The music on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is often a solid pick. And even as I sometimes waiver in my dedication to keep watching every episode, there’s always a storyline that pulls me back in. That was the case with this whole ‘Katherine is dying, no – she body jumped, no – they found out’ thing. Nina Dobrev REALLY shows off her acting chops on this show.
I was out and out crying during the episode where Stefan killed Katherine for good. (Is it for good? Who freaking knows.) I mean, the EMOTIONS! And one of the ways that my emotions were being played was in the perfect placement of a song during the climatic scene where Katherine is trying to figure out who is going to off her. (Gulp.)
The song in question was, “White Collar Whiskey.” It was written and sung by Emily Wolfe.
And even though this is a TV blog, I decided I needed to talk to her about her music, and that song – in particular. Even now, I can replay that song over and over and it is so solidly good.
When Wolfe got back from SXSW, she talked to me about how her song ended up on ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ what inspired her to pen those lyrics, and gave a very respectful and thoughtful answer about why she’s not going to be trying out for ‘The Voice.’
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Our Exclusive Interview with Emily Wolfe
What words do you think best explain who you are as a musician? What words do you think best explain what your music is?
Some people have referred to our music as “dream rock” …hopefully it come across as innovative and prolific. I always try to push myself to write new things- not just the same chords/song structures. It’s also important to me to write lyrics that I think will make people feel something.
Is it right to assume you’re a Southern gal of some type?
If Southern gal means fried chicken and whiskey, then yes. Hah. I don’t own any cowboy boots or speak with a southern drawl- I think of myself as more of an Austinite than a southerner.
What are you willing to share about what the song, “White Collar Whiskey” is about, for you? What inspired it? Did you conceive it as a song about saying goodbye or letting go?
White Collar Whiskey was written a couple of years ago when I had a full time job and no time to write or play music, which is really all I wanted to do. I would go to work from 8am through 5 pm and by the time I left my office the sun would be down. It made me really depressed and I started just going home and drinking a lot of whiskey to cope with how much I didn’t want to go back the next day. That’s what the line “iIm feeling my heart beat like a drum” refers to, especially. I just wanted to go play drums but had to sit at a desk all day. The start of each chorus is different: first chorus starts with “they got me”- (referring to “the man” and how having a job is such a necessary thing…how stuck that made me feel), second chorus starts with “you got me”- (referring to the specific job I had) , and the third chorus starts with “I got you right where I want you…” (referring to the day when I can say I don’t need the job anymore.)
For me, that’s what the song is about, though I always enjoy hearing different interpretations from other people.
Can you talk a bit about the particular lyric, “I’m surrounded by animals with dreams”?
Sometimes I think we all get caught up in our own small worlds and forget to see the big picture. The thing that seems like the most important thing in the world is not really that big of a deal when you step back and look at it. I think some people get so wrapped up in their own day-to-day that they forget to step back and look at the big picture. There were a few people in my full time job who got caught up in really small things- I felt surrounded by them everyday. I wrote the lyrics at work – ha.
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Do you ever feel hesitant to reveal so much honesty in your lyrics? Do you try to find the best way to say something, or do you also consider how to conceal it a bit?
I definitely do- it’s a balance of both; figuring out what I want to say without calling out specific people within the lyrics. I think keeping it sort of vague allows other people to infer their own experiences within the lyrics.
How did you come to have your song selected for an episode of The Vampire Diaries? Did you and Chris Mollere talk?
I’m with a licensing company called Music Alternatives and they pitch songs to music supervisors all around the country and Canada. It’s always a gamble with placements because finding the perfect song to fit a scene can be really difficult. Sometimes there’s a perfect song that needs a scene and sometimes there’s a perfect scene that needs a song. It’s always a toss up so I feel really lucky to have gotten White Collar Whiskey placed.
Are you a fan of the series, ‘The Vampire Diaries’? If not, did you get to watch the segment and take a feeling away from it?
I’d never seen the show before but I did get to watch it. It was interesting seeing that song have a completely different meaning and story (i.e. a vampire dying). I feel like it was a really intense episode, so it was cool to hear the song in such a pivotal scene.
What TV shows are you a big fan of?
Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Parenthood, anything on Palladia.
Being a TV blog, we have to ask this. Have you ever auditioned (or thought about auditioning for) The Voice or a similar show?
I have thought about it- I have a few friends who have been on The Voice. I don’t think I’d want to do it however. Building a career gradually and organically seems like the best route for me.
What’s coming up for you on the horizon next?
We’re going to record 4 or 5 songs with Mike McCarthy in April and release them all gradually over the course of the year as singles. Then we’ll go back in October and record another 4 or 5. We’ve got so many new songs that we’re excited to play and get out there. Other than that we’re looking into playing more shows outside of Texas.
A big thanks to Emily for answering all of our questions. And a big thanks to ‘The Vampire Diaries’ (esp Chris Mollere) for continuing to use really great, stand-out music.