Review by: Hollie Duffy
Released: February 25th 2022
Beginning with a Drivers License-esque entry to the song you’re thrown into the heart and mind of Kelaska on her journey home trying to avoid her ex, entangled with the sound of car indicators acting alongside as the beat you have no choice but to start moving along with the song. Kelaska has taken a well sang about topic and made it her own. With inspiration taken from Holly Humberstone and Robyn, Kelaska has captured that feel good feeling whilst singing lyrics that in any other situation would make you cry. Starting off with such a strong debut single for this era I am sure we’ll be rightly hearing a lot more of Kelaska. Be sure to watch her beautiful music video for the song on March 4th 2022!
I had the amazing opportunity to talk to Kelaska about her new release and herself as well as future ones!
Me: To begin with, what got you into music/made you decide music was what you wanted to pursue?
Kelaska: I’ve been singing ever since I can remember and have always really loved the emotional/artistic side of music. When I was younger I spent so much time curating playlists for myself and my friends, it was so exciting to find new music and dissect what made it great. When I was around 8 my parents brought home a karaoke machine and I would spend, no joke, about eight hours a day singing. My friends would come over and I’d force them to sing with me until we physically couldn’t anymore. On the other side of things, my Grandfather has been in a band his whole life, so I also grew up watching him write and play his own songs. I always knew I wanted to be a singer, I even think my Myspace URL was, embarrassingly, “Gonnabefamous.” I live in a pretty small town and I’m kind of a homebody so I never knew the right path to take to become a musician. I got kind of caught up in the typical “nobody makes it as a musician” mindset, so I continued to try and find other careers for awhile. Because of this, I had a late start to actually putting music out. I didn’t put anything online until I was about 24 when my friend inspired me to make a Youtube channel. After that I just fell in love with the connection it gave me with so many people. I knew shortly after that I wanted to continue to do this forever and create my own music for people to dissect and hopefully relate to.
Me: What was the writing process like for ‘Long Way Home’?
Kelaska: The writing process for Long Way Home was a little different than anything else I’ve put out in the past. For the rest of my catalog, I either brought in a song completely written and just pushed forward with it, or we would create a track and I’d write something to immediately start recording. Long Way Home entailed a lot of thought and a lot more rewrites than I was used to. I’ve experimented a lot with my sound over the last two or three years, but this song felt like the first time I could decide which “genre” I wanted to really be a part of moving forward. It marks a new chapter in my career and stands as the staple of who I am as an artist.
Me: Many previous songs written about ex’s and past relationships take a slower and more ballad style approach, why did you decide to make ‘Long Way Home’ upbeat?
Kelaska: I knew right away I wanted the song to be faster, which is why some of the rewrites took place to make sure we got it all right. I was really inspired by songs like “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn or “The Walls Are Way Too Thin” by Holly Humberstone. I loved that both songs on a first listen are really just something you want to play over and over in your car, but when you dive into the lyrics they are actually depressing subjects. I tend to write mostly sad lyrics, I really only have one song that’s “happy,” so I’d rather break up the sadness with some form of ear candy that can be multi dimensional for a listener.
Me: What was it about ‘Long Way Home’ that made you decide to release it as your lead single of this new era of yours?
Kelaska: I had been writing a lot over the months since my last single, “September,” and this one just felt like a great base to start. It was the one I had most finished, and one that I really felt we could build off of for the future. It’s also a story I had tried to write many times over the last couple years, but couldn’t really seem to figure out how. When I brought it to my producer, Mackenzie Christensen, he liked it and that gave me the validation that it could turn into something other people might like too.
Me: Were there any specific musical inspirations attached to the creation of the song?
Kelaska: Yes! Besides Robyn or Holly Humberstone, I’m always influenced by Maggie Rogers, Phoebe Bridgers, John Mayer, and Fleetwood Mac (to name a few). Those influences will work their ways into little bits of each track I create. With Long Way Home, I think you can see the Maggie influences with the arpeggiator that kicks in at the chorus, or the Phoebe influence comes out when I’m trying to pick the tones of guitars or pianos in the background. There’s also a little bit of a rock punk influence that camouflages itself into pop with this track. In high school I really loved bands like Taking Back Sunday or The Killers, so it was fun to try and fit a tiny bit of that influence into Long Way Home. You can find it peeking through the mix at times like in the second verse. We added this distant distorted, grungy guitar, with the intention that I’m listening to it in my car while I’m driving around getting upset. It might be my favorite part of the song.
Me: Could you walk us through the creative process when it came to the Music Video?
Kelaska: The music video was so fun to shoot! Andrew Quinn, from the band Lielack, came to my hometown and we shot it over the course of about six hours with the help of Mack and Jacob Blondin – the drummer from Lielack. I had an image in my head pretty much from the start of what I wanted the music video to be. I knew I wanted it to be raw, homemade, and kind of indie. I spend a lot of hours working with Mack on each song, so when we create something, it usually feels just as much his as it does mine. I usually bring and bounce all my ideas off of him because we’ve both spent so long creating this thing together that I know he’s the best one to understand what the song needs. Throughout the process of creating and tracking the song we were also looking at other videos and brainstorming ideas for the video. He’s actually the one who came up with the cutaway scene at McDonalds. We had joked during production about the fact that I absolutely love McDonalds and we wanted the video to share a little part of who I am. We stopped there to get food to eat for the scenes where I’m driving around and while we were in line he came up with that last minute. We loved it and thought it would be a fun, unsuspecting moment in the video. The ending with the gazebo lit up was a total happy accident. We were driving around thinking of a place we could end the video when we stumbled upon that. Overall it came out perfect. Andrew did an amazing job. We even got to track some foley after for the beginning scene which I’ve always been dying to do.
Me: Lastly, what are your plans for 2022 in terms of music?
Kelaska: For the rest of 2022 I’m planning to continue to put out singles. My goal is to get one out every other month, so we will see how that goes. We’ve been working on the next one, called Tightrope, and I’m hoping it will be out end of April/early May. It’s a little slower at times, but also continues to incorporate a little bit of punk rock guitar. There’s a real honesty about that one because it’s very vulnerable and introspective on what it’s like to grow up in a society that wants you to be perfect. I’m excited to see what people think of it. I’d also love to start playing out now that the pandemic seems to be allowing people to do that a little more, given the venues feel safe to do so. It should be a great year, musically!
Me: Thank you so much and congrats on the release and I’m excited to hear more from you in the future!
Kelaska: Thank you so much for having me! It was great to chat and share! I hope everyone enjoys Long Way Home and the video!