The artist talks trauma and how it shaped her music upon the release of her new album, Nocturnal.


Opening up to an online community about her mental health struggles, LA-based artist MOTHICA has found herself not only being busy making music, but also utilising her online presence to challenge stigmas and encourage change. Inspired by her own experiences with sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming, her new album Nocturnal will incorporate lullaby-like melodies with more haunting soundscapes, all the while remaining a beacon of inspiration and comfort to those battling the same issues.

Speaking on the new album, MOTHICA explains, “I wanted to explore a darker, more aggressive sound, and a lot more rock and metal influence. I wanted to step into that world for this one, being influenced by the bands I grew up on, but song writing-wise, I hope there’s a throughline with my voice and lyrics.”

To celebrate the release, we sat down with the artist to discuss her creative process when making the album, and how she uses the internet as her confessional when she needs an emotional outlet. To read our interview with MOTHICA, scroll below…

Hey MOTHICA how are you? How has this past year been for you?
I’m trying my best! This year has flown by. But I’m excited to put out an album I’ve spent the last two years on. I’m also touring more than ever, which is super new for me.

Where are you from? Do you think your hometown inspired your music?
I was born in Tulsa and raised in Oklahoma City. I absolutely think it shaped my music because of all my experiences growing up, good and bad. We didn’t have as many touring bands come through, so there was more of a local music scene of hardcore bands and jam bands and spoken word. It shaped my appreciation for bigger cities when I moved to New York and now Los Angeles, which have so much going on every single day.

Let’s start from the beginning, how did you first get into music? What sparked the interest?
I started covering my favourite songs and signed up for a guitar class in high school. From that, I started combining chords with my own diary entries. So, it was a lot of really depressing songs, and that was such a secretive emotional outlet for me. I didn’t have dreams of performing or really sharing it with anyone, but I did post some YouTube videos and tried to sell a CD of my recordings to make money for university. I always loved music and wanted to work in it, but it didn’t dawn on me that I could pursue it until I lived in New York and started seeing some success singing on electronic songs.

And since then, you’ve cultivated a large fan base, do you ever feel pressure to be a certain way on social media?
Not really! I mean, I try to take photos when I’m more done up and have makeup on, but other than that, I do share a lot more emotional sides of me. I share serious things and my awful puns. I think it’s hard to be super candid on the internet like you’re just talking straight to a friend, but I try to bridge that gap as much as possible.

And your music sees you open up on past traumas, depression, and sobriety, what is it like being so candid in your music?
I don’t know, it feels so natural to me! I feel like I like to tell everyone personal things about me to get them out of the way, or it feels like I’m keeping it in. And honestly, I needed a therapist years before I found one, so I used the internet as my confessional.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when being so honest?
Sometimes I do cringe at myself for the things I’ve shared or the way I’ve said things. Because it can be so personal, I’ll have moments where I want to erase everything and be more mysterious but I’m just terrible at keeping things in, so I think it’s a good thing. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Since your debut with Blue Hour, how do you think your sound has evolved?
Well, sonically it’s changed a lot for my new album, Nocturnal! I wanted to explore a darker, more aggressive sound, and a lot more rock and metal influence. I wanted to step into that world for this one, being influenced by the bands I grew up on, but songwriting-wise, I hope there’s a throughline with my voice and lyrics.

What do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope they find the silver lining, and I hope it gives them a language through which to understand their own experiences. That’s what my favourite songs did for me.

Who would you say inspires you?
I’m inspired by visuals, movies, textures and emotive images. For Nocturnal, I was inspired by the imagery of sleep because of my own experiences with sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. So, from that theme, there are lullaby-like melodies and more haunting or nightmare-inspired soundscapes.

What is next for you? What are you most excited for?
I’m playing a ton of shows this year! I’m opening for Coheed & Cambria in July. I’ll be releasing a deluxe version of the album, maybe something for Halloween. I’m already planning what comes next, but you’ll have to wait for that one!

Words by
Sophie Arundel