"We were playing with a lot of ideas of good and bad, light and dark," Strauss explains. "The sort of touching that we see, the physicality of those touches and the lighter, brighter scenes are much more supportive -- they're warm, they're welcome. Then the scenes with darker lighting and darker costumes, that's much more aggressive, not as welcome or supportive, sort of intrusive. It's pretty binary, showing how small the difference can be between something that's sensitive and intimate rather than intrusive and not welcome."
Strauss hopes to touch people further when Hard Study comes out Dec. 14. The eight-track set follows her 2016 debut EP and dresses up Strauss' sturdy melodies in with moody, textured ambience. "This sounds more like what I'm trying to say," she notes, "the more organic, washy, warm, lush sort of synth sound." She also employs a variety of "sounds that occur in domestic life sounds -- a clothes dryer, wind chimes -- as percussion on the set. “They’re comforting and turn into something else when they're applied to the songs," Strauss notes.
Strauss also wrote "at least double of what's on the record," meaning there's a backlog of material she anticipates will be useful. "I always want to be making stuff -- and I always have to be making stuff," Strauss says. "Part of the crushing pressure of this industry is we always have to have new songs, be a content machine. That's driving me to have new stuff in the works even while I'm putting out something new. It's never-ending, but it's what I love so I'm not complaining."