Right at the intersection of alternative, pop, and hip-hop, Willow the Cat drops a his debut, 9-track album - offering a bittersweet lamentation on the current state of contemporary courtship.

Drawing inspiration from Spike Jonze’s sci-fi romance film Her, Willow the Cat’s debut album, Songs About My Internet Ex-Girlfriend, was born as a commentary on society’s evolving relationship with technology and its profound impact on a topic arguably as historic as it is complex: human connection. Through nine tracks of ethereal melodies and introspective lyrics, Willow the Cat delves into a world where love is both fleeting and eternal; digital yet deeply human.


Yet Willow the Cat’s repertoire extends beyond just that of a musician; the multi-instrumentalist is also a multi-dimensional artist, whose creative vision exists beyond the recording studio, too. With the release of the music video for ‘Light Blue’, a dystopian indie romance short film, the musician-cum-filmmaker offers a visual narrative that complements the album’s thematic depth. Saturated with vivid imagery and evocative storytelling, the video serves to deliver the essence of the album, capturing moments of longing, nostalgia, and technological dystopia with what could be described as a wistfully poignant cinematic flair.


Born from the creative depths of multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, singer, and rapper Eric Thompson, Willow the Cat represents a bold departure from his previous musical endeavours. Formerly the frontman of FLOTUS, a college band that crafted their own vibrant style and DIY ethos, Thompson’s solo project marks a new chapter in his artistic evolution. Embracing a diverse range of influences, from jazz and soul to R&B and psychedelic rock, Willow the Cat’s music defies categorization – simply inviting us along for the ride.

Who is Willow the Cat?

Willow the Cat is me but is also this nomadic personality who is a constellation of every person I’ve ever met. 

How did you create the musical persona and start this project?

I started this musical persona in college when my band started fizzling out and I wanted to get more into the production side and see where I could take myself stylistically. I grew up on 4 piece rock groups and that had always been my vision until I realized that my world of sound could be much larger and in tune with my waking life. So in a sense, I went from playing sounds on instruments, to still playing sounds but also collecting them and curating them to paint a picture underneath the basic song structures.

Your album, Songs About My Internet Ex-Girlfriend, explores themes from contemporary dating to societal shifts, what inspired you to delve into this thematic territory and what message or commentary do you hope listeners take away from it?

I started dating this girl online from Russia the summer after I graduated college in 2020. She had set her location to America to meet different kinds of people and I ended up being that different kind of people lol. It was right during the first wave of Covid and what I needed at the time. She went back to college that fall and basically left me in the dust for her new life so all the support I felt from it initially just caved in on me. Oddly, I wrote a lot of this record in a way that if you had been dating someone from your hometown over the summer and the same thing happened you could relate to the songs so it’s like you’re listening to a record about someone that you spent time in the physical with, but when you really listen I’m always talking about photos of her and texts from her. 

I think the commentary you could take away from it would be that letting go of someone you’ve never gotten the chance to fully know can be harder than if you really got the chance to go through the motions and ultimately make a decision whether this person was right or wrong for you, because you live with this idea of what it could have been and your imagination fills these empty spaces. I made this decision to try to carry parts of her through me rather than letting go completely because I didn’t know why we met or what it was all for.

How do your influences (embracing elements of jazz, soul, R&B, and psychedelic rock) inform your sound, and what do you believe sets your music apart within the contemporary music landscape?

I think the cacophony of influences allows me to surprise you- most people who first meet me and hear my music look at me and they’re like “This is you??”. I have ADHD so I need stark changes on a record to scratch this itch in my brain if I’m going to be actively listening to the story. If it’s an RnB album through and through then I love that but it’s going to be on for easy listening and I’m going to go about my day rather than narrow in on the message. So I guess that’s why I went a lot of directions on this first record.

How did you approach crafting a sound that conveys the complexities of all the overarching themes for your album?

To piggyback on the last question, I would say that my feelings have many shades within a musical landscape- so when I wrote ‘Peach’ and started this album I was feeling a very Amy Winehouse/Billie Holiday summer kind of love, something very blissful and I was learning all these emotions I’d never felt before. But when I wrote ‘Light Blue’ all of those feelings were essentially gone and like I said, it was like I was forever left to wonder what could have been. On that song I reference the first time I felt what it was like to drown as a little kid and stylistically I paid homage to what I was listening to as a kid which was like Switchfoot. But I wanted to put those melodies within the frame of Dijon and Frank Ocean. At that time I was feeling super stuck, but I don’t think my version of feeling “stuck” is the same as Amy Winehouse even though my feelings of bliss maybe are. I didn’t feel Back to Black, I felt Light Blue.

 How did the film Her come to influence your creative direction?

I watched that movie again after this whole experience and I was just like “fuck”. That one scene where Joaquin Phoenix is running around the city with his phone (or whatever device), playing carnival games and showing “her” what his world is like and being strange in public was dead on. We had been sending pictures and videos through our daily lives like that and I felt the exact same sense of freedom and carelessness. Literally just smiling like an idiot wherever I went and no one knew why lol.

What role does the visual storytelling play in conveying the narrative behind your songs?

I think the visuals are so important. For the purposes of this record, visual motifs were so important to show a lack of touch and communication. Winona Ryder is from the perspective of Edward Scissorhands. I also chose to wear these keyboard rings for the ‘Light Blue’ video that say “her” and there’s this one scene where they’re spinning down a sink drain that lines up with another song on the album. It really helps to connect one song to the next in a meaningful way.

As a multi-faceted artist, you handle various roles in your music, from songwriting to production. How do you navigate these different aspects of your creative process, and how do you feel they each contribute to the overall vision of your music?


It’s a really fickle process and I like to try different approaches. Some people live and die by the song comes first and then the production and others make the beat first and then figure out the best way to compliment it. I think both are valid and I would hate to stifle myself by choosing one or the other. I’ve really modelled my process around the likes of Billie Eilish, FKA twigs, Mac Miller, and Dijon: all great songwriters and equally world-building beat creators. I also think music is a language for me that strings together a lot of the interactions I’ve had in life so I’m trying to speak a lot of languages because it brings me together with people. My roommate and I both work in ABA together but we started a song the other day. 

How do you draw upon your musical experiences and influences to create the sound you have curated for yourself as an artist and for your solo project?

In college when I was in my band, FLOTUS, To Pimp a Butterfly, Malibu, The Divine Feminine and all these alternative R&B/Hip-hop albums were fresh off the press and we wanted to be like the Free Nationals and be this super smooth natural R&B/funk band. That experience led me to playing shows in Syracuse with rappers and meeting KIDDIGGS (Omgimjoe at the time) and The Fashion Show, who put me onto this gray area of both live performance and production, although I’d been messing around with producing on my own time already. I was also friends with Charlie Burg who was doing that as well and creating this genre-less music that was super dope. We played shows with him a number of times and I was super inspired.

Are there any personal experiences or observations that inspired the lyrical content of the songs?

Yes 100%, my internet ex-girlfriend experience obviously. Light Blue like I said was about my first memory of drowning- it wasn’t my pool and really I was sitting on a raft when somebody flipped it over and I did not know how to swim at that point. I was sitting next to my brother when it happened and after I put the song out and explained it he remembered and said he had been scared for me. Really most of it is drawn on personal experiences and for songs where I’m not really talking about myself like ‘Winona Ryder’, which is supposed to be from the perspective of Edward Scissorhands, I find a way to put my identity into it. There was a Korean restaurant down the street from my apartment in Syracuse so I wrote a bar about it even though the rest of that song takes place in Edward Scissorhand’s world, (which was shot in Tampa). Some of the lyrics are directly inspired from texts I got and I just translated them into melodies and rhymes. 

The album balances between lighthearted and dark subject matter/masculine and feminine energy. How do you maintain this balance throughout the album?

I think I balance a lot of the candidness of this album with some clever lines or wittiness here and there. For the most part the album is an emotional decline but I think I try to carry that with power, especially at the end of the album and pick up momentum with the production. I was very aware that the songs were sad for the most part and I put a lot of time into garnering moments of intrigue and keeping it dynamic.

Your previous experience as the frontman of FLOTUS and your solo project showcase different sides of your musical identity. How has your journey shaped your artistic vision?

I think when I was in FLOTUS the focus was all on the movement and groove and it was really easy to win a crowd, but there were many parts of my emotional identity that were hiding behind the easygoingness of that. So my vision has always been since then to be emotionally vulnerable and somehow hold your attention even if that’s not for you. My friend told me at the album release show that he doesn’t usually seek out music like mine, he’d rather go out and dance and whatnot, but that he wanted to cry when I played ‘Occupy’, so I feel like I did my job.

What do you hope listeners take away from your solo work compared to your previous endeavours?

You don’t need to be bound to one category I guess – just cause I’m a white guy doesn’t mean I need to be in a band or play everything on the acoustic guitar. On the same token just because I might rap and produce doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick up an instrument tomorrow. There are so many modes of creative expression and you can just weave them to what you want to hear or see regardless of the boxes you want to put yourself in.

In your creative process, how do you approach blending theatrical elements with musical storytelling to create a narrative arc throughout your album?

I use a lot of cosmic and folky motifs both in the production and lyrics. In a lot of ways the production tells as much of a story as the lyrics on the album and they end up weaving to tell a story together. It’s not something I plotted out from the get-go but something that just gradually happened. Like in ‘Peach’ I’m talking about “I’m your moon” and how I’ll be “moving the tides for you pulling you in” and in ‘Brand New’ there are actually waves moving in the beat switch up and I’m talking about changing with the moon while ‘Moon Song’ from the movie Her plays. And that shit just happened, like I already had the cosmic elements at play and after I watched Her again I was like okay I know where I’m going to take this. In a sense, I’ll do soft worldbuilding as I go. 

How do you see your music evolving in response to societal shifts and personal growth?

I think I could see myself messing around with AI stuff. I always think it’s bullshit when people are like “AI is gonna take over artist’s jobs” – like it can do a lot but it won’t write your favourite artist’s album because it doesn’t have culture or a personal story to tell and that’s ultimately what we as humans exist to share with each other. However, I could see myself continuing to use it for my own storytelling purposes. As far as personal growth I’m just searching for what’s real outside of the studio. This album was filled with a lot of longing and sadness and I would like to concur that going into the next chapter of my music.

Looking ahead, what themes or directions do you envision exploring in your future projects?

My soundscapes thus far are like pictures of where I’ve been or lived so far in life to me so now that I’m living in Atlanta it’s another world for me to draw from. As far as themes, there will probably be more Gemini and haunted robot stuff, we’ll see.

What’s next for you?

I need to play shows and find a way to perform my production like it was made. I will probably be producing for other artists right now more than writing.