Life can be messy, exciting, disappointing – an endless array of scenarios that prompt an endless array of reactions. Since 2020, New York-based pop artist Rachel Bochner has created a soundtrack to these feelings, owning up to the times when she has made mistakes or confronted the inevitable. She knows that there is power in embracing the dark or the ugly in addition to the light, which is why her music speaks to so many fans or fellow “ghosties,” as they’re called. On her new EP, It’s Not Me, It’s U, Rachel encourages listeners to feel as much as possible, knowing that emotions alone do not define character; at the end of the day, it is how you process these feelings and determine where to go from there that speak to who you are as a person. Shortly after the release of the EP, I caught up with Rachel to learn more about it, like how she made the cover art for the project and whether or not she feels that fans are connecting to the songs in the way she expected.
Hi, Rachel. Thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions! So, we are in an exciting time for you right now, as you recently released your It’s Not Me, It’s U EP. How are things going with you now that it’s been out for a while?
I’m really happy to have this project finally fully out. It was in the works for over a year and a half, so it feels good to see how far I’ve come since starting it. I played a release show at Brooklyn Made the day it was released, and it was absolutely my favorite show I’ve played so far. The fact that I had fans FLY in from different states to come to the show actually blows my mind, and seeing people singing the words back to me in the crowd will stay with me forever.
Overall, how was the EP release show?
We sang, we danced, we took tequila shots, we played with balloons, and ate purple cake. It was the best!
What has been the best part of the rollout/build-up for this release?
I worked on this project with close friends I’ve been creating with for a while, as well as with some really incredible new creatives too. With every song or project I put out, I learn new things about myself as an artist and person, and this process of making this EP felt like the most transformative yet. It just makes me really excited for what comes next, and it’s extremely comforting to know that I have a community of talented, supportive, and overall amazing people to navigate it with.
You previously said about the EP, “When people hear these songs, I want them to know it’s okay to feel their feelings, to find humor even in the darkness, and to remember that we have the power to define our own self-worth.” I feel like you really nailed this concept, as we hear you embracing various feelings like the doubt on “Hard To Please” or the chaos on “Here For The Drama,” while tracks like “Sucker Punch” and “If I’m Gunna Be Sad” are meant to empower. Do you think your fans are connecting with the EP in the way you hoped?
Something that makes releasing music so special for me is getting to see the way fans interact and resonate with it. Hearing how a song really hit someone, validated them, comforted them, or even just made them feel like that girl… that’s magic to me. I also always try to think of ways to get the listeners involved in the rollout – it makes the process really special for me, but it also gives me an opportunity to give more context to the songs and the project as a whole. For example, when I was doing the shoot for promo photos for the EP, I had fans send in photos of their exes (boyfriends/girlfriends/partners, friends, situationships, etc) for me to scribble out the faces and use as a prop… discreetly, of course. Something like that feels super simple, but it’s a cool way for me to be like, okay, we’re being unhinged in this era, and here’s how you can literally be part of the project too.
“Sucker Punch” was the first single off the EP, and the music video made for a cool introduction to the project. Were those real flames? And which look was your favorite – the red or the black?
“Sucker Punch” felt so fitting as the first single, because it really captures the semi-unhinged, overdramatic energy that the EP is about. The video was so fun to conceptualize and work on with Working Holiday, and I think it reflected the crux of the track so well. The flames weren’t real, but they came out looking so realistic, I was so obsessed. I loved the contrast between the two looks, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. The black was meant to be the darker, calculated, revenge-hungry part of me, and the red was the dramatic, immature, emotional part of me. I got to basically just throw a fit in the red one, which was quite cathartic, so maybe that one has the edge…
You team up with Tiger Darrow on “If I’m Gunna Be Sad.” How did the collab come together?
Tiger is my best friend and someone I’ve been working with for years now, so it was really just a matter of time before we put out a song together! She’s been an incredible mentor, collaborator, sounding board, and sister to me since we met in 2019, and I’m so grateful I get to work so closely with her on my music. Making art with your friends is literally unmatched. The way we just threw ourselves a party with a bounce castle and cotton candy machine for the music video still makes me laugh. It was all around a chaotic, fun, stupid, amazing time.
In the beginning of the video for the track, we see you both playing with Tarot cards. Do you read Tarot cards in your spare time?
I’m getting more into it, but it’s something Tiger and I will sit on the floor of her apartment and do when we’re feeling like we need some guidance from the universe. I’ve become a little bit more spiritual in the past few years when it comes to trusting the universe knows what’s best for me and seeking out signs to help affirm or guide me through whatever I’m dealing with.
On “Hard To Please,” you explore the idea of getting a nose ring. Is that still something on your to-do list?
Haaa, I don’t have any concrete plans for that… yet.
As you have shown on your social media, the cover art for the EP took a very long time to make, and it turned out so good. How many hours do you think went into it?
Honestly, it probably took like 15 hours total, from collecting all the random visuals and Easter eggs that went on the board, cutting out photos and bits of magazines, arranging and rearranging it, scribbling my nonsense on the board, adding sparkles here and there… I love collages and making things, so I actually had a lot of fun making it. I had fans send in certain words in their handwriting to include on the board too, which I think is really special.
I wanted to find out more about the significance of the ghosties? We see ghostie characters in your posts, merch, and your fans have taken on the name for themselves, so how did this all start? Was it from “ghosted my therapist?”
The ghostie thing originated from a merch design I worked on with Emily Hoang, a graphic designer I do a lot of my visuals with, for “ghosted my therapist.” The cover art for that track was inspired by a pop art/comic book aesthetic, so for the merch, we made this little comic strip with different scenes inspired by lyrics of the song. It featured this little ghostie character, and people (including myself) fell in love with it. After that, we made another merch design for my song “pretty when u cry” and had the ghostie show up there too, and it just became this adorable mascot/inside joke turned fandom name. Especially as this EP has rolled out, it’s been so beautiful to see the community of ghosties forming. I’m watching people form these amazing friendships after being brought together by my silly little songs, and it’s actually so special. A bunch of them traveled to come to the Brooklyn Made show, and we all met up for coffee the day after. It was so cute. There are like six people with ghostie tattoos walking around on this planet, and I can’t wait to watch this little ghostie community grow.
What more do you have going on for the rest of the year?
I’ll hopefully be hitting some new cities to play more shows, I’m already of course working on more new music, and hopefully just continuing to watch this EP grow and reach more people!
Thank you again for your time. Is there anything else you wish to add or share?
Thanks for chatting! Stream It’s Not Me, It’s U, and feel free to say hey on IG!!!
You can listen to It’s Not Me, It’s U on platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.