A zine by Marissa Matozzo
This zine detailing and paying homage to ‘sad girl’ indie musicians — artists often labelled as such due to their heartfelt lyricism, minimal, lo-fi production and often electric-guitar-backed tracks is a project that is countless years in the making.
As an underground music and culture journalist, I’ve been pursuing, finding and writing stories centering around local indie music since high school where I used to first write about music, type up concert recaps and publish album reviews on my old and now defunct Tumblr blog. In college, I began interning at as many New York City-based music and culture publications as I could, including PAPER Magazine, Paste Magazine, Bandsintown Music Group, The Knockturnal, etc.
My love for storytelling and music is immense and what drives me to create either writing or musical pieces as an artist myself. Pre-COVID, I could often be found with my press pass and camera at any indie or underground show around talking to sources, at record shops, in the pit at concerts, in recording studios and even striking up a conversation with someone wearing a band tee on the street. As a Journalism Design major and Contemporary Music minor here at The New School, much of my focus during these past few years has centered around finding and writing stories about indie/ underground music, speaking to musicians, diving into the instrumentals and music itself, and dissecting lyrics. This project is an ode to 4+ years of studying journalism and music, and falling more in love with each all the while as I prepare for a career that will integrate both.
In the past few years and especially post-COVID, like Jia Tolentino writes for The New Yorker piece, “The Wry Young Women Writing Sad, Buoyant, Beautiful Songs,” I’ve relied upon a particular kind of music released by women and nonbinary artists, music that features “clean and endearing melodies,” that “explores everyday longing and disappointment in their lyrics,” and “cradles their songs in wryness and sincerity and guitars.” Tolentino helps describe this music as “sad girl” indie, and cites examples of artists including Mitski, Waxahatchee, Jay Som, and more.
With all this in mind, I was inspired to pursue past and new sources who make music similar to the “sad girl” indie sound I described above. I was so glad to reconnect with Ivy Hollivana, a musician I interviewed for a PAPER Magazine feature last fall. I’m so grateful to have found new sources in Emma Engel and Jacqueline Hackett through mutual friends in the Manhattan and Brooklyn indie music scenes. I was introduced to Audrey Neri with the help of a classmate and so appreciate discussing music with her and all of my sources as we all share an undying love and passion for it.
Overall, my aim with this zine was to pay homage to the genre that helped me through high school and college, to highlight incredible artists and share their work, to dissect the history of the genre within online communities such as Tumblr, TikTok and Reddit and to incorporate my studies of music theory, journalism and gender identity.
As a music and culture journalist, this project allowed me to write stories about music that matter, explain why they matter, and how they are significant to online communities and indie music.
Thank you so much for reading.
Follow @rissnata on Instagram and @rissnata_ on Twitter for updates on this project! I am currently putting together a digital album of the music featured in my zine from my four sources that will be uploaded very soon.
Thank you ❤