MELANCHOLIC INDIE SONGWRITER FLOWER FACE GETS VULNERABLE ON THE DREAMY POWER-BALLAD “PISCES MOON”
March 4, 2022 BY George Chammas
Montreal artist Ruby McKinnon aka Flower Face has made waves with her melancholic brand of confessional-style songwriting and shimmering indie-rock instrumentals. After announcing her new record The Shark In Your Water, she unveils “Pisces Moon,” a heartbreaking dream-pop ballad that sees the artist at her most vulnerable, confronting her own weaknesses. Listen to “Pisces Moon” on all digital retailers (here).
The accompanying music video sees a stage curtain rising to reveal Ruby McKinnon alone under the spotlight. Slowly a crowd of musicians rise from the audience to join her filling in on each instrument as the song builds with sullen grandiosity. Yet, one person remains in the crowd. It’s a boy who looks on in anguish before finally making his exit.
Ruby explains the song saying:
“When I wrote [Pisces Moon] I had somebody specific in mind, but as I kept working on it through arranging and demoing and all that, I realized that it’s really just about myself and my own weaknesses and behaviors. When I was younger, falling in love for the first time, I had a hard time controlling those parts of myself. In general, I am a willful and assertive person, but I would have done anything to keep the person I loved with me. I have sacrificed so much dignity and pride in my desperation to make somebody stay. Later in life, I’ve learned that that never works, and usually I can push back those urges when they start to rise to the surface. But being vulnerable is terrifying, and rationality isn’t always on the table. You must find a balance between taking care of yourself and being true to your heart. I don’t ever want to turn cold, but I also don’t want to be powerless. The train imagery is a common thread through this record but is especially important in this song – I’m always running after that train, I’m always running after that boy / After he leaves me at the station again, because I know it’s in his heart to be good. To me, trains symbolize longing and yearning, and standing frozen in place as the thing you want most in the world flies by you.”
WATCH “PISCES MOON” OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO:
A multi-hyphenate artist, Ruby McKinnon creates melancholic folk music with a bedroom pop heart under the moniker Flower Face. Taking inspiration from her own vertiginous life experiences, alongside such varied sources as Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Jesus Christ Superstar, the oeuvre of Mads Mikkelsen and her dog Ziggy, Flower Face’s musical testimonials recall the jagged emotion of Bright Eyes while conjuring the ethereal ecstasy of a fresh wound.
Classically trained in piano since the age of 5, McKinnon began writing her own music at 14. Encouraged by her music-obsessed parents, she formed Flower Face in true D.I.Y. style: recording her independent debut, Fever Dreams, almost exclusively on her dad’s GarageBand app. Teeming with acoustic heartbreak hymns, it didn’t take long for the album to find space on bedroom playlists alongside The National, Daughter, Big Thief, and Mazzy Star.
In 2018, McKinnon expanded her sound, hooking up with producer and long-time family friend Joshua Kaiser for her breakthrough sophomore release, Baby Teeth. Featuring an increasingly evocative sonic palette and deeper thematic constructs, the album dealt with, among other things, McKinnon’s own battle with stage three ovarian cancer at the age of 17.
Thinking back on her diagnosis, McKinnon says it was her “close brush with the grim reaper” that ultimately made her realize she needed to pursue a career in music.
“It felt like everyone knew me before I had a chance to introduce myself. I was the ‘cancer kid’ at school, and these intimate details of my life became the basis for staff meetings and class discussions and fundraising campaigns.I was so out of it at the time that I didn’t realize how that aspect of it might affect me. But once I left high school and started meeting new people, it became clear how much that experience had damaged my sense of privacy and dignity. It felt important, even urgent, that I tell my own story,” She recalls. “As my reach has grown, sharing my story on my own terms has become such a powerful thing. And it has inspired others to share their stories with me in return.”
“In a way, I’m lucky that I was given this newfound sense of purpose and belief in my ability to build a life that I’d love,” she adds. “I don’t want that part of my life to define me, and I don’t want to be the poster child for anything, but it undoubtedly propelled me forward and gave me such depth of experience to draw from when I write.”
It was this “sense of purpose” that drove McKinnon to pursue music even more seriously, even using her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to use, designing all the album artwork and conceptualizing her music videos. Her DIY spirit resonated with fans online, as she built a loyal following excited to follow her on the journey.
In 2022, Flower Face is set to release the highly anticipated follow-up to Baby Teeth: The Shark In Your Water. Speaking of the album, which marks her Nettwerk Records debut, McKinnon says, “The Shark In Your Water is an exploration of the self and how that is impacted and transformed by trauma, grief, love, heartbreak and the struggle of identity.”
Produced by McKinnon, Kaiser, Jay Merrow and Alex Bonenfant at Toronto’s Dreamhouse Studios, The Shark in Your Water not only marks the next phase in Flower Face’s stratospheric musical trajectory but also serves as a showcase for McKinnon’s artistic prowess – she puts her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree to use on the album’s cover art, video production and editing.
MEDIA PRAISE FOR FLOWER FACE…
“…heartbreakingly relatable and nostalgic at every turn…” – Alt-Press
“…crystalline indie folk creations, reminiscent of the emotional vulnerability found in Weyes Blood, Lucy Dacus, and Bright Eyes.” –Under The Radar
“…a gloriously fluid confection, comprising 60s pop (think the deathpop of Twinkle or The Shangri-Las), folk, country and a sprinkling of electro to create three minutes of sublime, slightly unnerving, dreamy indie in a style that fans of The National, Daughter, and Mazzy Star will lap up…” –Rolling Stone Australia
“Brimming with McKinnon’s trademark melancholia… led by husky vocals and anthemic melodies.” –EARMILK
“With haunting harmonies and lyrics that drip with a range of anger, forgiveness, fondness, and sadness, the structure of the song takes you through the journey of trying to get over someone, an experience that is both universal and isolating at the same time.” –FLAUNT
“Flower Face creates music for those who know the single to be true—introverts, wallflowers, and hopeless romantics. People who spend enough time lost in their own minds to understand that melancholy is often mistaken for agony and heartache.” –Unpublished Magazine
“…a grandiose shimmering rock-ballad with a dreamy Beach House element to it.” –We All Want Someone to Shout For
The Shark In Your Water
May 27, 2022
2. Cornflower Blue
4. Sugar Water
6. Paper Doll
7. Back To You
8. October Birds
9. Pisces Moon
10. Bad Astrology