LA based Ren Farren is 2 for 2 with me lately, and I’t be lying if I said that I wasn’t looking forward to the rest of her EP.
It was only a month ago that she hit us with, “Good Girl“…
Ever impressed by her songwriting, melodies and overall vibe, I was excited when I saw a new release from her in my inbox. Turns out I wasn’t disappointed. With the release of he EP fast approaching, Ren hit us with, “Uncool“, a sort of prayer for adolescence. About the tune, she says, “It’s about getting really lucky and having your first love be true and powerful and sweet and real and unforgettable.”
We decided to catch up with her for a little chat (see below). We always like to get to know the artists we support before they get too big for us. Don’t forget us little people on your climb to the top Ren 😉
RDFO: So far I’ve really liked both singles from your upcoming EP. How many songs are on the project and which tracks are you personally most connected to?
RF: Thank you!! There’s four songs total, and I honestly kind of rotate through which ones are my favorite or feel the most personal at any given time. They each kind of speak to a certain aspect of a really difficult year of my life. The thing that feels different to me about these songs that really, they’re about me instead of about someone or something else—I might talk about a boy or about a certain experience but in the end it’s an EP about looking inward. It’s about being a girl, about growing up, about looking back and looking forward and moments when you need to lean into pain and moments when you need to escape from it. Writing it was about going to a scary place and looking a lot of dark shit right in the face—but like it always goes, I found a lot of beauty there too. So the songs each mean a lot to me because they are each kind of their own specific personal revelation.
RDFO: This track [Uncool] was produced by Brian Robert Jones. Is the entire EP produced by him?
RF: Yes! I’ve known Brian since I was 17. We were in the same freshman class at USC’s Popular Music Program, and he’s been playing bass for me producing music for me for years.
RDFO: You say this song is a love letter to you high school self. Beyond this song, what advice would you give to the high school you?
RF: Anytime you find yourself thinking, “I wish I was the type of girl who…” just literally start doing that thing instead of wishing you could. It’s amazing how long it took me to figure this out. I’m still figuring it out. And maybe like try to do something with your hair.
RDFO: You are based in LA, but you have a bit of a Country vibe. Where are you from originally?
RF: I actually grew up in Malibu. It’s funny because Malibu is such a community of artists, since it’s kind of a place where a lot of people move to have a bit of an escape from the craziness of LA. So you have a lot of people who make art and are in the entertainment industry but they want to be a little more off the beaten path—of course, it’s changing a lot, and over the years it’s become a little more plastic and about wealth and image, which is hard. But I think the root of the place is still this small creative community. A lot of kids I grew up with have gone on to become musicians, and for some reason so many of them end up in this more rootsy place musically, whether it’s country or folk or americana or classic rock—Blake Mills, the Goldsmith Boys from Dawes, Hannah Mulholland from Runaway June are all examples—I think there’s something about the place that encourages that kind of thinking and feeling. I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up there and for the people I was surrounded by.
RDFO: How old were you when you wrote your fist song? Do you still remember all of the words to it?
RF: Oh mannnnnnn. I was in the fifth grade and I actually do remember all of the words to it, unfortunately for me. The chorus is pretty killin’ honestly: “As I watch the doves by the riverside / I know there is something they are daring to hide / But you think being different is just a disguise / And I think being different’s having truth in your eyes.” I mean…damn. I’m pretty sure I wrote this after this boy I liked told me I wasn’t weird and I was upset because I thought I was really weird and I was happy about it. I don’t know where the doves come into it though.
RDFO: You say that you, “hoard mementos like I’m curating some personal museum“, can you tell us one moments from your high school days that you’ll never be able to part with?
RF: I just went through so much of this stuff ’cause my parents just moved!! It was crazy. I’m actually using a lot of the stuff I found to promote this song. You can check out my 8th grade student ID photo on my Instagram—it’s next level. I found so much stuff that even at this point I couldn’t get rid of—I saved little props from every play and musical I did, I have all my old choir binders and creative writing notebooks, letters, cards, passed notes, cootie catchers, paper cranes, weird art class projects friends made for me, just all the stuff kids did to entertain themselves before everyone had smartphones all the time. But my favorite things by far are all these mix CDs that I saved from all my friends. We used to make them for each other compulsively and my friends had incredible taste in music. I felt like I was always just trying to keep up with them. They were truly incredibly curated and they would have these drawings and these handwritten liner cards with the artists and tracklists and a little comment about each song. Now I don’t even have a CD drive on my laptop but I’m keeping them forever.
RDFO: What aspect of creating new music gives you that rush that can not be held back?
RF: That moment in the writing process when you realize you’ve come up with an idea that might actually deserve to become a real live song. I write so many little snippets and fragments and throwaways, and so many of them I never revisit and they never see the light of day. But that moment of coming up with something and realizing “oh shit—this is actually something, isn’t it?” That’s so exciting because it means a whole future for a song that’s just starting. Love love love that feeling.
RDFO: Name 3 songs that will NEVER get old to you.
RF: The Pretender by Jackson Browne
Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
Sometimes by Britney Spears
RDFO: When is the EP due out and what do you have in store after that?
RF: I’m releasing the last two songs one by one to finish out the year, then gonna play a release show in LA. I’ve been writing a ton so I’m eager to get back to recording new stuff, and I want to focus on playing live as often as possible. The momentum of releasing music is so wonderful and I’m gonna ride that wave as hard as I can