Friday, October 22nd, 2021
SPELLLING – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast
The New Episode of Season 2 of Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey Is Out Now on Major Podcasting Platforms
Oct 22, 2021
By Celine Teo-Blockey
Experimental, Bay Area-based artist SPELLLING (aka Chrystia Cabral) is our guest on the latest episode of Under the Radar Podcast. She discusses the inspiration behind the songs off her third album, The Turning Wheel—which curiously shares its moniker with a novelette by iconic author Philip K Dick (whose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was adapted into Blade Runner) and gives hint to Cabral’s love for Science Fiction and the practice of fantastical, world building that she employs in her songwriting.
Her evolution from the truncated, Goth-leaning synth-centric records (Pantheon of Me and Mazy Fly) to the prog-rock/soul/psych-pop and ornate orchestral flourishes of The Turning Wheel are in part owing to the release date of her third album being pushed back for over a year because of the pandemic. She says: “I was a little bit bummed at first just because I’m stubborn and I was really attached to it coming out in the fall.” But eventually she embraced it and seized the opportunity to revisit the songs and expand further on some of her themes and ideas.
“Some of the feedback I was getting was like ‘this is too short and sweet,’” she says, which served her earlier records well but she was determined to step out of her comfort zone with The Turning Wheel. She adds: “You know, it’s more punk if it’s short,” but then she went on to treat the lyrics like they were short stories and expanded the record’s sonic palate accordingly.
SPELLLING took on the ambitious task of self-producing and orchestrating more than 30 collaborating musicians, and a choir. This maximalist approach is evident on The Beatles-inspired title track, “The Turning Wheel,” and its darker, karmic, companion piece “Revolution.” In the episode she admits that perhaps it was “trying to do too much with all the sounds at the same time,” but she loved it nonetheless.
While Cabral’s vocal style—often a cross between Donna Summer and Kate Bush—is not everyone’s cup of tea, her growing confidence and ability to push boundaries is to be admired. Especially after she discusses her childhood memories of having to overcome her intense shyness.
SPELLLING has two upcoming shows—this Sat, October 23, in New York (Le Poisson Rouge) and on Sat, November 13 in Los Angeles (Pico Union Project).
Cabral previously shared the album’s first track and lead single “Little Deer” (which was inspired by the Frida Kahlo painting Wounded Deer). “Little Dear” made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared its second single, “Boys At School,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared the album’s almost title track, “Turning Wheel,” via a self-directed video for it (which again made our Songs of the Week list).
Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Xiu Xiu, and more.
Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus. Season 2, episode 7 featured Adrian Younge. Season 2, episode 8 featured Sleaford Mods.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).
Check out our My Favorite Album interview with SPELLLING.