- Vanessa Siebrass
Interview: "Batshit" - Emily Ronna
Photo Credits: Libby Danforth
“Batshit” is a fun and catchy tune, and the ‘fuck around and find out’ vibe is undeniable. (Bonus points for burning all the evidence!). How much bail money did you need…erm, I mean…what was the motivation for this song?
Emily: Haha thank you! The idea came from two places; one was actually my mother. I have a history of being a conflict avoider so if I ever had to make anybody upset she'd tell me to blame it on her, which I always thought was nice. She cared more about my comfort than what random people thought of her. Fast forward years later I'm dating this guy who's out of town for the week and we're Face-timing. He's telling me about this chick who really wants to "catch up" while he's there but he's getting weird vibes and doesn't know how to politely tell her to get lost. So immediately I say "make it my fault, just tell her your girlfriend's batshit." Then the lightbulb moment happened. I think I wrote the chorus that night.
I deeply appreciate the vocabulary used on your YouTube ‘About’ section that references you realizing that you weren’t the type to be ‘married’ to a band, so you fled the ‘altar’ in pursuit of your solo career. What led to this realization and decision?
Emily: On my very first trip to Nashville I sat in on a lecture at Warner and this songwriter, I don't even remember his name, came up to the stage and said "Being in a band is impossible. It's like being married to five people at once." At the time I was fronting a punk band with my best friends and was deeply disturbed by the idea that everything we'd been working towards could just fall apart. Friendship always wins! But the thing is, he was right. If you are not 100% on the same page, if not everyone is both dedicated and passionate about whatever their role is, it ends up just being too many cooks in the kitchen and nothing moves forward. Again, I was also a conflict avoider, so when tension did come up I didn't deal with it like I probably should have. I bottled up so much resentment I literally fled the state to get away from it - THEN quit the band via a phone call. Not my best moment.
How did you come up with the concept for “Batshit’s” video, and what were some of your favorite experiences and moments from filming it?
Emily: The concept for that video was a collaboration between me and the video's director, Andy Pollitt. I have music-to-color synesthesia, which means I can see colors when I listen to music. Every one of my singles has its own color - usually whichever one I "saw" while I was writing it- and all visual branding/promo is exclusively that one color. "BATSHIT" is pink, so the video and everything in it had to be pink. I bought cans of spray paint and Andy sprayed all of the props himself. We made pink graffiti posters. As for the story part I was just like "I really wanna embody this and fuck shit up." So we got some things from goodwill I could destroy and I crazy smiled for eight hours straight. That was actually my favorite part. Even though the song is a joke there's some truth to it haha so it was really fun to just let that part of me run rampant with zero consequences.
Your Facebook bio indicates that you describe yourself as ‘a reluctant artist.’ Could you elaborate on that for us?
Emily: Yes! So when I quit my band in 2018, I swore I'd never do the artist thing again. No part of me wanted to. I moved to Nashville with the sole purpose of writing pop songs for other people, which I did for about a year. Then COVID hit and all of a sudden I realized I needed more outlets. I started writing songs that I loved but that no one in Nashville would touch with a fifty-foot pole. There was nothing else to do, so I just released them under my own name. But this time it felt necessary - like, "If I don't express myself in this way I will die." Which is dramatic. But I think a lot of artists feel that way.
Photo Credits: Libby Danforth
Do you find that you get a lot of pushback or judgment from those in the industry for being #genderfluid? (Also, I fully agree that every nipple deserves to be freed!).
Emily: Surprisingly I haven't run into that problem yet. What I do get pushback for is the content of my music. I almost got kicked out of a writer's round mid-song for being too provocative. I wasn't even freeing the nipple! I was just singing the word "cum" and I guess that makes a lot of people uncomfortable haha. Especially in Tennessee. But it's also thrilling to be a sexually explicit artist in such a repressive state. If someone DOES like me, I know they really mean it.
If you had to explain yourself to someone by having them listen to an artist’s album (aside from your own) what would you choose and why?
Emily: Aw dang, can I pick two? A friend of mine told me once that I sound like an Avril Lavigne/Post Malone mash-up, which I think is pretty spot on. So I would say listen to "Under My Skin" by Avril Lavigne and "Beerbongs and Bentleys" by Post and imagine what they would sound like together. I grew up on Avril, so there's so much influence in my voice and writing, but I'm also a product of the times. A lot of what I do is trap or electronic-influenced as well because that's what I listen to now. It's a past-and-present smoothie.
Interviewed By Vanessa Siebrass