After observing Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown, film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” According to his AV Club article, he explained, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is an all-or-nothing-proposition.”

On her upcoming article of the same name, singer-songwriter RACHEL KLINE bears the dark side of her soul, from dealing with mental illness and calling out the people that caused it. Originally from Northern Virginia, she is currently attending school in Minnesota, but she will be hosting her album release show July 10 at The Lab in Alexandria, Va. Get to know her demons and how she identifies with The Manic Pixie Dream Girl character trope.

Your new EP is called Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Can you please explain the meaning behind the title and what inspired you to choose it?

A Manic Pixie Dream Girl is actually a character archetype in film. She’s the quirky, weird, out there character, and she’s also the love interest. A lot of people idealize the manic pixie dream girl character and go after girls like this in real life. I really resonated with this concept, because I was always kind of weird and different, and people were always going after me. But the problem was once then once they found out I had real issues, they would lose interest and leave. I was having a conversation with a friend who was explaining the concept to me, and it inspired me to write a song about it, which ended up being the title track.

The songs on this album deal with many issues relating to the darker side of life, including mental illness and people leaving. Why was it so important for you to address these subjects on this album?

Writing songs about these topics helped me process and cope with a lot of my personal struggles with these issues. Mental illness has been something that has been a huge struggle for me, especially [during] the past year, and it’s something that a lot of people deal with but have a hard time talking about because of the huge stigma behind it. Through these songs, I was able to express things that are oftentimes too hard for me to talk about, and additionally call out people who had hurt me, when I was too afraid to do so in real life. It was really therapeutic for me, and it was really rewarding to be able to put these negative feelings into art that I was proud of.

Do all the songs relate to your personal experiences, or do they also discuss experiences of others? Please explain where the inspiration for your songwriting comes from.

All of the songs are extremely personal to me. In fact, it was my goal to make the record uncomfortably personal. Each song is a snapshot of the thoughts inside my head, and real feelings that I was dealing with at the time I wrote them. The only song on the EP that contains elements that are technically not about real experiences is “The Funeral,” which is about a dream that I had. However, that dream felt super real to me and relayed some of my deepest insecurities that I have while awake. I am mostly inspired to write about the darker parts of life because it’s how I process and express those things. I don’t really know how to do that any other way.

In what ways will your musical direction on Manic Pixie Dream Girl be different from your first EP Demons?

Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a step in a completely different direction for me. It’s a lot more minimal and intimate than Demons, and I think the lyrics show a lot of growth for me as a songwriter. It feels much more raw and real to me than anything I have written before. It’s also more of a concept EP, in the sense that each song connects to each other in some way lyrically, and that was something that happened really naturally. Ultimately it’s really hard to compare the two EP’s because they are so different from each other.

Will Dan ABH be producing this album as well? If so, what was it like working with him this time around? If not, who did you work with and why did you go with them?

I actually live in Minnesota during the school year, so I wasn’t able to work with Dan ABH on this project, but I was lucky to have access to a lot of resources at my school because it’s a music school. Josiah Brekke produced this EP, and working with him has been such a positive experience. I met Josiah at a show I was playing, and a conversation with him afterwards was enough to convince me that he understood exactly the sound I was trying to go for and a gut feeling told me to ask him to record my EP. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At my school, there is a large focus on the business aspect of music, so it was nice to find someone who cares about artistry as much as I do and the emotion behind the music rather than it sounding perfect.

On July 10, you will be hosting a release show at The Lab All Ages in Alexandria, Va. What are you most looking forward to about that performance?

I think I am most excited to be playing full band with some of my favorite people in the world for the first time. Dan ABH, Nat Brown, and Charles Scheider are playing with me and being in a band with them has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. We work really well together, and they make my songs sound better than I could have ever imagined. Playing with them at The Lab means a lot to me because it’s where I started performing when I was 15. Having the opportunity to play my release show at the Lab five years later is pretty cool, especially when the community there has really shaped who I am and helped me find my voice through music. I am also really excited that it’s a benefit for In It Together Fest, a DIY festival in D.C. that celebrates underground art, music, and activism through community. These are all things that are extremely important to me, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.

In addition to yourself, STATIC SCENE, MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY, and AURENA “WEEN WEEN” GREEN will performing at the release show as well. Did you select them, and if so, why?

I did select them! I think NOVA has so many talented musicians, and I’m very excited about this being an all local showcase. I’ve been seeing MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY play shows for years. I have always been in awe of her songwriting, and she has always been very supportive of me and my music. She’s been on a hiatus from music for a while, so when I heard that she was ready to start playing again, I knew she would be perfect to have on the release show.

STATIC SCENE is a band that I started listening to this year, and I have been obsessed with their EP since the first day I listened to it. I’m super stoked that they agreed to play. AURENA GEEN is a local slam poet that I found through a mutual friend, and her poems are incredibly powerful. They really resonated with me. I think each artist has something very unique to bring to the table, and I am so honored to be able to share the stage with so many talented people.

Is there any song in particular from your new album that you are looking forward to playing live for the first time? Please also explain why.

Each song on the album is important to me in a different way, so it’s hard to pick just one. If I had to choose, I think “Holy War” is the song I’m looking forward to playing most because it’s really fun to play with a band, and it’s the song that makes me feel the most empowered. But, I’m really looking forward to playing all of the songs and being able to share them with people in a live setting.

For more updates on RACHEL KLINE, be sure to “like” her Facebook page, subscribe to her YouTube channel, and be on the lookout for Manic Pixie Dream Girl on her Bandcamp page.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.

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