Music by VICE

Adria Kain Wants You To Exhale on New EP 'DECOMPRESSED'

The singer-songwriter tells her story of depression, fatigue, and resilience after finding herself face-to-face with an insatiable darkness.

by Amani Bin Shikhan
Nov 6 2017, 4:58pm

Image via video

If you haven't heard of Adria Kain, you better get familiar. The singer-songwriter is a force—even if she mostly chooses to play the background, her voice floating beautifully in a comfortable obscurity. Last year, not long after she performed alongside BJ the Chicago Kid right here in Toronto, she announced that she'd be taking a hiatus from music, citing the industry's precarious nature, shady politics, and forceful grooming as part of her reasoning. But now, she's back with the stunning DE{COM}PRESSED, an EP with what she describes as an "audio:visual" component, outlining the real life story of all the lead-up to her unofficial bowing out almost a year earlier. Catch up with Adria's recording process, current and past philosophies, and what she has in store for the future.

NOISEY: Welcome back. How are you feeling post-release?
Adria Kain: Honestly, I can't really say for sure. I feel a bunch of things, and my mind is all over the place with new ideas. I can say for sure that I'm happy, and that's something I haven't been able to say in a long time.

I remember when you announced your hiatus last year. You mention it again in the letter you put out with the DE{COM}PRESSED EP. What led you to that decision?
I just needed a break. I felt like I was sinking into a pit. I spent so many years just listening to the opinions of others, or looking to what was "cool", or what I thought I needed to do to fit in or be heard as an artist. I found myself lost, beginning to lose my faith and trust in pretty much everything and everyone.

When I moved back in with my grandparents, that's when everything hit me the hardest. I felt like a failure mainly to myself, and then to my family who I promised to take care of years ago. It became extremely frustrating for me. To feel like you're finally getting somewhere, only to end up back in the same place is probably one of the most mind numbing experiences one could ever go through. So there was a point where I told myself, "Maybe this isn't what I'm meant to do." And so I took a step back.

Why did you name your project DE{COM}PRESSED ? What does that signify for you?
For a long time, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I was just suppressing everything, and I was doing it mainly because I felt misunderstood and got tired of trying to justify myself. It lead me to a lot of breakdowns and moments where I just no longer wanted to exist. I had a moment one night where I literally had to fight to snap out of that mindset. I remembered a conversation I had with someone who told me to write out my feelings so I started to write and tried to let go of as much as I could.

I was taking the time to decompress. I singled out the letters "COM" to represent the word "COMFORT," which left the rest of the letters to spell the word "DEPRESSED." It made me believe that in order to heal, I needed to find comfort amidst my depressive state.

The accompanying video you put out is so, so beautiful. How did you make it? Why?
I've wanted to tell my story through film for a long time, I just never had anyone who took me seriously enough to help bring my vision to life. I was talking to my best friend [Ashley Iris Gill] about it one night, and she said she'd help me out. We started planning and executing as much as we could to make things happen. She was willing to do whatever it took to help me bring my story to life which I appreciated heavily. For years, I reached out to many and received not even half of the effort she put in for me. We shot sporadically for about two weeks I edited it. With next to nothing, we managed to create something so beautiful and I'm proud of it. That's what I've been trying to promote for years: regardless of circumstance, anything is possible.

"Something New" is the clear standout track to me. Can you explain your process behind that track?
I was in a studio session with Sean Leon, helping him with the finishing touches to his album when a discussion between myself, him, and Jack Rochon broke out after I mentioned that I was quitting music. They encouraged me to take my time but were adamant about me not giving up. A couple days after that, I booked a session of my own at the same studio with Jack and we just started vibing off of random ideas. He'd play a melody on his guitar and I'd come up with melodies to write lyrics to. The lyrics in the first verse came almost instantly and we recorded a reference just before calling it a night. I held onto the song for months, listening to it almost everyday while going through so many different emotions and obstacles, but the song was only half finished, and I was feeling too discouraged and unmotivated at the time to find the inspiration to write the rest. One night, I caught a moment where the lyrics to the second verse just came to me. That song ended up being the reason why I made this EP. I guess you can say it brought me back to life.

What's next for you?
So many things, man. I've got so many plans in mind that I don't even know where to begin. I'm trying not to overwhelm myself. I'm a perfectionist sometimes, so I'm trying to focus on just letting things flow naturally until they become what they need to. Whatever comes, I'm accepting with open arms and a positive mind. But I'm making music again, and I'm extremely happy about where I am as an artist today. Who knows what that will bring.

Amani Bin Shikhan is a writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter.