"I feel like we fell into a wormhole of a universe where everyone is having to confront some of the hardest shit ever" We chat with Lissie
We've been big fans of Lissie at TDF since the very beginning, so news of new music is always exciting. Especially when it's one of her regular collections of covers. We spoke to Lissie about her Thank You To The Flowers EP, how's she's been coping with 2020, and what life's like on her farm.
Hey Lissie, how’s your day going?
Hi! Well, thanks. It’s rainy and kinda lazy so far!
And how has your 2020 been?
That’s a big question! Haha. I feel like I /we fell into a wormhole of a universe where everyone is having to confront some of the hardest shit ever! I can say that from the ashes I am starting to rise though. I’ve been forced to learn a lot and so in hindsight, I may even have some fondness for 2020
So... bit of context, where are you right now?
I am in Nashville, staying at a friend’s house for awhile and have been writing songs.
Tell me the one thing people don’t know about you.
Hmmm... my dad delivered me!
You’re releasing your new covers EP Thank You To The Flowers, what can you tell me about it?
I was going through a rough breakup in May, so the summer was so unbearably painful. I was shuffling songs and decided to learn some of the ones that I was really feeling, whether in defiance or sorrow. I learned the songs and decided to record them solo acoustic which then turned into my friend out in LA, Curt Schneider, producing them. My good friend in Iowa came over and took some photos out at my farm of my flowers and I. I realized how much I owed to the flowers for keeping me going through the darkness!
Which was the first song that you chose to record for the EP? And why choose that song?
'Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole' because I was pissed! But then that song became about more for me as the breakup feelings faded and I looked at the politics and the way we treat our planet.
It’s your second covers EP - I’ve just realised Covered Up With Flowers was nine years ago! - what is it about covering songs that you enjoy?
I actually made another covers EP in 2015 called Cryin’ To You. I just like to learn songs that I can relate to and am moved by. And then I share them because I figure other people will relate as well.
What makes a good cover version?
As long as it’s sung with the passion and commitment to the material, works for me.
How do you choose the songs? Is it the artist that draws you into their music, or the specific song itself?
Specific song. Catching me in the moment I need to hear it.
It’s an eclectic mix on this EP, ‘Wrecking Ball’ next to ‘Where Have all TheCowboys Gone?’ - two songs I love by the way - what is it that brings these five songs together?
Thanks! I was going through these stages of anger, sorrow and acceptance and so they all came together. 'Wrecking Ball' because I feel like I was a bit of a steam roller in my last relationship but also brought a lot of love and showed up hard. 'Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole' because I felt dehumanized by it’s ending. 'Nothing Compares 2 U' because I was devastated. 'Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?' because seriously, where have they gone? [laughs] And the Lana tune because there’s an acceptance and desire to grow in there that I needed.
Castles was nearly three years ago now, we’re due some new Lissie originals. Anything you can tell me?
Yes, time is flying! I thought that I’d be in the middle of making an album but the pandemic kinda threw off my plans - along with everyone else’s! -and I wasn’t feeling like writing this year ‘cause I didn’t even know where to start. So much upheaval, uncertainty, etc.. across all areas of life. That being said, I’m writing now and feeling like I’m starting to get back into it. I would hope to have something new sometime next year.
How’s life on your farm? I know you moved back to the more rural side of life a few years ago.
It’s good, thanks! I’m not used to being there as much as I have been these past few months, so that’s taken some getting used to. I planted a lot of trees, I garden, walk and play with my dog. I’m learning a lot this year about all kinds of things. From how to get the algae out of the pond to what trees are in my woodlands and how to manage them. I took a master gardener training course as well. Little by little, I start to feel like I actually know what is going on! [laughs]
I usually ask, what have you got planned for 2021, assuming things become slightly more normal!
I really hope that shows are in the cards for 2021. I’d love to travel, record an album, play shows but also be home for the best of each season. Looking for balance next year.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Sarah Buxton! She has the most gorgeous voice and heartening messaging in her songs. She put out an EP last week, Signs of Life.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
What my favorite food is? [laughs] Pizza! Broccoli!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?