Album Auto-nalysis is a regular COUNTERZINE feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track and provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked Puerto Rican folk artist kate can wait to detail her new album ‘Veraniegas’.
1. “green greenz”
kate can wait: Sometimes I write songs with an idea of what role they’ll serve on an album. My last album, howl youth, started off with a very slow and stripped down song, so I wanted to start this one off with a pretty sounding one that also featured some synths to show that this album wouldn’t just be vocals and guitar like the last one. I wanted the song to instantly grab someone’s attention and fortunately I managed to write something that featured all of the things I wanted. It was one of those magical moments where a song basically writes itself in a couple of minutes, so I’m really pleased with this one. As a side note, I like to pepper my a lot of my songs with references to other lyrics or artists that inspire me and this one has a few of those if you wanna find them.
2. “sal & oro”
KCW: Very much a transitional song for me, this was the first song I wrote for the album and the last song I ever recorded on my old laptop. howl youth had come out recently, so I felt like I had the time to experiment a bit with new sounds during recording. Contrary to how I usually go about recording music, I spent most of my time on the instrumental and made sure the guitar parts sounded as pretty as possible while keeping the lyrics and vocals simple.. Whenever I listen to this song I instantly think that this is what a post-rock KCW song would sound like, and while the song is very different from others on the album, I think it ultimately paved the way for how every other song would sound.
KCW: This is the last song I recorded for the album: I think I finished it in very early June of 2019. Fantasmeo is Puerto Rican slang that can be translated a bunch of different ways, but the way I use it here is basically “I’m a ghost because I’m just a spectator in life instead of a participant”. I really wanted Veraniegas to be full of really pretty songs (which I thought my last album lacked), so I wrote this song that’s half-meaningless introspection, half-love song inspired by the poet Sappho. The chorus features some gender-neutral lyrics in Spanish, which I wish I could hear more of from other artists.
4. “le mat”
KCW: Of all the songs on the album, this one is the hardest to explain. To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure where it came from. The lyrics are pretty personal and are related to a bunch of my previous songs including “somewhere, outside” from this album. I remember that while recording it, I wanted the vocals to sound like Liza Minnelli.
5. “obvio de que o sea full de que super literal”
KCW: This one’s a toughie. While recording the album I felt like I had too many ‘pretty’ songs that were full of harmonies and layered guitar parts so I decided that I wanted to record something more stripped down and bare, like my first few albums, as a sort of breather track. Of course what happened is that I ended up recording a song with the most vitriolic and personal lyrics I’ve ever written. It’s in Spanish so not everyone will get it, but the lyrics are about physical and emotional abuse and manipulation. I debated for a long time about whether or not to include it because sharing something so personal and painful about my life felt awkward. However, I wrote the song with a purpose and I ended up liking how catchy the melody is so, against my better judgement, I included it. So much for having a breather, huh?
6. “~out of heaven~”
KCW: Oddly enough, the second song I wrote for the album and the one that got me into full on recording mode for my next release. I love dark sounding music and neofolk in particular is one of my favorite genres, so I tried to make something that sounded spooky and haunting while also having some goth rock camp to it. I kind of wear my influences on my sleeve on this one, but I really enjoy songs like this.
7. “flor de bolsillo”
KCW: The concept for this one was very cute love song in Spanish. One of the fastest songs I recorded for the album: I think I wrote and recorded all of in an hour. It was a ton of fun to work on. Most of the lyrics are inside jokes and pretty imagery with a shout out to Odysseus and Penelope.
8. “solo c q no c na”
KCW: A song to listen to on a sober Saturnalia evening. I’ve had that main riff floating around for years and getting to finally use it in a song felt liberating. The lyrics are also some of my favorite I’ve ever written, mostly stream of consciousness stuff and some funny wordplay. My thought process for this song was ‘bossa nova-ish beat with Carla Morrison vocals’.
9. “somewhere, outside”
KCW: Another personal one. It’s hard to write about these types of songs but this one is about a period of time I’ve written about in at least a dozen of my previous songs including “le mat” from this same album and most of Emerald City Film Club. On it I speak a bit about my first time ever flying out of the country alone in search of freedom and meaning. The chorus actually predates the events in the rest of the song’s lyrics and it happened a little bit before all of the flights. It was one of the most painful, emotional moments I’ve ever had and I’ll never forget how much grief I felt saying goodbye.
10. “to be alone with you//2bAloewnWifU”
KCW: Before kate can wait, I made electronic music for about eight years and it’s a sound I’ve been wanting to incorporate into KCW since I started the project. While a few songs of the other songs on here have synths in the background, for some reason I just felt like this song needed a heavy, electronic outro while I was recording it and just kept adding and adding until I was satisfied. I think the ending is a nice contrast to how chill and cute the rest of the song is. This is probably the KCW song most likely to get played in a Japanese cafe.
11. “orphan maker”
KCW: Probably the nerdiest song I’ve ever written and the third one I recorded for the album. The lyrics are about a D&D character and campaign and the music was inspired by epic fantasy video game bard songs and black metal, even if it doesn’t really sound like any of those things. I really wanted to get a big powerful choral sound for the vocals and ended up recording like 15-20 vocal tracks for the song, which took longer than I’d care to admit. I’d love to delve into this style of music more in the future, so I put this one at the end to make the transition to the next album easier. Shout out to Kord, the Stormlord!
kate can wait’s ‘Veraniegas’ is out now via Grimalkin Records and is available on digital, cassette, and lathe cut vinyl. Digital sales support kate can wait, cassette sales benefit the True Self Foundation in Puerto Rico, and lathe cut sales go towards the production of Grimalkin Records’ future release. You can read more on kate can wait and ‘Veraniegas’ from us on our January ‘Good Causes’ column. Be sure to follow kate can wait on Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp to keep up-to-date with future work.