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Artist Q&A: Window Seat

Window Seat. Photo by Cole Billings

Brought to you by 90.9 The Bridge

Rose Brown is a singer-songwriter from Shawnee, currently attending the University of Kansas in Lawrence. She began releasing her own songs on Bandcamp in late 2019 under the name Window Seat, inspired by a childhood wish that never quite came true. She’ll be graduating from KU next year, which is good news because she hopes to spend her 20s and 30s doing “fun shit” (namely making more music). Considering her knack for penning intimate, lo-fi guitar pop songs, there’s a fair chance she’ll be able to make good on those plans. I called Brown up via Zoom in mid-February to talk about her songwriting process, future projects, and camera roll album covers in her first ever interview.

What are you studying at KU?
I am majoring in psychology and I'm doing a minor in French.

How far along are you?
This is my second year, but I'm actually graduating next year. Which is amazing because I'm about to devote the next 15 years of my life to making music.

That's exciting. You have a pretty detailed plan for all that?
Not really. I feel like I'm just taking it all as it comes.

What makes you say 15 years then?
I don't know. I feel like I just want to spend like my 20s and early 30s doing fun shit. Oh, can I like cuss? Are you gonna put this anywhere? [Laughs]

Oh, yeah. So when did you start playing guitar, singing, and writing songs, I guess each respectively?
I started learning how to play guitar when I was a sophomore in high school, I think. And I just learned by looking up tabs. And my sister has been playing guitar since she was like nine years old, so we've always just had guitars around. And so I just picked up one of her guitars one day and taught myself, I think, a Frankie Cosmos song.

Does your sister still play a lot? What kind of stuff is she into?
She actually just put out an album. She's called Lily B Moonflower. She does bluegrass and twangy folk-country.

I guess I was curious about what has inspired your songwriting the most up until this point.
I feel like I can't really pinpoint a specific thing that inspires my songwriting. I feel like I listen to a lot of different genres and artists and take the tiny things that I like out of them and try to incorporate it into my own music.

I noticed like you follow the general indie rock stuff, but also some of the bedroom pop stuff and emo.
The genre of my music is definitely more like indie lo-fi, but I'm really inspired by space rock and post-rock and stuff like that. That's kind of like more in my guitar playing. But yeah, I think it's interesting to take inspiration from that and turn it into a really soft, sad indie song, I guess.

What do you think attracts you to writing such brief, concise songs?
I think I focus my music more on the guitar than the lyrics. But I've been really experimental in lyric writing for everything that I've made so far. But yeah, I really like the idea of having a shorter song just because I like to get to the point, I guess. And sometimes I like the idea of just leaving things in a place where you wish there was more. And then it kind of makes you want to listen to other songs, I guess.

I figure the album covers are probably just stuff from your camera roll.
[Laughs] Yeah, the picture of the milk carton, my friend Lizzie from high school took that picture when we were at lunch and I just found it in my camera roll and used it. And my favorite one, [the 9 EP cover art], my mom was just on the phone with me today and for some reason brought it up. But she was like, “You can't like have this cover art of the word ‘fuck.’ Like, I can't share it on Facebook if it says a bad word on it.” And I'm like, “I don't know. I just thought it was funny.”

Is that one a picture that you took?
Yeah, I took that one. [Laughs]

I do like the milk carton [the Chinese Finger Trap EP art], too. Because that represents a specific type of frustration that you only really think about when you’re a kid maybe.
Yes. I was like, “This milk carton has a deeper meaning.” [Laughs]

A lot of your lyrics also kind of seem very personal and intimate. I was wondering about your process with them; where you write them and how you end up putting them together.
Well, whenever I write a song, I always start with an entire song on guitar and then I kind of decide where I want to put vocals and kind of center it around that. But I kind of see lyric writing as therapeutic, I guess, because I do write pretty much solely about personal experiences or things that I've seen people who are close to me experience. And I think to make that available to the public, it just opens you up. Sometimes I look back at a song and the lyrics I wrote for it and I'm like, “Damn, maybe I should not have said that.” [Laughs]

Most of your production so far has been pretty lo-fi and sparse. I was wondering if it’s a goal of yours to kind of expand that in the future or if you kind of just go with the flow on that front.
Yeah, I really feel like everything I make for Window Seat just makes sense and the production quality just makes sense for the kind of music that I'm making and I really don't mind doing everything myself and having things sound like shit sometimes. Because I feel like when I hear an imperfection in a song, I wouldn’t change it, because that's what makes it sound different, I guess. But we currently -- me, Cole Billings, and Zach Cunningham -- are recording music right now that I wrote and it's going to be a full-length album. And it's really different because Zach is doing all of the mixing and mastering and he's doing it in Ableton and I've only ever used GarageBand. So I don't really know what he's doing, but the quality is way better for sure. And also the songs are way longer.

You’re playing guitar and singing on that?
Yeah, I'm doing guitar and vocals, Zach is on drums, and Cole is playing bass.

Is it a Window Seat project?
No, I think we're gonna be called Flooding, but it's not for sure. That's the only good name I've come up with.

I meant to ask at the beginning, how did you decide on Window Seat?
Oh, yeah. When I was a kid -- I've lived in like 14 houses throughout my childhood -- I always wanted to have a little window seat in my room, but I never had one in all of those houses.

You started releasing your music just a few months before the pandemic started. Have you had the chance to play any of your songs live before?
No, I have never played live in my life. But I don't think I would ever play Window Seat songs live. The reason why I recorded it all in the first place was because I have these song ideas in my head and then the only way I can actually hear them is if I record it and put everything together. And to play it live, I feel like I would just be stripping away so much. And it's so personal that I just don't think I could. But full band stuff, I pretty much wrote that for the purpose of playing it live.

Do you have any other plans for 2021 besides the project with Cole and Zach? What are you working on right now?
Yeah, that's like the only thing that I have planned for 2021. We're probably going to release that album in the summer. But yeah, I don't really plan releasing music. I guess I kind of just write it and if I have enough songs for an EP or an album, then I'll just put it out.

Listen and download music from Window Seat at

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[This article first appeared in Issue 1 of Shuttlecock's free monthly print edition. Click here to read more about the issue and find your copy.]  

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