INTERVIEW: Party Nails




Party Nails


I end the day by speaking with Party Nails



about her latest song, My 404, and what it is all about. Elana (Party Nails) talks about songwriting influence (including mental-health) and her upcoming album, Past Lives and Paychecks – I ask whether she considers herself spiritual in terms of love and life.

I wanted to know what it felt like moving to New York to pursue music; which artists and albums are important to her; whether there is an aspiring talent we need to get behind; what tour dates are coming up – Party Nails reveals whether she gets time to unwind away from music.  


Hi, Elana. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi! I'm good. This week has been emotional, fun and a lot of work. The usual, I guess? Haha.

 For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I'm Party Nails. I'm originally from Chatham, New York and I now live in Los Angeles. I started writing songs when I was eleven and never stopped! I started becoming interested in recording and production when I was a teenager. It wasn't until Party Nails came about that I was able to merge my love of songwriting, singing; sound and production - and Electronic, Pop and country music.

When did ‘Party Nails’ come to be? Is there a story behind that moniker?

It's weird to think back to the beginning because it was so unlike what it is now! Initially, Party Nails was a duo and I was more interested in my solo project at the time which was weird Art-Electronic music. I didn't want to ‘conform’ and Pop felt like conforming, at the time. But, the more I continued to develop my skills, the more I realized that Party Nails was everything I'd been working toward and waiting for. So, the very beginning was 2013 or 2014. But, it wasn't until 2015 that it was totally my project. That early period was dramatic. It has not been a short or easy journey by any means but I wouldn't change it because I learned so much and, for that, I am so grateful.

The name itself came from watching a group of girls get ready for a night out. I loved how much joy doing their nails contributed to it.


My 404 is your latest track. What is the story behind that track?

Luke, who is in Coast Modern, played guitar in my live band when I first moved to LA. So, we have just kept in touch and, one day, they sent a couple tracks they were looking for vocals on because they were doing a mixtape. I really liked this track in particular and wrote My 404, hoping it would be on their mixtape. When it didn't make the cut, my management suggested I make it a Party Nails song. So, I played it at a few shows and liked the vibe and response and decided to do it.

What's funny is that we didn't have any high-res versions of the instrumental because Coleman (of Coast Modern) had broken his computer or lost his hard-drive or something. So, I cut my final vocals to an MP3 and we mixed that. I had pitched down the MP3 too because the version they first sent me was too high for me to sing to. NOT what you're ‘supposed’ to do but here we are... 

Past Lives and Paychecks is your upcoming album. Are there core themes and stories that inspired the songs? Do you have a favourite cut from the record?

I loved making this record so much. If no one likes it, I will still be so proud and happy that I was able to work and create something that is how I felt and what I wanted to communicate, lyrically, melodically; sonically and rhythmically. I know I will evolve forever and there are a million records I want to make by yesterday, but there was a special peace and calm that came with making this and I think it's important for me to acknowledge that.

The song, Clothes, was the first song I wrote with the intention it would be on this album. It was terrifying in the beginning because I knew stuff that had never come out of me would start coming out of me. Clothes was written like that - it was hours of me sitting and playing with ideas and then suddenly there was this song there in my mouth and on the page and it had such a personality that I could understand and feel excited by. I imagine it must feel similar to meeting your child for the first time? Haha. And it was about loving someone unconditionally, so that tempered the rest of the record-making process. It made it less scary to keep challenging myself.

The power of love is a big theme on the record. But, there is more than love. How Can We is about the modern world, our belief systems and spirituality; the irony and sadness inherent in that mix. It sounds really specific, but I try to imbue all of my music with some self-awareness of our era, so power, money and religion are all themes on this record for that reason. Art with that awareness, it's more fun; it's thoughtful and smart; it feels more real. In my opinion. So, that's what I always strive for.



I get the sense you have quite a spiritual outlook on life and love. Would that be fair to say?!

Haha, yes. How could you tell?!

I love mental-health awareness. I go to therapy and I keep a notebook. I try to grow and ‘spread light’ and be my best self. I use tarot cards occasionally. I try to be as consistent and present for my friends and family as possible. Honestly, that usually just consists of more hugs and better listening!

I know you started performing early. Was it quite scary moving to New York and perusing music in the big city?!

I was eleven the first time I played and sang alone on stage and I was shaking. Before that, I played viola and sang in choir at school.

I was twenty when I moved to New York City. It was nerve-wracking because I had about $100 at first. And then I spent it when my brother's car, which I was borrowing, got towed. It was a whole series of unfortunate events. Living in New York, there were many unpleasant moments but, in general, it wasn't scary. I actually left N.Y.C. because I knew I needed to try something else. It felt like the only music happening in New York was Indie-Rock and it was becoming obvious that I wasn't moving forward in that scene at all.



Which artists compelled you growing up? What sort of music were you raised on?

My earliest music memories are of Bob Marley and Neil Young. Harvest Moon is still one of my favorite records. Later, I was really taken by Led Zeppelin and this box-set of girl groups that Rhino Records put mom gave that to me for a birthday, I believe. SO much over the top lyric-writing and girl Punk power - even before punk was a thing.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

I hope to have a good album release and an amazing time touring in the fall and winter - and some new things ready to release in the New Year! Next year, I hope to tour Europe!

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?

There are so many it's really hard to choose.

One of my favorite songs to have come out in the last five years is Somebody to Anybody by Margaret Glaspy. After watching every video of her I could find; I saw she was playing a show in Los Angeles so I went to the show. She and her band were incredible. They played so well together and had this gentle strength that you could feel. And…her voice. There is nothing like it.

After they played for about forty-five minutes, her band left the stage and Margaret did a handful of songs by herself with just her guitar. One of them was Harvest Moon by Neil Young, actually. I was completely enamored. At one point, I looked around the venue and realized that everyone (including myself) was crying. Not a dry eye. That was magical.



Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)? 

Robyn's Body Talk series is a masterpiece and, without flooding all of our attention, became a massive influence on a lot of Pop music that came after it.

SZA's CTRL changed my life. It's so solid, yet vulnerable and unexpected. It's smart, it's earnest and, lyrically it's a perspective I didn't even know I was missing. SZA has inspired me so much.

(It's really hard to stick to just three!)

White Blood Cells by The White Stripes was huge for me. I was eleven or twelve and would listen to it very loudly. I didn't really understand how modern Rock music worked. I didn't understand what it meant to be cool, or to play with sound or to play shows and get the crowd riled up. I lived eight miles outside of a town of two-thousand people so we didn't have any of that! But, this record had such great and memorable songs on it and ignited an interest in me that never stopped growing.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Sheryl Crow or Paramore. That would be incredible to witness every night.

If my rider was limitless, I'd be sure to put Nutella, La Croix and graham crackers on it. Also, socks and a massage...a pep talk from a professional pep talker, too. If that's a thing?

 Can we see you on tour soon? What dates are coming up?

I'm touring the U.S. this fall/winter. I'm really sad that I'm not going to be going to Texas again. But, all the other cities I've either been to already or I'm going to for the first time! More info at

* w/ Bad Bad Hats

^ w/ Somme + Eve 6

Oct 30 - Nashville, TN*

Nov 1 - Birmingham, AL*

Nov 2 - Atlanta, GA*

Nov 3 - Gainsville, FL*

Nov 4 - Orlando, FL*

Nov 5 - Jacksonville, FL*



Nov 7 - Charlotte, NC*

Nov 8 - Carrboro, NC*

Nov 9 - Norfolk, VA*

Nov 10 - Richmond, VA*

Nov 11 - Charlottesville, VA*

Nov 13 - Newport, KY*

Nov 14 - DeKalb, IL*

Nov 15 - Davenport, IA*

Nov 28 - Salt Lake City, UT^

Nov 29 - Seattle, WA^

Nov 30 - Portland, OR^

Dec 1 - Los Angeles, CA^

Dec 5 - Kansasville, WI^

Dec 6 - Grand Rapids, MN^

Dec 7 - Detroit, MI^

Dec 8 - Chicago, IL^

Dec 9 - Springfield, MO^

Dec 11 - Pittsburg, PA^

Dec 12 - Poughkeepsie, NY^

Dec 13 - Philadelphia, PA^

Dec 14 - Asbury Park, NJ^

Dec 15 - Boston, MA^

Dec 16 - New York, NY^

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

You are going to be challenged in ways you can't even imagine. And, that's okay: it's part of what will make you a stronger artist.

Don't quit!


 IN THIS PHOTO: Bad Bad Hats/PHOTO CREDIT: Zoe Prinds-Flash Photography 

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

If you haven't already, check out Bad Bad Hats! They aren't ‘new’ but they might be ‘new to you’.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

‘Yes’ and ‘no’. I do a lot of writing, personal essays and poems. I enjoy working. And I have trouble unwinding, unfortunately so, sometimes, I get sick. (I'm sick right now! Because I had trouble relaxing over the weekend and instead just fretted and paced!). For when I need to take a step away, I'm always looking for something funny. I LOVE comedy.

My friends have a writing and performance group called Maiden Voyage that I'm lucky enough to get to see in person because we all live in Los Angeles. After their shows, my face hurts from laughing. I like to spend time outdoors, but I haven't been doing that nearly as much as I should lately. I like to cook and bake too.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Bad Habit by Your Smith. I can't stop listening to it since I first heard it a couple weeks ago


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