Tasha has been turning heads in the Chicago scene for a few years now, and with last year’s release Alone At Last she captured our hearts as well. We were lucky enough for her to answer a few of our questions ahead of her performance this weekend at Pitchfork and Thalia Hall (where she’ll be opening for Snail Mail, tix are still available and start at $18.) Her radiance as a performer is undeniable and she’s sure to make many new fans this weekend.
Chicago Crowd Surfer
Many solo artists choose to surround themselves with other musicians live, but you have taken to performing with just your voice and a guitar, making for an incredibly arresting and brave presentation. Was there a point where this was a conscious decision or does it just feel more natural to go it alone?
TA: To be totally honest with you, I usually can't afford to play with a band because of what I'm getting paid for gigs/tours. That being said, I have come to develop quite a comfort in playing solo -- I enjoy the power of commanding a room with my music all alone, and the way it grounds me in my self/songs. You can expect to see me with the full band at Pitchfork though
Last year's compelling Alone at Last has some production values that are not involved in your live performances, though they are surely replaced by your radiant stage presence. Do you miss having a backing track or do you prefer to let the songs speak for themselves?
TA: Each of those songs began on guitar, so it feels right to let them breathe like that in a live setting. I also find excessively produced backing tracks to be distracting quite honestly, and the rawness of a single instrument is much more captivating.
Your work reflects a place of tenderness but has a spirit of personal and social protest, do you find it difficult to balance these two seemingly disparate ideals?
TA: No, because I don't think it's possible to develop the tools for freeing yourself and your community, and imagining a future free of patriarchal, capitalist, and white supremacist systems without having a deep understanding of what it means to love, nurture, and heal yourself and those around you. Our liberation necessitates our wholeness. That's what I'm in the business of creating.
What was the moment like when you found out you would be playing Pitchfork Music Festival, one of the most iconic fests in your hometown?
TA: I read the email on my phone while walking down the street, and sat on the curb and cried.
You are also an excellent poet, Can we find any of your work published in print or online? If not, are there any plans to publish in the future?
TA: Not at the moment, but maybe in the future!
Who are you listening to right now? Is there anyone local, or touring, who you think are being overlooked and deserve more attention?
TA: Julia Jacklin, Lomelda, Dehd, Helena Deland, Lala Lala, Sir Babygirl, Half Waif, Gia Margaret...to name a few...