Baltimore newcomer Snail Mail is only 18-years-old, but she already has more experience and songwriting nous than many musicians ten years older.
Lindsey Jordan doesn’t like interviews. She doesn’t really like travelling either, and she definitely doesn’t like being rushed. What she does like is making music.
As Snail Mail, the 18-year-old has 15 years of playing guitar under her belt, and pairs it with a self-deprecating, painfully honest lyrical depiction of growing up that marks her out as something very special indeed. Not bad for somebody who’s only just out of high school.
“I graduated, and we left to LA for tour the next morning,” she explains, working her way through a slice of pizza after a packed-out show in Leeds. “I think things have picked up fast, but not as fast as people think it has. There’s so much work that goes into this, so much learning and adjusting.
“Seeing so many places but never really spending any time there has been hard because I like repetition in my life. A combination of the press and the touring has been intense, but the hardest bit has probably been making the record.”
Across ten tracks, forthcoming debut album ‘Lush’ is a sneak peek into Jordan’s life, full of summer romances and teenage boredom. Whether those years are behind you or not, it’s an instantly relatable listen, and one that builds on the candour that made her 2016 EP ‘Habit’ such a buzz-builder. A self-confessed perfectionist, it’s a project that Jordan sees as very much of a chunk of herself, and a testament to her enduring love of her instrument.
“When I write a song, it always starts out on the guitar. It’s always been important to me to have an outlet all to myself, and it turned into something I loved. I think it’s the challenge of learning something that you can never truly perfect; there’s always an uphill journey.”
If an uphill journey is one that Snail Mail has her sights set on, there is one band that she’s holding tight as her inspiration.
“Paramore changed everything for me – they’re the best live band, and everything about them is sick,” she enthuses, visibly brightening up at their very mention.
“The fact that they’re still a strong band putting out strong records that experiment with genre so well, I admire that longevity. Hayley is a really strong singer and a talented performer who’s evolved so much over time – I want that.”
With a similar knack for expressing lyrical honesty over upbeat melodies, it’s not an outrageous ambition to hold. From lead single ‘Pristine’ through to the defiant ‘Speaking Terms’, vulnerability is key to Snail Mail’s modus operandi, and something that Jordan refuses to apologise about.
“Apathetic rocking bums me out. It’s so boring - get your feelings out there. I’ve never regretted anything I’ve written; I don’t name names, and I try not to get too in my own head. Whatever feels cathartic to write about, I just do and then what happens happens. I have had a situation where somebody realised that a song was about them, though.”
Were you bothered?
She pauses, shrugs and takes another bite of pizza.
“Not really. And I’m not worried if it happens again. It would be cool if people do have their own personal relationship with the record, but there’s no real agenda for it other than it being something I wanted to make. I would hope that it would make people excited about writing their own songs and calling back their ex’s.”
She smiles, screws up her napkin and dusts down her hands.
“If the ex is worthy of the call, that is.”
Taken from the July issue of Dork. Order a copy here. Snail Mail’s debut album ‘Lush’ is out now.