As you wander from Cafe Racer to SoDo punk venue to University District house show, Ings, a contemplative guitarist and songwriter with a subtle touch on the guitar, is bound to be somewhere in the mix—likely (and hopefully) sharing her slow-simmering pop songs from behind her signature yellow glasses. With two mellow-yet-poignant EPs under her belt — 2014’s Slaughterhouse-Five and 2016’s Afterthought—Ings is touring extensively this Spring with her band and gearing up to play her first-ever SXSW as an official artist. She’s also bracing to release a new full-length, out later this year.
Recently, she chatted with AudioFemme about her favorite mantras, the key to patience, and her deep love for the DIY community in Seattle. Read on for the full interview.
AF: Tell me a little bit about your background? How’d you get into music?
Ings: I took piano lessons as a kid, and my mom rented a lot of musicals for me and my sister. I would make up a lot of songs. When I was 7, my brother played Ben Folds’ “Philosophy” for me on the stereo, and my mind exploded. I’ve been a deep Ben Folds Five/Ben Folds fan ever since. I started playing guitar when I was 14, and wrote a song for English class. Then I started playing gigs around town and played in some bands—that sort of thing.
AF: You’e not originally from Seattle, though you may as well be a local now. Why did you move out here?
I: I’m from Springfield, Missouri. I moved because the community is wonderful, and I loved [local band] Heatwarmer, and wanted to take guitar/composition lessons from the lead person, Luke Bergman.
AF: How long has Ings been around as a group?
I: My sister calls me Ings, I started performing with that name about 7 years ago.
AF: Who are you most inspired by?
I: People who demonstrate self-compassion. And, of course, the 6 B’s: Björk, Beyoncé, Blake Mills, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and, of course, Ben Folds. Also, George Gershwin.
AF: You make great playlists on Spotify—I listen to them all the time. I especially love this month’s playlist, “Patience.” When and why did you start doing that?
I: Because I believe that songs are like software for your mind, it follows that creating a playlist with a certain emotion in mind will facilitate feeling that emotion. Also, because the universe is chaos and right and wrong are relative is important to me to be able to make choices about how I will decide to feel about any given situation and sometimes music can encourage me to be in a more productive, heightened, emotionally intelligent mindset.
AF: Why did you choose patience as a theme? I’m definitely not a patient person—ha! Is patience something you struggle with cultivating?
I: I believe in giving yourself space to grow and change and improve. Part of that space is mental and emotional, but there’s also an aspect of temporal space: giving yourself permission to wait for things and trust that your intention will bring about what you are working towards. In that vein, here’s a limerick:
Because life is unfolding at a constant rate,
and can’t be hurried for worrying’s sake,
you may as well embrace your fate,
And grant a little -ience of pate.
AF: Ha, I love a good limerick! I also loved your last release, Afterthought. Are you working on a new release as Ings?
I: Yes, I have a new album! I’m currently looking for a label. I really really want to release it this year.
AF: You have ties with labels but you seem to thrive on being independent and DIY. How does the Seattle DIY music community feed your music? What about it draws you in?
I: Barsuk do my licensing/publishing. But other than that, I don’t have a label yet. Even though I produce and write my own music, I definitely flourish in community. I think community is why a lot of people in America are lonely. I think community is as important as water. I do not know where or who I would be without this scene. It’s a “before you came into my life I missed you so bad” kind of thing. I am my realized self at this moment because our scene here in Seattle is so vibrant and supportive.
AF: Do you write while on tour? Is it a creative time for you?
I: I feel so much joy on tour from seeing people and meeting people and jumping in the ocean and stuff! So I feel inspired, but I don’t have much time to sit down and record demos. I take lots of notes, and honor each melody that appears in my mind by recording it in my phone, and then assemble them later.
AF: You recently announced that you’ll be at SXSW this year as an official artist. What does that mean to you?
I: I applied to SXSW every year for a few years and was rejected every time, so it’s nice to officially be part of it this year, while still doing some unofficial showcases. It seems like they are booking more DIY bands and more of my friends’ bands, which I’m really happy to see. So many of my favorite people will be there, I look forward to the joy of being together.
AF: Your songs very often feel like a meditation on a specific mood or feeling or mantra. Do you have a favorite quote or line of philosophy that is guiding your life right now?
I: I started meditating about nine months ago, and it has changed my life. I have a small “menu” of meditative phrases that have occurred to me over this period, the latest one of which is: “I have everything I need.”
3/5 – Silverton, OR @ Oak Street Church // RSVP
3/6 – Eugene, OR @ Spectrum // RSVP
3/7 – Arcata, CA @ Outer Space // RSVP
3/8 – San Francisco, CA @ Fortress Callosum // RSVP
3/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Junior High // TICKETS // RSVP
3/11 – Joshua Tree, CA @ The Beatnik // RSVP
3/12 – Phoenix, AZ @ House Show
3/13 – Las Cruces, NM @ Eyeconik Records // RSVP
3/15 – Austin, TX @ 4:15 PM, MIDCOAST TAKEOVER, Shangri-La // RSVP
3/15 – Austin, TX @ 7:00 PM, FEMME FRIDAY SHOWCASE, Hops and Grain // RSVP
3/18 – Springfield, MO @ The Outland TICKETS // RSVP
3/19 – Kansas City, MO @ Mills Record Co. // RSVP
3/21 – St. Louis, MO @ FOAM // RSVP
3/22 – Chicago, IL @ House Show // RSVP
3/23 – Minneapolis, MN @ House Show // RSVP
3/24 – Bismarck, ND @ House Show** // RSVP
3/26 – Missoula, MT @ Hockey House // RSVP
3/27 – Spokane, WA @ Baby Bar // RSVP
3/28 – Moscow, ID @ House Show
4/27 – Vancouver, Canada @ The Cultch // TICKETS // RSVP