Rodes Rollins with HNRY FLWR - "Isolation"
Friday, December 4th 2020
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“Rodes Rollins, a self-proclaimed “cowgirl poet” from Colorado, writes Americana pop songs that take dusty, psychedelic turns. Her approach to rock n’ roll is transcendent and nostalgic, calling on old Western elements and vintage riffs. Like some of her kindred indie rock and folk contemporaries Weyes Blood and Meg Remy of U.S. Girls, Rodes Rollins writes songs that evade time and that are not traceable to any one era in music.”
— Jaime Silano, Vice
“My mother gave psychic readings to new friends in new towns all through my childhood-- she meditated, we fled a cult, practiced Judaism for a year, and then she became a born again Christian. She was and still is a seeker. At fourteen, I went to a punk show. There, I witnessed how music can save people, if only for a moment. At sixteen I left home and have been writing songs and practicing a sort of secular spirituality, where music is the prayer, ever since.”
— HNRY FLWR
“Back in March, I released an untitled demo on my Instagram, where I sang about the woes of this tumultuous year, as I sat in reflection while quarantining in my parent’s basement in Colorado.
Shortly after releasing that demo, my friend Marta, a Portuguese filmmaker based in Mexico, reached out to me letting me know she was inspired by the little demo, and asked if she could make a short visual to accompany the song. I, of course, agreed. And, while there was magic for me in that demo, I felt I should create a fuller version of the song to rise to the occasion for Marta’s film.
I quickly got to work, and began recording the newly written parts remotely with some of my great musician friends who live in LA.
Soon after, I shared “Isolation” as the third single off of my latest EP Dissociation, telling a story about the paradoxical sense of loneliness that has come with this time; about some of our most solitary moments, and some of our most connected.
The song immediately struck a chord with people, as we could all relate in some sense to the loneliness of this year. After the reception the original version received, I knew I wanted to do something more with the song, and tell the story in an even more intimate way. I called on HNRY FLWR, an artist I have tremendous respect for. I’d always wanted to sing a duet with a male singer, and I felt this would be the perfect song, and that he had the perfect voice.
In this new rendition of the song, HNRY and I sing together about loneliness and the longing for a more connected time. Ironically, the two of us singing together seems to highlight these qualities even more than the original when I sang alone. Perhaps it is because in this stripped down version, we really let the lyrics and the story-telling lead the way.” - Rodes Rollins
“Rodes Rollins and I decided to play a double-headlining show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge in the spring after HNRY FLWR sold out The Sultan Room in January. I was on tour on my way to SXSW when the pandemic hit.
Late in the summer Rodes reached out to me saying she was looking to do an acoustic duet version of her most recent single “Isolation” after it found some success-- landing on the Fresh Finds Spotify playlist. She sent me the song and I listened to it five times immediately. It seemed so perfect for these times, and little did I know she wrote it at the beginning of all this forced isolation. In retrospect it all makes sense. And for me, who is someone who preaches about The Void, the feeling of isolation is so important to those studies.
After being so cooped up for so long, getting together with another singer to work on music was unbelievably inspiring. At first it almost felt a little awkward because I think we both respect each other so much as independent artists, but also because we just hadn’t done anything like that in so long. I remember we just kept singing the song over and over, changing the key, the tempo, who sings what, etc, and it wasn’t until we rearranged how we sang the bridge that we realized the sweet spot. That’s when we saw that there was something special in the way our voices work together.
Next thing I know, we’re in a theatre in Troy, New York filming a music video in the most beautiful space I have ever sung in. Singing into the abyss, with no one in the seats. It was extremely cathartic to feel the loneliness that Rodes felt, turned into song, and somehow that brought us together as collaborators, and now, friends. I love that the great emptiness that comes from isolation always has the potential to lead to something beautiful. I’m proud of this version of the song because it doesn’t try to do too much. The feelings were enough to lift the stripped down arrangement of the song into the rafters.” - HNRY FLWR