poutyface: Embracing Authenticity & New Single 'God Complex (Mojo)'

Ezzah Rafique

Q: "Hi! How have you been so far into the year? Tell us about yourself!"

Surviving. Grateful of course, but this year dragged me through the dirt, curb-stomped me, spit on me, but also kissed me on the forehead and hugged me. I’ve been making music since I was 13. Seven years later, here I am! Moved to Los Angeles in February 2020 after years of working in grocery stores and food service (hell on earth btw, please be nice to your food service workers).

Q: "What inspired you to pursue music?"

I actually grew up a competitive dancer (I sucked btw), but my favorite style was lyrical. In hindsight, I think I was connecting to the words more than the movement. A girl on my team danced to Sias ‘Breathe Me’ and I still haven’t forgotten her. I could tell that song was her story. So I guess that's it. I want to tell stories. For a long time, I thought I’d be an author, but (selfishly) I wanted to tell my story. I thought I’d be a dancer, but I wasn’t very flexible (thanks dad). Music is everything I love about art rolled into one. No brainer.

Q: "What is the backstory to your most recent single, 'God Complex (Mojo)'?"

That was a dark day. I was fighting with my manager. I went into the session expecting to write something sad, but my co-writer/producer Oscar Scheller said something that really stuck with me. “At the core of all sadness is anger”. I still think about that every time I don’t want to get out of bed. It's pretty magical, kinda scientific. Sadness goes in, rage comes out. We are all just big babies. Throw a tantrum- expel it, you’ll feel better.

Q: "For 'God Complex (Mojo)' what was your creative process like?"

Originally, we were gonna call the song “Mojo”. The session wasn’t more than [a] few hours front to back. Oscar sang this hook “where [did] my mojo go?!” over and over and it immediately connected. The production that reminded me of something out of Scott Pilgrim meets Limp Bizkit. I was bouncing around in my chair, the energy was really infectious. We wrote the verses in 15 minutes. The whole process was incredibly quick.

Q: "You have a few other singles that released earlier this year as well including 'HEY NEIGHBOR!', 'NEVER FUCKIN KNOW', and 'TRAUMA BOND'. How was the experience like for you as these are some of your first few songs you released?"

'Never Fuckin Know' went over so easily. The power of Tik Tok is unmatched. We had a release party [and] people were waiting for the song. It’s where I hope to be for all releases in the future, but 'Hey Neighbor' and 'Trauma Bond' were exceptionally more stressful. It was our first try at dropping two songs at once, neither of them were coming off of Tik Tok hype, just blind belief in the music. Those songs were a lot slow[er] going at the kickoff. They garnered appeal steadily as opposed to that immediate rush that happens when people are anxiously counting down the days for something. ​

Q: "How important is social media for you especially considering how it's impacted the number of plays your songs have gotten?"

So important. Again, Tik Tok is a godsend for music artists. I've seen people create mini music videos, I've watched my fans memorize lyrics to songs that aren’t even out yet. That’s more rewarding than the streams.

Q: "Between all three songs that you released so far, do you have one that resonates with you the most or one you enjoyed creating more?"

NFK is my favorite because it was such a mortifying experience. It made me cringe for weeks. Now, it’s something I can laugh at. If I can throw up in a stranger's bed and make a complete ass out of myself, I promise you will get through your latest embarrassment. ​

Q: "To someone who hasn't heard your music before, what do you hope they take away from it? What atmosphere are you trying to create with your music?"

Don’t take yourself so seriously. The last thing I'm concerned with is coming off “cool”. I hope that shines through and encourages them to do the same. Cool is overrated. Authenticity is interesting. Nobody is gonna do it like you.

Q: "Every artist has a different method of making music, how do you tackle a project?"

My co-writers are seriously the unsung heroes. I’d love to see them get more credit where it's due. I'm working with 4-5 separate sets of strangers, often, on a weekly basis, so the process is always different, but the magic is in the conversation. Within that, for me, is sussing out how much of myself I want to divulge. Gonna be honest, I hate getting on the mic and freestyling. [The] absolute bane of my existence. When I was toplining solo, I would go into complete silence for 20-30 minutes and write the entire thing in my head because I was a mousy little 17 year old.