"I have been writing a lot less about romantic woes and more about what it is I want out of life" - hmv.com talks to Lissie
Singer-songwriter Lissie returns today with her brand new album My Wild West (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page). Ahead of its release we sat down with her to chat about why she ended up writing an album having initially planned to take a break from music completely and why this album is her saying goodbye to California...
Having planned a break from music, when did you realise that you had an album that you wanted to release?
"I was going to move, simplify my life, solo tour and not make an album. After freeing myself up in that way, I just started making music for fun & as I felt inspired to again. Once I had 6 or so songs done, I could feel the theme taking shape. I realised that this was a way for me to document and share my 12 years in California or 'My Wild West'. When it was all done, I opened my mind and heart up to the idea that maybe I would release and promote it after all! I reverse psychology-ed myself!"
You worked with Curt Schneider on the album, what did he bring to the process?
"Curt Schneider is a great producer, engineer, musician, songwriter and friend. I have known him for years. He came up to the studio in Ojai to work with the band and I after the other producer we were working with bailed. His presence and energy guided us and was calming! I wanted to finish 'just a few songs' and was going down to LA to see him every week or so. It was his patience, enthusiasm and just overall good ideas/ skills that helped bring this album out of me and to life!"
You moved from California to Iowa during the making of the record, has the change of scenery impacted your songwriting?
"I was basically done with the album when I packed up and moved in June of 2015. Aside from some mix stuff we had tracked everything. I haven’t really settled into Iowa and my new home yet. I have been on the go nonstop and my house is still under construction! I look forward to getting acquainted with the reality of my new surroundings though and seeing what it inspires!"
What were you listening to during the making of the album?
"It’s an annoying answer, but I really don’t listen to a ton of music and always struggle when I’m asked to make playlists. Actually, now that I’m driving my truck back and forth to oversee construction, I’ve been rediscovering what I own and like! I don’t want to be influenced consciously or subconsciously by anyone else’s music, so I didn’t listen to much during the process!"
Which of the songs on the album took the most work to get right? And which came together most instantly?
"'Hero' , 'Ojai', 'Stay', those were all written and recorded pretty quickly. The bigger tracks like 'Wild West' and 'Don’t You Give Up On Me' went through a few different phases & arrangements before being done."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a unifying theme?
"It’s a piece about my 12 years in California. The first track is 'Hollywood', where I lived for 5 years and the final track is 'Ojai' where I lived the past 7. Within the tracks, there is a lot more emphasis on self-discovery. It wasn’t intentional but I have been writing a lot less about romantic woes this past year or so and more about what it is I want out of life!"
Why did you decide on My Wild West as the album’s title? Were there any other titles in contention?
"It was very obvious once I saw the songs coming together that I’d be calling it My Wild West. Also because there was a song called 'Wild West'. I never considered anything else. Realising that that was the album name actually motivated me to treat it like an album and finish it!"
Tell us about the cover, why did you decide on that image for the album?
"An amazing photographer and good friend, Heidi Ross took a bunch of photos around Ojai the week before I moved. We got a lot of great & natural looks that day. I had entertained a few different covers but I loved the rawness of the driveway headlights photo. Also, it was nice that the car was my own and was parked in front of my house that I had loved so much. It’s a piece of history for me. There’s also strength & a bit of angst going on which I like!"
What are your plans to take the album out live? Are you booked for many festivals?
"I am about to take off on a month long European tour, then will do a US month long run, I have at least a handful of festivals confirmed and am waiting on more info. I am really hoping to give this album my all while also carving out some home time! We’ll see! One day at a time!"