Fighting For Victory
Katie Crutchfield on shaping raw introspection
in to her best record yet
words by ben tipple
photography by jessica kourkounis
“A fucked up relationship and an intense break-up…”
Katie Crutchfield offers casually, sipping on a beer in an east London pub to celebrate the release of her new record. She almost immediately backtracks. “I try not to harp on about it being a breakup record,” she insists.
Out In The Storm, the new record under her Waxahatchee guise, is far from it. The catalyst may have been the demise of a long-term partnership, yet above all else, her fourth studio album is one of self-reflection. The purpose is not to attack the former relationship. “It’s about the singular”, she explains. “What the person goes through.” As Crutchfield unfurls the record, it emerges as a raw and responsive reaction to one moment in time. “It’s the first time I’ve written a record where everything is about the same thing,” she reveals.
Each track on Out In The Storm demonstrates a different state of mind. As with any sense of loss, emotions change. Crutchfield sways from anger to remorse, from self-deprecation to liberation and from being exposed to feeling safe. “There are moments when I’m beaten down and just wanted to escape. There are moments where I’m over it and fine, moments when I’m in it and moments when I’m not. But it’s all about the same thing.”
The brutally honest song writing is a product of urgency. At various moments in our conversation Crutchfield reinforces her then-desperate need to write the record. It’s an instinct removed from what has come before. She looks back on prior material fondly, although seemingly with brand new eyes. Crutchfield has outgrown the initial intensions of Waxahatchee at the turn of this decade. This is her personal opus. “I really wrote Out In The Storm outside the context of Waxahatchee,” she admits. There was an urgency to writing it that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I wasn’t thinking about building on what I did last. More so, I just had to write this record.”
Her approach changed. Rather than working towards a formulated sound, Crutchfield let the sound come to her. She smiles as she admits she didn’t have a direction for the record until halfway through the recording process. The result is notably immediate. There’s no metaphor to hide behind, rather the record lays out her unpredictable emotions. “I just wrote the songs really fast,” she adds, explaining how she pulled the majority of the record together in just over six weeks. “They ended up being more cohesive than they normally are.”