An Era of Secrecy and Denial: An Interview with Party Nails



Elana Belle Carroll, known under the moniker Party Nails, is among many artists who are inspired by today’s advanced culture. Anything and everything is right at her fingertips, but she didn’t want her music to hold back her emotions just because the subject matter doesn’t always get talked about truthfully.

Carroll is always working on new music, and at one point in 2018 she was really getting the sense of what her second album was going to feel like. While a few songs were left over from her first album or written during that process, many of the songs on her latest release, You Don’t Have To Go Home But You Can’t Stay Here, were written in real time.

It wasn’t too long after that she was showing a friend an early iteration of the album, pre- mixed and mastered, to gauge his initial reaction.

“I wanted to see what his initial impressions were, especially because he is sober and I hoped that he might relate to some of the inebriation themes, and give me feedback on them,” she said. “He did pick up on all of that, and we brainstormed names together while listening to the songs in his car. We both liked ‘you don't have to go home but you can't stay here’, which we thought of while we were thinking of what sorts of things you might hear at a bar or at the end of a party.”

Her creation process was heavily influenced by the masking of the truth in so many ways of life. She noticed it mainly in today’s politics and culture, and noticed it started to hinder her songwriting.

“The addictive nature of technology and social media, the logic behind one policy over another, the reasons why people choose to stay silent or speak out; I saw an era that involved a level of secrecy and denial, and parallels to what that behavior looks like on a personal level, such as wanting more booze even when you know it's going to hurt you, refusing to acknowledge how your behavior affects other people, wanting to be heard but not wanting to take responsibility for your words. All of that. It wasn't hard to make music about it because I was watching closely myself, the people around me, and the world at large,” she said.

The day before the album was released, she listened to it alone one last time. Each song brought back specific memories that helped her realize how much she enjoyed creating the album alongside co-producers Benjamin Greenspan and Ryan Nasci.

“I'm so grateful to each [song] for ‘coming’ to me and to Ben and Ryan for taking such good care of them with me as they inched to a final form,” she said.

Carroll hopes listeners feel seen while playing You Don’t Have To Go Home But You Can’t Stay Here, because listening to music can bring out unwanted emotions - but they are emotions that are necessary to being human. Feel overcome with joy or sadness. Feel confused or like you finally belong. Dance. Cry. At the same time. Whatever emotions are felt while listening to Party Nails, these songs are here to talk about that.