king princess in garden

Why King Princess's Hold On Baby Is Not a Pandemic Album

Brandon Flynn: How are you feeling?

King Princess: I’m good. Doing a lot of stuff right now because my grandma needs help upstate and then I’m putting this record together so, it’s just been wonderful and completely manic. [chuckles]

BF: [laughs] As any form of creation is—life and our projects intersect and it’s insanity in many ways.

KP: What have you been doing?

BF: I just wrapped up a project in Massachusetts, a movie, a fun horror. It feels like the movies we grew up on.

KP: That’s hot.

BF: Yes. It was really fun. It was a crazy cast.

KP: What’s it called? You can’t say?

BF: No, it’s called The Parenting. It’s me, Lisa Kudrow, Brian Cox…

KP: I fucking love Lisa Kudrow.

BF: Parker Posey.

KP: Parker Posey?

BF: Parker Posey.

KP: Legends only. I fucking love Parker Posey. Parker Posey in fucking… What’s it called? Best in Show.

BF: Oh my god.

KP: That is one of the greatest performances, I think, in anything ever.

king princess in garden
King Princess wears a Bode shirt, Chopova Lowena pants and belt and talent’s own Tiffany & Co. necklace. Hair by Rutger. Makeup by Mariko Hirano.

BF: So, I listened to your new album…

KP: Did you? They sent it to you?

BF: They sent it to me. Are you going to go off?

KP: No. I can’t deal with this releasing anymore. In a perfect world, I would finish the album and just give it to some gays and be like, “Play this for your friends. Put it online. Free download.” I’m not precious about this shit anymore. I just want it out and I want to go on the road and be on stage.

BF: Are you excited to be on tour?

KP: Oh, yes. Oh my god. Yes. I’m really fucking excited. I think this album is meant to be toured. I was on a break from touring because of COVID for this album.

When you play shows, you realize immediately everything you did wrong in production because the best way to test it is to play it in front of people. You think you have this song that is going to go over great, and then it doesn’t and you’re like, “I know exactly what I did wrong. Thank you everyone for letting me know.” Being on stage is having this transfer of energy. It’s a fucking longterm committed relationship.

BF: Yes. What are you looking for in terms of audience when they come?

KP: I did a little bit of writing and I got to the core of what the album is about. In the past, I wrote about people who hurt me or scorned me and then used other people as the sounding walls to figure out my own feelings. I want this album to be a place of solace and for listeners to feel at home with this music and make it their own. I know they’re going to bring that when I’m on

King Princess wears a full Bottega Veneta look.

BF: Out of curiosity, you’re saying this album is a bit of discovering the dislike of oneself. Do you feel like the album also provides the space for loving that part of yourself that you dislike?

KP: I think it does, but a bigger part is having empathy for yourself. I needed to write this album to manifest that it’s okay to struggle with these things and that’s why we have art as a catharsis. The happy ending is I’ve made something that, when I listen to it, it makes me enjoy my own words and my own personality. I’m so lucky that I get to write albums and deal with my own bullshit in this way, and then give it to other people so they can deal with theirs.

BF: That’s powerful. So often we’re told to change the parts that you don’t like about yourself but what if that part is really helpful?

KP: Any time you put out music or art, there’s a part of it that isn’t yours anymore. The truth is you’d have to be a brick house to not admit to the fact that those things are incredibly challenging the minute other people’s opinions come into play.

But that’s only a part of what the record is about. It’s also about pussy.

BF: Yes. It’s called Hold On Baby. Where does the title come from?

KP: This is a funny story. I worship Ethan Gruska who is on the record amongst other fabulous people. Ethan is a huge part of why I felt like a kid again, in the studio. We were just two goobers, drinking, playing golf and making music. Ethan would do this loving voice of his grandfather like, “Angel, hold on baby angel, and it won’t be like that.” And we started singing that line. It sounded like a country song with those two loving terms of endearment.

BF: That’s cute.

KP: I do find myself saying, “Hold on baby.”

BF: Who doesn’t?

Okay. I’ve gotten little hints of: there was the pandemic, there was the lack of tour. Is that when you wrote the album?

KP: I wrote a lot of songs and then this ended up being the refined version of what I wrote. Ethan and I wrote a lot of songs that will probably be on the deluxe version of this. And there’s little parts of the album that correlate to the pandemic, but I didn’t want it to be like pandemic vibes.

BF: A good pandemic album. It’s what everyone wants right now.

KP: That is not my vibe. [chuckles]

BF: Where did you write it?

KP: A lot of it was done at Ethan’s. A lot of it was done at Aaron Dessner’s studio in Upstate New York, which is magical. I did not want to take this session with this man I didn’t know. How wrong was I. I ended up atstaying there and immediately felt I just walked into heaven. I’m sleeping in this beautiful studio, which is so helpful when you’re working with someone because it’s immediately intimate, which is conducive to art. I was there for a week, his family made me breakfast every morning and we wrote “I Hate Myself, I Want to Party” and “Changed the Locks,” my favorite song on the record, and “Crowbar” and a couple others that, again, will probably be on the deluxe. It was really magical.

BF: I was thinking back on when we met, it was a pretty pivotal point in my life.

KP: It was for me too.

BF: I met you the night before I got sober.

KP: Yes, I don’t know how much you want to talk about that.

BF: We don’t want to go, balls to the wall.

KP: Okay, we won’t. That was a really interesting night because I felt we had both been each other in that situation and there was this moment of looking at each other and being like, “Mm-hmm.” It was honestly one of my first real nights going out without being on illicit substances as well. Then to meet you and have this moment of connection, made me feel grown up in a really good way. We hugged and there was this transfer of comfort that I thought was really beautiful.

BF: It was a lot of comfort and it was a pretty memorable moment. I remember making sure to text you and saying thank you and then I went to my first meeting.

KP: It’s so crazy how for every demon you meet who pushes you away from where you need to be, every once in a while there’s someone who brings you a little closer to who you’re supposed to be. I felt very seen and appreciated in that moment and you were so sweet.

BF: It’s been a pleasure to get to interview you, especially around this new album. I’m hearing about all these labels pushing
TikTok and all these ways to promote an album. To do what you want to do is a real luxury and it’s pretty epic to see you fighting for it and persevering through it.

KP: We love TikTok. It’s fun. But there are so many ways to skin a cat. Everything is so cyclical that hopefully what remains is care and good art. That’s what I hope and I think I know.

BF: Fuck yes.

KP: It’s going to be good. I did film this fucking video.

BF: I’m a fan of your music videos too.

KP: It always makes you feel like a star to do a music video. This one was fun to film because it was literally just a bar. [laughs]

BF: Yes, I can imagine. I would like to be in a music video.

KP: You can be in one of mine whenever you want. I can’t afford to fly you out, though. [chuckles]

BF: There are things that you do for others [laughs] and you don’t expect much.

KP: If I hit you up for a music video I’m not getting you a plane ticket, alright? Like, you’ve got to just come.

BF: You’re not flying me on a PJ [private jet]?

KP: I’ve never been on a PJ. I need to be on a PJ before I get you on a PJ.

BF: Okay. That is fair.

KP: I’ve been trying to finagle someone to just let me walk on. It doesn’t even need to be in the air.

BF: A music video in a PJ, and then we get the best of both worlds.

KP: I honestly think it would be like half my budget for the video. It’d be shot on iPhone.
BF: Could be cool.

KP: Don’t look at me like that if we don’t do a shoot. [laughter] We do camera.

BF: As it should be.