"Yo, I'm honestly doing so well," Tessa Violet expresses to EARMILK at the top of our chat about her newest single, "Games". "Publicly I spent 2020 doing livestreams and connecting with my fans in this new digital way, then privately I spent 2020 doing a lot of spiritual work."
Just who is Tessa Violet? How does she feel about herself and her music? Those proposed questions and more are answered in the chat we had upon the release of this new song, as she came into 2021 excited and ready for anything it had to offer her.
The original inspiration for this new song came from Violet's own dating history. She had been dating a guy that would lie about little things, things that didn't matter or that she wouldn't have cared about. The story was always changing and when she pointed that out, the guy tried to rewrite history where she, in fact had just misunderstood him. "It's crazy, because someone you love is asking you to choose between trusting them or trusting yourself," she expresses. "It really makes you start to second guess yourself." Nonetheless, it came out eventually that person was chatting with other girls (via Tinder).
Touching back on the creative process of this song, for the original version, she was very focused on the vibe of her 2019 album Bad Ideas as a whole and where it happened in the tracklisting, "I wanted the energy to come down and then slow build toward an anthem at the end," she adds."As a single, I wanted to slam from the start."
"I feel like I'm at my most powerful, because I am the most comfortable with who I am. It's the perfect storm for a new song release. — Tessa Violet
With any release, you never really know how it is gonna go, will her fans like it? What will people think? However, so far "Games" has been a home run for Violet, pun intended. "My management just told me yesterday it's at #46 on alt radio – freaking huge!!" she expresses. To say the response has really blown Tessa's expectations out of the water would be an understatement.
Violet and her team had always felt like there was something special about "Games". An undercover slammer per se. Even though she has gotten solid hype with this new release, she is just grateful to be in a really good place, mentally and physically, with myself to receive all this love. "I think a few years ago it would have been hard for me to accept this," she adds. "Now I'm just like, fuck yeah? People like me? Me too. [big smile]"
When she first wrote this song, she wrote it on piano and was imagining as like this extremely minimal, slower, pop song. But it just wasn't really working and it never felt right, "So we were like, okay what if this isn't this slow sad song, what if it's an anthem," she explains on the initial creative process. "I reworked the chorus a little and now it is as you hear it."
You can have an intention when you go into a song, but i'm a big believer in letting the songs be what they want to be. it's easy to get in the way of that. Games always wanted to be an anthem, I just didn't know it when I started. — Tessa Violet
Tessa Violet's approach with music videos is always to reflect how the song "feels" instead of the story the lyrics tells. Sometimes these things line up, but sometimes they're different! With Games, she was stuck. "[Again] the song is about my experience with someone who lies to you," she tells EARMILK, "but I just feel like we've seen that music video a million times, so I was like I don't know, is there something funny we could do?"
Twilight had been all over TikTok in the early parts of 2021 and Violet just happen to jump on the bandwagon at the time. "What if we recreated this scene [the Baseball scene]," she continues in our chat. "It really made me laugh and I like to follow what lights me up. Honestly I was like half feeling like this is so funny we have to do it, and half feeling like…. will people get this?"
For this project, Violet worked with fellow artists Lovelytheband, a group she was supposed to open for in spring 2020. "It came up that Mitchy would sing on Games and I was like heck yeah," she reveals on how the partnership came about. "I love Mitchy's voice."
I really feel like it makes the whole song stronger. And it's fun to hear the story from someone else! — Tessa Violet
While she did go with the notion of paying "homage" to Twilight, deep down, the song actually features a solid message about self-respect and time management. In fact, Violet would like listeners to take away one aspect: Break the fuck up. "[Laughs] literally – like if you're doing all the work dump them," she says. "Spend that energy investing in yourself."
2021 looks to be a big year for Tessa Violet as she has some new songs on the way. "Yo I'm stoked. (sic)," she expresses to EARMILK before leaving. "I continue to grow as a writer and these new songs are slammers." Violet joined us for an EARMILK Presents livestream in 2020, and you can hear one of the above new songs (currently unreleased!) if you tune into Bad Ideas: The Experience, airing May 12th and 13th.