LA-based, singer, songwriter, and producer, Spill Tab, has left me breathless from the moment I listened to “Cotton Candy” last year. The young, French-Korean, artist continuously amazes us with each release and has broken the mold for making indie-pop music. Spill Tab is not only an incredibly talented artist, but she’s also one of the coolest people with the most impressive drive. I had the pleasure of talking to her last week about her journey so far and went from being a fan to a stan. I promise you that if you’re not familiar with who Spill Tab is yet, it only takes a couple of seconds of any track to be completely hooked. I can’t wait to see all of the exciting things she has in store for us and make sure to read this week’s early talks w/ Spill Tab!
Nathaly: I wanted to start off by saying thank you for doing this interview! I’m a huge fan of all your work, as is the rest of the early rising team. How’s your morning going so far? Correct me if I’m wrong, I think you’re based on the east coast?
Spill Tab: Thank you! Actually, I’m based in LA, but I went to college on the east coast, So, I’m mostly in LA.
Nathaly: Awesome! You just released a new music video and song. How has this past week been for you, how are things going so far?
Spill Tab: Yeah, it’s been good. I’m chilling at home, working on the next thing. It’s been really special. It’s sort of only my second release since being signed so it’s exciting to see how things have just grown. It’s all just really cool.
Nathaly: No, yeah, that’s absolutely amazing! And just to take it back a little, I did some research and saw that even while you were in college, you were kind of dabbling into songwriting, and were already creating this path of working in the music industry. Was there a moment when you realized that music, whether it be behind the scenes or front-facing, was the path for you?
Spill Tab: Yeah, I was super f*cking blessed to have parents that were already working in music. From a young age, I was surrounded by it. They owned a post-production studio in Burbank and a lot of the influx of people who were coming in and out were surviving and succeeding in the music industry, which I feel like is a bit daunting for kids who aren’t around that. I feel like you’re always told that music isn’t a viable path. So overall I feel super grateful that I was sort of surrounded by a host of characters that were surviving off doing music. So, since a young age, it’s been a part of my life.
Nathaly: Looking at your journey so far, whether it be music-related or not, what do you think is the most useful piece of advice you’ve received is?
Spill Tab: I don’t know! I feel like I have one advice. I always have two opposing themes in my head where it’s the dark and the light. Not that the dark is dark in any way and I’m not religious by any means, I just feel like I live by these two pillars. On one end, nothing really matters, you know? We’re all just on a floating rock in a universe that’s too big for us to comprehend. Ideally, we don’t take anything too seriously. But on the other end of that too, is that people feel real pain and real suffering, so always be kind. Honestly, what’s given me a lot of blessings is just being good to people and people being good to me back. Even in a business sense it sounds sort of flower child sh*t but that’s been a thing that’s helped me build a community that cares about the things that I make before anyone else does.
Nathaly: Yeah, I completely agree. Sometimes I get very introspective and I’m like, okay, well we’re born and then we’re dead. But then I consider the beauty of all this being in the journey and the people that you meet and the things that you do and the lives that you begin to impact and form this chain. So, I can really relate to these pillars you live by… I was going through your music and wanted to talk about “pistolwhip” specifically, it’s one of my favorite songs so far. What was the writing process for that like? For your music in general, are you inspired by situations in your life, or do you take an outside perspective where you makeup scenarios and think about how you would react?
Spill Tab: Definitely D, all of the above. Usually what happens is I dramatize, like deeply dramatize the smallest situation that’s happened to me and I blow it up and turn it into something that’s way more intense. “pistolwhip” is fully about being cheated on by a horrible person, and your relationship is just horrible. I didn’t pull that from personal experience. I think maybe that day I had a small argument with my significant other and I just blew that into like a whole proportion that was much more dramatic. “Cotton candy” was pulled from an actual experience so it sort of differs. I had a lot of fun writing “pistolwhip” because it was just like writing stories. I could take liberties and write about something that hasn’t really happened to me, which was fun.
Nathaly: You’re basically the author of your own mini-stories for each song, that’s the beauty of music! Artists today aren’t confined to a specific genre, which is something that I’ve seen you try out in your music for sure. Seeing, as you’ve held internships in A&R in the past, have you recently discovered any other independent artists that you’ve become obsessed with?
Spill Tab: Yeah definitely! I’m always in search of really cool and new music. I’ve been having PinkPantheress’ “Break it off” on repeat. Just all the time playing it in my car. That’s definitely one. There’s this artist, Alice Phoebe Lou, that has this song called “only when I,” and that’s a really, really beautiful song. I’m shocked that I haven’t ever gone through this before, but I’m going through my grimes phase. I think her music is tight and very cool and very creative. Then also this artist, Grace Ives, who has really tight songs out as well.
Nathaly: Grimes is super dope! You’ve also taken it upon yourself to learn how to produce and have slowly started producing for some of your friends. What is that process like?
Spill Tab: It’s been super, super tight! I have this sort of, I feel like this is probably common too, but I have this crippling anxiety to start things. When you’re faced with a blank page or a blank session with nothing in it, you’re just like AHHHH, fold to the pressure of that. What’s going to be the first thing to do? I started producing for my friend Erin when she came to me with this song already done. She had recorded parts to it. There were some bass and other parts, but there was no production done on it yet. I’ve been working on that song and it’s so f*cking sick. It’s sort of like this weird jazz type thing. That was such a beautiful open door to be creative without having the pressure of having nothing in front of you. That’s been super fun and she’s an incredible songwriter, so I’ve just been helping her produce her music. It’s super rewarding in a completely different way. I definitely want to keep working on that skill and get better at it.
Nathaly: That super cool! Seeing as the producer space is heavily dominated by men, do you have any advice for women looking to get into this producer space?
Spill Tab: I wish I could give this advice to myself, but I also know I just would not listen to it. I feel like in general, I waited really long for everything to be perfect for me to finally put music out. Just put anything out on SoundCloud. I know this sounds sort of weird, but it doesn’t have to be awesome. It doesn’t have to be the best thing you’ve ever made. Start doing it because then people are aware that you do this thing, and they can help you out. Then there’s sort of all these doors that open when people know what you’re up to. I waited till I was 20 years old to put out any music and I’ve been writing since I was like 12, but I was like, it’s not perfect.
Nathaly: I also find myself in these situations where I want everything to be perfect and need to constantly remind myself that as humans, we are naturally imperfect. You kind of just have to embrace it and let things happen or go after them. I know that that might be like a daunting question, so I apologize in advance, but looking at this past year you’ve accomplished so much! Where do you see yourself a week or maybe even a year from now? What are some new goals that you’d like to reach?
Spill Tab: My whole life I’ve always had the institutionalized educational system and that’s been the leading driver of my life. Then I’ve done jobs and I’ve been in sort of a lot of organized things. This is sort of the first time in my life where I quit my part-time job and I’m doing music full-time, and I feel like everything is unorganized. There are sessions and stuff like that, but in general, I now have to will myself to use my time wisely which is super new. I feel like that’s caused a lot of this new sort of stress that I’ve never felt before. So, learning how to be gentler with myself and finding a way to exercise my stress outside of music is super dope too. So I do in a year from now I’m more emotionally sound. That would be so tight.
Nathaly: No, I feel like that’s, that’s a completely fair thing to say, especially for a lot of like kids our age. We’ve been trained to go from school to school. And now that you’ve graduated, it’s like, what do you do? There are a plethora of options to choose from.
Spill Tab: Exactly. Exactly. And honestly, there’s no real right or wrong. It’s just sort of like, whatever goes, whatever makes you feel good!
Nathaly: 100%, I also prepared some rapid-fire questions for you! The first question is, what’s your favorite restaurant in LA?
Spill Tab: It’s a little taco place called LA. La Naranja
Nathaly: favorite color?
Spill Tab: Mustard Yellow!
Nathaly: TV show you’ve rewatched, many times?
Spill Tab: New Girl
Nathaly: Big purchase you’re excited to make?
Spill Tab: a sexy, new synth.
Nathaly: A dream collab?
Spill Tab: Moses Somney
Nathaly: A place you’re dying to visit?
Spill Tab: Mexico
Nathaly: Festival you’d be most excited to perform at?
Spill Tab: Oh sh*t, Something in Europe!
Nathaly: If you were to get AUX at a party, what would the first song you play?
Spill Tab: Break it Off by PinkPantheress
Nathaly: Thank you for answering all those questions! Going back to the whole live side of music, I know you have some experience when it comes to touring. As things begin to open, are you looking forward to being able to step back into the scene of live events in terms of performing?
Spill Tab: Oh yes, absolutely. Touring is sort of like the release of energy that you have pent up while you’re just making things and being creative. I feel like I’ve been missing that side of being in music since I’ve been making music. I’m so excited to be able to explore that side of music.
Nathaly: I don’t want to keep you too long, but I couldn’t end this interview without bringing up Rosalia. I was the biggest Rosalia fan got to see her at Coachella front and center. It was the most amazing thing. Is ‘Malamente’ still your favorite song or do you feel like the more you’ve listened that’s changed?
Spill Tab: I definitely love and respect her new sh*t but there’s something so raw and intimate about her first album. I feel like now you can hear that she has a team and she’s working with big people and she’s moving into a space that’s more commercial whereas that first album was exactly what she wanted to make. How about you?
Nathaly: She has this song called Catalina! It’s very flamenco-esque, lots of guitar, and her voice just feels like it’s piercing through your skin. It’s amazing! I’d highly recommend seeing her live if you haven’t.
Spill Tab: I saw her live at Webster Hall, which is a 3000-cap room or something. She slam-dunked it. It was crazy. She’s tight.
Nathaly: Well, I look forward to hearing many many more of your songs and hope you have an amazing week!
Spill Tab: Thank you so much. Y’all have a great day. Enjoy your week as well, talk soon!