Get To Know – Lisa/Liza

We Say…

Lisa/Liza is the musical moniker for the music of Liza, pronounced Lisa, Victoria. Liza picked the name to try to prevent confusion around her name, thankfully her music is a lot more successful. 2018 was a big year for Lisa/Liza with the release not just of one of the year’s best EP’s, Barn Coat, but also a second full album, Momentary Glance, which was recorded in collaboration with Efrim Manuel Menuck, of Godspeed! You Black Emperor & Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.

Both of Lisa/Liza’s seemed to showcase different sides of Liza’s songwriting; the more folk orientated Barn Coat alive with finger picked-guitars and clear intimate vocals, while Momentary Glance was even more striking, full of slow-moving, minimalistic and deeply atmospheric pieces. Momentary Glance was also the first Lisa/Liza record to feature both electric guitars and her backing band, the additional scope provided creating a record that seems to mirror its creation in the depth of the brutal Canadian winter. The coldness of the music and weather is mirrored in the records lyrical themes, described by Liza as, “the most difficult time of my life to date”, following a friends suicide, the record serving to represent, “finding strength in showing up for your fears”. Like Josh T.Pearson’s seminal Last Of The Country Gentleman or Joanna Newsom’s Ys, Momentary Glance is a record that seems to revel in taking its time, moving slowly through musical and lyrical ideas, falling into patterns of repetition and fighting its way through the dense darkness to the moments the light shines in. A record that on repeat listens just seems to offer something different every time; a different melody, a different phrase that sticks in your mind and demands you attention. While barely raising its voice, this is a record that simply refuses to be ignored.

They Say…

Photo by Alexa Clavette // Header photo by Philip Andresen

FTR: For those who don’t know who are Lisa/Liza?

Lisa/Liza is essentially the moniker of my various recording and music projects. Most of what I’ve released has been acoustic solo albums, self released bandcamp- kinda things. My first LP came out on Orindal records in 2016 and that was a solo release called “Deserts Of Youth”, but at that time I was also touring as Lisa/Liza with a band of 3. The band became four people in 2017 and we recorded a record in Montreal. So currently Lisa/Liza is both, me solo, and my band project which sounds a good deal different. The members of the band are Devin Ivy (drums, percussion), Jonathan Downs (Guitar), and Pete Swegart (plays many different instruments, and is responsible for the ambient noise and sound collage on the new record!!!) The band name is just my name, which is spelled with a “Z” and pronounced with an “S”. I thought it would somehow make it easier for people to pronounce my name, but it’s actually only caused more confusion. haha. I think I released my first self-released album on bandcamp in like 2012? It’s this one.

My latest record is called Momentary Glance, it was recorded in Montreal by Efrim Menuck, (of Godspeed You Black Emperor) at a studio called Hotel 2 Tango. We recorded it all live in three days. It was very cold and I think we drove through like two blizzards there and back. The album is a collection of newer songs written that year, and songs I had been playing with the band for years. It was really a nice thing to finally be able to get some of the bands tracks on a release of mine because, we’ve been playing together for some time now. It was also my first studio experience, and I really enjoyed having Efrim record us, it was very fun and inspiring to work with such a knowledgeable, and talented individual.

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

I was 18 and I went to see a friend play music at this place in Brooklyn . I don’t really even remember where it was because I remember I got lost on the way there and miraculously found the warehouse. He was playing in a hardcore band with two bassists. I just remember being really bored because I was pretty young, and I was at this DIY show and totally out of my element. I think I like asked him if I could play some songs , and weirdly enough he asked and the host was like “yah do it!” so I got up there and played a set. Everyone sat down and like really intently gave me attention and it was just very surreal and special. I didn’t really even know show spaces like that existed. The first shows that were set up for me, that i didn’t crash or play an open mic were, a show in an apartment in Boston, and a couple shows at bars in NYC. I didn’t really start playing music regularly until later in Portland, Maine.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

I make music, most simply, because I love music. I really enjoy and find joy in listening to it, when I see someone great play live, idk, it’s like a magical feeling that I don’t really receive in many other ways. It feels great to play music as well, because i love it. I find it in many ways to have been profoundly healing to me in a way that many other things have not, i feel inspired by that and it keeps me wanting to continue to create. I also love to write, and the writing and composition aspect of music, is also a passion of mine. Other art forms i don’t really have anything against! haha, i draw, paint, and have taken photos in the past too, they just are more side/ personal projects to me at this point, but also really enjoyable. Music has happened just for some strange reason to get me in front of a group of people, I’m not really sure why, as I have difficulty with public speaking , and social anxiety, but it works for whatever reason and I am grateful to be able to share it.

FTR: What can people expect from the Lisa/Liza live show?

One thing is that I am definitely shy, I’ve been told that I don’t say a lot on stage. I’ll admit, I try to, but it’s not really my strong point to banter. I like to just get up there and play and try to present as well as possible what I’m trying to say in the song. With the band we all sit down kind of in a line and try to just play to each-other as much as, playing to the audience I think. It can be really nice when the audience quiets down to the music, that can happen sometimes and that feels pretty nice as a performer.

FTR: What’s next for Eerie Lisa/Liza?

I’m not really sure! It feels nice to say that I don’t know right now. I’ve been kind of next-stepping it for a while, and I’m excited to put on the brakes a little. I hope to eventually tour with this album, right now I am writing songs-slowly and trying to think about what I’d like my next group of songs to sound like. I’d mostly like to write this Spring and Summer, and not really think too much far ahead of that.

They Listen To…

1. James Blake – Don’t Miss It

2.MorMor – Lost

3.Jessica Pratt-Mother Big River

4. John Prine – Blue Umbrella

5. Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue

Momentary Glance is out now via Orindal Records. Click HERE for more information on Lisa/Liza.

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