GRLTALK x Avery Leigh's Night Palace
Full Name: Avery Leigh’s Night Palace
Location: Avery Leigh’s Night Palace is based out of Athens, Ga & Brooklyn, NY.
Favorite Food of the Moment: I’ve been super into grapefruit lately, which has been so inconvenient to crave as a casual snack!
First Food Memory: A food memory from childhood that I am so fond of is pulling off into gas stations on drives with my parents to buy those wacky (bad), pylon orange, marshmallowy circus peanuts. They are the texture of a foam mattress and honestly I love that. They’re Disgusting! They’re Delicious! Sue me!
Beverage Of Choice: I’ve been drinking a ton of jasmine and other floral teas lately. I love it so much because it smells like drinking actual plants. My grandma used to have boxes of it at her home when I was little, and I associate its fragrance with her so much.
Tell Us About Your Latest Project(s): I’m currently in the finishing steps of recording Avery Leigh’s Night Palace’s debut album; It has been an almost three year long project with two wizard engineers and producers Drew Vandenberg (Toro Y Moi, Kishi Bashi) and Andy LeMaster (Conor Oberst, of Montreal), my angelic bandmates Dillon McCabe (guitar, synth), William Kissane (drums), and Zack Milster (bass, lap steel), and a whole orchestra of our best friends. I wrote these songs in my old living room in Athens on a huge, thrifted Lowrey electric organ called the Magic Genie, and now the record features woodwinds, strings, harp, singing saw, and celeste. I went to school for classical singing, where I met a ton of wonderful instrumentalists, so it was the most special project to get to write parts for my friends to play all over the record.
Another project I’m working on is composing music for my main theatrical collaborator and best friend Sam Schanwald; they’re an incredible multimedia artist, theatre-maker, actor, director, etc. etc. based in Brooklyn. We were recently ecstatic to put up a piece called twin Size Beds at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival (written by Sam and directed by Caitlin O’Connell). The next piece we are working on together is called PROSPERITY!, created by Sam Schanwald and Jake Sellers and directed by Miranda Haymon, which will premiere at Rough Draft Festival in New York this spring.
What keeps you excited about your work? A lot of times I’ll find myself in a moment (or week!) of decision paralysis when working on new music, considering the thousand ways a single song could go, musically and lyrically. When I get into a Very Weird Headspace™ I like taking a step into the aesthetic realm of the album, and to continue to build the visual world of the music. I recently made a video for our song Into the Wake with photographer and filmmaker Hana Haley, and it was such a dream. I couldn’t be happier with how her gauzy visual style and the song entwine with one another. We are looking forward to making another video together this year, and I can’t wait; I’m working towards making visual accompaniments for most of the songs on the album, and collaborating with artists from different forms and mediums to do so. I’ve also incredibly loved making neat Night Palace things with angel photographers Michelle Norris and Forrest Aguar’s Atlanta-based TROPICO Photo, as well as with one of my best friends Ally White, an incredible vibrant painter and mixed media artist, also based in Atlanta. I met Ally in in a rudimentary drawing course when I was pretending to be a visual arts major in college, and now I write songs about her, as it goes! Ally and Michelle have also both had work featured in GRLSQUASH.
Enjoying and supporting music and art from other womxn and non-binary folks is of course such an integral part of my creative world. When I’m in a rut, I listen to as much music as possible from people that inspire me, and it feels so good to do that! Making myself leave my room and go see music or theater when I’m feeling stuck is really inspiring too— to see something special, hear something new, and to witness the power of community. I’ve had a really magical swathe of special folks like Kadhja Bonet, Hand Habits, Weyes Blood, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Arooj Aftab, Mega Bog, Λ°C (Lambda Celsius), and Locate S1 on repeat lately. The last two are music makers in Athens, where there are some really incredible beacons of light in the music and art world/s there.
How can the GRLSQUASH Community show up for you? A follow on IG or FB is lovely if you want to know about releases, shows and projects; we’ll be releasing our album this year and touring here and there.