Q&A: Chatting with Emerging Toronto-based Artist Rachel Bobbitt on New EP, Internet Culture, and More

This past August, Toronto-based artist Rachel Bobbitt dropped her new EP, The Ceiling Could Collapse, via Fantasy Records. Co-produced with Justin Der and mixed by Grammy-nominated Jorge Elbrecht (Japanese Breakfast, Aly & AJ), The Ceiling Could Collapse is a collection of six songs inspired by Bobbitt’s family and relationship dynamics.

Bobbitt, who has released three EPs and one full length album, is no stranger to the industry. Once making a name for herself on the app Vine as a teenager uploading covers onto the app, Bobbitt found herself enrolled at a jazz program before leaving during the pandemic to focus on her own music.

It was exciting to be doing what I loved, but it was difficult to be observed by that many people at that age where I simultaneously wanted to just shut myself in.” “I’m grateful it ended when it did, because it gave me time to step back and think about what I wanted to create for myself,” she said in a Press Release about her rise to internet fame several years ago.

In the Q&A below, Rachel answers some questions about her creative process, how other forms of art influence her music, and more.

Staged Haze: I know you had a lot of success sharing your music on the now defunct app, Vine. Do you ever feel the pressure or desire to replicate this on TikTok? 

Rachel: I have definitely felt this pressure in the past. I think it’s a natural line to draw, you were successful on this very similar site, why not try your hand at this new one? But it’s been almost a decade since I started on Vine, and I’ve grown and changed. And with that, my outlook on social media has grown and changed as well. Vine was a great opportunity for me to express myself as a young teen, but it also resulted in me constantly being observed at a very young age.

The amount of opinions I would read about myself, good or bad, ended up having a pretty intense effect on me. So because of that, I’ve made clear boundaries for myself when it comes to sites like TikTok that demand a more personal and intimate approach. Maybe those boundaries will change as I progress, but for now I feel comfortable with the distance I’ve maintained for myself on social media. 

Staged Haze: Do you feel like there’s a difference in the culture and politics of the music community in Toronto compared to cities like NYC and Los Angeles? 

Rachel: That’s a really interesting question! Honestly I’m not really sure, because I’ve only ever known Toronto’s music scene. I can imagine a place like New York might feel incredibly competitive. Toronto has a competitive edge as well of course, but it also has a wonderful sense of support and curiosity when it comes to local artists. 

Staged Haze What was the inspiration behind your recent EP, The Ceiling Could Collapse? What was the creation process like? 

Rachel: A lot of the inspiration came from my family. I was separated from them during covid, and that level of isolation led to a lot of reminiscing and analysing family history & dynamics. Relationships interest me a lot, and family relationships are so incredibly intense. You’ve known these people forever, there’s decades of love and hurt and betrayal and understanding. It just felt like there was so much there to unpack.

For the recording, I started by sending my band the demos, and we started playing them together as soon as we could. We recorded the project at my drummers studio, and it was co-produced by Justice Der and myself. It was the first project I was able to create with other musicians in person and not remotely, and that was a whole different experience. We were really able to experiment and try new things together. 

Staged Haze: I read that the EP title The Ceiling Could Collapse was from a deleted scene from the horror movie Hereditary. How do movies or other forms of media influence the way you make music? 

Rachel: Movies and books influence my writing a lot. I love putting a movie on silent while writing. It really helps communicate the emotion you’re going for, and puts your mind in some new and different places. Reading also really helps me lyrically. My favourite authors are the ones who say things in such strange and creative ways that it almost makes you think, are we allowed to do that? It helps steer away from cliches. 

Staged Haze: Who influences your sound? Is there anyone specific that you’d love to work with? A bucket list opportunity? 

Rachel: There’s lots of artists that influenced my sound at different times, but I think for this EP a big influence was The National. I’m a big fan of their lyrics & cinematic instrumentals, they’re a bucket list band for me for sure. 

Staged Haze: We saw you just did some shows with Indigo De Souza and Sunflower Bean: two artists we’ve covered extensively in the past. What was that like? How will that experience shape your performance style in the future, if at all?

Rachel: Those shows were so incredible to play, I feel like I learned so much. Both bands had such a commanding presence on stage, that’s absolutely something I’m working towards. I tend to feel like I would love it if I could perform in a dark room as some undefinable voice, but watching them inspired lots of ideas on how to be more open while on stage. 

Staged Haze: We love to ask this to everyone we talk to, as our publication’s tagline is sharing ‘music’s best kept secrets.’ What artists are you obsessing over that we should get on our radar? 

Rachel: There’s a local Toronto band called Burs. They’re great friends of mine and incredible musicians, if you check them out you will fall in love! 

Rachel just kicked off a string of headlining dates across the US and will be supporting Mat Kerekes on tour during November. Check out the dates below:

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