In Conversation with…GRANOLA SUICIDE

Dedicated to ‘my friends, big beats, queer communists, and the younger self that never thought I’d release an album’, Granola Suicide’s debut EP feels like a embrace after a long fit of sobbing; not warm, or even comforting. Cold and necessary, rather.

Skipping Breakfast is six lo-fi songs of disquieting yet tender rawness. And while it is lo-fi in its cheaply recorded nature, it is absolutely purposeful in its many production flourishes (the dissonance in ‘You Are Nothing (To Do With Anything)’, the overlaying harmonies in ‘Ghost House’). There is a very real and deliberate understanding of songwriting here that elevates this material from being simple acoustic songs. Add onto that the absolutely open lyrics about mental health, and the understanding that we don’t have to live in a world that profits off of the bullying and degradation of the ill, and Skipping Breakfast becomes something very special.

While we couldn’t organise a real sit-down together, Granola Suicide (real name Indigo Azidahaka) did have the time to answer some of our questions, in between an open and intimate heart-to-heart about our lives and past traumas. That bit didn’t make this feature. The following did, and is still starkly honest, despite the simple questions. Little of this interview was edited. Stay safe.

Where does the name come from?

Skipping Breakfast? Haha, it comes from having a severe eating disorder most of my life, especially when I started writing the EP. I’m pretty good at managing it now, it helped when I realized a lot of my body dysmorphia came from being dysphoric because I’m trans and I went vegan and that helped me a lot to; restricting for health not for harm. It’s a play on words because not only was I not eating but I couldn’t really afford to, like, I was on and off homeless when I was a kid and it’s just carried on like that. I lived in a squat and at pals’ houses for most of summer. When you can’t afford food you tend to find ways to get it, and a main way is to get it out of skips. Every day supermarkets throw away so much food that could feed so many people, it’s all actually fresh like, a lot of supermarkets pour bleach on it or lock it up just so poor people can’t get to it, Co-Op fucking mulch theirs. Literally so poor people can’t eat it mate, it’s a crime against humanity. Anyway, when you go getting food out of skips it’s called skipping, so, skipping breakfast, coz I’m poor.

Can you list the top five inspirations for this album release as a whole?

Pft, honestly I don’t know. Like, when I perform live I sound like super anti-folk, it’s just me and an acoustic guitar, but I always intended to be all cool and lo-fi. I guess at the time when I came up with Granola Suicide, I was 16 and I was listening to a lot of Alex G and Bulldog Eyes, Flatsound, Teen Suicide, Coma Cinema, Attic Abasement, Radiator Hospital, I guess now my inspiration is what my friends are doing, and more precise stuff.

Like this one echo-y noise I made one time when making noise music in my friends flat or something. I think the biggest inspiration is for sure my mental health, like, the way the production and stuff was done is literally based off how my brain feels/felt when I wrote the songs, and the harmonies and stuff, it represents all the different voices in my head, how dissociated I get, how separate I feel from myself. A lot of the time I have arguments with myself in my head as I talk, it makes me super good at analysing and really bad at answering simple questions like this.

Like there’s like 10 me’s talking right now, and when it comes to the art I make it’s the only time they all really get their say. I sound way crazier than I thought I would. I think I’m the most honest in my music and art than in anything else and I think that mostly comes from only ever being able to communicate what I really meant through metaphors when I was a kid and writing a lot of poetry, and also really loving The Front Bottoms and Soko and Alex G growing up too, and growing up with my friends James (aka Crywank), also Myles (aka Me Rex). This is so long, sorry xxx.

Where were the songs recorded?

In my mates Sam and Cat’s living room, I love Sam and Cat, shout-out to my good pals. You should also check out Sam’s music projects, Strange Friends, and Kingdoms, he did loads of techy stuff on my album and helped me make the songs sound like the thoughts in my head, and has made me more brews than anyone ever has.

What are the similarities and differences between what you want out of this project and your band, Tuck & The Binders?

Um, well, when I write for Granola Suicide, I write about how sad I am, and when I write for Tuck I write about how angry I am. That’s it really, that’s what it comes down to. Like there’s some anger in some Granola Suicide songs, I literally am filled with rage, but yeah basically. I tried to write a happy song once and then I realised like, that’s not me. Like, music is my therapy I guess, my happy songs are all collaborations, which you may hear coming soon.

So Tuck is on a break to like record at the moment, but before that we were on a break just coz we played our first gig, and people had already heard of us, and bands asked to support us, and like, we were just headlining a bunch of cool shows and like, we played at [Brighton’s] Trans Pride, and someone proposed during our set, and people came up to us telling us we were everything they wanted to be and shit, and people we don’t know even vaguely getting gassed about us. It was just too much, we’re all really in tune with each other so we had this, like, mutual mental breakdown, and that’s when we decided like we weren’t just a band or owt, like we are, but we’re also, like, role models for young queers, and queers older than us, and queers our own age. Like, it’s not very often I get to see a non-binary person on stage, when I do it’s generally a good mate of mine.

If I’d had that growing up, oh my god, like, imagine. So yeah, Granola Suicide is my personal therapy and Tuck is like, war. Like, we all have voices, and experiences which are really important and need to be heard, I think. When you’re trans, especially trans and disabled, trans and mentally ill, trans and poor, trans and homeless, trans and a person of colour, your existence is a protest, a resistance. Each member of Tuck fits into at least one of those categories. We don’t really have any choice whether or not to be political because we just are, so we’re just fucking going for it. I love when I get cis straight men who gingerly approach me at the end of shows saying, ‘I wanted to leave because you made me feel unwelcome and afraid, and I get that’s the point, but I just stood at the back because the music was really good”, like, good. Trans to the front, protect trans youth!

You mention on your Bandcamp you ‘should have released this album three years ago’. Is that roughly how long you’ve been sitting on these songs? What’s changed in the musical direction you wish to pursue since?

Oh my god mate, literally like, I am sat on two more albums, and a split, and a Tuck & The Binders album right now. I just need the motivation and equipment and the time to record. Um, I think I answered this sort of in the first question, I don’t know if I’ve changed musically really, I think I’ve got better. I think I’m less patient though, like two years ago I would sit and write really pretty picked stuff on guitar, and now I’m so anxious all the time and I have no focus. I think I should change my antidepressants. Actually I’ve just realised there’s a huge correlation between me never picking anymore and the medication I’m on.

Lyric writing comes really naturally to me, like if you give me like a couple sentences of just conversation, I can turn it into a really profound sounding lyric. I do it as a joke to a lot of my friends, honestly, my real lyrics aren’t as good as some of the shit I write as a joke. It’s just generally when I write I’m in a really shitty place and I never edit honestly, like I just write down what I wanna communicate. A lot of the time I just need to be able to word what’s wrong with me, and when I’ve done it I generally feel like, a rush of something. Like, fuck yeah that’s what I’ve been trying to understand, that’s what I’m going through, that’s actually how I feel, that’s actually what happened. A lot of the time I find it hard to communicate what’s going on in my head, you know. Communication is so hard, I feel like I can’t communicate with myself sometimes and it effects the way I communicate with others. The two sides of my brain don’t connect properly because I didn’t crawl as a child.

Do you have aspirations for this project to become more collaborative/more of a band-type deal?

No, never. Like, I love to collaborate, but Granola Suicide is the only thing in my life I have full control over, and it’s so important to me. Like, having people deciding how sick I am all the time and deciding if I deserve to live with a roof over my head, and deciding if I deserve medical help and deciding if I deserve food and, like. I have one thing, like, and no-one can take it away from me. I would love to play with a live band sometimes, but I’m scared I’d feel like I was losing control if we ever turned on each other or anything, or I’d be scared of freaking out or bossing my pals about or being controlling, so I think it’s best not to. But I’m sure I’ll do some chill live shows with one or two people some time. I think I need a sampler, like, I play several instruments. The idea has always been to get a sampler but I can’t afford one!

Any plans for future releases?

Yes. So I wrote a song with Railsplitter, who is Joey from itoldyouiwouldeatyou. We wrote that like a year ago, so Joey’s probably gonna release that EP soon. But that’s a very cute song with one of my bestest pals, after we had a lovely tea at their sisters house, one of my favourite ever days! Me and Beebee, aka Lady Diabolical, who drums in Tuck and drums on ‘Hey Alex G’ on the EP, we’re working on a cool split right now, like, stoner rocky kinda, early Pink Floyd-type shit. I’m excited about that, Bee is probably my favourite person to make music with. 1) because she’s a genius, 2) because she thinks I’m a genius and tells me a lot, and my self-esteem needs that, and 3) because we both get really overwhelmed because we’re both empaths with BPD who put everything into art so we have to like, go calm down in the middle of writing sometimes, hahaha. We’re like, sat in different rooms just breathing while the other one records something over the demo and shit, having to do wind-down yoga afterwards, I love it. I love my friends so much. I’m also maybe gonna do some stuff with Paddle, maybe like some PC Music stuff on two songs, I already have an alter-ego. I don’t know, I have loads to do, it’s amazing.

What’s been your favourite show yet?

I liked playing with Crywank last year in London. It was a really big show, and I was so nervous, but it was nice to play with James and catch up, and all the other bands were sick and so nice to me. Everyone was so nice to me! Someone hash tagged #granolasuicide on Instagram because my trousers and shoes were in their bathroom selfie. I didn’t notice because I was washing my hands, but they liked my music enough to hashtag my trousers and I think that’s amazing! I was staying with Joey and I woke up and saw it and was like ‘Joey, people like me!’ and I cried.

Also it was at DIY Space, and I genuinely cried when I saw it because I put on gigs sometimes, and the reason I don’t put on loads is just because I can never find an accessible venue, and that venue was the most accessible DIY venue I’d ever seen, and I got really emotional over it. Shout-out to DIY Space, and shout-out to Laura Ankles for putting me on! I actually met my friend Sulaiman at that show, he had just done Crywank’s new album art and he put the words on my EP cover and coloured them in. Another artist called Liv created the fonts for me and drew it out, and Sulaiman, like, matched the colours up to the photo my friend Evan took, and he photoshopped the skip to say 0161 a bunch of times, which I can honestly say is the best idea I have ever had as an artist. I also really liked playing with Witching Waves because I’ve been listening to them for ages, that was so fun.

What musicians are you most excited for right now?

Literally myself and my friends, I love my friends so much and I get so excited about what they create. Like, my heart is full with the people I care about, and obviously there’s room for Kanye, and Grimes, and Princess Nokia, and SOPHIE, and Britney, and Alex G, and just garage girls in general, man. The Bug, Mungos Hi-Fi, Joanna Newsom, Flatsound, Fox Academy, Gaelynn Lea, Girlpool, La Femme, The Raincoats, Attic Abasement, mostly I just listen to my pals.

OH, AND ALICE GLASS, AND KESHA, OBVIOUSLY BEYONCÉ! WHAT IS KAREN O DOING THESE DAYS? OLD BLOC PARTY ROCKS MY WORLD! Stormzy, oh my god I’d be so excited if Stormzy’s mum released something. Listen to my friends Elijah The Essence, Light Warrior, ILL, Me Rex, Tea Leaf Lady Lamp, my partner’s stupid noise band Alan. Dandy & The Ghost, Lady Diabolical, Crywank, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, NALA, Beiege Palace, Micmole, Trailblazer, Fresh, Sonic A.M, Kingdoms, Strange Friends, Queen Zee, Qfolk, Gerrard Bellfife, Beat Jesus, Kermes, Strip Mall, Cat Apostrophe, Suggested Friends, Colour Me Wednesday, Sugar Rush! Sugar Rush!, Cop Graveyard, Tekla, Cynthia’s Periscope, Laurel, Allusondrugs, Hora Douse, Rosseau, Twinken Park, Camp Shy, SUPPORT THE FUCKING SCENE.

Listen to Lilith Ai, Chrissy Barnacle, Onsind, The Tuts, No Ditching, Paddle, nunofyrbeexwas was probably one of the coolest bands I have ever seen. Sorry to any pals or, like, super friendly people I know who I missed off this, I can’t really think well most of the time. Oh yeah, you should go see Thirsty Girls, they’re a SICK DJ collective. Yeah, support your friends’ bands too. If your mate invites you to like their music page on Facebook and you don’t like it then you’re awful. Support your pals’ endeavours, like, if the music is actually problematic then obviously don’t, and maybe talk to your friend about that if you have the spoons. But even if you don’t particularly really like the band, like, support your friends, support your local scene! Don’t be a skaghead berk.

Skipping Breakfast is available on Bandcamp here.

Find Granola Suicide on Facebook and Twitter.

Lee Whear
Amber Leaf-smoking lover of God-given rock & roll, also writes for Hooting & Howling and thnksfrthrvw

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