whose strings III: amelia bushell
a m e l i a b u s h e l l is a singer/songwriter based in brooklyn, new york. her band belle mare, who put out their debut ep "the boat of the fragile mind" in 2012, released their first studio album this september. "heaven forget" is a ten-track journey through amelia and bandmate thomas servidone's lush, dreamy world. although "heaven forget" carries more upbeat themes than "fragile mind, "amelia's haunting lyricism and timeless voice carry the same weight. lines like "it's time to wake up again on the right side of bed" and "in the fall, nothing's wrong" reflect evolving perspectives as seasons pass and cycles are retaken or abandoned. there is a sense of healing and of letting go, with or without tangible reconciliation or understanding.
scroll down to listen while you read!
the amelia jewelry collection features strings used during belle mare's writing process, blending pops of color with muted gold in a juxtaposition of heavy and light. I asked amelia a few questions about the record and her other projects.
belle mare’s first release had a stripped-down, acoustic guitar feel. how did the writing process differ for you as a songwriter, with the full band and the growing focus on electronic elements?
a lot of belle mare's first ep was written during an emotional time where I felt a burning need to write, and so production was the last thing on my mind. the easiest and fastest way to get things out was via an acoustic guitar that I had lying around in my room. our first ep was written by just thom and I. I guess the original minimal sound kind of lent itself to how sensitive I was feeling at the time. there wasn't any desire to play explosively... I was fragile. as the full band started to form, we found ourselves really enjoying a new and more complex sound and wanted to explore that route. I would love to do try to do a quiet acoustic album again though.
do you write most of your songs on guitar in the initial phases?
we used to, but now I tend to write on keyboards/piano. thom writes on guitar and on music software with a midi keyboard.
what was it like reimagining “rehearsed lines” and “all this time?” did you feel like your relationship to the songs changed?
I wasn't sure If I wanted to redo any of the songs but I'm actually glad that we did. there are elements of the original "all this time" recording that I really love (such as the background vocals (it's the track played backwards). the new one is a lot more clean and I think more accessible which sounds good to me in another way. I didn't think "rehearsed lines" could get anymore intimate, but the new version has so many intricate textures and the production was a lot more thought out by our producer ben baptie. he really helped to convey a more detailed side of the emotion that I feel has always come across in the song.
although there is still a thick sense of dreaminess and perhaps heartbreak in your music, there is a new upbeat quality to "heaven forget." was this a conscious shift?
yes and no. the majority of "heaven forget" was written after a few years of getting over a heartbreak, so of course my mindset toward the whole thing had slightly changed and I had grown up a bit. there are some new themes that run through "heaven forget" that weren't a part of my life when I was writing "the boat of the fragile mind." I never really thought about the dreaminess of the whole thing consciously. the sound just sort of changed as new songs were written and the band was brought into the equation.
what’s in store in the upcoming months for belle mare?
we are hoping to make and release a music video. thom and I are going to keep writing.
what else are you up to artistically? any other projects in the works?
I have a couple of other projects in the works. I'm the front woman of a new punk band called grim streaker. we just played our first show and I had the best time performing. it's completely different from belle mare musically, but I like it because I feel like it gives me the opportunity to show another strong side of my personality that doesn't really make sense when performing with belle mare (even though sometimes it does).
I'm also working with an old friend, who just moved to new york, on some music, slowly. we're both so busy with other stuff that it's hard to get together that often but I do have high hopes for it. I'm also very very slowly working on a number of old songs that I would love to perform under a solo project.