How To Catch A Falling Knife is a question about grief. Taking place in the aftermath of losing an ex-partner and a sister, Gigi Perez dives the innermost depth and weaves these question marks and stories into an EP. Animalistic and instinctive. How To Catch A Falling Knife isn’t loud in a way like rock n roll or heavy metal. It’s a quiet scream that evokes an earthquake deep in your bones. You don’t listen to the songs in the EP. You just feel them in your body, crawling under your skin, and vibrating through your bones. How To Catch A Falling Knife is a revealing masterpiece of a sort.
“I was tapping into something more obsessive and dark with a certain toxicity and delusion,” said Gigi about the opening single “Kill For You.” When you love someone to the extreme, when you love them enough to “kill for them,” the kind of drastic dark entanglement is wrenchingly hard to describe but has a side of tenderness and fragility. “Kill For You” is a song that dives headfirst into the blades of knifes. “When I experienced my first intense loss (her sister, Celine), it became very apparent to me how crazy your brain can get. It was something I was ashamed of, like literally wanting to dig somebody from the ground. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t have to.”
The entire EP taps into the conceptual, aesthetic space of intense loss and love against all logic and reason. Perez explains that the experience of loving someone can change one’s perception of color, and in How To Catch A Falling Knife, that color is hunter forest green. It colored the love she experienced, but the color also resembles the depth of life, instincts, roots, origins, and spirits. A part of what was lost is somehow still alive in the continuity of the graceful circle of life. “(Hunter forest green) took a new breath of life when I saw it through the eyes of love.”
“I have a fear of everything ending.” And the realization of the fear was nightmarish. It came with the deepest pain. “Glue” is somewhat sensory and evocative, fueled by a primal scream that wanting to leave everything behind. Between existential terror, anger, and acceptance lies “Figurines.” Reverberant and somewhat hollow, immersive but empty where loss and intensification is so intricately blurred together.
Written by Katrina Yang
Press Q&A with Gigi Perez
Q: What color would this EP be?
Perez: Hunter forest green. That was the color that really colored the love that I experienced. The person was obsessed with that color and in falling in love, it changed the way I saw green. Afterwards, green was very hard to see. It took a new breath and life when I saw it through the eyes of love.
Q: What was the creative process like for your debut EP How To Catch A Falling Knife?
Perez: It came most naturally in the sense, that I wasn’t expecting to turn songs I was writing in my bedroom into a project. At the time, I was going to music school in Boston, and I had come back home when COVID hit, and my sister passed away. During this time, I was really lost. I wasn’t happy in school and I was going through this crazy grieving process. So, most of the songs I wrote were in my bedroom, I didn’t have access to the resources to help me record a project. The beginning of it was very bare in the sense of I’m just writing this to get it all out because I’m going insane. I uploaded some music online, and I saw that it took off, it changed the trajectory and the intention and direction of what these songs were. For so long, I wanted to put these all together, but I’m just figuring out able to now. There are a lot of steps that I had to go through myself, I wanted to get to the point where I felt like it was good enough to record. Once all that stuff started happening, it all just kind of fell together. I was able to ask my buddy, he just graduated from school, I was like, “Hey can you record this with me,” because it’s hard to ask somebody to stop their entire life if they’re going to go have like a desk job, but now you have a promising opportunity ahead of you, like hey do you want to record this with me. I took all the things; I took all of the stories and all of the pain. I picked the things that best exemplify the experience of heartbreak and grief, I got connected to Jen De Silviom, and it all came together like that.
Q: You described the EP as not a guide but a question, can you expand on that?
Perez: The reason why I say that is because I don’t know. It’s more of these are my experiences of taking a really big risk on a person, a relationship, and on a love, and watching it fall apart before you. That’s why I aim it more as a question, how to do it I don’t really know but if I figure it out, I’ll let you know.
Q: What was your favorite part of creating your EP?
Perez: Looking back, the process of creating it took time and the way everything fell together. In taking time, there are specific points and seasons of my life that are my favorite. The craziest moment was being in the studio. Growing up, I was a huge Ariana Grande fan; I was obsessed. Even before she had music out, but when she released Yours Truly, it was the only thing I listened to. So, we were working with Jen, and she booked the studio for the Ep. Then it turns out that I’m going to be in the same room that Yours Truly was recorded in. Which is insane ’cause that was Ari’s first project, and it was one of those fate moments. The whole experience of being in the studio especially where one of my greatest inspirations worked. It wasn’t something I planned, that was the universe or God. It really put the extra sparkle in something already so magical because there were so many nights I was in my bedroom with no direction, no plan, stressed as hell. To be there and get to that point and have so much fun recording it probably was one of the biggest blessings I’ve ever seen happen in my life.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the EP How To Catch A Falling Knife? Why did you pick that as the name?
Perez: The overall inspiration of the project, I was experiencing my first ever heartbreak. I grew up experiencing a very repressed sexuality in a Christian household. When I was seven, my parents started taking me to church, and we started going multiple times a week. They put me in a Christian school, and my mom worked in the cafeteria so I could go to this school. My whole life was surrounded by the Bible, and that means if your someone who is struggling with sexuality 9 times out of 10, that environment is not going to be great for your development. In a lot of ways, I was stunted, and there were certain parts of guilt and shame. This sense of, I’m lost, and I don’t know how to be in love. When you’re a child and you’re experimenting with romance for the first time you already don’t know how to do it -most of us don’t. When you add the fact that you never thought you were going to meet somebody. I wasn’t consciously telling myself I’m not good enough or I’m not worthy of love. When you meet someone, and it’s the first person you meet that sees you for who you are and is the first person you can be 100% yourself with. That is where it gets really dangerous because that’s where codependency happened for me. If I think about how I viewed love and relationships to now and how I choose to write, my perspective isn’t the same. There was a lot of ownership that I put on the other person for my feelings and my experience. I was so heartbroken, I went through this, it was all about me and my heartbreak. Which is natural cause you’re experiencing it for the first time. There was a lot of things I knew going into it at face value that wasn’t promising. That’s where the term How To Catch A Falling Knife, the term of stock and investment, never catch a falling knife. That’s when you’re buying an asset at its lowest point in the hopes that it’s going to go back up. If it doesn’t, and it keeps going down, you’re doomed, in the same way, I viewed this person as a risk investment for myself emotionally, and if it worked out, it was going to be great, and I was going to be rich. As much as I am emotional, I’m very analytical when naming it -it kind of matched that sentiment. I weighted it out of what’s really important, and experiencing love was worth it to me regardless of the outcome.
Q: What is your favorite song on the EP?
Perez: I’ve always felt an intense connection to “Figurines,” it’s my favorite song to play live. Out of all the songs it’s the most different in its arrangement, the recording is very glowy and flowy but there’s a certain kind of angst to playing it live that I really enjoy. Just the story itself, out of all the songs on the project it veers the most away from heartbreak but on a larger scale, death. I saw a very interesting thought where it talks about why heartbreak is so hard and a lot of times it’s because it’s final. One of the things I struggle with is another milestone over, another milestone closer to being gone and I think that’s what “Figurines” really covers. As you get to know me, you’ll know I really struggle with existentialism.
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