Gia Margaret isn't content with being confined to any genre label. While on first listen you can discern the singer-songwriter template, further attention With her debut There's Always Glimmer out this Friday 27th, we spoke to her about the album's conception, her sharp lyrical style, and what the future holds.

Your debut album is about to be released! How do you feel at this point?

I feel a lot of things. Nervous but ready to set it free. I’m excited to share the rest of it. It’s been a long time coming for me and something I thought about doing for a very long time. I worked on There’s Always Glimmer for nearly a year. I was super lucky to sign with Orindal Records for this release, but I had to abide by their release schedule - and honestly it took even longer because vinyl production takes a good while. It was worth the wait, but, I think between making the record and waiting to release it, I started to feel a little removed from the music. I’m sure a lot of artists go through this. I will say releasing a few singles has helped make it all feel fresh again. I get to experience first reactions and am reminded that the songs are new for everyone else. People have been so encouraging and kind. I feel really lucky.

There’s a lot of influences filtering into your style; along with the surface distinctions of folk singer-songwriter, you can hear balances of shoegaze, ambient, gentler post-rock; what sounds did you take inspiration from, and how did that inform the fusion you’ve put together?

I spent a good portion of my early 20s listening to a lot of folk music so I would definitely agree that the heart of the record is of the singer-songwriter persuasion. Nick Drake is my absolute favourite. I’m in love with him (7 of the songs on the record are in the same tuning as 'Place to Be'). I have an adoration for Linda Perhacs, Connie Converse and the Roches as well. And yes, you’re right about shoegaze influences. I think a bulk of what I listened to from 2014-2016 was Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Slowdive and Yo La Tengo. At that time, I was working the front desk of a music school. I’d spend hours listening to and discovering shoegaze bands during my shifts. It’s the kind of music you can get lost in if need be, but also doesn’t require all of your attention (if you just want to have it on in the background as you do something else.) It wasn’t long before I got an electric guitar and got obnoxiously into chorus and delay. Woops. More recently/ while making this record, I was listening to a lot of Lomelda, Florist, Adult Mom, Grouper and Yowler. I think 'Birthday' and 'In Normal Ways' were so influenced by these bands whether I’d like to admit it or not. And for the record I don’t think these songs hold a candle to their songs. I listen to A LOT of music. I love it so much that I have a difficult time deciding on a direction with my own music. Because of this I think I try to treat each song as something that had its own individual needs. I wasn’t so concerned if my record sounded cohesive.

You’ve written all the songs and produced the record yourself too, how have you found that level of autonomy?

I have been writing and recording demos in the confines of my bedroom for a long time. I think composing my own songs from early on has given me a better understanding of myself and my voice as writer. Sometimes I don’t really consider a song a real living and breathing thing until I sit down and make record of it. Doing this is meditative and brings me solace. I have a lot of fun with the few tools I have. I have a protective nature when it comes to my music and there are some things I don’t think I can capture with anyone else around. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to be aware of. When I decided to make this record, however, I wanted to push myself a little further. I was happy with the work I had done and what I had figured out with little to no training, but there was a lot I didn’t know as an aspiring engineer. Since I was planning to press the record to vinyl, I wanted to be a little more technical this time around. I asked Nick Papaleo to help with the bulk of the project after hearing a record that he worked on for my fave Chicago band, Campdogzz.

While I always had the final say and was extremely selective about what stayed and went on a recording, there are a few songs on the record that were such a collaborative effort between the two of us. I just want to give credit where credit is due. About 'Birthday' specifically: the day we recorded that song I went into the studio with all of the parts in my head and had the help of such incredible bandmates, John Morton (who played drums and played the acoustic guitar riff that repeats throughout) and Brendan Losch (who added atmospheric electric guitar). I couldn’t have made the song sound that way without these people. But Nick really pulled something out of all of us that day. It was his idea to have the song begin with Brendan’s drone-y guitar and he really helped organise and make space where space was needed. I have a tendency to go overboard and make songs with 80 thousand stems! I think I really knew what I needed and wanted on certain songs but I’m really grateful for the help I had when I hit a wall or needed the extra support. (Props to Doug Saltzman who engineered/collaborated with me on 'Smoke' as well.)

But since you asked, some songs I am really proud of as a producer are 'Groceries' and 'In Normal Ways'. They were recorded entirely in my bedroom (I played everything, recorded everything and *nearly* mixed them.) I’m glad that there’s some sleepy bedroom-demo charm on the record.

‘Smoke’ and ‘Birthday’, the two lead singles off the record, share an atmospheric through-line but are structurally quite different; the former unravels with accruing instrumentation while the latter is more straightforward – though still gorgeous – what has been your intention in the variety of songwriting, and did that change during your recording time in the studio?

They are structurally different, definitely. I think it’s mostly because they were written at different times and in different phases of my writing. 'Smoke' is a few years old and something that always felt a little unfinished. Over time I grew to like the sparseness of it and just left it as is. 'Birthday' was written more recently (a year ago) and definitely is more straightforward. It’s something I spit out in an hour and I think a lot of my newer songs are in this same vein. I went to school for piano composition for a short stint. I think my older songs are a little more impressionistic for this reason.

You sing largely in past tense, which complements the nostalgic wisp of your music; why the past tense?

It usually takes me a little while to process the things I go through. I think that comes across in my writing. I’m a nostalgic person. I should try to write more in the present tense! That would be a good exercise!

I love the unfussy directness of the imagery, how important is the specificity of the lyrics for you?

It depends. There are some songs that I write that are just word vomit. Of course they mean something but sometimes they’re not as intense or intentional as they come across. Sometimes the words just fit into the melody and I like the way they sound phonetically. There definitely are some songs that paint a very direct picture. Those are the ones that come to me the easiest and I try mostly to write as closely to the way I speak in everyday life. I’m not sure that answers the question but, my final answer is: sometimes?

Now it’s almost out in the world, what comes next?

More records I hope. I’ve been writing and demoing A LOT and have some plans in the fall to start something new! I also have an east coast tour this fall with my main bud Advance Base. He has a new record coming too!

There's Always Glimmer is out July 27th release date via Orindal Records.