Editors’ Notes Bully's third album came together once Alicia Bognanno began practicing better mental health exercises. SUGAREGG captures that energy throughout the record's 38-minute runtime. After producing Bully's first two records, Bognanno split those duties with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton—together they highlight the vivid harmonies within Bully's exhilarating and often untamed brand of alternative rock. From the initial rush of opener "Add It On" to the breakneck "Not Ashamed," Bognanno barely takes a breath, her voice burning towards the edge of combustion. When she does slow down, SUGAREGG reveals its softer side with the grungy balladry "Prism," while "Come Down" conjures up dreamy '90s alt reminiscent of Blue-era Weezer. Now a solo endeavor, this is the most confident Bognanno has been on a Bully record. Below the Nashville-based singer-songwriter takes us behind SUGAREGG's 12 tracks.

Add It On
“So ‘Add It On’ was during the writing process of the second record, I found myself catering to censoring my writing from what I was going to be asked in interviews to not write about things that I didn't want to explain. Which I thought just very crazy and not the way that I should approach music. So ‘Add It On’ was a song that I just decided I didn't want to talk about, but I really wanted to write. And that was a big one for me that I decided while writing it that I was going to draw that line.”

Every Tradition
“‘Every Tradition’ is pretty much just about being okay with how you want to live your life regardless of people’s commentary and expectations of you.”

Where to Start
“This is a product of going back to the drawing board, and it was when I got done with what I thought would be the first record and came back, decided to write more, and ‘Where to Start’ was a product of that. I wrote it on bass and I went to Toronto and recorded it, and then it ended up being the single, which was unexpected. But it addresses the frustration that comes along with love having the ability to fully control your mood and mental state for better or worse. It was therapeutic to funnel some lightheartedness into what can be an otherwise draining state of mind.”

“‘Prism’ is about the process of letting go and realizing what aspects continue to resonate as time passes, reflecting on that.”

“‘You’ is about a dysfunctional relationship, but you're still not learning any lessons from it. And it’s highlighted by this line: ‘If it feels right, it doesn't matter how bad it sounds/The pleasure's all mine, the pain is all mine when you're around.’”

Let You
“This was also one of the tracks that was written in the second round of writing and recording at Palace Sound in Toronto. I think ‘Where to Start’ and ‘Let You’ have some similarities, but it's basically about insecurity and trust issues that will challenge your ability to maintain a relationship. I think we can all relate to that.”

Like Fire
“‘Like Fire’ is about the ups and downs and ins and outs of all the places that my head goes. This isn't a song about faith; I'm not religious. It was just a way for me to express my frustration with the idea that everything happens for a reason or stuff like someone’s always there saying it'll all work out, because it just really doesn't seem that way when you're stuck in a bad place. You feel like you can't get out and feel like you're not in control of it. It's a very lonely feeling. That one's specifically about being type 2 bipolar for sure.”

Stuck in Your Head
“Can I just be honest with you? I've never seen Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. But I feel like the chord to ‘Stuck in Your Head’ sounds like it would be Lord of the Rings. But it is just inner dialogue and the back-and-forth between the positive side of your brain and the negative side of your brain. The battle of trying to be fully present and remember what really matters and trying to realize infant things you're manifesting on or that are taking control of your life have any real meaning or not.”

Come Down
“This was actually one of the first songs that I wrote for the third record. ‘Come Down’ and ‘Prism’ were the only two from that first draft that ended up being on the record. I wrote 32 demos total, and it's really cool to me that that one ended up making it on the record. Originally when I wrote that, I had voicemails playing through the whole thing. And I don't know if it was my manager or Tony from Sub Pop were like, 'What's happening here?' And I was like, 'I don't know. I'm going to take them all out.' But that was actually the first song on SUGAREGG that I started experimenting with sound bites and little things that I thought were fun and adding character. And I always put way too much in, and then it's just stripping down all the unnecessary ones.”

Not Ashamed
“‘Not Ashamed’ is pretty much just about walking the walk and not just talking the talk: ‘If you never speak up and you never act out, which are half of the reasons you figure it out/You're lying to yourself, you're not standing for me/If I stay regulated, did you walk away free?’ So that's about women, the fight for control over our bodies and not feeling like men take as much responsibility of something that they should. So fight the fight with us and actually go in and vote.”

Hours and Hours
“It was actually never supposed to be on the record. It was pretty much just a side-project song for me, for fun. When I would get done working on the songs, I would open ‘Hours and Hours’ and add little things to it each time, and all my other songs, I have videos of every part that I played so that I don't forget when I have to go to record them. And I never kept track of anything. And then of course it ended up being a single. I was like, 'Great. Now I need to learn what I did.' I have a lot of noise stuff in there, and I did some crazy vocal stuff with amps and pedals. And I think it's a pretty good representation of the writing from the third record—just taking a step up a little bit.”

What I Wanted
“‘What I Wanted’ is just about always wanting to have done music and thinking it was so unreachable and just working my whole life to be where I'm at now. And now that I'm here, just still fighting to be more, and not being able to really sit and be like, 'Oh yeah, this is great. I can't believe what I've done.' My brain is just like, 'What's next? What can I do better?' And when I say I'm here now, I'm very aware I'm a relatively small independent artist, not saying that I'm some superstar. But to me, even playing in a band for a living was such a dream. I have a lot of friends from Nashville who move away, and it makes you feel like you're behind for some reason. But then you realize you're doing exactly what you want and have a reason to be there and they're moving because they're not quite where they want to be and they're still trying to find that. But for some reason, it still leaves you feeling like you're missing out on something. And that's a very funny thing to me, because I find myself feeling that way often. And then remember I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do.”


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