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Pisha laments a past self on debut goth pop album

Growing up with the internet, you are exposed to so much stuff all the time. It's awesome and chaotic.
Madeline Kassen, aka Pisha

This is Songwriters & Tour Riders, a music podcast from KOSU and Oklahoma State University and hosted by Matthew Viriyapah.

Madeline Kassen is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and releases music under the moniker Pisha. The recent Berklee College of Music grad put out her first album titled Threnody earlier this year. The title means 'a lament' and the album is her lamenting 'a past self,' and represents a turning of age period in more ways than one.

Listen above to hear more about why she took on a pseudonym as an artist and her advice for someone going into music school.

On going to Berklee College of Music

There is so much that I miss, like the community aspect of going to school, which is one of the biggest parts of going to school, especially higher education.

Also, the facilities... Part of the thing that is so great about Berklee is that they have all of this equipment. And if you play your cards right, you can access the equipment and explore and play and record.

What I would tell someone who is first coming to Berklee is, use everything you can. It's not wrong to try and exhaust your resources. You're paying for it. Treat everyone with kindness, cause you never know who you're sitting next to.

The person who ended up recording my EP for my band, Tada!, was somebody who I had tutored because I was an ESL tutor for three years. And he gave me an incredible opportunity with this crazy expensive equipment, which I don't know if I'll ever get to touch equipment like that again.

I thought going to music school would be 100 percent different than it was.
Madeline Kassen

I guess I thought it would be more akin to art school. And in ways it is, but the specific school I go to definitely has an emphasis on business.

On taking on a new name

My thinking was I could put my musical life and my artist life to bed at the end of the day and have a healthy separation... But also I liked the sound of that name. It comes from a video game, or at least that's the first time I heard it.

It's used in a lot of different areas, they have some form of this name, Pisha. But I just like the sound of it.

And it's totally subject to change, but that's the good part about that name is it's not really tied to — the name itself doesn't lean one way or another. Right now, I felt really inspired by that video game.

On the internet

I just feel like when you're watching humans do cool stuff, it's always inspiring. And I think that's part of my more recent obsession with, 'okay, I'm going to expose myself to everything.' Also, that's totally an internet youth thing.

It's so awesome how accessible art making is. And if anything was gonna heal the world, I feel like that's it.
Madeline Kassen

Though I worry about the obsessive individualism that comes out of promoting yourself all the time no matter what you do, just inherently through social media, I could never not be thankful for all the people I've met via social media. I'm an introvert. I'm totally not necessarily one to put myself in situations where I meet people like that. But I feel that the internet has given me so many opportunities that somebody like me would not have access to.

Music featured in this episode:

  1. Pisha - Claudia
  2. Pisha - Home
  3. Pisha - Feelsies
  4. Pisha - Gotta Get Out
  5. Madeline Kassen and Ben Cloud - Summertime
  6. Peggy Lee - It's The Bluest Kind of Blues
  7. Tada! - Dizzy Crazy
  8. Pisha - I'll Be Your Dog
  9. Nine Inch Nails - Closer
  10. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - Talk About The Weather
  11. Pisha - gothweb
  12. Björk - Army of Me
  13. Pisha - Freak
  14. Emily Montes - EmiLy
  15. Pisha - Play Nice

Subscribe to the Songwriters & Tour Riders podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts.

Matthew Viriyapah is KOSU's production assistant and host of the music podcast Songwriters & Tour Riders.
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