Adult Mom / Chris Farren @ The Mr. Roboto Project
Don't Let the Scene Go Down on Me! Presents...
Adult Mom began as the solo project of Stephanie Knipe in a Purchase College dorm room in 2012. Adult Mom now falls between the playful spectrum of solo project and collaborative band with beloved friends and musicians Olivia Battell, Mike Dvorscak, and Bruce Hamilton. Through reflections and explorations of the personal and hidden, the crux of the writing produced by Knipe is focused on excavation. The dredging out of secrets, putting it all in a pan, waiting for the gold to rise. Honesty and intimacy form as Knipe writes clever pop songs that offer a glimpse into the journey of a gender-weird queer navigating through heartache, trauma and subsequent growth. With their debut LP, Momentary Lapse of Happily, Adult Mom bravely shined a light on the darkness and allowed the listener to experience and feel those moments along with them. Soft Spots, the projects sophomore LP, is an exploration into the physical and emotional acts of opening up, the vulnerability that produces love, and then ache. With this record, Knipe proclaims that everybody has soft spots. Spots that get cared for and tended to, that grow and fade, that produce feeling that can linger for years and years. Knipe shares with us their process of learning how to cradle and understand their own softness without finality, a story without an end.
Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though hes been
heavily involved in music for years and hes become wellknown for his inventive merch,
including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt Farren is still working on breaking out in the
large world of singersongwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few
memorable EPs and a Christmas album called Like A Gift From God or Whatever, Farren is
ready to release his fulllength Cant Die. With it, hes poised to become known on his own terms
and with his own unique sound.
I definitely wanted to make something that wouldnt just sound like another Fake Problems
record, says Farren. I wanted to make something that was poppier and a little less aggressive
but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, theres some sadness involved but I didnt want
it to be a bummer to listen to. The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record
that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records,
Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording Cant Die, has crafted a
record that has a true indiepop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.
Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and
mortality. Like any human, I reached an age where I realized I was going to die, Farren says.
Until I was 25 or something, I had like heard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something
just clicked in my head. I was like, Oh, Im definitely going to die and I had a crazy hard time
with it for some reason. For Farren, who has always worked through dark times through songs,
it was only natural to channel these feelings into his solo album. Take a track like Until I Can
See The Light, which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris
Wittels, as well other people in his life who have passed away. Its about how weird it is that
theyre gone. You dont get to talk to them anymore.
However, Cant Die explores plenty of other topics, too. In Say U Want Me, Farren touches
upon insecurity in a relationship and how it doesnt necessarily go away with time. That song is
just about worrying about being a burden to somebody that cares for you because youre so
childlike or weak I just worry about being a drag on somebody else that I really care for. The
song, like all of the songs on Cant Die, is a refreshingly honest and relatable track: Farren is
open about the anxieties and insecurities that plague his daily life, whether its worrying about
being too much to a partner or just trying to act normal enough to fit in with your fellow human
beings. In fact, the aptly titled Human Being reflects that common feeling of being, well, just
different. I can be very outgoing in certain situations but if Im out of my comfort zone or of Im
in a place with a bunch of people I dont know like any party that Ive ever been to I always
feel like a total weirdo freak, Farren admits. Its a fun, poppy track that accurately captures the
vicious anxiety circle of feeling like you should go out but then getting there and realizing its not
for you. And then doing it all again later on.
Considering this aversion to crowded parties, its no surprise that recording Cant Die was a
fairly solitary affair for Chris Farren. Its a truly DIY album I wanted to produce my own
record. I wanted to engineer my own record. Id had a lot of ideas, sonically, that I felt like
maybe if I brought in another producer, [they] would be like, Oh, thats wrong. That doesnt
sound right. Instead, Farren went with his gut, sometimes even making mistakes but leaving
them in because he thought it sounded cool. (Weirdo artist garbage, he laughs.) The album
was recorded in a guest room one where hed have to shut off the air conditioner whenever it
was time to record that didnt even have real soundproofing. In fact, you can even hear dogs
barking outside in the background. Cant Die manages to simultaneously have a lofi sound
thats still incredibly rich. It helps that Farren enlists the help of some of his friends on the
record Sean Stevenson on drums, Casey Lee on guitar, Jeff Rosenstock and Matt Agrella
adding horn arrangements, and Laura Stevenson contributing vocals. Farrens friends helped
make Cant Die surpass Farrens original vision. It just took it to a place I couldve never
At the end of the day, however, Cant Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farrens
sound. Its not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead its entirely Farrens:
resonating indiepop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and
realizing that you cant control everything around you. Once I got past that egodriven stuff and
realizing that the world doesnt revolve around me, it was a lot easier for me to get through the
world, says Farren. Its heavy! Its a heavy world. Thats true, but Cant Die adds some
lightness, resulting in a record that makes listeners happy while also recognizing that its OK to be sad.
@ The Mr. Roboto Project
5106 Penn Ave.
7pm // $12ADV / $14DOS // All Ages // No Booze
The Mr. Roboto Project (View)
5106 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|