Photos by Kirrilee Bailey.
I had taken a break from interviews. Juggling full-time work alongside my music management business and Mismatch was getting a bit much, so interviews took a back seat. When the opportunity arose to interview Lisa Mitchell, (ahead of the release of her new album Warriors), I found myself unfazed about the lack of sleep, and eager to catch up with Lisa.
Hi Lisa! I want to say welcome back, but you never really left (at least to those of us who follow you on social media). How does it feel to be actively releasing music again? Hi! Thanks for having me. It’s true, I’m generally hanging out on Instagram, trying to address that addiction… It does feel great to be releasing another album! It is always bit of an internal paradox though, as I write music by myself, in my house, and so to be releasing music that a lot of people might hear is always a little terrifying to me! I am glad though of course, it is my time in the limelight (!) again and I’m trying not to shy away..!
How much does a sense of ‘place’ influence your work? Did you notice a change in your writing being overseas? I love London. I’m glad I can say that now as it used to just feel fast and stressful to me when I first lived there as a 19 year old. Now, I adore the history. I get lost in my imagination when I think of all that happened in London through the modern ages… It’s hard not to be inspired walking through Bloomsbury Square Gardens, knowing all the authors of past that sat at those benches, daydreaming… Australia is all about the bush for me. The bush, and a unique kind of beautiful naivety that being so far away from US/UK has bred… And always this quiet horror of colonisation and the question of where do we go from here? There is so much to learn and read and feel and try to comprehend…
Your third album was co-written with your guitarist Tim Harvey. At what point did the new album evolve into a more collaborative effort? Tim Harvey is such a Guy. What a guy. I had a drink with him last night actually, very lucky to call him my mate as well. How it worked with this album, is that I wrote all the main meat (vegan meat, of course, like nut meat) of the songs, and then I got lazy because I really believe that the part of me that starts the song is a very different part of me than the one that finishes them! AND, that’s where Tim came in with his impossibly open minded expansive way of holding a song together and like a knowing fairy godfather he just helped me send the whole thing on its way out the door. It’s wonderful. He’s so fancy. I also wrote some of the album with Eric J Dubowsky up in Sydney who produced the album, and since we’re talking about it, ‘Warhol’ was co-written with a lovely Londoner, Ant Whiting.
Where do you find inspiration outside of music? I love the question! So much of my inspiration comes from outside music. I love listening to music, but it’s not the main balls (ugh, note to self: find simile for ‘balls’) of my inspiration, usually… I read and read and read… Historical fiction is my jam at the moment… Nature, the bush, is my everything… Just last weekend I was sat out in the bush down on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, listening to the birds calling, making their final arrangements with each other before night fell… God, I love it out there… Kids really inspire me… Their frankness, naivety… I am looking forward to being a Mum one day… hehe… (just imagining my management or label reading this – don’t worry, not for a while yet, I’m only 26..!)
“Warriors” is the title of your new album (great title by the way!) – is the title lifted from one of the track names? Or is there another reason behind picking it? Thank you! Oh, I keep forgetting not everyone has heard the album yet! Yes, you are totally spot on, Warriors is called Warriors because there is a track called Warriors. Hah. Sorry, just had my first coffee of the day and am pretty happy right now. Warriors, the song, is inspired by all the kids (who are pretty big kids now) who I went to school with in Albury, NSW, where I grew up in Australia. You are pretty independent when you grow up in the country. You learn to drive as soon as you possibly can, you can usually ride a horse or drive some kind of vehicle, you probably look after a few animals, and you leave home partly because you can’t wait to experience the world, but also because actually, you kind of have to! To make your own life – to study, to find opportunities… It creates a certain kind of self-sovereign person, and I am glad for it.
Can you tell us about your favourite Melbourne acts? Ali Barter, Grand Salvo, Jessie Warren (Halfshark and her other various acts!), Real Feelings (Tim Harvey’s project), Luke Brennan, Big Smoke…
And Melbourne venues? Melbourne has so many great venues, I’ve been away a bit, but from memory, my favourites are The Empress in Fitzroy North, Howler, Elizabeth Murdoch Centre…
You recently supported GROUPLOVE’s Australian shows. How did you go about getting a band together for your live performances? I went pro (hehe) and started working with a musical director, Joel Farland. He is man of the stage and I love planning my show with him. It’s such a creative process for me… Grouplove were such an awesome and high-energy band to open for! I was trying out some new things so I was a bit nervous but by the end of the shows I was very comfy and enjoying the shows. I am so excited to tour my new show in October..! Beautiful lights, colours, clothes, movement, amazing musicians… It’s going to be so fun… I hope people will enjoy it…
Speaking of playing shows, how did you find the response for your music and live shows in Europe/the UK over the last year? I toured a lot in the UK and Europe last year! I was thinking about that the other day, we did 3 tours all up; two were my own and one was a European tour with Bears Den, a London band. My first sleeper-bus tour! Crazy. Looking forward to doing my own one of those soon.
Let’s bring back “Lisa Likes List” – what do you like about being back in Melbourne? Hehe. I’m glad you like the Like List! In Melbourne, I love the coffee, how you literally trip over heavenly flat whites, I adore CERES Environmental Park, I love the earthiness that is so readily found in Melbourne, in places like Northcote, for example, Terra Madre (a huge seasonal organic vegie store), in Collingwood there is co-op, Friends of the Earth, and then I adore the life drawing classes at the Nicholas Building in the city…
Thanks for your time! Thanks so much sabi! Hope you’re well 🙂 x
Lisa Mitchell’s new album Warriors is out this Friday October 14th. Pre-order it here.
SOMETHING ABOUT THESE STREETS TOUR DATES
Thursday 13th October – Howler, Melbourne, VIC – NEW SHOW ADDED
Friday 14th October – Howler, Melbourne, VIC – SOLD OUT
Saturday 15th October – Woolly Mammoth, Bris, QLD
Saturday 22nd October – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW – SOLD OUT
Sunday 23rd October – Newtown Social Club Sydney, NSW – NEW SHOW ADDED
Thursday 27th October – Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth, WA
Friday 28th October – Rocket Bar, Adelaide, SA
Tickets available from www.thelisamitchell.com