“This whole project is like an open diary of secrets,” Biig Piig, aka Ireland-born singer and rapper Jess Smyth, tells Apple Music of her fourth EP The Sky Is Bleeding. “It was just what was going on at the time and working through it, then obsessively listening to it, because the only thing that made me feel understood was the music we were making.” Those secret subjects include drug and alcohol use (“It got really bad at one point”), mental health, and Smyth’s sexuality, explored against a gritty, curtains-drawn sound featuring moody basslines and whispered, freestyling vocals. What prompted Smyth’s move into those darker waters? “[US producer and songwriter] Gianluca Buccellati played me this beat and it tapped something inside me,” recalls Smyth. “At that point, I wasn’t in the best place. I’d just come off of a three-day bender and was like, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ That sound perfectly explained how I was feeling. It was exactly where I was in my head.” Releasing such deeply personal songs, she admits, is as frightening as it is freeing. “This is an insight into me as a person, and it’s scary,” she says. “But it will be really healing to have it out. There was so much self-exploration on this project. It was like saying goodbye to something in my life and saying hello to some new chapters.” Read on as Smyth guides us through her fourth EP, track by track.
“I made this with [British artist and producer] Oscar Scheller. It’s about sexual exploration and about letting myself go—where and how. The lyric ‘This kind of pleasure is so secret, so tell me now if I can keep it’ is about the things that you do behind closed doors, which are so different to your character. When it comes to that sexual side of things and it's like, ‘We're in this together and we can let go and we can be whoever we want to be in this room. And after this, there's no judgment, there's no shame.’”
“I wrote this with an image in my head of admiring the physical form of a person and just really taking in every detail. At the end, there are all these different [voices] and you can pick what you listen to. I guess it feels like a collection of thoughts, and kind of like a climaxing point on the track. It’s all kind of muddled in and I find it exciting.”
“This was the first track we made from this EP. I loved how moody it was without trying hard. There is so much space in it, and the words just fell out over it. The best tracks happen like that—they’re just supposed to meet. The image of this song is definitely about the morning after and feeling pretty hopeless, but also being like, ‘Well, we're in it now, so you might as well keep going.’ At the time, you’re painting a bit of a romantic picture. But listening back to it, at the point that I'm at now, I'm like, ‘Oh my god, Baby Jess, are you okay?’ This sums up exactly where I was at that point, and I like the rush and the of chaos of it.”
“‘Lavender’ is about the things that make me feel really good. The passion I have for music is the same rush that maybe I have with a person or an experience. There’s a real vibrancy. For me, these things that I'm talking about in the song sound like dangerous behavior or things that don't feel very relaxing, but to me it's the most relaxing thing to escape into that fantasy. It was about finding calm in the chaos.”
“Another one that I've written after a big night. It was just me talking to myself in the track and just trying to understand it, I suppose. I was talking to my younger self, too. I just wanted to run away and forget the world exists, because I think that's where I was at. But  has been such a huge year for everyone. I feel like the only way that I've been able to deal with it is by going into imagination or fantasy. It was about escapism—whatever it was—and losing yourself in that. There’s a line in this about the City of Angels. It was written before I moved to LA. Sometimes, if I speak something onto a track, then it ends up happening in real life.”
“It wasn’t necessarily intentional to end this EP with a track that felt lighter. I wrote it in LA, with [US producer and multi-instrumentalist] Zach Fogarty. And it just felt really good. I was writing it and it felt like a weight off. There’s this girl I met out there, which was very cute. It was very nice. And it was also me opening up a different side of myself. I think this is one of my favorite tracks on the EP. I don't know if it's because I was in a better headspace at that point or what it was, but it definitely feels lighter and it just feels better. I feel like I’m just getting better as we go.”