Alternative pop upstart Tishmal (real name Rachel Brockbank) is here to give you brooding, intelligent pop and expand the depths of the electronica scene. Given to her as a young girl around the time she started to pursue music seriously, the name means hummingbird in Luiseno, the language of her Native American heritage.
Opening for acts such as The Aces, Zara Larsson, and CHVRCHES, Tishmal’s star is rapidly rising with 124K Spotify listeners and comparisons to alternative pop stars BANKS and London Grammar. Released on February 12, her new song ‘Bed of Roses’, the lead single off of her freshman EP, is a danceable track that gives listeners the bleeding heart vocals and heavy beats that Tishmal has been known for throughout her career.
She finds space for her fears and hopes in her music, connective to her listener’s deepest emotions. Saying in a previous interview that “it’s a big thing in my family to pay attention to dreams…”, the electro-pop artist is living that out by pursuing other endeavors. Singing and songwriting don’t make up all of Tishmal’s work-life — modeling for Wilhemina and collaborating with brands like Pop Sugar and L’Oréal are things that she’s also involved with.
With her freshman EP in the works, a lead single released, and more new music on the horizon, there’s a lot to discuss with the alternative pop artist. We caught up with Tishmal over the phone and via email to discuss her new single ‘Bed of Roses’, her freshman EP, using music to tune into deeper emotions, and more.
You’ve said of your new single ‘Bed of Roses’ that it “exists on the edge of a perfect love story. It could be a happy ending or a total disaster.” Is this inspired by your own life/relationship, or are you telling someone else’s story?
My songs always come from a feeling or experience I’ve had, but this one really draws on the visuals that came into my head when we were working in the studio — prisms of light, dying grass, an old house, and two people sitting together in an overgrown garden. The song came from that place in my mind. (laughs) I’m not really sure who the people are supposed to be, me and my husband or other people. The lyrics and melody happened so quickly from there; I didn’t think too hard on it. I also wrote it during a lot of personal changes. My husband and I had been living in New York City, but the pandemic and job shifts landed us here in LA. It was such a 180 from our life before. Whether it’s a relationship or your personal life, change brings up a lot of unknowns. ‘Bed of Roses’ explores those feelings you get before the ending is played out.
I love the artwork for ‘Bed of Roses’. Where did the idea for it come from?
I really loved the idea of roses melting or elements of disorientation in the imagery, emphasizing the discomfort that happens on the edge of change while still being beautiful. I looked far and wide for the artwork of melting flowers and was inspired by floral designers Doan Ly’s work. In true pandemic style, I ended up styling and shooting the artwork myself in my kitchen. We got in touch with Ly and hope to work with her someday!
There’s so much going on in the world at the moment, and you’ve spoken about settling for numbness and being in love with the messiness of the world on Instagram. Does your EP look to make listeners tune into their softness and exhale if needed?
I’d say that’s definitely a major part of why I write songs; to feel and process the heaviness and mess of life. The songs are all very different, but they explore the risk that happens when you decide to love someone or love yourself and be okay with all of it — the good and bad and spaces in between.
‘Bed of Roses’ is such a danceable song. Can we expect the rest of the EP to be similar in tone?
There are still songs to be finished! But I love when the music moves you enough to dance. So, yes to dancing and yes to all the dreamy sounds and textures that make you feel like floating/falling/flying.
You’ve done modeling for Wilhemina and have collaborated with Pop Sugar and L’Oréal, among other things. How do you find the time for these endeavors outside of your music career, and how did these collaborations come about?
Modeling kind of happened on its own. One shoot led to another, and a few years ago, my husband and I ended up booking a shoot in NYC. While we were there, we really felt called to move to the city! So we sorted out work details, and I signed with Wilhemina. Thankfully modeling and music pair well together. I get to work with and meet so many creative people. And modeling pushes me to be brave — whether it’s heading all over New York City alone, going to random buildings for castings, or getting in front of the camera and being confident in who I am. It’s a lot like being on stage and performing, which I love.
Promoting singles and EPs is so different right now. Is there any promotion planned for the EP?
I’ve teamed up with one of my all-time favorite brands, Allsaints, and we recorded a live version of ‘Bed of Roses’ here in LA, and I’m really excited to share that in March!
When can the album be expected to be released?
So many of the songs are being finished and/or still being written, so there isn’t a definite timeline yet! But I feel like what is meant to be will be, and it’ll happen when it’s right. I’m hopeful the pandemic will get better now that there is a vaccine, and we can get back to touring and connecting with music.
With new music to be released and a live version of ‘Bed of Roses’ to come next month, there’s no stopping Tishmal. Fans and newcomers are looking forward to seeing her rapidly rising star continue its path upward.
One thought on “Tishmal on her new single ‘Bed of Roses’, her new EP, and tuning into your softness”
This Tismal is etherealy, whimsically, elevatingly really something! I discovered her on public television and would love to see her in concert sometime.