Black Polish’s Jayden Nicole Binnix dives into their hauntingly beautiful debut album ‘Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees),’ a coming-of-age record born from depression and dissociation, panic attacks and therapy sessions.
Stream: “Streetsigns” – Black Polish
When I sing these lyrics live, I am so close to crying. One day you won’t have to feel that anymore, and I am living proof.
The thump of our hearts, beating not in our chest, but in our throat. A wave of warm vocal harmonies, cresting and falling with shiver-inducing grace. A dark electric guitar, rising steadily to the surface from silent, far-off depths. “Let me down,” a voice calls out from within the mist. Black Polish’s debut album starts not with a shout, but with a whisper: A cry for connection, for catharsis, for release. “I see monsters in the trees; I see creatures just like me,” the artist sings, aching from the inside out.
It’s a bold and bone-chilling introduction, and one whose eerie shadows and unseen demons set the scene for a journey into the nether reaches of the human condition.
An ethereal alt-pop fever dream, Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees) is the music of a brilliant, troubled mind. Built out of depression and dissociation, panic attacks and therapy sessions, it’s the coming-of-age soundtrack for a soul engaged in both self-sabotage and healing.
Its song are beautiful and breathtaking, and they’ll break you in two if you let them.
I see monsters in the trees
I see creatures just like me
I’m addicted to this place
I’m accepted in this space
I’m alone on the outside
But something scary’s in my mind
I feel safer when I cry
In my eyes, in my eyes
Lay me down…
Welcome to the forest
Stars in the trees, I see the light
They give off to me, it burns inside
I wanna lose myself in daydreams
I wanna feel the things that I see
I have friends just like me
They give me comfort, they let me be
I feel safer when I cry
In my eyes, in my eyes~
– “Monsters,” Black Polish
Released January 26, 2024 via Riptide Music, Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees) is cathartic and all-consuming. The moniker for Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter Jayden Nicole Binnix, Black Polish introduced themselves in late 2020 and has, over the past three years, come into their own as a resounding and refreshing voice in the alternative/indie music space.
Their songwriting “hones in on the experiences of non-binary people” (per Grimy Goods) with a shiver-inducing vulnerability that makes their words, and their emotions, accessible to anyone and everyone with a beating heart and warm blood pumping through their veins. Previously released tracks like “Baby Tonight,” “Sad Lesbians,” and “Sophie” (all available on 2021’s evocative debut EP, Out of Place) showcased the depth and range of their burgeoning talent from the start. Now, with over 10 million global streams and a recent signing to high-profile booking agent Tom Windish’s Paradigm Talent Agency, Black Polish is poised to take the world by storm – and with their full-length album, they plan to do just that.
For Binnix, Forest is a jumping off point: Their first act, off of which they can go anywhere and everywhere. It’s their backstory, showing who they are and how they got here.
“This album was created while I was living in Maryland and beginning high school. My family home was secluded and tucked away within the suffocating trees. It was my first major project I had ever worked on and I was only 15,” Binnix tells Atwood Magazine. “Within this time, the unexpected pandemic hit. Days blended together, as deep isolation set in. I felt as if I saw the world in 3rd person. Seclusion in my room became my existence.”
“Though quarantine laws were lifted after a year, breaking from the shackles of depression and dissociation would simply not be possible,” they explain. “With every bad day, therapy session, or panic attack, I always ended my week with writing a song. Collabing with incredible writers such as Maia Kelly, Gabe Reali, and Taylor Jamison along with talented producers Ryan Raines and Alex Tirheimer, has made the process that more special. There’s hundreds of melodies I have scrapped. These are simply the ones I have kept.”
This record takes place in a state of mind I was stuck in during the pandemic. Due to me being isolated I tried things that I regretted, and I was questioning my existence.
Binnix sees Forest as an early stage of their writing and sound, and promises that the next album will be completely different. Even still, this record has an uncanny way of getting under the skin: Gentle and intense, charming and churning, its songs convey the intensity of Binnix’s lived experience, both through the artist’s evocative vocal performances and through their instrumental work – all of which can vacillate between gentle and tender, urgent and explosive.
The three words Binnix chooses to describe this album? Save me please.
The album’s title is an homage of sorts to the spaces that inspired its creation. “For one, I wrote these songs outside in a forest because my house back in Maryland was in the middle of the woods,” Binnix explains. But there’s another meaning embedded in the name: “If you walk into a large forest with no recollection of how you got in, it will be impossible to escape. I couldn’t escape my depression until a couple years ago.”
“Forest is not a place, it’s a state of mind,” they continue. “A state of mind where I am constantly looping back with no knowledge of escape. One thing about the woods is if you don’t remember how you got in, the chances of getting out are slim.”
While the artist may be struggle to escape the demons in their self-made forest, listeners will find themselves continuously brought back into this album’s entrancing, enchanting world: From the seductive opening track “Monsters” to the fiery, charged finale “purple skies,” Forest is an exhilarating and expansive 33-minute adventure – one whose seamless mix of pop, rock, alternative, and folk elements highlights Black Polish’s singularity as a genre-fluid artist.
Whether you’re basking in the sun-kissed glow of “birthwright,” headbanging to “Tears Are Falling” and “void,” or losing yourself in the dreamily heartrending “streetsigns,” Forest is one lush woodland escape you’ll be yearning to return to time and time again.
For Binnix, this music is a reminder of where they’ve been – and they hope never to go again.
“I hope all of you know that feeling horrible and hopeless can end,” Binnix shares. “When I sing these lyrics live, I am so close to crying. One day you won’t have to feel that anymore, and I am living proof.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Black Polish’s Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees) with Atwood Magazine as Jayden Nicole Binnix goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut album!
Stream: ‘Forest’ – Black Polish
:: Inside Forest ::
Don’t take edibles on an empty stomach. Or don’t do drugs in general.
I physically cannot do anything other than music.
Tears are falling
Have you ever started crying without realizing it? Your body reacts to sadness but your mind can’t feel it anymore.
I hated Christian school. Gotta love being nonbinary, bisexual, and a mixed kid in the South.
I killed my ex and now I feel happy.
I like being addicted to sadness because it doesn’t take effort.
Don’t do drugs pt 2. You’ll see things you don’t want to see.
A love interest can’t be the answer to all your problems. And you can’t fix them either.
I’m embarrassed of my problems and I wish I didn’t have any.
— — — —
© Alexandra Petruck
:: Stream Black Polish ::