Jul 16, 2021
By Celine Teo-Blockey
Photography by Ebru Yildiz
Dacus gets personal on Home Video. Old VHS tapes her father recorded of her while she was growing up, plus her childhood and teenage journals served as source materials for her songwriting. On the podcast she discusses that unlike her sophomore album Historian, which was very intentional, Home Video was more of a surprise that “just came to her.”
Many of the moments she sings about—such as her accompanying a close friend to see her abusive father (“Thumbs”), the Slayer-loving first boyfriend she’d met at one of the many Bible Summer camps she’d attended (“VBS”), and a romantic dalliance with a much older person (“Partner in Crime”)—are all based on real life events. Dacus reveals how she writes all the time but is careful with what songs she puts out there. And which ones she had to reach out to friends first, before she released the album.
Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, and more.
Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 3 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 4 featured London Grammar.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).
Home Video includes “Thumbs,” a new song she shared in March that was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. When the album was announced Dacus shared its second single, “Hot & Heavy,” which also made our Songs of the Week list. Then she performed “Hot & Heavy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing it with her backing band from the stage of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond. Dacus’ mother used to play piano for musicals at the theater, musicals Dacus would sometimes appear in as a child. Then she shared another song from it, “VBS,” via an animated video for the single which was about going to vacation bible school and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its next single “Brando,” which is about a friend Dacus had in high school who was obsessed with old films. “Brando” once again made our Songs of the Week list. Then she was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where she performed “Brando” from the Theatre Gym of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond.
Home Video was recorded at Trace Horse Studio in Nashville with the aid of Jacob Blizard, Collin Pastore, and Jake Finch. Shawn Everett mixed the album and Bob Ludwig mastered it. Two songs feature her boygenius bandmates Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. Dacus’ regular touring band is Jacob Blizard (guitar), Dominic Angelella (bass), Ricardo Lagomasino (drums), and Sarah Goldstone (keys, background vocals).
Pick up our current print issue to read our Protest Issue interview with Dacus.