Our single of the week is ‘Seventeen’ by Bristol’s beloved Penfriend. An enormous pop-rock anthem with a heart-throttlingly poignant story. Penfriend aka singer/songwriter/producer/genius example of how to do independent musicianship right, Laura Kidd, explains:

Seventeen. Is there a more complicated age? Not quite yet an adult, but impatient to be treated like one; navigating an avalanche of new experiences and urgent emotions, dismissed by the grownups as “teenage angst” or “just a phase”. An exhausting quest to negotiate a new space for ourselves, juggling the interests of parents, teachers and friends while not knowing to question their motives.

This song is an excavation, a letting go, an act of self-forgiveness.

Traumatic events from the past can feel just as fresh, years later, the ghosts of our former selves creeping up to tap us on the shoulder with icy fingers.

Sometimes we need to package up our memories with tidy words to dispel the haunting.

Sometimes we just need to stop blaming ourselves.

Sometimes writing songs is like painstakingly sculpting sounds from thin air; other times they arrive in a whoosh, fighting to be heard. “Seventeen” appeared on a summer Saturday evening, falling out of me in jagged swathes.

Facing up to our ghosts isn’t a pleasant experience, but this song helped me over a major stumbling block from my past, bringing me a fresh perspective and new freedom.

Spend some time getting to know Penfriend on https://penfriend.rocks/ – her mailing list is highly recommended, as is her podcast, Attention Engineer

Ep50: Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) on giving yourself permission to be creative Attention Engineer: Artists on creativity, grit & determination

Visit the deluxe show notes page for this episode at http://penfriend.rocks/matthewThanks for listening! Attention Engineer is a show where I seek to make the best use of my own valuable time and attention by having deep conversations with fellow artists about creativity, grit and determination. My aim is to consistently remind you – and remind myself – that creativity really is for everyone..About my guest: Matthew Caws has been playing guitar, singing and writing songs in Nada Surf since 1994. He is one half of Minor Alps with Juliana Hatfield. He’s from New York City but currently lives in Cambridge, England. Find out more at nadasurf.com..In this episode, we discuss how anxiety gets in the way of songwriting, the anomaly of artists being financially successful, what it’s like listening to the music you made a long time ago, how to keep writing interesting material when you’re happily married and ageing with your audience – when your existence is a mirror to their years gone by..About your host: I'm Laura Kidd, a music producer and solo artist releasing music as Penfriend. Come and grab two free songs plus letters about art and music from http://penfriend.rocks/hello..My new album “Exotic Monsters” is out now: http://penfriend.rocks/exoticmonstersSponsor the podcast here: https://penfriend.rocks/sponsorship.The Penfriend songs featured in this episode are:.Intro: Cancel Your HopesBackground: Everything Looks Normal In The SunshineOutro: Seashaken.Have a fab day! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  1. Ep50: Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) on giving yourself permission to be creative
  2. Ep49: Grace Petrie on connection and communion
  3. Ep48: Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari) on wielding music as a tool of unity
  4. Ep47: Miki Berenyi (Piroshka / Lush) on celebrating a breadth of voices in music
  5. Ep46: Ginger Wildheart on creating a you-sized shape in the world of music