it? It really nails that frustrated, anxious feeling.
When I was writing it, I knew it would be different. When Jeff and Pom Pom decided to do a tempo change in the pre, I knew it would for sure be a little jarring and out of the ordinary, but I think that really helped us nail the story we were trying to convey sonically and lyrically. I knew it was gonna be a special song and to this day, it's one of my favourites!
And what about the Mike Shinoda mix, what happened there? Are you a Linkin Park fan?
That was straight out of a dream for me! I love Linkin Park, and when I saw Mike Shinoda followed me on Instagram, I announced it to my entire history class cause I was shocked, haha. Mike added my song to his playlist and posted it on his story, and obviously, I was freakin out a little. I reached out to him, and we talked. One thing led to another, and he remixed my song, and it's fkn SICK!
Do you find it easier to write songs about things you're struggling with, compared to things that make you happy?
I prefer to write about the things I struggle with because I feel like other people are probably going through the same shit and it's helpful for them, and if my music could help other people then I feel like I've done my job! It's also good for me to vent, haha. It helps me a lot to get my feelings out in some way which is a great part about songwriting!
What do you do for fun?
I like to hang out with friends and go on bike rides, and see art and movies! I also love walking through the art gallery by myself, it's so liberating and is a nice treat for me!
You've previously mentioned that you're working on a second EP, how's that going?
It's going really well. I think it's almost done, and it's my favourite round of music so far! I'm excited to see how everyone feels about it!
Do you enjoy the process of putting together a body of work? How do you approach curating something like that?
I love it because it's the most creative part of being an artist; making the songs is a small part of it. However, the creatives that surround the piece are really important and really fun to work on! I take myself to the place the music makes me feel and visualise it in my head and try my best to make that image come to life! It's tricky at times to get those images correct, but when you do, it feels great!
What else are you up to at the mo? Has all this virus business stunted your summer plans?
It has actually given me time to think about what I want 2021 to be, and where I want to be and what I want to do with my music! Of course, I would have way rather preferred for life to be normal and people to be healthy, but with this time off, I've had a lot of time to create and think which was really good for me!
renforshort's single 'fuk, i luv my friends' is out now.