The End: Waxahatchee on Endings and Death

"The thought of outliving everyone I know sounds lonely and tragic but also strangely powerful. It could be the pinnacle of enlightenment and wisdom."

Sep 29, 2017 Issue #61 - Grizzly Bear
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To end out the week, we ask Waxahatchee (aka singer/songwriter/guitarist Katie Crutchfield) some questions about endings and death. Named after the Waxahatchee Creek in her native Alabama, the project began while she was still a member of P.S. Eliot (a band with her twin sister Allison Crutchfield). From Waxahatchee's bedroom-recorded debut, 2012's American Weekend, through 2013's Cerulean Salt and 2015's Ivy Tripp (her first for Merge), the project has slowly gained momentum via critical acclaim and tours with the likes of Tegan and Sara and Sleater-Kinney. Out of the Storm is Waxahatchee's fourth album and might be her most fully realized and full-band sounding release yet, featuring Katherine Simonetti on bass, Ashley Arnwine on drums, Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and guitar, and Katie Harkin (of Sleater-Kinney's touring band) on guitar. Read on as Katie Crutchfield discusses how she'd like to die, what song she'd like played at her funeral, her concept of heaven, her ideal death row last meal, and her favorite endings to TV shows and movies.

How would you like to die and what age would you like to be?

I think I'd like to be super old, like 100, and I would like to die really peacefully, ideally in my sleep. The thought of outliving everyone I know sounds lonely and tragic but also strangely powerful. It could be the pinnacle of enlightenment and wisdom.

What song would you like to be playing at your deathbed?

[AC/DC's] "Highway to Hell." Just kidding. Maybe classic rock songs like [The Who's] "Baba O'Riley" and [Thin Lizzy's] "The Boys Are Back In Town." Anything to curb the melancholy a little bit. 

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

I think I'd like to have my niece Lola sing "After Hours" by The Velvet Underground. I think the lyrics of that song could apply to death or transitioning to another realm. She's four years old now but I think at any age she would do a great job. She's a natural performer. I think she could keep it together.

What's your favorite ending to a movie?

I recently re-watched Rushmore for the first time in a while. I've seen it 100 times but because so much of the magic of that movie is in the small details, it felt like an old friend reminding you of a funny story you'd completely forgotten. The ending is so good for so many reasons. It's funny and ridiculous and loud and all the loose ends get tied up exactly as they should. I love when a movie ends with a party, also. 

What's your favorite series finale episode of a TV show?

I loved the ending of Mad Men. It was almost claustrophobic. I love Mad Men, its one of my favorite shows of all time and I think they really gave people what they want out of an ending, which is texture, and I like that they made it a little bit outlandish. 

What's your favorite last album by a band who then broke up?

The Babies' Our House on the Hill, I listen to it all the time still. 

Whose passing has most affected you?

My close friend Tripp died a few years ago unexpectedly. He was the kind of person who made a big impact on everyone he ever met. Everyone felt like his best friend and when he died there was such a collective feeling of profound loss. He was really special. I named a record after him [Ivy Tripp].

If you were on death row, what would you like your last meal to be?

I think I would really want to indulge. I'd want something extreme like a bacon cheeseburger and two glasses of champagne. It's hard to imagine having an appetite in that situation. 

What's your concept of the afterlife?

I'd say that it's evolved quite a bit. I remember always being super weirded out by the concept of heaven and hell. It feels way too simple and terrifying. For years, as a teenager and early in my 20s, I felt like I was able to totally compartmentalize and block out spirituality all together. As I get older, I find myself seeking that stuff out more and more. The idea of reincarnation is nice. Humans are so complicated and being good can look so many different ways. I think age and the wisdom that comes with it will inform my concept of the afterlife. I don't think I have one just yet. 

What would be your own personal version of heaven if it exists?

When I was a kid, we would go to the swimming pool on weekdays in the summer while my mom played tennis. We would swim all day and take breaks to eat nachos and sour straws and drink Coke and then we'd go right back to swimming. Something sort of similar to that would be nice. Swimming in the sun, only interrupted to eat junk food.

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Summer 2017 Issue (July/August/September 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

www.waxahatchee.bandcamp.com

www.facebook.com/waxahatchee/

www.mergerecords.com/waxahatchee

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