Bishop Briggs | 'When Everything Went Dark' EP Release

Despite the darkness, the British alt-pop star finds light.

Written by

Brendan Le

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Photographed by Ashley Osborn

The immensity of a pitch black night is agelessly daunting, whether for a child struggling to fall asleep in their twin bed, or a graveyard-shift worker clocking out into an empty parking lot. Despite its vastness, darkness can be extinguished with one small beacon of light. British alt-pop singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs found her solace in the music. Her upcoming EP When Everything Went Dark is her torch for wading into the deepest, most painful parts of her psyche. She emerges from the night stronger than before, victoriously acknowledging the ugly and the worthwhile in her life.

When Everything Went Dark, released June 23 via Arista Records, is Briggs’ first body of work since her 2019 album Champion. Six tracks long, the EP explores Briggs’ struggles with her mental health and touches upon major changes in her life. The earliest single off the record, “High Water,” was dedicated to her sister Kate, who passed away in 2021. With a gritty, soaring delivery of sentimental lyrics like, “Now I’m in high water without you,” the track sets the precedent for the hard-hitting beats and transcendent choral vocals that run through the record. Along with the EP’s announcement, Briggs released the single “Baggage,” a blunt declaration of how her trauma follows her, sung as an anthemic reclamation that reverses the dynamic: Her past doesn’t paralyze her; rather, she bears its weight in spite of the heaviness.

The first lines of the opening track “Reborn” encapsulate When Everything Went Dark’s thesis: “I see the light. I’ve seen the darkness of myself. I broke loose from the chains of hell.” An accompanying music video for "Reborn" blends elements of contemporary dance with vivid, fluorescent lighting as Briggs engages a balaclava-clad opponent—a shadow of herself. In recognizing and confronting her innermost fears and flaws, Briggs illuminates her future.

Ahead of the EP’s release, Flaunt sat down with Briggs to talk about her personal and creative growth, the recording process, and mythology.

Sonically, how would you describe When Everything Went Dark compared to your debut Church of Scars and second album Champion?

If Church of Scars and Champion had a baby they would’ve named it When Everything Went Dark. It’s always been important to me to hold onto my original love for gang vocals and organic instrumentation (I used my shoes and keys on the floor for many percussive elements in the songs) that I first used in my debut album. I feel like I really found my songwriting voice in Champion in terms of absolute directness and honesty. So, all that being said I hope I took energy from both albums to find a fresh sound with this EP.

How did the creative processes for crafting each body of work differ?

I think bodies of work are similar to tattoos. They really represent a chapter of your life and explain your identity as you are growing. Specifically with When Everything Went Dark it was my coping mechanism for the before, after, and during of my sister getting sick. I think the creative process was mainly about showing up. Even if that “showing up” was at 2 p.m. still in my pajamas playing the piano in my living room.

In “Reborn,” you say that “I am not myself, I’m better now.” How are you staying true to yourself while also allowing yourself to blossom and grow?

That line was really difficult for me to wrap my head around. It still is. I wrote “Reborn” with an artist named Wrabel who really encouraged me to keep in the line “I am better now.” The way I’ve come to digest it is as a manifestation of sorts. Being “better” isn’t saying “I’m glad it happened” or “I understand why,” it’s saying I got out of bed today.

What is your connection to mythology and what about it inspires you?

I think writing is about seeing your feelings through different lenses and with mythology I find that the storytelling evokes that same sentiment. When I was on The Masked Singer I was Medusa, and that was a very conscious decision. In Greek mythology, you see Medusa existing in a very male dominated world and she uses her feminist powers against patriarchal society. I hope that we learn from these stories and unpack them into our own lives as much as possible.

You call When Everything Went Dark your night light in the corner of the room, comforting and protecting you. What other functions have making this music had for you? What do you hope the record can do for listeners?

Despite this record being created during a very devastating time, songs like “Bad” and “Cherry on Top” were created from an empowered self. As I started going to the hospital to be with my sister, Kate, it really put into perspective what mattered. I found myself allowing anger to come over me. I let my frustrations over womanhood dance around me. In a way, I felt so deeply unhinged with the state of life that I had nothing holding me back when it came to writing. I hope that listeners feel capable and empowered after finishing the EP. That they know they can own their power no matter how far out of reach that concept may seem.

Many of the songs on the record build into a cathartic climax. How did it feel to be in the studio recording vocals for these tracks? How do you sustain the emotion in your voice over several takes?

I will say I teared up while recording “Reborn” and perhaps it goes without saying that I was full blown sobbing during “High Water”! It was a deeply therapeutic and dare I say traumatic experience. Then, there are songs like “Baggage” and “Superhuman” that felt uplifting to my spirit in a way I haven’t yet had before. Sustaining emotion isn’t something I have difficulty with as I tend to have too much emotion on a daily basis. But is there such a thing as too much emotion?! I think it makes for beautiful art … at least I hope so.

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Bishop Briggs, When Everything Went Dark, Arista Records, Brendan Le