Colleen Green Talks Growing Up and Turning 30 Before Amoeba Performance

Posted by Billy Gil, February 23, 2015 10:44am | Post a Comment

Much has been made of the mid-life crisis, but Colleen Green details the kind of quarter-life crisis that happens in your late 20s on her new album, I Want to Grow Up. Over fizzy power-pop chords and purring solos, Green’s girlish coo is so sweet you almost miss the hungover, self-flagellating lyrics that fill I Want to Grow Up—“I’m sick of being immature … I think I need a schedule,” she confesses on the title track. But I Want to Grow Up is also a lot of fun, as Green doesn’t take herself so seriously, writing odes to TV and her lack of an attention span that are as funny as they are self-critical. Even in the admonishing “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part 1),” Green admits in part two, “I wanna do drugs right now/I wanna get fucked up, I don’t care how.”

Green talked to us a bit about her new album before her show at Amoeba Hollywood Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.

The songs on I Want to Grow Up really hold together as an album because there’s an inward quality to them, for the most part. Did you write them kind of all at once in a certain frame of mind or were they written more slowly?

They were kind of written over the course of a few years. They started out primarily as ideas that I thought about for a long time before I tried to sit down and make music out of them. Once I got to that stage where I was like OK, I need to record this and get this done, it all kind of materialized as a set kind of well.

You recently turned 30. Did that specifically weigh on you in terms of taking your career to another level? Or just the subject matter of the songs.

Yeah, pretty much ever since I turned 27 maybe, I’ve been in the mindset of what I pertain to be a 30-year-old. I’ve been looking forward to it and thinking about it for the past few years and just kind of wondering what it’s going to be like. That definitely helped me write the songs. Feeling like I’m finally entering technical adulthood and just trying to make some sense of myself and my surroundings and trying to enter this phase of my life with as much preparation as possible and as much understanding and acceptance.

Yeah, “I Want to Grow Up” has a great quality to it of sort of wanting to get it together but there’s an underlying sense that that’s not gonna happen right away or something. Or more of a pep talk.

Yeah, there is definitely a reason why I’m saying “I want to grow up, I want to stop doing things that are bad for me.” I’m not saying I’m going to in the song. I really want to, and hopefully I can make it happen. That’s kind of like the first step, I’ve recognized things I probably need to work on in order to become the best version of myself. But yeah, I think it’ll take some time to implement those ideas.

Your song “Pay Attention” feels both personal but maybe that it’s about this greater problem of people being on their phones while talking to other people or watching TV even, like I feel like I can’t even focus on watching TV. Do you think that there’s a huge problem right now with that, or is it more of a personal thing for you?

The song is mainly a personal reflection, but yeah it’s part of that whole like feeling like a kid, like a teenager who’s self-absorbed and only thinking of herself, but I also think that it’s kind of a problem—or not even a problem but something that’s happening to society as a whole. That’s kind of why I have a line at the end, “my thoughts come back to myself, I know you understand,” because everybody is just trying to think about themselves and put themselves first. And that’s fine, but it is kind of sad at the same time.

“Deeper Than Love” has a cool electro-pop thing going, do you think that’s an avenue you’d pursue further in the future?

Yeah, I would love to. I’ve always wanted to work with someone else on music like that ‘cause whenever I try to do it, it’s very minimal and very simple, which is cool too, but I’d like to make more music like that. I usually have a few songs on each of my recordings that are kind of like that, in that style, just because I’ve always liked trying to include different kinds of songs on my records. That was just kind of influenced by stuff I had been listening to a lot and trying to emulate.

Oh like what?

Well that song specifically is inspired by Akon.

Akon, really?

Yeah, I’ve been listening to him a lot, and I really love his music and his style of rapping and singing.

That’s kind of unexpected. Have you found that people have lumped you in with other female songwriters or female-fronted bands you might not actually have anything to do with or sound like rather than just talking about your music on its own or about its influences, female or not? Have you seen that change at all?

Yeah. Do I think that’s changing at all? No, not really.

That’s sad to hear!

I think people sometimes just know like one little detail about you and are like, “oh, that’s like this, this other artist,” even though it’s not like that at all. It’s just easier to do that.

You self-recorded a lot in the past, what was the process like working with Casey Weissbuch (Diarrhea Planet) and Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood) on this record?

It was a lot of fun! It was really positive. It made the process, it was just way different. It was cool because we’re friends and we got to hang out and talk about ideas and share ideas and we all just worked on it together and made it the best that we could. I’ve always been scared of trusting people that much and sharing so much with other people, but I think just in the past years living in L.A. and being alone and doing everything on my own, I think I just didn’t have those types of people in my life yet, like near me. In the past few years, I’ve come to be really good friends with those guys and it was just the right time and we were all available and into it. It worked out really well.

“Things That Are Bad For Me” parts 1 and 2 to me kind of sounds like both sides of anxiety. Like the first half is kind of a pep talk and the second half has this darker tone and self-critical. Can you talk a bit about those songs? Did you write them together, were they one song you broke up, and just about where you’re coming from when you write songs like that?

I agree with you, it’s kind of like two sides of the same feeling. I wrote the first part first, and that was one of the first songs I wrote for the album, and then I was just like recording demos to send to Jake and Casey, and I recorded the first part. I just really liked that title, and I was thinking that the title could be used in a hopeful song and also a really depressive song. I just kind of wanted to explore both sides of that. When I was making the demo, I was just kind of wondering how to end that first part and was thinking it would be really cool if it would be a song that blended into another song.

I usually ask people to give us a music list, but given your song “TV,” I want to know what are some of your favorite TV shows? Past and present.

Hmm, well I love Conan and Jeopardy, those are the two shows I always try to watch every day. I always like to watch the news.

Like local news?

Yeah. I always really liked Are You Afraid of the Dark? and those SNICK shows. I was a big fan of The O.C., although I stopped watching after I think the second season, but I’m still way down for O.C. And I really liked Lost. Currently Jeopardy and Conan are my two big ones.


Colleen Green performs at Amoeba Hollywood on Tuesday, February 24 at 7pm. More info.

Colleen Green live at Amoeba Hollywood

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I Want To Grow Up (1), Colleen Green (4), Live At Amoeba (38), La Music (74), Akon (2), Jeff The Brotherhood (3), Diarrhea Planet (2)