Lissie is the epitome of a rockstar, in the sense that she breaks the rules, and doesn’t seem to give a fuck about playing the fame game. She’s been compared to Stevie Nicks, but fiercer (yeah, we didn’t think it was possible either, but have been proven wrong). Her take on the sounds of the 70s and 80s is done just right–it’s seductive, sultry, and even a little mean. Her latest album, Back to Forever, has yet to disappoint.
We catch up with Lissie as she takes some time out of touring to answer a few (or 21) of our questions.
So, what’s up?
Hanging out in Denver about to play at twist and shout record store before our gig tonight.
Can we get you something to drink?
Favorite thing to look at?
Pretty nature bliss
Do anything last night?
Yes drinks and bowling with old friends!
Meals or snacks?
Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen?
If life could resemble any film…any film score?
Your biggest fan?
My family or this nice guy Ryan who gets me tattooed on him
Listening to anything right now?
Yes but I don’t know what it is
Who would you commission to take/paint/draw your portrait?
William Eggleston to photograph
When was the last time you really froke out at someone?
What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?
My vocal exercises which are like bubbling my lips while singing scales
Last 3 google searches?
Bahn me sandwich restaurant
The Crocodile in Seattle
East or west coast? Biggie or Tupac?
West – Tupac
What’s the most embarrassing song that you know all the words to?
Friday by Rebecca black
The Clan of the Cave Bear
If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
Food and red wine
Cats or dogs? Why?
Dogs, I’m allergic to cats
If you woke up as the opposite sex, what’s the first thing you would do?
Check out my peen
What are you doing later?
Playing at the Gothic Theatre in Denver then driving to Salt Lake City
Can we come?
Get tickets to see Lissie at The Fonda, Monday (12/9) here
We recently had the pleasure of speaking with some of the band members of Midnight Magic, a live disco-funk-electro-anything-that-makes-you-dance act out of NYC. Self-described as the “lovechild of Donna Summer and George Clinton”, Midnight Magic are the kind of band you ditch your lazy Sunday night plans for. As vocalist Tiffany Roth told the crowd “You could be watching Oprah, but you’re here tonight.” We watched and danced on as the band’s undeniably groovy vibes transformed the Fonda into a bonafide discotheque.
Read our interview with band members Tiffany, Morgan and Andrew as we caught up with them during the Los Angeles stop of their tour with Holy Ghost!
LAC = LA CANVAS; T = Tiffany, M = Morgan, A = Andrew
LA CANVAS: You’ve been compared to LCD Soundsystem and Hercules and the Love Affair. How would you describe your sound?
T: There are so many elements of funk, soul, a little bit of disco, a touch of R&B if you will (laughs), a sprinkle of house, nu-wave.
M: And a tug of dubstep. (laughs)
T: Yes, and a tug of dubstep (laughs) not really!
LAC: How did you get into disco and funk? Is the nostalgic sound of your music intentional?
M: The nostalgia? No, I don’t think so. We just do what we do and try to make the best music we can. I know a lot of our influences definitely come through in that. Maybe that’s where the nostalgia comes from. We’re influenced by a lot of older music, so it definitely comes through, but it’s not like an intentional thing where we’re like ‘let’s bring it back.’ (laughs)
A: I think it’s also in the equipment we use and the way we record as well. We have what is considered to be old school sensibility. We use a lot of outboard gear and vintage analog drum machines and synthesizers. Those have that quality and that color that remind people of that era in which these things were made—which is the 70s and the 80s.
LAC: Speaking of instruments, with a nine-person band, it sounds like you guys might have a lot of instruments?
A: Actually, we’re a lot of people but we’re not a lot of stuff. Most of the instrumentation is coming from, like, the keyboards, and all that stuff is coming from Morgan. Really, at the end of the day, his rig, which is 3 or 4 keyboards, and then a drum machine maybe, or sequencer of some kind, and then it’s like two trumpets, trombone, percussionist, drum kit and bass, and Tiffany singing through a delay pedal. We always show up and people always think we’ll have a lot of inputs like we’re fuckin’ Radiohead or something. They’re like ‘Oh, you only have 11 inputs. That’s amazing!’
M: But in the studio we have a ton of instruments. When we record, we use a lot more. Then we interpret it live.
LAC: With nine band members, what’s the creative process like, both in songwriting and how you interpret that for performances?
T: Two things kind of happen. Sometimes we will write a horn line and it’ll come from something Morgan’s doing, like a keyboard line. We’ll translate that and they’d be like, ‘Oh that’d be really good if the horns played that.’ Sometimes those guys will be in the studio and be like ‘I have something,’ and it’ll strike and we’ll write something down.
M: It depends, the process is always different. At first it wasn’t like ‘Oh, we’re gonna have a nine-person band,’ it just happened to be people around and we all played music together anyway, and eventually Midnight Magic kind of ended up having three horns and two percussionists and all that. Later on, that kind of informed the writing as the live band developed and the writing kind of informed how we’re going to do it live. They both kind of play off each other.
LAC: In talking to other dance musicians, they say their biggest motivation is getting the audience to dance.
A: Oh yeah! It’s huge. You know if something’s working by looking at the audience. I’ve seen someone who’s standing still just react to something that Morgan’s just done and they’re transformed.
LAC: Would you say that’s part of your creative process? Thinking about how someone will dance to your music?
A: I dance in the studio, if Morgan’s programming something and I’ll be dancing behind him and be like ‘yeah, this makes me dance.’ Sometimes, though… the piano makes me cry (laughs).
LAC: So what’s the best dance move you’ve seen at one of your shows?
A: Probably Morgan’s. You’ve got some really good moves.
T: Erik Tonneson from Holy Ghost! was dancing like a crazy person during our show in Santa Barbara. Like out of his mind…like he was on bath salts.
A: It was beautiful.
M: It’s like a gazelle in the wild.
LAC: Top three disco records?
A: Lists are tough. You know what’s an awesome disco record I found in my record collection? It’s pretty obscure. It’s called Off the Wall by this artist named Michael Jackson (laughs). No, I’m serious though. I forgot about that album…
T: I didn’t, I heard it all the time.
A: I found it in my stack of CDs driving around this summer in my car. Man, favorite? That’s tough.
LAC: Maybe just name one that has been most influential?
A: As a bass player I think a lot of about Bernard Edwards from Chic. He’s amazing. I’ll go with I Want Your Love by Chic.
T: Sparks’ Number 1 Song in Heaven produced by Giorgio Moroder. Every track is nuts—it’s like eight minutes of amazingness.
Morgan: I’ll pick Jones Girls’ Nights over Egypt. Maybe, although it’s not my favorite, I’ve been listening to it a lot lately: Mind Warp by Patrick Cowley. A lot of inspiration has come from that recently.
LAC: What are some of your non-dance music influences?
A: When we’re asked this question my mind goes to a lot of influences outside of music, cause there’s a lot. There a certain things that unite us, that we’re passion about, beyond music, I mean.
M: As far as artists, we all really like Bohannon, we’re all really into The Fatback Band, The Gat Bands, Grace jones, Isley Brothers–the classics, you know? We all listen to a lot of music from all over the world. Salsa, and a lot of Brazilian music. It all kind of falls into the realm of dance music, I guess, so it all has that common ground.
LAC: Have you guys had the chance to go to Brazil yet?
M: Yes! Not to perform [as Midnight Magic]. But Tiffany and I were there 10 years ago. We partied… hard.
T: They know how to live!
LAC: I’ve heard they don’t even start partying until midnight.
T: Oh yeah, we performed at 3:30 in the morning! At Razzmatazz in Barcelona. That was so fun.
A: Just wanted to add, going back to influences, the films of Dario Argento and David Lynch, things like that—these are all things we talk about a lot.
M: The band Goblin has been a huge influence too.
LAC: I was listening to one of your tracks and heard one of the guys on the track saying something about ‘drinking yerba mate.’ I thought it was hilarious. What’re the most ridiculous lyrics in your tracks?
A: ‘Let the honey dip trickle on your stick!’
T: I don’t even know what that means.
M: I know what that means (laughs)
A: ‘Sharing your love with Tiffany’
M: ‘Waves of liquid gold flowing through your world.’
Not too long ago, we had the privilege of catching UK beatsmith Gold Panda at the Fonda Theater. Known for his lush, electronic instrumentation, Gold Panda’s music is a textural treat to the ears.
Playing material from all three of his albums, Gold Panda moved seamlessly from track to track, demonstrating the ability to get the crowd moving to music one would not traditionally deem “dance music.” Though with an undeniably electronic heart, Gold Panda’s music toes the line between ambient, experimental and psychedelic, with a smattering of eclectic influences thrown in. It was only fitting that the accompanying visuals for his show held their own eery-trippy quality, as macro shots of aquatic life swayed and jerked in sync with the chops and drops of the beats.
We were particularly happy to hear tracks like “Marriage” and “You,” though it seemed that night that the audience of dedicated fans all had their own favorites, with each new track spun eliciting its own cheers of recognition. Reflecting on past shows attended, while Gold Panda’s night at the Fonda may not have been the most packed we’ve seen, it was surely the most crowd-involved show we’d seen in a while. Clearly those gathered there that night were genuine fans, and we left that night with a strange gratefulness for the special kind of camaraderie that exists between genuine, unabashed lovers of music.