Based out of Richmond, Virginia, Abby Huston’s musical journey started in a very different musical place from where it now exists. Growing up in the small town of Falls Church, Abby was inspired by a diet of emo and pop-punk, from My Chemical Romance to Avril Lavigne, and used music as an outlet for their creativity. For an eighth-grade talent show they picked up a guitar and performed a version of My Chemical Romance’s Summertime, and the seed for performing was planted inside of them. Many years later, while studying sculpture university, Abby met collaborator Cameron Smith, and while their taste in music might have moved on their desire to make music had not. The result is Abby’s debut album, AH HA out in October via Egghunt Records. Ahead of that release, Abby recently shared their single Apartment, a live version of which they’re premiering here today.
Recorded with an in-house band, consisting of Nathanael Clark on saxophone, Ryan Gary on the bass guitar, and Alec Gary on the Drums, this version of Apartment shows a subtly different side to the recorded version. While the original has a certain smooth swagger courtesy of the Rhodes-like keyboard and prominent bass, here the tender guitar line and beautifully smoky saxophone come to the fore, atop the distant buzz of nature fizzing in the background. The whole thing has a certain surreal quality as Abby sings outside the apartment from the rest of their band, appearing in the window, like a particularly tuneful spectre at the feast.
Discussing the inspiration behind Apartment, Abby suggests it is a song about, “the stubborn resistances of our spirit and inner wisdom, and how that can settle into hopelessness, self-isolation, and negativity. It’s a reminder that we can accept the purpose and ability to transform into the people we want to be”. The track starts with a certain negativity, Abby listing everything from an apartment to a job and a body, none of which have ever made them happy. Yet as the track progresses, it seems to stumble into a bright future, “I would forget all my disappointment, I would make good use of my phone, I would stop and notice what makes me happy if I wear the body I own”. In the track, as in life, self-acceptance and happiness are not achieved with a flick of a switch, instead, they are found by gradual change, learning who you are and finding your place in the world. Abby Huston might not have reached their destination, yet crucially they’re learning to think that feeling might be possible down the line.