For Petal Supply, falling in love online was inevitable, especially when all it takes is a simple “Hey” for a crush to blossom. Her debut EP “Hey” - released almost exactly one year after Petal Supply’s inception - is an exploration of the online crushes she’s developed and contended with over the course of the past year. But while many have been forced into the realm of e-dating due to quarantine, Petal has grown accustomed to online relationships after years of exploring MMOs and Skype group chats. Now however, her crushes bloom over Twitter and Discord, with this EP chronicling her online escapades through cutesy lyrics and manic pop production that perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to find love online in the age of quarantine.
While the project focuses on digital romance, its titular track opens the album in a somewhat unexpected way, with Petal and her unnamed lover meeting face to face. “Never thought I’d really see you / just another picture on my phone,” she laments before revealing that her lamentations aren’t confined to a tweet or DM, but are in fact being directed at the object of her affection who is “really standing right here.” Within the first track, it seems she has beat the odds and overcome the impossibilities of the long distance relationship. She celebrates this union on PC Music-infused “It’s U - Diamond Version” - co-written by Himera and released earlier this year - and obsesses over her crush on “All I Think About,” but it soon becomes apparent that all good things must come to an end.
Companion pieces “Picture On My Screen” and “Time” once again ground Petal in the reality that even if she “wants to be with you,” her love so often lies “thousands of miles away.” She sings about the uncertainty of admitting her feelings from behind a screen, and explores the theme of unrequited love that so often creeps in after periods of intense infatuation. “Ddiscombobulated” is the culmination of these difficult themes and emotions, demonstrated in the form of a frenzied classical interlude that leads into Hey’s first single and final track “You’re So Pretty.” The EP’s closer is what Petal refers to as her “most poppy banger,” but it is also a moment of clarity after the fervor of the previous track. “You’re So Pretty” flips the script of intense, one-sided longing with Petal’s crush finally making the first move, thus providing the gratifying conclusion to the lovers’ narrative—even if some of it must be played out online.
For Petal, “Hey” is meaningful in the sense that it documents a year of romance, but the EP is also important because it demonstrates just how much she has grown as an artist. While she does indeed have a history of collaboration, she specifically decided to release only self-produced songs on Hey as a nod to the one-year anniversary of her first self-produced track “Make It Real.” She says that making an EP has been one of her artistic goals since “literally the beginning” of Petal Supply, but she found her sound was evolving too quickly to compile a cohesive track list of her early work. Now, after releasing the EP in question, she is absolutely interested in releasing another EP in a year’s time to see her progress once more.
“I feel like [the future EP] is just gonna be fully incomprehensibly insane by that point,” Petal laughs. “I’m definitely developing a weird, kooky style that’s like, very cartoony, and I feel like it’s just gonna go full-on strange in a year.”
Had Petal released her debut EP earlier in her career, she believes that it would be far more barebones than the erratic product that came about here. She attributes the complexity of her production techniques to the influence of her peers, including trance influences from collaborator Himera, and hardcore influences from members of 909Worldwide -- an online collective that recently welcomed her into their ranks. While Petal considers herself more of a “pophead” than many of her online collective members, she is still aware that her peers’ influence is creeping into her art, with some more immediate collaborations occurring between Petal and her irl collective, BetterTogether.
Alongside members of BetterTogether, she is enhancing the auditory experience of “Hey” with several visual projects. The cover art for the EP is a four-way collaboration between Petal and collective members garonganut, jacksonl0ve, and Outback, in what Petal calls “the most hands-on my art development process has been so far.” The collective also filmed a music video for “You’re So Pretty” that involves Petal and a bright yellow mannequin—adorned with a plastic poop emoji mask—rolling around on a golf course. She hopes to premiere the music video soon after the release of this project, and has plans to create more visuals utilizing the animation and graphic talents of her peers.
“I definitely have a vibe that I want to procure,” Petal says, confident that she is well on her way. With Petal’s brand of whacky visuals, bubbly production, and endearingly topical lyrics being presented in the form of her debut EP, Petal is content not taking herself too seriously while still being able to connect to her audience during extraordinary times. Though the past year has been dictated by strenuous circumstances for both her and those alike, she is content to meet the future with a simple “Hey.”
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