Juliet Garrett returns home to Shelter Island later this week. While she’s here, she will not only get to see her little sister, Katya, graduate from the Ross School, she will also play her first East End gig at Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett.
Ms. Garrett, a singer and keyboard player, founded the four-piece band Psychobaby with her boyfriend and lead guitarist Godfrey Furchtgott a year ago. The two started making music together as philosophy majors at Princeton University. Ms. Garrett, who lives in Brooklyn, graduated in 2015 while Mr. Godfrey finished up his degree just last week. In recent months, they have released their new EP, “Rough Start,” and have been playing venues around New York City, including the Mercury Lounge and The Gateway in Brooklyn.
Though neither Ms. Garrett nor Mr. Furchtgott studied music in college, both are accomplished in the art form. Mr. Furchtgott is a classically trained violinist and Ms. Garrett grew up in a home infused with music; her father is Bruce Wolosoff, a musician and composer.
“Music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been playing since I was a little kid,” said Ms. Garrett who started writing songs at age 12. “Growing up in a house built with music either makes you love or hate music. For me, it made me love it. My dad is such a consummate musician. He knows more about music than anyone I’ve ever met. He lives and breathes it.
“When I think of my childhood I think of piano being played beautifully,” she said. “It’s valuable to see how a composer works first-hand. He was the formative music influence in my life.”
Ms. Garrett attended the Hayground School in Bridgehampton and graduated from the Ross School in East Hampton. But she was homeschooled for 8th grade and fondly recalls the unique artistic rhythm of the household that year. She notes that she, her father and mother, Margaret Garrett, a painter, would each grab a cappuccino and head off to a different part of the house to do their own work.
“I had a great English teacher at Hayground, Liz Bertsch, she was working with me on English for that year,” Ms. Garrett noted. “Since I was homeschooled and making up the rules as we went along, once a week I would hang out with Liz, bring in lyrics, sing them, and talk about them.
“She’d always thought I should write songs and so did my dad,” she said. “They turned out to be right.”
Though lyrics may have come first when she was younger, Ms. Garrett says her songwriting these days is driven by melody. She cites singer-songwriters like Regina Spektor, Joni Mitchell and Carole King as being inspirations during her college years.
“I’d go to practice rooms and play at singer-songwriter nights,” Ms. Garrett said. “But I thought it would be fun to play louder with guitar and drums.”
That’s where Mr. Furchtgott came in. He had played electric guitar in high school and admitted that he missed it, so one night, he brought out the guitar and started jamming with Ms. Garrett.
“We thought we should do this and it evolved naturally from there,” she said.
In the last year and a half, Ms. Garrett and Mr. Furchtgott have embraced the riot grrl movement, an underground, feminist hardcore style of punk that began in Washington State back in the early 1990s. Psychobaby is definitely a 21st century rock band, but it has unique driving rhythms and the overtones of punk-inspired groups from earlier eras — like X and Blondie.
“I think it’s a combination of different influences coming together,” Ms. Garrett said.
Fortunately, she and Mr. Fuchtgott are finding very welcoming outlets for their music in the city.
“One of the greatest things about New York is there are so many bands and so many venues and so many people who want to go out and hear music,” she said. “It’s a supportive scene. We’re starting to have a following of people.
“It’s great if the music connects and people like it and come back, but I try not to worry about the following or the fans,” she said. “I just make music that I have fun making that feels true to me.”
Psychobaby performs at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett on Saturday, June 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. The show is for ages 21 and over.