Anna: It’s totally different. Musically, it’s totally different. I took my time and I ended up stripping the whole thing down. Like “Leaving Home” for instance, that was another rock song. That was a heavy rock song. I decided, “I don’t want a rock song.” No guitars allowed on this. It also took me two years to finish the lyrics. I wrote most of them in an hour, or in a day, or in one little writing session, but I could never finish the chorus. It took me two years to just come up with one line, but that’s what made the song what it is. It defined the song. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was talking about or wasn’t ready to know what I was talking about. I thought,“How honest should I be? Should I disguise it?” I did a lot of disguising of stuff in That Dog, even though it was all super obvious if you knew me. Still, everything was in code.
Josh: How often do you find yourself trying to tell a story or express something, and how often do you say ‘sometimes I just want to write something that sounds cool?’ Or, ‘the music’s more important and I just want there to be insignificant lyrics.’
|Anna: The only time a song was written because the music was cool and I didn’t connect with the lyrics was a That Dog song. That was “Never Say Never,” which was a single and probably our most popular song. I don’t even know what it’s about. It was just words strung together. It was written in like ten minutes and that’s not me. I can write a song in ten minutes and love it, but generally I like to be connected to the lyrics. I worked really hard on that with this record. If there was a part in a song that was “eh,” I went back. And I’m glad I did.
Josh: When you recorded your first solo project, Anna by Anna Waronker, do you feel like you were breaking habits, or do you feel like you were just reinforcing things that you knew you were already good at?
Anna: I was doing things that I felt like I was never allowed to do.
Josh: So, it was liberating in the way a solo project is supposed to be liberating.
Josh: Was it hard for you to transition from major label to support to doing it on your own? Did you totally trust yourself, or were you a little hung up on the major label definition of success?
Anna: With That Dog, it was being at Geffen, and being on tour, and trying to make it, or whatever. At some point, I had to make a decision: either I’m going to go for it, or I’m not. And, I had not been going for it and I didn’t want to.
Josh: Because you were comfortable where you were, or because you were afraid?