The process of growing up isn’t always the prettiest part of our lives. For most of us, it’s a time that’s filled with a bunch of things that we wish we could do over so we could somehow change the way the past makes us feel in the now.
But for electro-pop artist BP Valenzuela, it’s something she chose to channel in her late teens by picking up whatever instrument was available during late nights of loneliness and using music to articulate the emotions that kept her up at night.
Today, Valenzuela releases her new EP titled “Paradigm Shift” under her side-project half-lit that has been on her Soundcloud for five years now.
According to her SC page, half-lit was something she created as a way to let out her post-midnight loneliness and hopefully have it turned into something else.
Indeed, that was what half-lit came to be. It became Valenzuela’s way to reach other people. It was a “way to revel in collective sadness” that made the artist feel less lonely as stated on the side-project’s designated page.
Now, “Paradigm Shift” lets us have a clearer listen to those late nights of processing emotions with its more polished sound that tells the story of looking back and making sense of the past.
The EP is a six-track record that includes familiar songs like “cruising on a wavelength,” “backspace me,” and “constantly,” yet it is also very different from her earlier works.
When asked about the EP and what makes it different, Valenzuela describes it as “very raw” without any of it being programmed.
“All of the synths were just directly from playing my 6-year-old microKORG and the guitars were just me layering myself constantly.”
According to Valenzuela, being the electronic music artist that she is, her production style usually uses a lot of machines and is very polished with a pop sensibility.
“There are still pop elements here, but very as-it-is and raw, like sort of garage-pop if you will. It used to be more folky and sparse. There’s more of a dynamic change in volume and in grit.”
As part of half-lit that was posted from 2014 to 2016, we asked Valenzuela about the process the EP went through from the moment of conception leading up to its release today.
Valenzuela said that she wrote the lyrics and melodies for the songs long before arranging them. She also had to record the demos on her phone until they were brought to the studio with just herself, her guitar, and her raw vocals.
Valenzuela arranged the rest of it at her friend Nick Lazaro’s (Twin Lobster, Moonwlk) attic with a band that only consisted of Nick on bass and their drummer Charles.
“I used a pink mustang with P90s for all the guitar parts, and a microKORG for the synths. Before that, I’d usually just record half-lit songs in my room with whatever was available, like a busted guitar and a laptop mic, and I used to only be able to sleep at 4 or 5 am.”
“This EP had a clearer process, we recorded it all in 3 days, with only minor adjustments after.”
Since “Paradigm Shift” was born from a very personal place such as half-lit, we asked Valenzuela if it was something she initially intended to keep to herself or if it was something she always saw she would release in time.
“Hmm, initially, but I’m not really the type who’d talk about my emotions anywhere other than through the platform of music. In a sense, I had to release this as an outlet for my peace of mind.”
Considering that the EP isn’t what we usually hear from Valenzuela, we also asked her where she thinks her music is headed.
“My pop music is either very restrained, wistful, and contemplative, with a sheen of polish, a lot of it is ever only very dancy, groovy, or slow.”
“This record is just pure, unmitigated honesty, jangly, gritty, sometimes quiet and sometimes very loud. I feel like I used to compartmentalize a lot but I’m looking forward to marrying all aspects of the styles I move in.”
Listening to the EP and getting a peek into how it all came to be gives us an all-encompassing picture of how her own coming of age has taken her to where she is now as an artist. And while the electro-pop artist said that she doesn’t really expect us to feel a certain way as we listen to the EP, it challenges you in a way to look back at your own story and muse on your own growth as a human being.
“Paradigm Shift” is now available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and most available online streaming platforms.