Jayden Nicole Binnix, who goes by the pronouns they/them and is professionally known as Black Polish, embarked on their musical journey at the tender age of 13. Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of artists, including Fleetwood Mac, Mitski, Lord Huron, Lorde, and Twenty One Pilots, this 18-year-old alt/indie artist has recently graced us with their latest single, "Graves," following the enchanting release of "Purple Skies" this past summer. In an interview with INTERSECT, we delve into the world of Black Polish, offering an exclusive glimpse into their artistic journey and influences.
You started making music at the age of 13. What has inspired your musical journey?
I was always a creative child, varying from drawing, painting, music, or arts and crafts. I was constantly creating something new and improvising on instruments. At the time, I had this killer vocal coach who suggested I start writing music for myself to enjoy. I never thought about making music for anyone but my ears. I wrote “Out of place” for me due to it sounding similar to the music I listened to when I was 13. “Sophie” was the first song I had ever made. I never thought it would hit 1 million streams on Spotify. It was just for fun. “Forest” is a deep dive into my self-expression, the introduction to Black Polish.
You've mentioned drawing inspiration from a diverse array of artists like Fleetwood Mac, Mitski, and Lorde. How have these influences shaped your unique sound as Black Polish?
They are unapologetically themselves, and each song is so clearly from an experience. You can feel their emotions as if you went through exactly what they sing. I aim to allow people to feel lost in my music, as these inspirations have done for me.
"Graves" is your latest single, and you mentioned it's a follow-up to "Purple Skies." Can you share the story or theme behind these songs and how they connect to your upcoming album, "Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees)"?
Graves speaks of dealing with a narcissist for an extended point of time, leaving me exhausted from all of the unnecessary battles. Purple Skies will appear at the album’s end, signifying that I am finally tired of all I have gone through. “Forest” is a series of events leading to the darkest parts of my mind, leaving me self-destructive and destructive to others. This is why I flee from everyone at the end.
We've seen that your music video for "Graves" draws inspiration from Paramore's "Decode." What led you to choose this particular visual style, and how does it relate to the song’s message?
“Forest” is a place ultimately void of any society, representing how depression and dissociation can leave you isolated. The graves video shows that you can become blind to your anger and not be able to hear anyone’s advice or concerns.
The music video for "Graves" features captivating and haunting visuals set in a forest clearing and a desolate graveyard. Can you tell us more about the symbolism and significance of these settings within the song’s context and your artistic vision?
The video represents a universal intrusive thought we have all indeed felt about “killing our ex.” But then I thought, “What if I made a character that did all the ugly things you’re told not to do?” There’s a reason I look so happy and passionate in the video. It’s a fantasy. It’s freedom.
"Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees)" is your debut album, and it's set to be released on January 26. What can listeners expect from this album regarding themes, style, and the overall experience you aim to create?
This album must be listened to in order. It’s a story that you must submerge yourself in. It deals with self-identity, love, heartbreak, substance abuse, dissociation, and reflection. Unlike “Out of Place,” the style has more ballads and folk sprinkled, leaving you with a highly dynamic rollercoaster.
Can you share the story behind the album's title, "Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees)"? What does it represent, and how does it tie into the music and your artistic identity?
A forest isn’t necessarily a real place. It’s a state of mind where only the most self-destructive and dissociated humans go. If you stay long enough, you’ll live there. You are the monster, and misery loves company.
You've described your performance in the "Graves" music video as angsty. What are the emotions and themes explored in the song, and how do they relate to your music?
All of my songs start from the beginning of the experience and end with the aftermath. There’s a common theme I use in production, starting relatively simple and ending with a cinematic outro. Graves begins with guilt and sadness, which leads to realizing the problem and, finally, rage. Everything on “Forest” ends with a note that sounds like a sigh of relief. The sigh of relief in this video, however, is death.
As an artist who identifies as they/them, do you find that your gender identity plays a role in your music and the themes you explore in your songs?
It does. For the longest time, I had no idea what was wrong with me or why I felt so uncomfortable with my body. There are hints of self-hatred spread throughout this album. “Void” really helped me understand what I felt subconsciously. After that song was written, I finally started to feel comfortable enough to wear my skin.