Survive the fire.
By Jeanine Kim
Boston-based band, Edge Petal Burn, is the creation of singer/songwriter, Olivia West (she/her). Gathering inspiration from plants, enemies, & a Korean-American identity, Edge Petal Burn is the powerful rendering of West’s triumph & trauma.
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
It’s a flaming hot playlist featuring us (Edge Petal Burn), some friends (Otay:onii, Firewalker, Brennan), and some classics you can’t miss (Selena, PJ Harvey, Mitski, etc.). I sometimes wish I listened to more music, but this is basically my daily rotation.
How has Boston influenced your music?
I moved to Boston in 2014 to go to Berklee. Attending music school definitely made its mark on us as individuals, but in addition to that, Boston is culturally and practically a very different place than where I grew up in Washington state. Some might take that for granted, but it was a big deal for me to be able to go to shows all the time. The DIY music scene is accessible in a different way than it is for a kid without access to public transit or a car. Anyway, we like our friends’ bands, and they continually inspire us to make uncompromising and honest music.
What’s the origin of the name Edge Petal Burn?
When hydrangeas are exposed to extreme temperatures, or when they are dehydrated or overwatered, the edges of their leaves turn brown, or “burn”. This burning is an expression of trauma that the plant undergoes.
I thought that this phenomena was interesting; plants know what’s going on around them, and they survive by coping and adapting in this way—similar to how people have to learn new ways of living to survive.
What kind of plant are you? Why?
A Maidenhair fern. I require much watering, and I’m a temperamental bitch.
How has your heritage affected and influenced your music?
I feel like I sometimes misconstrue the aspects of loving my family with the aspects of being Korean. I am proud to be Korean and will be Korean till the day I die. But the reason I realised I love being Korean is because of my grandma. I spent years working with her in my family’s grocery store in Tacoma, WA. We would spend long days working and laughing. She was born on a rice plantation in Japan during the occupation and has been working in factories, stores, side hustles since she was 3 years old. At the store, she was overjoyed to be working with her sisters, and I was overjoyed to work with them. I love my grandma.
Ancestor worship is an unavoidable part of Korean culture. Your family and past are inextricably tied to your identity. It calls to mind the Korean cultural concept of Han: the feeling of reckoning against insurmountable odds and unresolved torment. Along with it comes a wilful hunger for vengeance, for justice. I find the theme reoccuring in my life and music. I studied Minyo (Korean folk music) with a teacher and performed in a group for a number of years. The theme of Han is generational: it is present in the folk music we learned, and I see how it found its way into the music I write. My music and life are tributes to my ancestors and the people who raised me. I hope to express myself directly and as a form of release while still honoring and paying respects to my people.
Where do you see yourself in ten, twenty years?
I’m gonna be WEALTHY and POWERFUL. My enemies will fall before me, and I will be eating lots of cannolis.
What kind of message are you trying to send with your music?
Our music is more about self-expression than it is about trying to tell our audience something specific. I write music that reflects my experience. But my music is also a means of catharsis. Of course, along with that comes my political, cultural, or moral ideals, but it is less about communicating an agenda and more about telling a story.
Who’s one artist on your playlist we need to start following immediately, and why?
Lane Shi Otayonii! She is my amp sister (we build guitar amps together) and is talented at everything she does (songwriting, singing, piano, sound design, multimedia art, etc). There is not a more powerful and kind soul I know. If you want to support a beautiful and solidly good human, check out her electronic project Otay:onii, her band Elizabeth Colour Wheel, or hire her to do sound design on your movie!
Edge Petal Burn’s Latest
Summer Tour - 7.23 to 8.10