Add to Calendar
Katie Toupin has spent the last three years undergoing a virtualmetamorphosis, emerging from the relative security of, “safety in numbers,” as cofounder and one-of-four members of the popular indie folk band, Houndmouth andco-writer on the Triple A #1, “Sedona,”, to spread her own wings as a solowriter/artist known simply as, Katie Toupin. Her solo debut album, “MagneticMoves,” released on June 14th reveals a more personal and undeniably vulnerableside..
Magnetic Moves takes its title from its spellbinding opening track, a songthat’s quietly defiant in its bending of reality. “It’s about being bold and being brave,and using your magnetism to create the world you want to live in,” says the L.A.-based singer/songwriter. “The whole album came from a place of wanting to becompletely direct, in a way I never felt I could before. I think it’s important to letyourself show your heart like that.”
In the spirit of self-reliance, Toupin took the reins in producing MagneticMoves, her first full-length since leaving acclaimed alt-country band Houndmouth in2016. Although she’d originally cut several songs with other producers, animpromptu recording session during a stop in Austin on her 2018 house tourinspired her to strike out on her own. “Every time I’d tried working with otherpeople, it never turned out in a way that felt right to me,” she says. “And then when Ifinally tried producing by myself, it felt so easy—I realized I knew exactly what Iwanted everything to sound like; I just needed the confidence to actually do it.”
Mixed by Steve Christensen (a Grammy Award-winner known for his workwith Steve Earle), Magnetic Moves came to life in two marathon sessions at TheFinishing School in Austin. With multi-instrumentalist Scott Davis and percussionistJosh Blue accompanying Toupin, the album unfolds in a dreamy pastiche of soul andpop and brightly jangly ’70s rock, a sound that’s lavishly detailed but fantasticallyfluid. And in her unfussy yet radiant vocal performance, Toupin channels both selfpossessionand raw vulnerability, fully inhabiting each state of being.
Throughout Magnetic Moves, Toupin speaks to the power in embracingmessy feelings like regret and obsession and, in the case of the wildly anthemic “Runto You,” falling for someone who’s all wrong for your heart. On “Real Love,” the sighof Davis’s slide guitar amps up the torchy intensity of Toupin’s vocals, its lyricscapturing the hurt that sometimes follows loving without reserve. “In relationshipsit can be difficult to know whether to give up or try harder,” she says. “I think mostpeople give up a little too quickly these days, so I wanted to write about allowingyourself to have that passion.” And on “The Hills Are Calling,” Magnetic Moves slipsinto delicate psychedelia as Toupin contemplates a rarely examined aspect ofromantic infidelity. “It’s so easy to be unempathetic toward the person who’s fallenin love with someone else, we forget that there’s a lot of pain on that side of theequation too,” she notes.
As the first track that Toupin self-produced for Magnetic Moves, “The HillsAre Calling” also reveals the playful creativity behind her sonic approach. “That onecame together in a very piece-by-piece way,” says Toupin, pointing to the pickedcellopart performed by Portland-based musician Alexis Mahler as the song’s initialdriving force. “We kept piling on all these different pieces—the kick drum andtambourine and cymbal swells and snaps—and filling up the space very intricately.It’s not how you’d usually do things in the studio, but it all felt so natural.”
As Magnetic Moves endlessly warps genres and shifts tones, Toupin taps intothe soulful musicality she first discovered as a teenager in Southern Indiana.“Throughout high school I was sort of troubled and dealt with some healthproblems, and I ended up graduating early and going to college for about ananosecond,” she says. But at age 18, Toupin felt suddenly compelled to makemusic—a prospect wholly encouraged by her father, an accomplished bluesguitarist. “I went to my dad one day and said, ‘Can you just teach me music insteadof me going to school?’ And right away he said, ‘Absolutely,’” she remembers. Alongwith taking opera-singing lessons, Toupin learned to play guitar from her father andimmersed herself in a self-directed study of songcraft. “I started dissecting whatother artists and artists were actually doing in their phrasing and in their melodies,and learning all the tricks of songwriting,” says Toupin, naming Bob Dylan, PatsyCline, Gillian Welch, and The Rolling Stones among her early inspirations.
After two years of refining her skills, Toupin began writing songs of her own,drawing from her experience as a longtime poet and steadily developing thedisciplined practice she follows today. “For a while now I’ve had a routine of wakingup in the morning and writing like it’s my job until the afternoon,” she says.“Sometimes good things happen and sometimes not, but you just do it anyway. Andit always feels like the best things happen when I can get out of the way and just putwhatever comes through me down on paper, without ever thinking about it toomuch.”
In the making of Magnetic Moves, Toupin let her intuition guide her toeverything from the harmony-heavy gospel of “Lost Sometimes” to the Beatlesesquepsych-pop of “In Your Dreams” (with both tracks featuring the showstoppingvocals of Austin-based soul singers Lauren Marie and Angela Miller). As Toupinexplains, the album’s imaginative sonic palette has much to do with theunprecedented freedom she felt her entire time in the studio. “Making this recordwith people I didn’t already know was an incredibly liberating factor,” she pointsout. “When people have preconceived notions of who you are and what you do, itcan really hold you back. But with this album I was able step way outside mycomfort zone—I felt confident to do things I would’ve normally been afraid of.”
For Toupin, eliminating those expectations ultimately elevated her to a newand far more fulfilling level of self-expression—an element she hopes might leave anindelible impact on the listener. “I’m such a romantic, and I’d never felt like I couldreally own that the way I did on this record,” she says. “In the past there was anagreement as to what you could say in a song and what you couldn’t say, what wascool and what wasn’t cool. When people hear this album, I hope they come awaywith a really strong feeling of love, whether it’s romantic or some other form. I wanteveryone to feel okay just wearing their heart on their sleeve.”
15711 Waterloo Rd
Cleveland, OH, 44110