A year ago, Jen Severtson packed up her bags and decided to start over. Feeling isolated and disillusioned after leaving a band she had played with for many years, she got in a car and drove across the Rockies, leaving her home base of Calgary for new digs in Victoria, B.C.
She quickly became ensconced in the music scene, filling in on bass for some shows, and gradually piecing together her own band. Next week, as Peach Pyramid, Severtson is ready to put out a new record called Repeating Myself, which she calls her “sonic exhale.”
Severtson says that, after deliberately cutting herself off from the music scene, the act of picking up her guitar again and writing music was therapeutic. The album’s first song, “Getting Cold,” is about reaching out to her friends for support.
“Writing that song was kind of my first realization that I could actually do something to help myself,” she writes via email. “I wrote a few more songs and started once again to regain my footing with music.”
When you first listen to the songs on Repeating Myself, you might find the surf-influenced dream pop a bit deceptive: underneath the sunny, bouncy riffs, Severtson tackles themes of trauma and abuse. She says that addressing her own personal experiences through songwriting was critical to her healing process.
“If I have the ability to recount what happened to me,” she writes, “the least I can do is share that and let others know that they are not alone and that their voices matter. When I first opened up to my peers about my experiences and depression I received an outpouring of support, including messages from other victims and survivors of abuse and trauma recounting their own scenarios. It broke my heart to hear about all these strong women around me going through similar scenarios.”
The album’s first single — and title track — is about feeling helpless to speak up about abuse.
The band features a rotating cast of musicians and friends, and was recorded and produced by Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, Black Mountain, Yukon Blonde) and Kathryn Calder (New Pornographers, Immaculate Machine). Peach Pyramid is also the first band to release an album on Calder’s new label, Oscar St. Records.
Severtson credits Victoria’s interconnected music community for providing the support she needed to bring her music to life.
“I am so proud of what we made together," she says, "and I am proud of myself for finding my voice again.”
Repeating Myself will be released on Sept. 22 via Oscar St. Records. Pre-order it here.