Interview: Grief & Memory Converge on Bloomsday’s Achingly Beautiful “Where I End and You Begin”

Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday’s Iris James Garrison chats about grief, memory, and how the two converge on their achingly beautiful new song, “Where I End and You Begin” – a soul-stirring release from the up-and-coming Brooklyn indie folk artist.
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Stream: “Where I End and You Begin” – Bloomsday

It’s about both the beauty and pain of being unable to separate your own experience from another’s.

Iris James Garrison doesn’t need to say exactly who the latest Bloomsday song is about, in order for us to understand.

Where I End and You Begin” is a glimpse of someone who is no longer with us – someone gone from our lives forever. It’s the phantom limb of a lost loved one; the musical manifestation of a feeling, of a memory, of a smell and a touch, a familiar voice and a warm embrace. Loss happens to us in different ways, but grief itself is universal – and this song is an intense, beautiful depiction of grief.

Where I End and You Begin - Bloomsday
Where I End and You Begin – Bloomsday
Saw your car from college
Broken down on the highway shoulder
Saw your eyes flashing
In my rearview mirror
Smell your perfume here
Used to smell it everywhere
Never got it out of that sweater
I hope that you’re doing better
Where I end and you begin
Where I end and you begin
Where i end and you begin
Where I end

Released November 9, 2023 via Bayonet Records, “Where I End and You Begin” aches in all the right ways. A fever dream of smoldering indie folk and intense emotion, Bloomsday’s latest single arrived at the tail end of last year, following the 2022 release of their self-produced debut album Place To Land and that August’s standalone single “Jersey Soccer” (part of Hardly Art’s anniversary singles series).

Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal

I think entering a memory of someone you’ve grieved brings them back to you, so I was hoping to capture that emotional experience.

While Garrison hints at a forthcoming sophomore album in the works, “Where I End and You Begin” is a strong standalone release, channeling a wealth of heavy emotions into a captivating, all-consuming sonic experience.

Through fragile, shiver-inducing vocals and a tender glaze of acoustic guitars, propulsive drums, and atmospheric synths, the song distills the artist’s intimate, innermost feelings into three and a half reverie: It’s the most bone-chilling daydream a soul can have.

“‘Where I End and You Begin’ is about entering a memory of someone and feeling all of the sensations that come through the body in a flash,” Garrison explains. “Someone’s car, how they smell, the presence of someone you no longer know but will always know. Losing sense of reality for a moment in time, in a dream state, as the veil comes down.”

“This song is about being sort of haunted by and consumed by the memory of someone in an instant. Seeing something that reminds you of someone and then feeling them come back in a way.”

Bloomsday released their debut album 'Place to Land' in June 2022 via Bayonet Records
Bloomsday released their debut album ‘Place to Land’ in June 2022 via Bayonet Records

Recorded at the Chicken Shack, produced by Ryan Albert of Babehoven, and mixed by Henry Stoehr of Slow Pulp, “Where I End and You Begin” is a beautiful expression of grief’s warmth, weight, and wonder, as well as a breathtaking display of Bloomsday’s burgeoning musical identity.

Conceived by Garrison during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Bloomsday’s name is a spin on “doomsday” and the idea of something blooming – “like a weed growing through the concrete,” they explain. Dive deeper into their latest song in our interview below, and get lost deep in the folds of a vulnerable, visceral blanket.

With its dreamy sound and layers of emotional aching and unrest, “Where I End” is a sign of great things to come from Bloomsday!

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:: stream/purchase Where I End… here ::
:: connect with Bloomsday here ::
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal


Where I End and You Begin - Bloomsday

I recognize music is so much in the eyes and ears of the beholder; but to me, this song is such an intense, beautiful depiction of grief. It reminds me of clutching certain items that belonged to my mother, who is no longer with us; but when I hold them, or smell certain smells, she’s with me again. I know why that resonates so much with me; why do you think this concept resonated so much with you?

Bloomsday: This song certainly is about grief. This song is about my first love, who was someone I can no longer have in my life in any way. I still get glimpses of her by seeing her old beat-up car or smelling her perfume on someone walking by. These things consume me for a moment, and bring back the sensation of how it felt back then. But none of it really exists now, including the version of me that once was.

Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal

I’m entranced by your title lyric, “where I end and you begin.” What does that phrase mean, to you? What’s its significance?

Bloomsday: It’s about both the beauty and pain of being unable to separate your own experience from another’s.

I recently learned about this philosophical theory called the egg theory, which posits that we are all one being, reliving life in different bodies again and again and again. I guess it’s sort of interesting to think about in the context of this song in particular; and if you’re game to go down that rabbit hole with me, I wonder, does it diminish the value of human connection if we buy into this theory, or does it enhance it, because we are all one - and so we are never truly apart (not spiritually, at least) from our loved ones?

Bloomsday: I think our separateness and differences all combine to shape who we are as a species. I think our sense of individuality comes from needing a sense of control in a chaotic and uncontrolled world. But at the core, I do think we are all connected. I’m not sure saying we are all one is much different, but we are definitely all one species and therefore are sharing that primal and basic experience no matter what.

This song is such a gentle giant of sweet indie folk sound. What was your vision going into recording it, and did you always intend for it to feel so… jangly and warm?

Bloomsday: Working with Ryan Albert (of Babehoven) on the production really brought out a new world for this song. Layering the guitars and finding a slow driving movement really helped the intent and meaning shine through. I wasn’t sure if this song would make it to recording, and I am so glad we gave it a chance.

Your debut album Place to Land has now been out for about a year and a half! What is your relationship with that record like now, with the passage of time, compared to what it was like when you first released it? Have those songs continued to grow with you?

Bloomsday: Songs are like little friends. They live in you or with you and then you let them go and others have their experiences with them. Place To Land was my first record, of 7 songs, and it took a long time to get to the point of recording. Some of those songs are very far from me now. I’d never write any of them today, but that’s the beauty of being a songwriter. I get time capsules with each song. I think the song ‘Phase’ sticks with me as one that will remain relevant to my life as I continue to grow. Others remain still in the moment I wrote them, like ‘ISO’ which still resonates despite it being about a very specific time in my life.

Do you feel as though “Where I End and You Begin” is a continuation of the album, musically speaking, or is it a new avenue - and if so, what excites you about that direction you’re taking?

Bloomsday: I think these new songs coming out are a new phase for the sound of Bloomsday. I wanted to get closer to the warmth and folky elements that really speak to me as an artist and listener.

What’s on the horizon for Bloomsday? What are you most excited about in 2024?

Bloomsday: Well, we’ve got some awesome shows lined up already. We also might have an album coming (wink wink). I’ll be touring the West Coast with my friend Joe Vann (of ‘From Indian Lakes’) in February and then we will be at SXSW in March. Excited to play and release this new music!

Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal
Bloomsday © Sam Weisenthal

Who, if anyone, are some of your “north stars” when you’re making music?

Bloomsday: Adrianne Lenker, James Taylor, Julia Jacklin, and Alex G.

I did want to ask, before I leave you, how did you come up with the artist name Bloomsday? What does that mean to you?

Bloomsday: Well, my music was first recorded during 2020. When the whole world felt like it was ending. I thought the play on doomsday with a spin on it as something blooming. Like a weed growing through the concrete. That’s what it means to me.

I love to leave our interviews by paying it forward; who are you listening to these days that you would recommend to our readers?

Bloomsday: Helena Deland, Babehoven, h. pruz, Slow Pulp, and Allegra Krieger!

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:: stream/purchase Where I End… here ::
:: connect with Bloomsday here ::
Stream: “Where I End and You Begin” – Bloomsday

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Where I End and You Begin - Bloomsday

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