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Half Waif Talks Cascine’s Eighth Anniversary

Half Waif is the project through which Nandi Rose Plunkett creates pensive, emotionally rich synth-pop songs. A native of Williamstown, Massachusetts, Plunket first signed with Cascine to release her universally lauded form/a EP. Her next release for the label was this year’s standout full-length Lavender, an album centered on themes of emotional introspection and acceptance of one’s self.

Half Waif comes to Elsewhere on 10/4 for a performance on Cascine’s Label Night, a concert celebrating the 8th anniversary of one of new york’s most important labels.

There’s lots of bittersweet longing for New York going on in Lavender. You’re on tour in Europe right now. What are you missing most about New York City?

I’m currently in the back of the van somewhere in Poland, on our way to Prague. I’m missing the start of autumn in New York – always a welcome change after the trash-melt days of summer. I miss the magic little chill in the evenings when you’re walking to meet a friend for a drink in some auburn-tinged neighborhood. I miss my friends.

Cascine is here taking over Elsewhere to celebrate their 8th year in operation! How did your relationship with the label begin? What initially drew you to Cascine?

I started working with Cascine in late 2016. I was drawn to their roster of experimental electronic artists, their attention to detail and thoughtfulness in the way they released their albums. It was evident that this was a tight-knit label that really cared about their artists. I loved that they had ties to Brooklyn, where I lived, and London, where I studied music abroad.

What have been your favorite, and perhaps lesser known, releases from Cascine over the years?

Maria Usbek’s Amparo, NOIA’s Habits, and more recently, I loved the collaboration they did with Stadiums & Shrines on the compilation of music inspired by dreams.

Lavender tackles a lot of big subjects and points of turmoil. I imagine the writing process was both arduous and healing. Do you feel a big sense of closure having finished the record and getting it out there in the world?

I do feel some closure! I think writing songs for me in general is a way to face a feeling, name it, and contain it, in an effort to move on and evolve. So while it was a big and emotional undertaking to write, it was an important part of my process in growing on a personal level, as well as professionally. At the same time, though, it’s interesting to be on tour right now, singing a lot of songs that I wrote about being on tour, and to recognize that some of the same feelings are still there – I haven’t really moved past them. There can be some comfort in that, a kind of knowing myself, but also some sadness in carrying out old patterns. So maybe closure is the wrong word. Maybe it’s just more of a deeper understanding and, in time, acceptance.

What can we expect from Half Waif in the near and distant future?

I started working on a new collection of songs this summer, though I really want to take my time with this next album. I’ve released something every year for the past three years, so I don’t feel pressure to put something out immediately. It’s been a really weird and wonderful and hard and crazy year for me, and I want to give that time to sink in and germinate new ideas, both lyrically and sonically. I’m in sponge mode, and will start wringing that out more earnestly in early 2019. In the nearer future, I’ll be touring around the US in November with (Sandy) Alex G.

Interview by Claire Gilb

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