As an identical twin and half of Austin band Boy Friend, front-woman and painter Christa Palazzolo has been no stranger to dualism. She oscillates between creating startlingly lifelike portraits and landscapes with ying yangs and dripping smiley faces to recording ethereal swirling pop with a medicine woman’s touch. With an aesthetic that’s marked by the psychedelic, romantic, and spiritual, it’s fitting that her songs have titles like “Egyptian Wrinkle” and “Lovedropper.” She’s also proved she can do a mean cover of “When Doves Cry,” releasing a single in January that reached its download limit in days. After months of touring and production work, Palazzolo and her bandmates are set to release a new album in cassette form this February through Night People Records. Portable talked to her about balancing art mediums, what to expect from the new record, and the connotations of the word “new age.”
Portable: Where are you right now and what are you working on?
Christa Palazzolo: I’m at home tweaking the production on a few of our songs for the upcoming Night-People release… on my old horribly out of date computer.
P: How would you describe the music on your new album?
Christa Palazzolo: It’s a blend of pop, ambient & heavy swirling melodic vibes in an abbreviated 16 minute cassette release.
P: In what way does the tape format appeal to you?
Christa Palazzolo: Vinyl is always the supreme way to listen to sound, but tapes were our entrance into the world of music as kids. I remember dubbing songs from the radio onto tapes when I was super young. I love the nostalgia and the idea of it being limited, especially for a short EP release.
P: How has the addition of a third member to your band enhanced or changed your sound?
Christa Palazzolo: Tiffanie, our bassist/drummer/best-vibes girl, has enhanced our live setup so much. She came on & we just started getting way more adventuresome. It’s a delicate thing, connecting with people on that personal-creative level, and she just nails it. Love that girl!
P: You’re a painter as well. Is it challenging to balance painting with making music?
Christa Palazzolo: Yes! Still trying to figure out how to balance visual art, music and life. If anyone knows the answer to that, please hit me up. My inspiration comes in waves, and unfortunately when one medium gets a lot of attention, the other suffers quite a bit. I try to mix it up by creating digital art blurbs when I’m buried in music. I’m working on some new paintings this spring when the band activities quiet down a bit.
P: Does the term “new age” have any place in your work?
Christa Palazzolo: Haha. Yes, though it’s weird to admit. The last few paintings I’ve done have referenced giant yin-yang’s. Over the last several years I started to really connect with this idea of parallel energies working as one. I’m not a religious person, so I think that’s how I connect with the world on a “spiritual” level. Having grown up an identical twin, dualism is all i know.
P: Being a female musician must feel pretty empowering sometimes. How do your experiences as a woman affect your art?
Christa Palazzolo: I think any artist lucky enough to have people give a shit about what they’re doing feels empowered by that. It’s definitely a weird thing to realize people interpret that in millions of different ways. I’m not sure being a woman affects my work in a way that being a man would not, but I know there’s a lot of emotion and self-realization my experiences lend to the art. Typically what I create reflects something messy & personal. The work is the therapy whether it sells to others or not.
P: Which female musicians do you feel a connection with?
Christa Palazzolo: As far as inspiring contemporaries/producers/writers go: Maria Minerva, Tamaryn, Molly Nilsson, Anika, Jana Hunter and Claude Violante get me super motivated and stoked to make music. Then there are always the glossy radio-perfect singers like Mariah Carey & Aaliyah who I’ll love forever for giving me chills in the first place.
P: Do you like to dress up when performing? Does your personal style match your stage persona?
Christa Palazzolo: Yes definitely. Or at least I try to; I have to look at what I’m wearing before I go to work and freak everyone out, but otherwise I like statement pieces and subtle details. It’s all a package.