Sadie Dupuis does not have free time. The Speedy Ortiz frontwoman initially began the band as a creative outlet during a stint teaching at a songwriting camp in 2011, and in the past five years it has grown into one of the most interesting and perceptive rock bands currently out.
Speedy’s packed touring schedule meant the band wasn’t able to begin working on new material until recently, putting their next album release firmly in 2017. Despite that obvious constraint, Dupuis felt compelled to put something out this year, inspired by the prolific pasts of recently lost greats like David Bowie and the influx of female artists who are self-producing their own work.
“I always really admired super prolific songwriters,” Sadie said when we spoke over the phone about the record a couple of weeks ago. “I was looking at when David Bowie passed away, he had released at least one record every year since he was like 20. I think it’s amazing to have a career that’s so diverse and to always stay artistically busy and challenged. When I had a little downtime from touring with Speedy, I realized it was my chance time to work on a record by myself and try something a little different.”
Enter Sad 13, the internet-inspired moniker for her work as a solo artist, which culminates in the lo-fi pop of Slugger, a debut of sorts from the veteran songwriter and performer. The album title is a sly allusion to an anime character in Paranoia Agent named Lil’ Slugger, and while “Sad 13” is an obvious spatial play on Sadie’s own name, the connection goes deeper.
“I still feel like a depressed teenager,” Sadie laughed. “I’m 28 but I’m still upset about people I have crushes on, so Sad 13 works. I actually came up with that name because I was using it for She Shreds events. I used that name as my DJ name, and I was like’ this is the best name ever’ so I changed all my social media to it, and now my solo project is named after my Twitter.”
Earlier this year, Dupuis holed up in her old bedroom in Philadelphia and began writing and recording rough demos and sketches for songs that would eventually make up the bulk of Slugger. A major part of her impetus to make the record was to try her hand at producing the record herself, inspired by a slew of female artists who have done just that recently.