Addie Sartino on The Greeting Committee’s New Beginnings

June 13, 2024

Text: Jeremy Whitaker

Photos: Tyler Krippaehne

Addie Sartino has been an open book since her band, The Greeting Committee, formed when she was 15 years old. Over the past decade, since the release of TGC's first EP, It's Not All That Bad, the band has changed, the sound has evolved, and yet her commitment to total lyrical honesty has not wavered for a moment. 

"My entire songwriting journey is documented and exists on Spotify, which I'm grateful for. It allowed me to grow up with a community that we've built around our music, but also it's kind of cringy and embarrassing at times," she says. This transparent evolution is truly where the power of The Greeting Committee's lead singer comes from, and what allowed her to create their newest album Everyone's Gone and I Know I'm the Cause. “I feel like there's this freedom with this new record because we made those other records.”

The journey to a 3rd studio album has been anything but straightforward. Sartino makes it clear that every step (and misstep) was necessary to create the self-examinative LP.  The new album is lyrically cutting, but streamlined, and is clear evidence of a new era in the life of The Greeting Committee. 

While The Greeting Committee originated with Addie Sartino, it wasn’t long before she assembled the four-piece band that went on to release two studio albums, a plethora of singles, and the occasional EP. When asked about how TGC’s creative process has changed over the years, her response was, "I started out writing alone in my bedroom, and that was my means of escape. I found so much more joy when I got to share it with somebody. A lot of the beginning of our catalog is just us enjoying being in a room together and jamming, and that has evolved.” 

What she describes is the quick jump that the band experienced from high school fame to real acclaim in the alt-Indie world. “I like to joke that a lot of The Greeting Committee's music comes from disagreement. I think it just got to a point where we were struggling to find the joy in creating, and that became a detriment to us as individuals, as artists, and as a group.”

The Greeting Committee's original composition of four has significantly altered in the years leading up to the new album. For Everyone's Gone and I Know I'm the Cause, original members Addie Sartino and Pierce Turcotte are joined by longtime member Noah Spencer and newcomer Micah Ritchie in a more official capacity.

These changes are not something that the band has spoken about publicly before. “We have kind of tiptoed around talking about it. It needed to happen. We went through a lot as a band. We met at 15, then really sprung from being this sort of casual high school arrangement to a contract, and pressure. Pierce was going to go to college to engineering school. We did band therapy. We tried hard to make it work as a four-piece, and I think ultimately who you need at 15 is not necessarily who can be in your life at 25.” 

Sartino and Turcotte have an undeniable chemistry that makes Everyone's Gone and I Know I'm the Cause the best TGC album yet. Sartino puts the methodology for the album plainly, "I love a good pop song. I want to have fun. I want to dance. Not every song to me needs to be a sacrifice.” She continues, “I hopefully have proven that I know how to write a really good sad lyric now I'm going to try this funny ironic pop thing.”

This paring down made room for their most collaborative album yet, with a feature from Flipturn, efforts from Charlie Berg and Chase Lawrence, and many friends like Briston Maroney and Samia. 

The album thesis is most apparent in the single “Popmoneyhits,” a standout piece of satire that stems from the real-life dilemma of deciding between craft and acclaim. “It’s a very different song for us, and so it was really entertaining to do. We were listening to a ton of Charli XCX at the time and The 1975. I took a gummy and I just let myself have a stream of consciousness. There's way more vulnerability in that song than I think a lot of other music of ours, and people wouldn't guess that. What happens if we essentially say ‘Fuck it’ and just make a pop song?”

The music video takes place at Belmont Mansion, hearkening back to one of the first “big kid photoshoots” for The Greeting Committee’s debut record. The video depicts the consumption of wealth very literally. Guests at The Greeting Committee’s dinner party actively consume paper money, while Sartino sings her melancholy pop to the camera. “They ate [fake] money for four hours straight,” she laughs. 

In-depth, Sartino discusses the idea of sacrificing for art. “Popmoneyhits” is contradictory in its nature as a song that satirizes the idea of sacrificial art, while also being a piece of writing that was quite a sacrifice to make. For an indie artist, it feels bold to ask, “What if I do want a mainstream hit? Does that make me less of an artist?” TGC is experimenting with joy and passion. More than ever, the lead singer is intent on finding out what happiness means. 

“I think I've decided to substitute the word ‘happiness’ with ‘peace.’ Happiness to me implies some euphoric feeling, and that's not sustainable. We actually need to be striving to be at a point of peace, and then whatever emotion needs to come in from there. I have been very afraid of happiness. I deserve it and I'm capable of achieving it. There was a lyric on one of the previous projects, ‘How do I write about happiness without taking away from all of it?' If you're happy, you're probably not writing. I'm just going to go enjoy it instead.”