Photo by Lawrence Albert
Tickley Feather is the
nom de plume
of a 29-year-old woman named Annie Sachs. She lives with her four-year-old son, Aiden, out in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When she has some time off from doing motherly stuff, she writes and sings these bewitching, primitive songs, a few of which surfaced online a year or so ago, and got released on the odd seven-inch.
Now Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks are putting out
, a compilation of her music. If you’re into Ariel Pink and Kate Bush, preferably at the same time, you’ll love it. We asked her some questions.
Vice: So, what can you tell us about the record?
These songs are just documented mind-wandering. I made them while I was passing the time here in my apartment, being a mummy to my little boy, not able to go out much, and being real broke. I didn’t really have any plans for these songs. I guess I was using recording as an exercise to tap into some part of my imagination that needed stimulating.
What’s your set-up?
I use a small 4-track Tascam, a microphone with a million, trillion dents, keyboards, and a Zoom effects box that looks like a car stereo. I have kept things simple, because I never wanted to feel overwhelmed by tons of computery crap I can’t figure out. I started recording, really, just to have something to sing to. I have sort of feared that anything else would be just a complex system of buttons trying to keep me down.
What kind of music and culture did you soak up as you grew up?
I was raised in a rural environment. I feel like I learned during that time to make the best of what I had. Pretty closed circumstances as far as things coming in, music or culture. We had to make our own culture by getting crazy in the head.
What do your parents do?
My parents win every contest for being the best! My dad is mainly an artist and stuff. My mum is a grant writer.
In your experience, which feather provides optimum tickling?
Maybe those electric blue ones, or hot pink ones they use to make feather dusters.
What type of feather did you have in mind when you chose your name.
That feather duster-type, maybe. Or the type that gets blown off of a chicken while it’s being transported down the highway. Really, I just thought of the name tickley feather as a joke, to be silly. I wasn’t really thinking about the future, which is for the better, I guess, because who knows what type of serious-type thing I might have come up with.
Do fans send you feathers in the mail?
No, but my sweet neighbour Nate is a fan, I’m pretty sure, and he gives me all kinds of stuff: teeth, bones, a tarot card, a green crayon. And then another guy gave me some handfuls of acorns, once.
Who do you imagine will buy your songs?
Weird people and romantic types.
Tickley Feather’s self-titled debut is out next month on Paw Tracks. myspace.com/tickleyfeather