Yours Truly are on a journey of understanding, and self reflection. Through the release of their debut album ‘Self Care’ in 2020 they explored imposter syndrome, and the importance of looking after yourself. But then the world was thrown into a global pandemic, and they were forced to sit with the album, and reflect on their own thoughts. They were planning on doing a mini-follow up to the record that continued the exploration of the album’s themes, but it ended up turning into something so different.
‘is this what i look like’ is the product of time and heavy reflection. If it wasn’t for the pandemic then this EP would’ve probably never been made. Something would have been released, but it wouldn’t have been these songs. Reflecting on lead vocalist Mikaila Delgado’s journey with mental health, and the idea of self sabotage that was so instilled in their brain, they were able to go deeper into their songwriting through this body of work.
I recently chatted with Mikaila Delgado from Yours Truly about the honest and darker reflections behind their new EP ‘is this what i look like?’, reflected on working with Josh Franchesci and Drew York, and explored coping mechanisms. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your new EP ‘is this what i look like?’ Is an honest, reassuring, and darker exploration of who you are as a band and personally too. What is something this body of work taught you about yourself?
MIKAILA DELGADO: It definitely taught me how to dive deeper into that darker part of myself. I think it’s something I’ver always closed off, and it’s something growing up you never imagine that you’re going to go through. But by doing this EP, it was one of the first times I realised I wasn’t on top of my mental health, and that it was going in a bad direction. So this EP was all about learning to have acceptance without shame, and learning to love myself again.
TB: It’s interesting because your debut album ‘Self Care’ was about learning to look after yourself, and then COVID happened, and you had to sit with it and dive into yourself a little further, right?
MD: Totally! The first record was a lot about our imposter syndrome, which came from a band who put out one song and all of a sudden started to do really well. It was the first time I started to realise I was struggling with anxiety, and I knew it was bad, but because I was so busy it was something I didn’t really work through. So this EP is me working through it, so I guess it is a bit of a continuation.
TB: I feel that because for me, my coping mechanism is to run away from my problems and have temporary highs, and then COVID stripped that away. You weren’t able to run away, and you weren’t able to have those temporary highs, you had to sit there and deal with it. And finding a therapist during that time was like finding gold.
MD: Honestly, yes! It was the first time I started seeing a psychologist because I was asking myself all of these internal questions that I couldn’t answer. It’s really interesting that you mentioned you were always looking for those highs because our song ‘Lights On’ has this lyric; “make friends with strangers and tell them your secrets”. It has this concept of going out, getting drunk, talking with random people, and finding escapism. It’s almost like you can create a world within it that doesn’t really exist, and it’s funny, which is stupid to say out loud. But it was almost like I was going out to create a new identity for myself as I was disliking the identity I had for myself. I wanted to have those quick highs and enjoy myself, but I couldn’t during the pandemic, so I too had to sit there with my thoughts and actually process them.
TB: Originally this EP was meant to be just a three song continuation of your debut album ‘Self Care’ that highlighted a slightly darker tone. What song was it in the writing process of this EP when you realised it was actually going to be a bigger body of work and story?
MD: Probably ‘Lights On’. It started because we heard a Miley Cyrus song on ‘Plastic Hearts’ and we were like “let’s write something that feels like this pop-rock thing”. The further we went into writing it, the more opposite it became. We ended up adding all these extra parts, and it was the first time we explored synths and any type of electronic sounds as there was nothing like that in ‘Self Care’. Even the vibe of the song doesn’t feel like ‘Self Care’ anymore. And I think we then wrote ‘Hallucinate’ not long after it, and that again had nothing to do with ‘Self Care’.
TB: I love that you mentioned that ‘Lights On’ was quite special to this EP because to me it reminds me of all the mid 2000’s pop-punk I love, and has received quite the thrashing in my own personal playlists since March. There is a very freeing element to it contrasted with very honest lyrics. How does that song make you feel now when you listen back?
MD: Out of every song I’ve ever written, that is the one I’m the proudest of lyrically. It has a level of honesty that I don’t think I’ve ever reached before. It’s always meant a lot to me that every song we release means something to me and that I can in-depthly talk about it. I spent a lot of time on that song, and changed the lyrics a lot. I actually wrote the lyrics before I wrote the song, so those lyrics are truly the centerpiece of it, and is the reason I think I’m so close to it.
TB: Another song I loved on the EP was ‘Bruises’ which features Drew York from Stray From The Path. It’s an absolute anthem about self-sabotage, so can you explain the creative process behind this particular track?
MD: ‘Bruises’ is actually the first song we wrote post ‘Self Care’. It was created in the time where we thought we were writing something that fitted in the world of ‘Self Care’. I think this song fits the most because we touched on elements of self sabotage and doubt on the record, but post the album coming out, it was the time I actually reflected on it. Everyone in my life has always told me that I have to ruin everything I love. So with COVID, it was the beginning of a lot of self-reflection, and that was the first thing I knew I needed to address about myself.
The first thing I realised about the song was that it was quite “dancey” for us. I know on the album we had ‘Together’ which was quite a dancey song, but for me that wasn’t my favourite *laughs*. So I initially went into ‘Bruises’ thinking it was a song we weren’t going to use, as it had a very anthemic chorus, and I just wasn’t sure if that was where we wanted to go next. We wrote it three years ago, and I just sat on it and it grew on me over time. And then we got Drew on it. And he actually posted this thing going “does anyone want to collaborate?”. And I replied saying, “I would love to” and he replied saying “okay, send me something”. So I sent him ‘Bruises’ and he loved it. I really wanted him to scream and do that harsh vocal that he usually does, and the demo he sent back was him singing and I was like “this wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I love it, and it’s exactly what it needed”. It almost became a whole different song for me at that moment.
TB: Reflecting on your own relationship with self-sabotage, what is one of your classic self-sabotage moves?
MD: The minute I think something is going to end, then I have to end it myself. I need to ruin things. If I’m scared of something ending, whether it be a job, friendship or relationship, like, if I start to feel a little unsafe then I have to tap out and ruin it. I don;t know why I do it, but I definitely do it.
TB: You worked with Josh Francheschi from You Me At Six on ‘Hallucinate’, and YMAS are quite a pivotal band in this genre and have toured Australia so many times since 2010. So what was working with Josh like? How did the session/collaboration work?
MD: I have been a massive fan of You Me At Six since I got into this music. I had a You Me At Six Tumblr, so I was completely obsessed. I remember telling our label when we first started working with them that I love You Me At Six, so when we played Download Festival for the first time in 2019, we actually got a little video message from Josh saying good luck. So when it came to doing this EP we were like let’s just ask him if he wants to be on ‘Hallucinate’. We didn’t think he would do it as he doesn’t really do features, but he ended up turning around and saying he liked the song and wanted to do it.
We were in the UK at the end of last year, and coincidentally that was when he was ready to track his vocals, so because I was there I got to go in and be a part of it which was so nice. I got to watch him track the chorus I wrote, and then he tracked the verse and bridge he wrote. It was really cool.
TB: Growing up in Australia, there was quite a healthy pop-punk scene. I remember going to a City Beach signing for You Me At Six, U18 PCYC shows to see bands like Tonight Alive, The Getaway Plan, Nine Sons Of Dan, The Monster Goes Rawrr and Burning Brooklyn, and then obviously Soundwave too. So what was one of your early memories of pop-punk and being introduced to the scene?
MD: A lot of those things you mentioned, I just missed out on. I’m 24 now, so I remember actually having tickets to see You Me At Six and Paramore at Soundwave in 2010 and a couple of days before they changed the age limit and I could no longer go. So I never got to go to a Soundwave. But the first thing I remember is going to see Tonight Alive at the Annandale Hotel for the ‘What Are You So Scared Of’ album launch. I went with my parents as I was really young, but it was amazing. And I met Jenna in the bathroom.
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions about the EP. Are you ready?
TB: The emoji that best describes our new EP ‘is this what i look like’ is…
MD: The heart with the flames.
TB: The song that nearly didn’t make the EP was…
MD: ‘Bruises’ pre Drew York.
TB: The song I’m most looking forward to performing live would be…
MD: Probably ‘Bruises’ post Drew York *laughs*.
TB: The first song from the EP I’d want you to play to your friends if they haven’t heard of us before would be…
MD: ‘Lights On’.
‘is this what i look like?’ is out now!