Interview: SRSQ Tackles Self-Discovery with New Record, ‘Ever Crashing’

Kennedy Ashlyn has been making music for over a decade, originally one half of dream pop outfit Them Are Us Too. She has grown into her own identity as SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew”) and made some of the most enrapturing pop music of the 21st century. SRSQ’s early days was music made through the process of grieving her bandmate, Cash Askew, but with her new album, Ever Crashing, out August 19 via Dais Records, she is tackling something even bigger: self-discovery through mental illness diagnosis. 

For many years, I felt like I was fighting an invisible monster. I knew something was ‘wrong with me’—I felt horrible all the time. I couldn’t manage my life or my emotions, and I was behaving in ways that didn’t line up with my deep understanding of myself, and that cognitive dissonance further perpetuated this cycle of chaos and confusion and self-harm… I felt a huge sense of relief when the pieces of the puzzle finally started coming together, like I would no longer have to punch at smoke.” 

Ever Crashing sounds like these struggles were taken entirely in stride. Kennedy has a way of writing, producing, and singing that is breathtaking, graceful, uplifting, and buoyant against any and all bullshit. Part of what makes the album so beautiful are the dense layers on each track, all of which hover around the six-minute mark. Though Kennedy claims she was trying to be as minimal as possible, it is clear that the songs got the type of treatment that makes every single one shine, a few of them hovering around 100 individual tracks contained within. 

Despite being so layered, the process feels less like laying down sandstone and more like carving marble, honing in on something that already exists … The song needs what it needs, it feels out of my control.” 

The 10 songs that make up the entirety of Ever Crashing were pored over for about two years of consistent work” and then relayed to producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive, Zola Jesus) for finishing touches.  

I feel like he had an immediate understanding of what the album was supposed to be and took it even further than I could have imagined. Like, I feel like he could see it from above, and I was in the weeds with it, and together, we brought the songs to life.” 

From the work the two of them put into the record, it truly flourishes and drives home every message it is trying to convey. SRSQ has pushed herself in new ways to deliver something vulnerable, demanding, and brutally alive. Glittering synths, violin swells, crushing drums, gazey guitar riffs are all tailored together by Kennedy’s masterful hand, and then sequined with her incomparable vocal work. With work this strong, the future of SRSQ is certain to be bountiful and there is a beaming star at the center of it. 

I want to make work that I’m proud of, to push myself, to tour a lot, and to get better at everything I do… I just want to have a visceral experience and share that with others.” 

Watch the video for “Abyss” here:

For more from SRSQ, find her on Instagram, Bandcamp, and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Nedda Afsari

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