Survival Guide is, for all intents and purposes, Emily Whitehurst. What began as collaboration evolved into a solo act. For the project’s fourth album, deathdreams, the musician has continued to push her limits, playing nearly every instrument on its 11 tracks. Whitehurst has had plenty of collaborative projects over the years, including her stint in punk band, Tsunami Bomb and the follow up group, The Action Design. But sometimes the purest form of expression requires an artist to take things into their own hands.
Emily Whitehurst 0:00
I know what you mean, I have that too. I have a few things that I kind of shift back and forth because I do different streams in different spots. And like I did, you know, we were doing earlier, I did a different set up and had to move some stuff. I get it. Ah, a couple years ago, now, it's been two years, I think kind of I jumped on it late. Because it was, what 2021 Late, Late ish. 2021 I just was kind of, it's weird. Like, I kind of was avoiding it for a long time. I didn't really feel like learning how to do it. And getting all the technology set up and everything and figuring out how to do audio that sounded decent, and I just didn't didn't feel like it. And and then eventually I decided I should, I should I should try this because I think it might be a good way to to be singing and performing more often. Because even you know, after people started having a lot of shows and stuff I wasn't really in a in a place to to play regular shows.
Brian Heater 1:16
You could have half assed it, but you very much do not have asset.
Emily Whitehurst 1:22
I mean, I tried. I could have
Brian Heater 1:24
just bought like a USB mic, you really kind of went all in.
Emily Whitehurst 1:28
Yeah. Well, thanks to my thanks to my viewers. Really, I was able to get this microphone. Actually, no, I think I got this microphone for from Patreon for recording vocals. So this is like when I go to record something. And if I want it to sound nice, I will use this this microphone, so I already had it to use for streaming.
Brian Heater 1:51
Thank you for using your your nice microphone and lighting. I mean, it's like the whole it's like the whole whole Twitch, do you look like a professional gamer?
Emily Whitehurst 1:59
Oh, thank you.
Brian Heater 2:01
I think I mean that as a compliment. It wasn't
Emily Whitehurst 2:03
sure. But yeah, I'm gonna I'm gonna take it as well. It
Brian Heater 2:07
is a nice opportunity. And I know that a lot of people when touring was just like impossible altogether started started moving online. For a lot of them. Once they got out there, they kind of they stopped this sort of thing. But yeah, it seems to be kind of a part of your process now.
Emily Whitehurst 2:22
Yeah, well, I wasn't quite in the same boat, as all of those touring musicians, because I wasn't touring, I've just been, I've been spending a lot of time trying to get my album written, and just kind of struggling with that a lot. And so I was all I was basically already doing that when the pandemic hit, I wasn't playing a ton of shows, and I was also unsure what I wanted to do with my own live set, because it's, it's a solo project. And but I have lots of electronics, and I it's just so much more fun to play a show with other musicians on stage. But I also don't want to depend on other musicians to be able to play shows, if that makes sense. You know, but
Brian Heater 3:22
some people do both, you just decided to go entirely in the, in the solo direction. Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 3:29
well, I, I, I've spent a lot of time just like kind of not sure what I was going to do. But now I'm kind of like it's still solo, for sure. I'm not adding any actual band members, but I'm gradually adding different musicians locally to to play shows. And it is convenient that I do have all of the files and all of the stems to make my own backing tracks. So I would love to be able to have it set up to where I have a set of tracks that will work if if I have a say I have a drummer and a guitar player. Or if I have a drummer and a bass player or just a guitar player. You know, I can just throw the drums back on the track. And just have it be conveniently easy to switch switch out musicians if necessary.
Brian Heater 4:27
The project started as a duo. Is that right? Yes. Yes, I
Emily Whitehurst 4:32
had a guitar player with me.
Brian Heater 4:34
And it just it wasn't the right fit.
Emily Whitehurst 4:37
He at one point No, it was an awesome fit. At one point he wasn't able to continue because of because he was starting a family. And I wanted to do more. You know I was wanting to do more shows and more things than we had been doing so so then it became a solo project but not really by choice,
Brian Heater 5:01
good is a thing when you get to a certain point in your life where you kind of have to decide whether this is something that you you want to keep that or something that's, that's more than a hobby. That's something that you really do want to center your life around.
Emily Whitehurst 5:14
Brian Heater 5:17
Yeah, there was never, there was never any question in your mind.
Emily Whitehurst 5:24
Well, there was after that, I wasn't sure what, you know, I, I wasn't sure whether I could, whether I had the capacity in various ways to keep doing it myself by myself, because I've always been in a band, you know, being into peace was the smallest band that I'd ever been in. I've always had other musicians to work with and, and make decisions with and all of that kind of stuff and share responsibilities. So I wasn't totally sure. And I definitely considered at a point like what would it be like if I wasn't doing music and considered it for for a, not a decent amount of time? Not for very long before I was like, that's, I just, I can't not do music.
Brian Heater 6:14
Did you come up with like, a plan B? Did you get that far down the
Emily Whitehurst 6:17
road? Um, well, I always have sort of office work as a fallback. I'm always kind of like, I can easily fall into doing accounting, like basic accounting type stuff in an office, which it seems like a lot of offices are often looking for someone to do that. So I could do that. Or data, like data management type stuff, database type stuff. So that's not It's not terrible, but it's definitely not what I want to do,
Brian Heater 6:48
obviously lacks a lot of the excitement, but those are, you know, for a lot of people, it's sort of it's like service industry. Those are those are pretty pretty solid fallbacks, as far as fallbacks
Emily Whitehurst 7:01
go. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I would have to make an effort to, you know, get hired.
Brian Heater 7:07
Was there a period in your life that you were doing that for any extended amount of time?
Emily Whitehurst 7:12
Yeah, well, I've ever since I, let's see, when I was in college, is when I started doing that I started out as like, doing some filing work for an office, and I was just able to move up. But I've always had it be the type of thing where, if I'm gonna go on tour, like I'm upfront with whoever I have worked for in the past, like, if I'm gonna go on tour, that's my priority. You know, my priority is not getting promoted at this company, you know? So, so yeah, I did, I did it as a as a part time job for a lot of years. While I was touring,
Brian Heater 7:57
you said during college, it was it was it difficult to, there must have been difficult to manage, I guess, effectively, three things at that.
Emily Whitehurst 8:07
I was definitely lacking sleep a lot. Because I was playing shows and, you know, going to work and going to class. But I made it, you know, I made it through. You were
Brian Heater 8:20
still in tsunami bomb at that point. Yeah, it's that difficult thing of, you know, feeling like you're on the cusp of something, you know, that that things are starting to line up. So you need to you need to prioritize the band. And it sounds like you were able to do that for a while.
Emily Whitehurst 8:38
Yeah, yeah, I was actually took a semester off. At one point, when we were touring, we were playing every single weekend, and had a booking agent. And, you know, we were getting offers and stuff and couldn't do them because I was in school. So I took a semester off to just like tour hardcore, and then came back for a semester to finish up, but I didn't finish it. Do you
Brian Heater 9:05
feel like having siblings that were musicians kind of helped cushion the blow a bit with the parents?
Emily Whitehurst 9:12
Well, my older brother graduated, and I did not. But I mean, at that point, they were not you know, they were also they weren't
super upset with the fact that I was, you know, getting to tour all over the place and have such an awesome experience. So luckily, they weren't luckily they weren't super disappointed.
Brian Heater 9:41
It's always struck me I never had an opportunity like that. But it's always struck me as a thing that if you don't take as much advantage of it as possible during that time that you'll you'll ultimately regret it and you'll ultimately wonder where it would have gone
Emily Whitehurst 9:57
yeah, for sure. One of our one of our bandmate Mors who, who had quit tsunami bomb actually said that to me later on, like, we're still friends and everything and and he said that he regretted it every day. And that I was just kind of blown away by that it really hurt. It hurt me. I was like, wow. Wow, that's sad.
Brian Heater 10:21
The timing was certainly right. I mean, you were really you're kind of in the final throes of the record industry still trying to promote artists to a certain extent before that. Yeah. pletely imploded? Yes. I mean, ultimately, the grip just kind of burnt out, did you get sick of each other.
Emily Whitehurst 10:42
Um, it wasn't so much that as there were, it was like it was this really weird place that we were in, where there wasn't anything solid, about our situation. We had one band member had decided to leave. So we were kind of like trying to figure out what we were going to do the remainder of us. And at the same time, we had a lot of issues with our record label. At the time. We were we were supposed to be getting ready to write our third album for the label. And it was a huge mess, like the the relationship was really not good. And we also were having issues with our management and our booking agents. So it was just all everything we were like, Who do we even turn to? And within the band, we weren't sure what we were doing musically, either. We were kind of on different pages of where we should take it for the third record. So it was sort of just like this. It wasn't like, it wasn't like any crazy, you know, dramatic thing happened. It was kind of just like, well, what, what do we have? What do we have get? We have we have our name. And that's about it right now.
Brian Heater 12:06
I mean, I'm always baffled by people who are able to stay with the same lineup for me to more or less the same lineup for extended period of time. It's, it's very impressive. It's, you know, I always say the easiest way to test a relationship is to move in with somebody. And the easiest way to test a friendship is to like, pack yourself in the back of a van with five other people.
Emily Whitehurst 12:33
Yeah, and also put yourself in some extreme situations, like, you know, tire blowouts or getting stuck in the snow or any number of things that can happen when you're on tour, break ins, window smashed. Where
Brian Heater 12:49
were you at musically, at that point, Which direction did you feel the band should go in?
Emily Whitehurst 12:55
I felt like I wanted it to expand. And I my favorite. My favorite song off of our the last record that we wrote was jigsaw, which was just a very weird song. For us. It was the last song on the record. And it had a very weird structure. It wasn't very punk rock. And so. And I mean, I wasn't like pushing hard for tsunami bomb to do that. I've thought about it. I've thought about it a lot lately, because of because of doing interviews, you know, people have been asking those kinds of questions. And it's like, there was definitely part of me that was like, well, we can't really expand because this is a punk band. And if we expand to something else, then we're not a punk band anymore. And then what happens and I think, partially my own with my own insecurities at the time, I was like, Well, I can't I don't know if I can handle. I mean, this is internally, I never thought this, you know, consciously to myself, I can't handle the backlash, you know, to put
Brian Heater 14:00
things into context for our younger viewers back in the 90s. And arts, we used to have a thing called selling out that doesn't really exist anymore. But you know, like, I'm from I'm from the East Bay, myself, and I remember you know, especially like going to Gilman Street and in Green Bay and like, you know, what did it what sort of like black market black market was on you to experience like any level of popularity and certainly didn't
Emily Whitehurst 14:28
they get banned from Gilman,
Brian Heater 14:31
they did for an I think, I think event like decades later, everyone was like, this is silly, but it is I mean, it's one of those things like, you know, I'm, I think about this a lot in my own life, the arbitrary decisions that I've made in my life, because it made sense at the time. And in hindsight, it's just kind of silly out of context. Yeah.
Emily Whitehurst 14:52
Yeah. That is how that is. Well, I mean, I do feel like it would have been a lot of struggle to continue You're in the band considering all the other stuff that was going on. But the timing was it, maybe it was easier for me to kind of be like, Well, I do want to do something else, like, I do want to do something a little different, something with more freedom musically. So maybe now's the time to switch over. And then that's when we I started action design with our bass player at the time.
Brian Heater 15:25
So it wasn't the sort of thing that you could just sort of put put on hiatus and come back to.
Emily Whitehurst 15:31
Um, it didn't seem like it, there was always sort of this dark feeling around the band for me and for various members. I think a lot of it is because we kicked out our, our original bass player who had started the band, and he was very possessive of it. And still, like continued to be. So it always was kind of like this. Well, we, you know, we did reunite in 2009 as a fundraiser for our friends brain cancer surgery, because she was instrumental in in the beginnings of tsunami bomb. But But yeah, I think I think a number of us just had sort of a, like, Yeah, this is not it just doesn't have that kind of like, Hey, guys, let's get back together and do it. It's like there's this sort of a dark cloud over it in a way. It's
Brian Heater 16:51
something you're doing when you're in your 20s or however old you were at the time. There's just emotions are just so high at the time. And those are. Those are things that you that you keep with you. Whether whether or not you want a minute.
Emily Whitehurst 17:07
Yeah. Yeah, there's a good there's baggage, that's a good way to put it is that there's there's definitely baggage that makes me not like I look back and have so many awesome memories. And I don't regret it at all. Like I love that history. And got to do so many awesome things. But I don't look back at it and go man, I wish, you know, why don't I start that again? Like, I wish I could do that again. And it's there's just there's just baggage. What
Brian Heater 17:34
was that experience? In 2009? I mean, it's obviously like very, very somber circumstances. And, you know, the kind of thing I know that you had dealt with previously, but did any good come out of that reunion?
Emily Whitehurst 17:50
Well, I mean, it was really awesome to Yeah, it was super fun. And it sold out. And it was, I think the thing that was, aside from raising a bunch of money for our friend, which was really, you know, help felt really good and helped her a lot. And she is still she is still alive and thriving today. So that's super great. Was that when we broke up in 2005, we didn't do like a farewell tour or anything. We just were like, You know what we're done. And so some people actually came from overseas to that reunion show to to see us and it was like this international reunion and people were meeting each other that had been, you know, had had met online that were from different countries. And we had, you know, a party beforehand. And afterwards, and it was it was a ton of fun. It was really great.
Brian Heater 18:55
But but going into it, it was more of like, let's give this the send off that it deserves. Versus Hey, maybe we should give this a shot again.
Emily Whitehurst 19:03
Oh, yeah, for sure. For sure. None of us. None of us considered reuniting, like officially as a band. We we heard that our friend had brain cancer. And we were like, all of us were just like we should do this. We should. This is a reason to play a reunion show and just raise as much money as we can. And, and none of us at least I don't think at least a majority of us were no one said they wanted to to reunite and continue to play shows it was more like a no, this is a special thing for a reason. And we didn't we didn't invite the band member that we kicked out we didn't invite him to play and which is just part of the whole thing. So it's like, you know, let's do this one time. Let's do this one time and get off the stage. Just let it be and let it let it fade.
Brian Heater 20:04
That's the thing about nostalgia, you can ruin a memory by doing that, you know, and I think that this applies to a lot of things in life that we tend to really, you know, we, we feel miserable through a lot of things at the time as they're happening. And then when you look back on things and look back on periods in your life, it was like, oh, yeah, that was like a perfect moment. Everything was great. Why? Like, why wouldn't we? And then obviously, like, you've risk bringing every all of the old feelings back up, but also, almost ruining your memory of that thing? Yes,
Emily Whitehurst 20:38
that is always my second thought. My Oh, that was so fun. Because it really is fun to play in tsunami bomb and sing those songs and play to a big old crowd. That's super excited. But it's just not. It's just not in the cards. At least not right now.
Brian Heater 20:55
What was it like? Joining the because you weren't you weren't the first singer in the bands? You know, they had already been going for a little bit was there? Was there a sense of self doubt when he first kind of started in with that group?
Emily Whitehurst 21:13
Now? No, um, the band was, was really new still, uh, when I when I joined, so it was still basically a, like a garage band and a local band. And
Brian Heater 21:26
you didn't feel like you had shoes to fill?
Emily Whitehurst 21:28
No, no, it was fine. Because they were friends of mine, too. And? And, yeah, yeah, I felt I felt I felt good about it and excited about it,
Brian Heater 21:41
when they decided that they wanted to give this another shot. Did you get the call?
Emily Whitehurst 21:45
I did. I did. And I turned it down. Because of all those, you know, all those reasons. I it was restarted by the member that we kicked out. And I, you know, there's a reason there's lots of reasons that I didn't want to be in a band with him. So that's doubly
Brian Heater 22:05
rough. But also, you know, again, it's, it's that thing of like, reliving your glory years. Yeah, it could turn out really badly.
Emily Whitehurst 22:15
Yeah, yeah, there are multiple layers there. You know. And it also it just is like, it's not like, I feel like, there is something really fun about nostalgia and everything. But at the same time, I'm I do feel like, I was already doing survival guide at the time and wanted to, you know, I still feel the same way that I did, then as far as like wanting to do more than what we were doing. So it returning to that would have definitely felt like a step backwards in a creative and musical sense. So yeah,
Brian Heater 22:57
I mean, I hate to even use this word, but like, obviously, in life, we want to mature and there's a sense in which that would be at least emotionally taking kind of, and I guess, musically as well, taking a step backwards, perhaps. Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 23:10
yeah, I totally agree. I like not in a bad or, you know, not in a way of saying that, that music wasn't good or isn't good. But But, yeah, it just seems weird to, to think about sort of going back in time, in that way, being the person that I am now. It just seems weird. It's like it. Also the way that that being in a band is like, being in a in a relationship, it is a relationship with the people that you're in a bandwidth. And it's like, I don't know, it's almost like if somebody that, you know, you were dating 20 years ago, came and said, Hey, we're still attracted to each other. Like, let's try it. Let's go out again, you know, like,
Brian Heater 24:03
it seems like a real good idea for you. Do you do think about it for a minute or two?
Emily Whitehurst 24:10
It did well, even if it ended badly, or? I don't know. Yeah,
Brian Heater 24:15
there's always like a little bit of that of that, like, just remembering what what that thing was, yeah, like what that thing you saw, because, you know, by the end of the relationship, if it's ended badly, then you've you've kind of buried that thing and you and you start to wonder what you saw on that person. And there's something about leaving something and coming back to it that you reconnect with certain aspects of it. I'm not saying I've done this. Just saying I understand the impulse and I understand why people when people do, do do it, and you know, and it's it's, like you said, I mean there's a million things, right. There's a lot of there's a lot of context and there's a A lot of there's a lot of reasons why relationships don't work out. And there's a lot of reasons why bands don't work out. And it's exactly what you said, it's not necessarily always the interpersonal thing. It could could be label, it could be anything.
Emily Whitehurst 25:13
Yeah, totally. There's a million reasons. There must
Brian Heater 25:17
be a level of spirituality, though, like seeing somebody effectively singing your songs.
Emily Whitehurst 25:25
Yeah, I mean, it's it is, it is definitely a weird feeling that's unique. But, uh, I, you know, if I don't, I don't really seek out their content, or, you know, look to see what they're up to. But sometimes people do send it to me, or, you know, tell me what's going on or whatever. And I'm just like, I just tried to remind myself, you know, like, I chose not to, I chose not to do that I chose to do Survival Guide instead. So that it doesn't really, it is weird, because it's like, I tell myself, it has nothing to do with me anymore. But it is, like songs that I wrote. So that that is kind of weird when it's like, oh, that's so funny. They're doing a song that I wrote. Like, during my lunch breaks, when I was 1918 years
Brian Heater 26:21
old. I'm always curious for people who are in bands for a long time, or who at least, like continue to perform the music that they wrote, when they were 19? How they, how if at all, they continue to relate to it on an emotional level, like, I know that some of your songs do come up from on occasion when you're doing the live stream. So it's not like you've like completely abandon them.
Emily Whitehurst 26:43
No, I still. I mean, yeah, there's definitely songs that I don't relate with. anymore. But it's, you know, I would never perform those songs in a survival guide set. But I feel like Twitch is much more casual. And it's kind of one way to sort of connect to that nostalgia, which is more more fun than, than anything for me. And for viewers, I think sonically
Brian Heater 27:12
very different that, do you feel like you're a profoundly different songwriter, after all these years?
Emily Whitehurst 27:19
Oh, I wouldn't say, Well, yes, if if looking at it in one way, now I'm writing everything in the song. And that's what took me so long with this album is that I had to sort of build the confidence to be able to write drums and all of the keyboards and all the music and, and vocals and everything, I have always written my own vocals and melodies. And I would like to think that I have improved over the years, but I also feel like I still have some of the same tendencies and and qualities as a, as a melody writer. And as a, you know, vocally, musically, it's, it's totally different. And I'm doing it all. But yeah, I do think I still have some, some bits from tsunami balm for my vocals,
Brian Heater 28:18
I get the sense that just having the courage to do that, like, you know, to, to be out in front of a punk bands, at that age, and to like, basically, like, learn bass and start performing that, like that. Must have been, that had to be extremely difficult, like, in a sense, like, this aspect of things almost must be easy compared to what it took in the early days to just get out in front of people and bury yourself like that.
Emily Whitehurst 28:50
I mean, I felt so I would say, for me, it was the opposite. Because I was so excited about music and just being part of it that I, I wanted to perform, I wanted to get out there. And being just a vocalist is what I prefer. I don't prefer playing an instrument. And it's funny because people talk about how, you know, standing singer, like it must be scary because you don't have an instrument to hide behind. And for me, it's like the opposite. Like I don't want to have an instrument kind of weighing me down, in a way and also having to think about two performance aspects at once. I'd much prefer to just get out there and sing. And and I always felt comfortable having my band you know, on stage with me, so now it's like, not only do I not have a band, I also am playing all the all of the instruments and singing so it's like It's like everything rolled into one.
Brian Heater 30:03
I think generally when people are talking about that they're probably not talking about punk rock because punk rock lends itself well to being a singer, because you do you do, in fact, still have a lot to do on stage. Yeah.
Emily Whitehurst 30:18
Yeah, you gotta be all over the place. But if you're, you know, if you're playing guitar or bass or, or drums, you're, you know, you can, there's a lot of punk bands that are three piece bands. And, and those even those singers are like, Oh, it must be so scary to you know, to not have a guitar is something in front of you. And it's, I always disagree. I
Brian Heater 30:41
think wrapped up in all of this, as far as like, performing solo goes is you don't if something goes bad if a song goes wrong, and it's just you, and like a guitar, like there's nobody, you can't, you can't point the finger and nobody can really can pick up the slack for you. Right?
Emily Whitehurst 31:04
Yes, that's something that I am getting used to. But sometimes it is still really, like, I stopped using a computer to run my drum beats. Because I had, I was on tour with Survival Guide to solo and using a computer and it was not it was malfunctioning every night, it started malfunctioning to where it would just stop, like, all the drums would just stop in the middle of a song. And I'd be on stage like, you know, here's this keyboard coming through still, and I'm singing and it's, it was so traumatic and horrible. And especially being on tour, it was like, well, it wasn't just a one show, you know, one local show at home. And I can take a few days to figure out what's going on. It was like, No, we have a show tomorrow and the next day, next day. So it just kept happening over and over again. And so I don't I don't do that anymore. I'm not going to take a laptop with me again until I can afford to have to have the exact same laptop so that I have one as a backup. What do you
Brian Heater 32:14
do? Or is there anything that you can do in that instance?
Emily Whitehurst 32:20
All I could do I mean it so it would just what happened is, I still don't know what was wrong, but it would just sort of disconnect to where it would, which would make it stop the song, but then it immediately reconnected. So I could restore ash back.
Brian Heater 32:35
So when we started this conversation
Emily Whitehurst 32:41
Thankfully, no. If there was a whole audience of people here, then yes, I would have
Brian Heater 32:46
I clearly we both have our fair share of tickets.
Emily Whitehurst 32:51
So yeah, during that time, I just had to decide like, how far into the song was I? Is it? Should I restart the song? Should I say Oh, well, I guess I'll just start the next song. And hope that it doesn't happen multiple times in a set, which it did. And then I had to just be like, wow, you know, this place is haunted, or whatever. I know, I just had to like try to sort of ad lib and make it as least awkward as possible. But which was so hard. And it wasn't possible for me internally. I was like, you know, really panicking. Were
Brian Heater 33:23
you the opener on that tour?
Emily Whitehurst 33:27
It was a shared, it was like a flip flop. I wouldn't call it a headlining tour. It was I went out with CO headlining Yeah, yeah, it was it was small, it was Survival Guide and lungs and limbs. So it was like a lot of small clubs that we did, but sometimes, you know, there would be kind of a lot of people there one night in particular was just a lie. It's like it turned into a club. And so I suddenly was packed with people while I was playing and they didn't know Survival Guide. You know, that's, that's what makes it even worse is that you know, as a as a small artist, it's like the people that are there. Only like a handful of them knew Survival Guide. So most of them were like, just there to to hang out and see live music and it was so stressful and terrible.
Brian Heater 34:22
That's exactly why I asked because I would think that people who were there for you and to knew Who knew your stuff would extend you. Yeah. Support. Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 34:32
yeah. If I if I hadn't had a nice large following myself at that show. I wouldn't have felt wouldn't have felt so stressed out, or maybe even
Brian Heater 34:42
more like, it's hard to you know, if there were more people there than it you know, it's hard to say like, yeah, yeah, it would have felt in the moment.
Emily Whitehurst 34:48
It wouldn't have felt good in any case.
Brian Heater 34:53
Do you miss that collaboration? Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 34:55
I do. I do. I feel like there are some Real, awesome advantages to being solo. One being one of the things that's really frustrating about having a band that's been a sort of a repeat instance for me over and over is when people are not not available to do stuff, you know, with the band or for the band that I would like to do. And there's just not the same level of dedication, which gets really disappointing for me, you know, to be like, I'm, I'm putting everything into this, and I need to be working with people who feel the same. And it's really hard to it's like impossible, apparently, according to my experience so far.
Brian Heater 35:53
It is, right? Because the people who are really good, who you really want are probably already anything, and you can't really ask people to prioritize this new thing, or what they're already doing. Totally,
Emily Whitehurst 36:04
totally. Yeah, there's a lot of reasons and like, especially as time passes, as I get older, all the people that I, you know, that I am friends with are like, I'm not doing that. You know, like, they, they have other things going on. And so it's kind of, it's kind of a necessity, I feel like for at least right now, for me to be solo. And it's there are like that, that actually is a really good thing about it, like I it feels really, really good to make to make all the decisions on those kinds of things to be like, Yes, I can play that show, or No, I can't, you know, like, it's, I'm not, I'm not waiting on anyone else's schedule. But it also is what made it so hard for me to to, to cross the barrier that I built for myself of what to do next with survival guide, and whether I could write an album by myself and record it and do all of the things that that I had hoped to do. So. So yeah, it took a lot longer than I had hoped it would, but I am happy with the results. I'm happy with the songwriting that I did. And there are even some things about that, that I feel like, like, lyrically, I feel like I was able to really open up a lot more than I have, in the past, maybe not a lot more, maybe not a lot, but there are a few things that for sure. I would not have I would have left in my notes, I would have just left in my notebook and thought to myself, like, oh, everyone's gonna think that's dumb, or, or like, this is really personal. And I don't I don't really want to present it at band practice, you know? So, so there are pros to writing by myself as well.
Brian Heater 38:15
It's so interesting, right? I mean, you're worried about sort of that immediate, what peers will think about it, but in either case, you're going to be sharing it with a lot more people.
Emily Whitehurst 38:26
Yeah, somehow it's easier to just write it and, and put it out there than it was to write it and, and show it to band members for their approval. I think that's why is that I, you know, all the songwriting that I've done, has always been very like, like, let me know, collaborative. Like, let me know what you think of this. Like, if you if if anyone's uncomfortable with my lyrics, like, I will change them. And, and I have done that in the past. Not a lot, because I don't feel like I write a lot of controversial stuff. But there are some things that I've written about that people in the band were like, Yeah, I don't think we should release that. So So I do, you know, I have always sort of left it open for, for people to give feedback on in the band.
Brian Heater 39:22
Things that were too personal. Um, no,
Emily Whitehurst 39:26
it was more things that were it was interesting. I mean, obviously, I felt like it was not bad to release to put to put these lyrics out in the world. But there were a couple two different songs were were that were kind of well, one was definitely pretty scathing, about about just the sorts of behavior that goes on on tour, at least on the elite the way that things were on some of the tours that we were on,
Brian Heater 40:02
like the kinds of things that we're all hearing about now. Yes.
Emily Whitehurst 40:08
Yes, I did. Yeah, just some, some questionable things that happen on tour that that, you know, some band members maybe felt like, I went too far with lyrically. So we didn't, so we didn't really summon then there was, there was a thing. Um, there was one, I mean, a similar similar kind of thing. But I was sort of making fun of a certain type of person who's very, he was very like, there was this period of time where I felt like everyone just wanted to talk about their tattoos. And they were just like, everyone was just showing off their tattoos like, Oh, look at this new one. I got like, they were just, it was like, people were obsessed with it. And I wrote a song about that. And, and that didn't didn't make the cut. That one actually got adjusted. To be a different tsunami bomb song. I just changed the lyrics. For that one, in the case of
Brian Heater 41:08
the tour behavior, really young and vulnerable isn't probably the right word, but but it is, in the sense that just like any, any 19 year old probably is and I completely understand the impulse to to write a song about that, do you? Is there any regret on your part that you didn't address that more directly at the time.
Emily Whitehurst 41:33
Um, my main regret was that I felt like it was a really good song, and the whole song got canned. But it wasn't so much about it wasn't so much about experiences that had happened to me, it was more about just like, behind the scenes on tour just like some some some bands that we toured with were just wild. Just like just like what you would imagine for like, uh, you know, at like, some hair metal band in the 80s. Like, some of them are, does drugs just like craziness?
Brian Heater 42:13
It's very funny to be like a like a mid level punk bands have those resources and still be like throwing televisions out of hotel? They just don't you don't have the finances to live life?
Emily Whitehurst 42:27
Yes, I have seen a number of things projected through windows.
Brian Heater 42:32
I mean, on a whole you feel like you've tapped into personal topics that you wouldn't have tackled previously.
Emily Whitehurst 42:43
Yeah, both that and certain things that I feel like other band members might have thought was too silly, almost like in, like in blood perfume. I rhymed. What was it? I rhymed, something with feetsies. Now, I can't remember what the rhyme was. I want to remember it. There was a reason why I just I had to add that. But that's a perfect example of something that I would have been like, oh, they, the other band members would be like, did you just say feetsies? That you just did you just create a word to rhyme something? Or the song pie? Like as I was writing it, and, and I was doing, you know, you look like a fresh baked pie. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I was thinking like, this is another lyric that I'm gonna leave because I think it's fun. But just like the nature, the nature of it, I probably would have not had that as a as a main as a chorus. If I had other band members,
Brian Heater 43:59
it always strikes me as kind of a funny thing of being. Being in a punk band, but especially being in I guess, like, like an emo band of wanting to be cool, wanting people to think you're cool, but also wanting to be vulnerable. And like trying to figure out how to walk that that line and trying to figure out how to not, you know, too far to fall too far into the trap of you know, like, I'm a 17 year old writing love song. It's a hard line to walk. Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 44:29
yeah, I'm definitely getting pretty good at feeling vulnerable nowadays. And I think it's something that I need to just like, I've been thinking about it for a while. I need to just get used to it, because that's kind of what it is to be a solo musician. You mean
Brian Heater 44:47
just musically or just in life? Oh,
Emily Whitehurst 44:51
I mean, just just musically. I mean, it's good to be vulnerable in life too, I think. But
Brian Heater 44:56
I'm just wondering if like opening yourself up In that way, like lends itself to other aspects of your life? Yeah,
Emily Whitehurst 45:04
I think it does. I feel like it does I feel like being vulnerable is, is. It's just like any other, you know, working any other muscle, I think you do get better at it over time. And it helps with relationships to, you know, to be able to just talk about things more openly and, and, and be okay with, with being vulnerable. It's so uncomfortable. And but it's Oh,
Brian Heater 45:35
yeah, it sucks. But yeah.
Emily Whitehurst 45:39
It's like kind of inevitable if you want to, to, you know, to strengthen your relationships. And, and also, I think it's not required to completely as a musician, you can put up walls, but especially if you're in a band, especially if you are not solo, you know, and I think that for me, being solo, being vulnerable is probably the best thing that I can do to just not be second guessing myself and just kind of trying to be who I am. And not not trying to do something else.
Brian Heater 46:20
I know you lost your brother at a young age. And I'm wondering something that's that. That that's that difficult, whether that's something that you can in any way process through writing those kinds of personal lyrics.
Emily Whitehurst 46:40
Um, I haven't been able to yet. And I, I have vaguely tried, but I'm definitely not ready. I'm kind of thinking that that might be for the next, the next solo album, I might I feel like I will need to write about it at some point. But I haven't been able to yet. It's it's still too hard.
Brian Heater 46:59
You're thinking about the next record already? Oh, yeah.
Emily Whitehurst 47:03
I mean, I, I feel like I should probably start. Start on it soon. Because my songwriting process is so slow.
Brian Heater 47:12
So we could talk again in like, eight years or so.
Emily Whitehurst 47:14
Yeah. Yeah, I would like it to not be eight years before the next record comes out. And so
Brian Heater 47:20
does it get any easier or faster? Well, I
Emily Whitehurst 47:24
feel like I learned so much writing this record, nothing I've ever written was like this. So I did give myself tons of leeway, and tons of freedom to explore and try to figure out what works for me. And so I do think that writing the next record will be easier and faster. And I have more confidence now. And, and I did do some things that really helped like I saved up to, to rent a like an Airbnb trailer in the country for a week. And I had never done anything like that before. And I just took my keyboards and computer and groceries and just like camped out in this trailer and writing was my job for the whole week. And it really did. Like I didn't write the entire record, but I wrote like, three I wrote almost six songs. While I was there, which was huge for me to write to write. I basically wrote three whole songs and then had three half songs written when I when I emerged from the trailer and that was really, really big for me. So I'll probably do something like that again. And maybe do that a couple times. And see if I can, you know, expedite the process.