ILLUMINATI HOTTIES – Sarah Tudzin on the new album, producing other artists & what success means to her

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Sarah Tudzin of illuminati hotties

Growing up listening to artists like Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel and Willie Nelson, you might not expect to end up having musical influences ranging from Minor Threat to Harry Nilsson, but illuminati hotties Sarah Tudzin says she always had a super-broad taste in music.

“I think the one sort of like dark era was probably from like age 12 to like 16. I feel like I really wanted to be different than the people around me. And so I dug a lot deeper into sort of punk and stuff that wasn’t your average listening. I think for a teenager, you could get CDs from the library and burn them on your computer for free and but now I listen to everything I’m a total poptimist. I love pop music. It really is like craft at its highest potential, I think. And they’ve sort of cracked this code into decoding people’s brains and what they love about music. But yeah, everything from like fully whatever’s on the charts to, you know, I’m wearing this Philip Glass shirt because I was watching this TV show called 100 Foot Wave and he does all the music and, you know, in his very like oceanic, ambient fashion. And so, yeah, there’s kind of nothing that’s off the table for me anymore.”

illuminati hotties was originally an outlet to showcase and experiment as a producer. It quickly grew into a full-time band that was picked up by independent label, Tiny Engines. After the success of her debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies, and coining the term “tenderpunk,” illuminati hotties were on their way to recording and releasing a highly-anticipated sophomore album. However, things at the label started to fall apart, and illuminati hotties found themselves stuck in a contract with a label that didn’t have the infrastructure to put out the album the band had been crafting for months. “It felt like any momentum came to a screeching halt. It felt painful to pick up a guitar, to write, to record any loose ends that needed to happen to wrap up the album,” Sarah recalls. 

The positive response to the record brought back the energy and intention that had seeped out after the label fallout, and Sarah dove straight into the new album, Let Me Do One More. The result is a diverse, layered album of “all riprs and no more skiprs.” From the vibrant, clever, and undeniably fun, “Pool Hopping” to the edgy, sardonic and witty, “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA” (pronounced ‘Moo’), to the intimate and vulnerable “Growth,” Let Me Do One More embraces Sarah’s autonomy as an artist, and the fearlessness of being figuratively open and exposed for art. According to Sarah, “The songs tell a story of my gremlin-ass running around LA, sneaking into pools at night, messing up and starting over, begging for attention for one second longer, and asking the audience to let me do one more.” 

During the lockdown, many people have taken the time to slow down, reassess what’s important in life and make choices about how they want their future to look. But Sarah says she always takes the time to make sure she’s heading in the right direction.

“I mean, I think every day, whether there’s a pandemic or not, we’re afforded the opportunity to think about how we want our life to go or what we can do during the course of 24 hours to work towards our goals or our dreams. And I don’t think that I necessarily took like a full regroup in the way that some people did during the pandemic, or certainly not because of the pandemic, you know. The stuff with the previous label happened right at the end of 2019, so I was sort of already rethinking what was next as well as a bunch of just life stuff that happened to me on a personal basis, or I was forced to sort of like reckon with reality. And so I don’t think that I was put into a mindset that would have been different from if everything was normal. And I also think that I’m thinking about the next steps every single day so it’s, you know, whatever the dream feels like it is.”

Speaking from her home in Los Angeles, Sarah tells me she takes inspiration from a quote by Earl Nightingale.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” 

“If you’re progressively working towards accomplishing your dreams, that’s success, you know, like waking up every morning and feeding my dog and working on a track feels successful me. And I think that I’m really happy that I’ve finally gotten to a place in my life where that’s every day.”

Watch the full interview below:

 “Let Me Do One More” is out today via Hopeless Records. 

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