For our latest installment of Bands You Should Know, we are featuring one of our favorite up and comers, Your Friend. Taryn Miller A.K.A. Your Friend., is currently based out of Lawrence, Kansas and is finishing up her west coast tour. Lucky for us, she stopped by the Bootleg in Los Angeles and invited us to come check out the show. I have been a fan of hers for quite sometime now, but after seeing the live set, I was sold for life. Some bands go on stage and perform note for note what you’ve heard from their studio work, while others deliver an individual experience and this set was that experience. Her unique recipe of folk progressive rock takes you by the hand and guides you through a mind bending voyage, concluding in a feeling that can only be described as “the other side of the pillow”.
I believe to truly understand an artist’s work, you have to get to know them yourself. We asked Your Friend. some questions to help further that understanding. Check out our interview and a couple of our favorite tracks below:
The Eargazm: How did you come up with the name Your Friend.?
Your Friend: The project began as an unexpected solo expedition. When deciding on what to call it, I drew upon the relationships I had built thus far in my life. The project seemed intimate, and I liked the idea of playing smaller house shows at the time. I can reference a lot of invaluable moments in my life that were the result of an encounter with a stranger that felt really tangible even though the moment was fleeting. The word, “friend,” and what it means to you can vary greatly. In France, for instance, they would not necessarily always reference someone as their friend, depending on the context of their relationship. They would call someone an acquaintance before offering that term up. Friendships are deeper in that sense. I treat it the same way, except I am less withholding of the label. I base it off of experience and the connection that is developed instantly over a long period of time. Connecting in that way sustains me greatly.
The Eargazm: What did it feel like the moment you realized you were getting national attention?
Your Friend: I had self released the EP in August of 2013, and at that point it was so that I would stop driving myself mad with indecision. Documenting the songs in that physical form was really important to me at the time. It went up on bandcamp and it was bonkers. I was getting orders from Finland and other far out places. I showed up on some blogs and received really amazing emails. It was really small scale but was so huge to me. It wasn’t until after the announcement from Domino that I realized how weird the internet world is and it can be hard to exist within in it. Being featured in Spin was really a surreal moment. I have been reading that publication for so long and to see a photo of myself under the website banner was totally flooring.
The Eargazm:When was the first time you performed in front of a live audience and what was that experience like?
Your Friend: When you say performed live, do you mean in general or under this project? I haven’t been playing as Your Friend for very long in relation to how many different projects I’ve been involved in. The first show I technically played as Your Friend was a house show with some friends and folks from Chicago. It was a last minute decision made that day, hours before it was to start but may have been the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I was almost panicking after I asked to open. It was an impulse decision, and I hadn’t played out publicly in Lawrence yet at that point. I only had a few songs ready at the time but had been working on some things that would eventually end up on the EP. I ended up writing Pallet an hour before that show. The situation was really ideal. My favorite shows had always been held in houses and it was intimate and beautiful. I barely knew anyone there, so I didn’t look up until after every song. I even tried to do one off the cuff and couldn’t get my loop pedal to sync up. It was hilarious and everyone kept encouraging me, laughing, and cheering me on. I ended up getting it to work. It was really positive overall and I look back on it fondly. It was a really important show for me. The catalyst, if you will.
The Eargazm: Who/What would you say influenced you the most in pursuing a career in music?
Your Friend: There was an innate, gut feeling that drew me to where I exist now. But, as far as current influence, it’s always the people I surround myself with, the other bands that I play in, and the community of Lawrence that supports it all.
The Eargazm: If you could perform alongside any artist dead or alive, who would it be?
Your Friend: Ah shit, this is the hardest question! Dead? I’d say Freddie Mercury. To hear that voice from a stage, in the monitors would be otherworldly. Alive, Jimmy Page. He will forever be my guitar hero. My dream collaboration would be with Jana Hunter, Jenn Wassner, and Taylor Kirk of Timber Timbre though. All at once.
The Eargazm: Where is your favorite venue you’ve performed at since being on tour?
Your Friend: The venues so far have all had their own personal quirks and charm. It has been so amazing to visit other venues for the first time. I’d have to say though, Mahall’s in Lakewood, OH was kind of a dream for me. It was an old, magnificent, venue with a bowling alley inside of it. I was a serious bowler in my youth. I did the whole leagues and tournaments thing.
The Eargazm: What are some up and coming bands or artists from Lawrence we should be keeping an ear out for?
Your Friend: Look for the shell (Whatever Forever’s logo). Anything and everybody involved in that collective are blood to me at this point and I genuinely adore everything that comes out on the label. Genuine people making genuinely beautiful and real sounds. I don’t think that will ever change. I only see good things for Whatever Forever and am honored to be a family member.
The Eargazm: What is your favorite restaurant in Lawrence?
Your Friend: When I’m treating myself, 715. They offer a gluten free option on their pasta and I always leave there completely content with my decision to go there.
The Eargazm: Would you rather be dropped out of a helicopter in the middle of the ocean or buried alive?
Your Friend: I deal with rough bouts of claustraphobia, so I’d say that I’d rather be dropped into a vast space. With that being said, I’m terrified of drowning and sharks, so either way I think it would be an unpleasant experience. But, water is much more pleasant when it surrounds your body than the dry earth. I’ll go with helicopter on this one.
The Eargazm:What are your thoughts on the legalization of Gay Marriage?
Your Friend: Love is the realest thing to me and I’m in complete support of it being available and acknowledged to/by every single human being. I see the duality of fear and love pretty blatantly, and the fear of it just happens to be the greater force at the moment. I am hopeful that it will subside. Things are looking brighter by the day.
The Eargazm: What are your thoughts on the legalization of Marijuana?
Your Friend: Certain things that are legal are harsher than this plant. I have only seen how beneficial it is. It heals.
The Eargazm: If you had one word of advice for a musician who is just starting out, what would it be?
Your Friend: Trust the process. My old roommate as well as a current bandmate wrote this on a napkin and left it on our kitchen table once. It’s the advice and mantra I’ve kept with me ever since.