Helmed by recent Berklee Grad McKenzie Iazzetta, Trophy Wife revels in imperfections. With Iazzetta’s soaring vocals, and a gritty sound drawing from acts like Liz Phair and Alanis Morisette, Trophy Wife has been igniting basements and bars across Boston over the last few years with songs from their 2021 EP Bruiser. This month, coming up on a year after its initial release, a gory new music video breathed new life into the EP’s opening cut “Knife Fight.”
As she gears up for a summer tour of the Northeast and a return to recording, I talked to Trophy Wife about honest, uncomfortable songwriting and the recording of Bruiser in cow-land, Connecticut.
Hassle: So, at the time we’re talking you’re about to drop your music video for “Knife Fight” Are you excited about the music video coming out?
Trophy Wife: Yeah! Me and my friend [visual artist Gia Kelliher] have been meaning to do it since the song came out but our schedules never aligned, then she moved out of Boston. It was very fun to make.
Hassle: Is there a cool concept you can tell me about?
Trophy Wife: I kind of let it be my friend Gia’s fun thing. A lot of it was based off old movies with crazy women in it like Possession and stuff like that. In one part I was covered in fake blood and I ended up having to walk all the way home from where we filmed it covered in fake blood. So that was my nice humiliation walk I had to do after it.
Hassle: You just graduated from Berklee, how has that been?
Trophy Wife: It has been cool! I feel like I’m in adult-purgatory right now. I have been playing a lot of shows! This month I don’t have a bunch of shows which is nice because it gives me a break for a second but in May I played so many shows right after I graduated which was fun.
Hassle: You put out Bruiser at a crazy time, in the middle of the pandemic. Do you feel like that influenced your songwriting at all?
Trophy Wife: Some of the songs that I put out during the pandemic I wrote before. I wrote “Knife Fight” when I was like 18, it was the first song I ever wrote. The rest were at the beginning or during, “Involved,” “My Own Damn Bed,” and “I’m Getting Better.” But I have a hard time writing about things that are happening right now.
I feel like they weren’t so influenced by the pandemic other than I had time. Lots of hanging out with myself.
Hassle: Do you have a favorite moment in your music? I love the moment in “I’m Getting Better” when you sing “I lit my candle, and knocked it over, I knocked it over,” then the music really hits.
Trophy Wife: “I’m Getting Better” is definitely my favorite one. While it was coming together it happened so many times where all of us were like “oh that’s the thing!”
There was a moment when we were recording it with my guitar player, Mario—it was recorded at Ashlawn Farm in Connecticut, and a lot of it was actually recorded in the barn—we had my guitar player in the barn and we were all sitting inside with the controls and we were making him play the guitar part over and over and over again. He would play it and we’d all go “hmmm no.” We were driving him insane, but then he got so fed up he put his guitar in front of his amp and made it feedback and we were like “ok, that’s it!” It took driving him crazy to do that I think.
Hassle: That’s so cool that you were able to record in a barn!
Trophy Wife: It was so fun! It was in Lyme, Connecticut. We drove down there and we were there for four days, a long weekend essentially. We stayed at my parent’s house because I’m from Connecticut and we would drive up and be there all day from like 10 to 10 essentially. We recorded a song a day just about either in the barn or inside. There was a moment when we were in the barn and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the microphone and there was a bug on it.
It was really awesome! We got really cool sounds because of the spaces we had. We re-amped a guitar in the basement through the vent. We just got to do a lot of cool stuff because of the space it was in.
Hassle: Do you feel like you have a songwriting mission? Or maybe a little less seriously, what makes you want to write songs?
Trophy Wife: I think I always write songs retroactively, looking back. I don’t sit down usually with the intention [of doing this] but I find that I write songs that I would have wanted to hear when I was, like 18 or 19 or even in high school. Those times you’re a huge idiot and you feel like you’re the only idiot. I feel like a big theme [in my music] is just that everyone thinks they’re the only asshole because we don’t like to talk about it. It’s not flattering. I like to write songs that maybe I wouldn’t listen to. Like, I wouldn’t listen to the advice or whatever, like listen critically to them when I was 17, but maybe I would if I wasn’t so stubborn at the time.
Just to remind people that they’re not the only one that feels like shame or guilt or ugly feelings that you can’t always turn into something pretty or poetic or flowery.
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