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Interview with rlyblonde

rlyblonde is the project of Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Carina Allen, who after years of being the go-to photographer, videographer and creative director for New York’s favourite indie acts, reintroduced herself in 2023 as a DIY rock darling with the release of her debut EP, ‘Fantasy.’ She has released 5 self-directed & produced music videos alongside the EP, performed at iconic venues across New York City, and captured the attention of key tastemakers like The Luna Collective and Unpublished Magazine.

I caught up with Carina to talk all about her musical journey, her most recent single 'Dumb Blonde' and reminiscing on 'Fantasy' a year later.

Hi Carina, how are you?

Hello! I am good — it’s June, it’s pride month, it’s sunny out. I have a yoga class in two hours. I’m chilling! 

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

Indie-rock meets pop-punk meets country.

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

Liz Phair, Avril Lavigne, Veruca Salt, Paramore, Sheryl Crow, Marina and the Diamonds, Smashing Pumpkins, Sharon Van Etten, Courtney Barnett, Slow Pulp, Momma, and Mannequin Pussy! 

How did your music journey start?

I had been (and still am) a photographer for years prior to making music. I’d been working and shooting with musicians in the NYC and LA scene for a long time before finally deciding I wanted to pursue my own music project. I’m massively a visual person so a lot of it was about crafting my own visual world for myself and building off past photography projects, instead of just constantly creating something to support someone else’s vision. It originally was something I felt like I needed to do to get out of a creative rut, I didn’t know what would come of it. Now it’s a bit of a runaway train, but in a good way.

Your new single ‘Dumb Blonde’ is out now, congratulations! How was the process of creating this song for you?

Thank you! This was my first song working alongside my producer for this new project, Robbie Guariglia. We started the song in November 2023 when I came to him with a demo of the fully written song. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to maintain the groove and grit of the initial demo while still making it something polished and radio-ready. I was really excited to lean into a bit of a different sound with this new single and I think it paid off, I’m super happy with how the final track came out and the music video we produced as well.

Can you explain more about the inspiration behind the lyrics for this song? Why was this a song you wanted to write?

I rarely sit down “wanting” to make any specific type of song, it really just ends up being a reflection of whatever is on my mind at the time. With “Dumb Blonde” I was at a very transitional point in my life where everything was moving really quickly. It was like this magical haze of releasing music, playing shows, exploring myself and my relationships as a queer person finally. It was like everything I’d wanted finally was right in front of me, so naturally my anxiety started to kick in and the voice in the back of my head like, “This can’t possibly last! Something is going to crash and burn…” I think my response was half to dissociate through it and just sort of play dumb, like, Sorry never done this before! Just gonna maybe fuck everything up along the way! And this song was sort of my coming-to of, okay, maybe I need to take a bit more accountability for my life and my choices. But at the same time, I can’t control how things are going to play out, so I need to just enjoy the moment and live in the present. 

Do you have a favourite lyric or line from the song?

When it all blows up, who’s gonna save me? Hands in the air…. I’m just a dumb blonde baby! I originally had something else in this line that didn’t flow as well.. once I took it out and was playing with new lyrics this fell into place really easily and I was like… IT'S THE TITLE BROOOO!! I felt like it tied the whole song together and was like, yeah this is it.

What’s something you want listeners to take away from listening to ‘Dumb Blonde’?

Live in the moment! Don’t future trip! Fuck around and find out! Life is a journey! Don’t be afraid to mess up!

Your debut EP ‘Fantasy’ came out last year! How was the process of making this EP for you?

Fantasy was such a personal project to me. It was also such a personal goal and hump to get over to just, write music, record it, and make it a real thing. For years I was like, this isn’t me, I can’t do that. I’m a photographer! I don’t make music... even though I knew it was something I wanted. I think I needed to prove to myself I was capable and so my process was quite private… I wrote everything at home alone, and knew what songs I wanted as final mixes. Then, I brought it to my producer and we recorded it all. It was a real gift to myself at the time, a treat whenever I could go into the studio. I feel so lucky today that I can make music such a huge part of my life because it brings me so much joy and supplies me with such a powerful creative outlet.

Do you have a favourite memory from recording this EP?

I’ll say my favourite memory of Fantasy was absolutely filming the “Fantasy” music video. I produced it myself along with a couple producer friends, and had a huge team of amazing collaborators and friends as well. I directed it myself and got to star in the “Bachelorette” video of my dreams. Like, what a way to make a debut… I’ll never forget that weekend. I just love being on set so much.

What’s next for you? Do you have any more music on the way or any shows?

Yes! We have a show next week 6/20 at Arlene’s Grocery hosted by Luna Collective Magazine. I’ll be playing with local stars Shalom, Olivia Reid, and Effy Marella. I can't wait! We’re also deep in working on the next EP… She is coming soon… I’m very excited. 

And lastly, what music have you been listening to recently? Anything you can recommend to us?

Favourite albums on repeat right now:

I Got Heaven - Mannequin Pussy

Days Move Slow - Bully

Matriarchy - girli

In Search of the Antidote - Fletcher

I Don’t Want You Anymore - Cherry Glazerr

Brat - Charli XCX

Romanticism - Hana Vu

(It’s giving range)

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us, it’s really appreciated!

Thank you !!

You can listen to rlyblonde on Spotify here.

You can follow rlyblonde on Instagram here.

You can find all things After Midnight here.


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