Heartstrings Interview

Making Rooms Quiet: An Interview with Liza Anne

Interview by Lauren Jahoda & Andrew Kase

In what type of setting do you do your songwriting?

Absolutely anywhere. Trains, walking, outside cafes, watching shows, looking at paintings, during films, in the middle of conversations, in my room. Strange bits of life leave me in place where if I don’t write in that exact moment, I tend to shut down. So, I write everywhere all the time.

When did you decide to commit to a music career fully, above everything else?

I have to decide everyday, but I guess that whole daily commitment to this insanity began when I was about 15. Everyone was deciding where to go to college and all I wanted to do was pack up my things into a small pack and take my guitar to Europe. Obviously, I went to school and am extremely grateful for the couple of years I studied – but, starting last May when I dropped out, the reality of my choice to pursue this until I’m buried was made.

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Photo: Leah Gray

What was it like making such a decision at such a young age?

I feel extremely lucky to have known at 15 what I wanted to do. But, I still have the same crisis of ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ like anyone else. I almost think there’s something more eerie about knowing at such a young age – I mean, what does anyone really know at 15?

What was the experience like independently releasing your own album?

Incredibly time consuming, having just nearly enough money to eat, losing your mind most days, emotional breakdowns and the best feeling of happiness you could ever feel. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but it’s a terribly large amount of work.

Who did the artwork for the cover of The Colder Months? How was the idea developed for the artwork?

My friend Caleb – he’s living in New Zealand now, but we worked together at a cafe in Nashville before we both parted ways. I just sent him the song, the lyrics and a photo we were thinking of using and he made it into what it is. Truly inspired by people taking one form of art and giving it another face.

Did you have any idols who influenced the type of genres of music you’re interested in?

As far as people influencing the type of music I’m into, anyone around me does that. I’m always filling the notes section in my phone with songs that people will have on in their cars, or albums they mention casually, or records I notice hanging about their house. I kind of sneakily pick up music taste from anyone in my life.

lizaannetwoWhat has been the overall vision for TWO? Did that vision change from when you began creating to its completion?

I wanted to create something that I could play live in a different way than how I had been playing for the past few years. I wanted to create an entire musical movement within each song, still centered around the lyrics of course, but taking the instrumentation further and further. I wanted things to be louder and more dynamic. I don’t think the vision changed much, but we do tend to let each song become whatever it lends itself to.

What do you enjoy most about performing? Which songs do you enjoy performing most and why?

Making rooms quiet. There’s a strange energy you can sense in the room when your songs and the music is resonating with people in a heavy way. I love that. It’s terrifying sometimes – when you sit back and realize, shit everyone is quiet and listening and I’m saying things I never even told the person it’s about, but then you realize how magical it is that you’ve got everyone’s attention over something you’ve poured your whole soul into.

“Overnight” and “Ocean” are my favourites – I still feel the weight of every word so much. It’s hard to sing but feels like I’m alive when I do.

How do you see your sounds evolving as you practice music and songwriting over time?

You naturally grow in and out of different things. Overall, I’ve just become more comfortable and sure of myself.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years? 

Oh, god. I hardly know what I’m having for dinner. But, I see myself still writing, still playing shows, still traveling. This is what I’m made for, I can’t really run from it  – so I’ll still be doing it as best I can and better than the day before, I’d hope.

You’ve toured and shared the stage with many notable musicians. Can you name someone you haven’t yet collaborated with in some way and would like to?

Feist, hands down. I want her to have some say in something I make one day. Truly, I’d not mind her adopting me. Hi, Leslie – need a daughter? ily.

If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

Depends on the group of people, I’m not quite sure. Probably don’t be too cool for anything. I hate when people are so pretentious:

eat the food you love, listen to the music you love, wear whatever weird shit you wanna wear, love whatever/whoever and be loud about it – or quiet, but just love it.

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