PREMIERE: Sugar High Announce Debut LP “Love Addict,” Share Single “Losing”
King Woman’s Kris Esfandiari and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal producer Darcy Baylis discuss their new collab.
Many of the best collaborative musical projects are far from intentional, but were rather born of the incidental recognition of two artists realizing they speak the same creative language. Such was the case with Kris Esfandiari (King Woman, Miserable, Nghtcrwlr, Dalmatian, among others) and producer Darcy Baylis (Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq, Zubin, among others), whose 2018 Instagram exchange has led to a debut record set for release April 28.
Love Addict is an impressively succinct marriage of the wistful vocals populating King Woman’s doom-metal opuses and the infectious trap beat of WPSE’s recent single “Hardcore,” as demonstrated by lead single “Losing.” With the duo residing in different hemispheres (Baylis is Australian, Esfandiari Californian), they seem to have enough in common in terms of musical aesthetic and life experience to explain the seamless merging of identities on “Losing.”
“‘Losing’ is about the insanity of love addiction, of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Baylis explains. “The song is an expression of the way we feel too much, too often, and the bizarre ways in which heartbreak manifests. It was the first song we ever wrote together, the day after we met, and the rest of the record followed naturally from there.”
Love Addict is out April 28 on Dero Arcade. Stream the track below, and read on for a Q&A with the duo about their collaboration and the “cosmic stuff” that binds them.
Kris: I was trying to book Darcy a show in LA. We met one night to work on something and instantly clicked. I suggested we just lock ourselves in my practice space and write an album together.
Darcy: Kris DMed me on Instagram when I was in LA in the summer of 2018. She told me she was working on a new record and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. She came over to talk music or whatever—I thought maybe we’d work on a song or two. Within, like, ten minutes we were telling each other our life stories, and it felt like something bigger than just one song. We decided right then and there to try and make a whole project before I went back to Australia.
Kris, were there any challenges in switching gears from doomy metal/shoegaze to something beat-based?
Kris: No challenges. I have eight projects and I admire so many genres. Gotta keep things interesting.
Darcy, what attracted you to Kris’ music?
Darcy: What I love about Kris’ music is that there are so many different avenues and angles that she takes—doom metal, power pop, trap music, whatever—but there’s this singular, common thread woven through it all. It’s like she can project a thousand different versions of herself in her work but it’s always unmistakably a Kris song. I think I was just drawn to that energy because I feel the same about my own work—it’s completely chaotic and the influences are all over the place, but Kris somehow just makes that work perfectly.
Do you think you’d have been able to write/record this album over the internet from opposite corners of the world?
Kris: It would have been a different approach. No doubt our synergy was the magic behind this record. It’s so special.
Darcy: I think we could, now that we know each other better. But the energy of this record, the feeling—it’s very much specific to that insane summer in LA. I think it sounds the way it does because we were just channeling this bizarre burst of creativity we found in each other, and it was also a race to the finish line, so every thought you hear on the album was probably the first one we had. There was no time for second guessing.
How did the lyrical content for the record come together? Was there any sense of therapy discussing shared experiences?
Kris: I can’t help but find healing through relating to other people and hearing their stories. Darcy and I had very similar trauma and bonded over that. The lyrics just flowed out of us. We are both angsty teens at heart [laughs].
Darcy: Absolutely. I mean, when we first met and started getting to know each other, we found out we had, like, eerily similar upbringings. Mainly just experiencing the same trauma, having kinda shitty childhoods, both being Pisces—you know, all the cosmic stuff. When Kris and I were writing these lyrics, they were very personal, and we would be very explicit with each other in what we were writing about. But we also had enough self-awareness to be like, “OK, no, that is actually corny” and move on. It was like a weird exercise in looking at all of your pain and neuroses and being like, “Which parts are interesting and which parts are just my journal?”