Q&A and Premiere: Cincinnati’s Blossom Hall are in Bloom on riveting new single “God Girl”

Cincinnati act Blossom Hall has shared stages with some major names, including Broken Social Scene, Born Ruffians, and Frightened Rabbit. The duo, comprised of co-vocalists, Nancy Paraskevopoulos and Phil Cotter (on bass and guitar, respectively) has a sound so well-defined, it can come as a major shock that they’re just now on the precipice of releasing their debut album, Pyre. 

Before the album drops, Blossom Hall has shared the single “God Girl”. Flush with striking moments before a single word has been uttered, like a longing musical saw, “God Girl” also showcases Paraskevopolous’ remarkable vocal versatility. With verses of twee inquisitiveness and choruses of riot grrrl rage, “God Girl” turns would-be musical contradictions into unexpectedly perfect detours. The nearly-five minute runtime whips by in a flash, with not a single moment dragging. It’s also a great song to share for Mother’s Day, as you’ll see when you listen.

Stream “God Girl” below and read an email interview conducted with Blossom Hall.

Your upcoming album Pyre is your last before taking a hiatus, what made the decision to put things to rest for now? 

Phil: Between writing, recording, mixing, and performing, we’ve been working really hard on this music for the last several years. We need a palate cleanser.

Nan: The pandemic has made things tricky. I don’t feel comfortable performing. My job has me in hospitals and courtrooms. I don’t want to put my clients or audience members at risk.

For those just tuning into the band, give them a back story on what you’ve done thus far, how long you’ve been around, and some of your favorite memories playing music together.

Nan: Phil and I have been playing together for half a decade at this point. He ran sound for a solo show I did, and then I stumbled on one of his shows. We were mutual fans.

Phil: At that first solo show of hers I saw, she performed “God Girl,” and that was the moment I knew I wanted to start a band with her.

Nan: It’s hard to choose a favorite time collaborating. But I especially loved some of the smaller writing projects we did. We wrote jingles for Chase Public, an arts nonprofit in Cincinnati, and Together As One, a sustainability podcast.

“God Girl” is a great mix of heavy fuzzy rock with more orchestral, pretty moments juxtaposed. What was the writing and recording process like for this track, and who is the “God Girl”?

Nan: Who isn’t the God Girl?

I wrote the bones of this song maybe 10 years ago now. Phil made it orchestral. When I wrote it I was stoned and lonely. I was basically throwing a fit and I wrote this song about it.

God Girl is the divine feminine. She’s in me and she is in you. So is the divine masculine but we are all already familiar with worshipping the masculine.

Phil: When I first heard Nan perform it, I envisioned large dynamic shifts, so we started there in the arrangement. We wanted to make the loud parts as powerful and chaotic as possible, and the stacked vocal harmonies played into that. I was really into Roomful of Teeth at the time, who play with the gamut of sounds that the human mouth can make. Their music inspired me to add the “shhh…hah, hah” breathy vocals in the quiet bits.

At that point, I wanted to add a really ethereal, legato lead instrument to the quiet instrumental parts. I was looking for a theremin player, but couldn’t find one. However, we ended up finding a virtuosic musical saw player (Andrew Higley). The saw as an instrument originated in Appalachian folk music, and has also been used a little bit in classical music. So I was excited to bring it into a new context. It has such a distinct, haunting sound.

Will there be a Blossom Hall release show this summer or fall to commemorate the album? 

Nancy: I doubt it. Unless the majority of the population is vaccinated and studies show the variants aren’t a danger to those with the vaccine. I really want to spend time with my little nephew and my elderly parents.

Phil: At this point, we haven’t planned anything. I’m enjoying some time off working on other projects (Party Blimp, Golden Theory) and it feels particularly tricky to plan a well-curated event when we don’t know what the state of the pandemic will be and don’t want to spread the virus to anyone who might be at risk.

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