Emotions. We all have them, for better or worse. While we can try to shove them down to whatever dark hole we want, they always come bubbling back to the top. You may not be able to change what happens to you, but you can change how you react to them. Lila Rose of ANIIML talks of her own experiences with this in her latest single “OUCH!”.
As quietly descending piano chords play, ANIIML starts off strong in an almost whispery yet ever-present voice:
“Ouch that hurt
but just a little bit little bit
but not too much
just enough to make me wanna
run for it
I’m done being ruled by emotions
I’m done being fooled by emotions”
For a while you decide to run from it, too afraid to deal with the emotions. But eventually, you get sick of it and turn around, deciding it’s time to face those fears and work through whatever turmoil and pain have been lurking in those corners. Despite it being “too much to handle” as ANIIML puts it, they continue to charge on into the refrain:
“Now I’m bigger than my feelings
because I learned how to turn them off
now I’m bigger than all my feelings
‘cause I finally had enough
so you can’t get to me now you can’t get to me”
Things hurt for a while, but ultimately you work towards a happier you that doesn’t fall for all the games people play to try and get under your skin.
You’ve learned how to work through your feelings and control them rather than letting those emotions control you.
A solid drop of bass along with drum machines arrives. It has a slight EDM feel to it that reminds me of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”. The sudden shift in music indicates that phrase clicking as you finally get it; sure, you may have been doing pretty well with it before, but you’ve finally hit your moment of eureka at this point.
There’s a short period of calm music before it goes back to the more lively booming music as she victoriously repeats the refrain, further emphasizing how much she’s grown. She then proceeds to go back to the very beginning, ending with one last:
“Ouch that hurt”
At this point the pain is next to nothing; it’s like a slight pin prick on calloused fingers, leaving hardly a mark. You’ve learned to toughen your skin and roll with whatever the world may throw at you. Grappling with these not-so-easy feelings has become almost second-nature, requiring less effort than in the past to work through things.
As the song ends, you feel triumphant as you know you have the tools to move on and work through whatever obstacles life has on its treadmill.
What was the inspiration for your song “OUCH!”?
“OUCH!” was written after getting a text from someone I was getting to know romantically. the text hurt, but just a little bit. I’ve been in an intensive leadership training — at the time of writing the song, deep in it — which has helped to show me how to chose to not let myself get overtaken by emotions. Artists can be so easily overtaken by the “feels” but at the end of the day, I’ve come to understand that our thoughts control our feelings and I chose to NOT let myself be directed and guided by the unpleasant and draining thoughts/feelings. I chose to empower and strengthen myself and my mind with positive, intentional thoughts, and thus feelings. And so, a text that may have historically hurt my feelings was a simple “OUCH!”
The song is NOT about the specific individual and their hurtful text message, it is entirely about the power to be in control of our own feelings.
For “OUCH!” which came first, the lyrics or the music?
Well, the lyrics started literally when I got that text message. I said “Ouch, that hurt but just a little bit”. I was then driving to the studio to work with Phynx and thought to myself “Oh! Those are some good lyrics maybe I should use those”. I got to the studio, started messing around with some sounds with Phynx and wrote the rest of the lyrics along side the melody we were creating together. So, it was kind of both at the same time.
What would you consider to be more important: the music, words, or neither?
I think the emotion behind a song is what matters most. As listeners, we can feel what went into the making of it, regardless of whether or not we’re conscious of it. The lyrics can be terrible and yet somehow we love it. The melody can be lame, and yet we feel it. Music and songs have lives of their own, and that energy is what we experience when we listen, and that’s what matters most I think.
I noticed on your Facebook that you put your genre of music as “Avant Witch-Pop”. Would you be able to tell me a little bit more about that genre?
I started defining my music as witch pop after attending an industry party two years ago. Someone asked me what genre of music I made, and my sassy friend Misty who pretends to be my manager sometimes responded immediately by saying “hardcore witch-pop”. We suddenly looked at each other and said “OMG YES!” It was totally unplanned, and absolutely perfectly describes my music: it fits within the pop structure, but has a dark, edgy, magical undertone. That’s what it means to me.
What was the inspiration for the name ANIIML?
The one thing that inescapably ties us all together despite race, religion, sexual orientation, gender is that we are ALL animals; It’s fact, it’s science. My hope and message is that we can always choose to make choices based on this knowledge of the connectedness of all life. Taking the “them/us” out of the equation brings us together on a common ground. We can thus choose to treat ALL life from that place of love honor and respect.
According to your website, you use visuals such as “puking rainbows, gun to head, exploding animals, human road kill, a pregnant woman on a cross, a forest covered in recycled plastic” to make your message clear and explicit. It’s an admirably artistic thing to get your thoughts and messages out there without worry of thoughts that others may have.
Do you ever face any challenges in doing this? If so, what are they?
Yes, of course. Most of these photographs or moments for videos were extremely challenging and uncomfortable to accomplish. From being freezing cold, to losing my breath deep under water, to laying on pavement naked while cars pass me by, to the discomfort of using my naked body for art — all of these are extremely uncomfortable but I believe in making visions come to life, especially if it means doing something edgy and thought provoking, and to deliver some kind of important message.
On your website, you’re described as a “Canadian born, LA based singer, songwriter, producer, film-maker and activist [who] isn’t afraid to walk the edge in sound and in sight.” It sounds like you’ve got a lot of things you’re passionate about! What’s it like to balance all of these things in your life?
I find it overwhelming in the way that all of my dreams and visions are so massive and so totally against the grain and difficult to make a living at. The difficulty is in feeling like I’m not getting where I want to be with my impact fast enough.
I heard that you’ll be working with MAAVEN — a creative agency that’s collaborated with, created, and designed for artists such as Rihanna, Miguel, and St. Vincent among others. You’ll be first in MAAVEN produced showcases in Los Angeles for up and coming talent this spring.
I imagine that’s very exciting, congratulations! How were you able to get involved with them?
Thank you. The show was recent and it was a total success. The owner, Coleen Haynes has been to several of my shows and has said the same thing we hear after every show which is: “why aren’t you huge yet, this is crazy”. So she created this showcase to get us seen by labels and managers to get their eyes on us. I am very grateful to have MAAVVEN as an ally. In my opinion, they are literally one of the worlds’ greatest production companies.