Published Jun 22, 2019Bedouine's new album, Bird Songs of a Killjoy (out now via Spacebomb Records), is centred on letting go.
Bedouine's Azniv Korkejian returns to the therapeutic act often on her sophomore record's tender folk songs, and each time she does, it's with renewed understanding: "I'm gonna set you free," she sings on the breezy "One More Time"; "As wide as the storm that does brew, I will let go of you," she murmurs warmly on the slow-burner "Bird."
After a morning of playing with her neighbour's litter of puppies, Korkejian speaks to Exclaim! in an interview from her home in Los Angeles, and muses on the act of letting go.
"It's just like anything: you have to pick your battles, and then at a certain point, you can't keep fighting something anymore," she says. "You can't make someone be with you, spend time with you, hang out with you. You can't make someone want something."
In many ways, Bird Songs of a Killjoy feels like a continuation of Korkejian's 2017 self-titled debut, Bedouine. A few of the 30 songs she wrote for her first album are included on Bird Songs of a Killjoy, and she teamed up once more with producer Gus Seyffert. For Korkejian, it made a difference that the process of making her second album was familiar; she had a clearer understanding of what she wanted the record to be, and notes that she felt more comfortable navigating the studio.
"I feel like I know what I'm getting myself into, and [I'm] even slightly less precious about it in some ways. But in other ways, I'm very self-aware because I know now what it feels like to be on the other side of a record release and to tour a record."
Like Bedouine, the otherwise minimalist songs of Bird Songs of a Killjoy are amplified by strings and winds, arranged by Spacebomb Records' co-owner, and a composer and arranger, Trey Pollard. This orchestral accompaniment heightens the movements of Korkejian's melodies and the steady soft guitar plucking, and pushes the album to a blissful state.
"When we first started collaborating with Trey, that was pretty scary for me because I had so much time to get so attached to the songs and [I was] so precious with them, so I was a little nervous about adding a whole orchestra. I knew it could be beautiful, but it's hard trusting someone new to understand what the feeling is and what the sentiment is," Korkejian explains.
But she was eventually won over.
"From the first minute of recording strings, it was just so gorgeous. I think the first song we did with Trey at the studio was 'You Kill Me' [from Bedouine], and it was so beautiful that it blew me away. Ever since then, I've, for the most part, just known that we were going to work together. It was scary at first but now it just feels so fitting."
Although Korkejian sings of heartbreak and departures on Bird Songs of a Killjoy, happiness plays a part, too. You can sense it as Korkejian looks to the future and its contentment, which coaxes the album into its relaxed pace.
So does Korkejian really think of herself as a killjoy?
"I don't necessarily think of myself as that," she admits. "There are a lot of instances where I've felt insecure that somebody else might, and I didn't want that insecurity to change the way I approach things. So on the one hand, I am very aware that I would be perceived in this way, but on the other, I didn't want to do anything about it. It's an instance of wearing it as a badge of honour so that I don't let it change my course, or don't course-correct for the wrong reasons."