Music Music interviews

Songs that got lost along the way: Interview with Lisa/Liza.

I have always thought of Liza Victoria aka Lisa/Liza as a gentle soul. (I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her on two previous occasions.) Her soft and sensitivity voice teamed together with her musicianship as a guitarist suggests a maturity that belies her years. With four albums to her credit, Victoria’s heartfelt folk lyrics often tackle a tangled web of issues like depression, illness, anxiety, self-acceptance, grief and loss. And through it all, she has created this wonderful space which feels therapeutic. More recently, I was surprised to discover Victoria released a collection of unreleased songs which in her musical endeavours somehow “got lost along the way”. By giving these songs a little home on her five song EP Songs Bloom, listeners are treated to something a little more “offbeat” and “raw” than her previous work. Personally, I took the opportunity to say hello to Liza. Here is some of what we talked about.

Liza, it’s been a while, some two years since we last caught up for a chat. How have you been? Are you still living just out of Portland? 

It has! I live about an hour & change away from Portland. I’ve been living in a town called Wayne, Maine since the pandemic.

What is the biggest change you have experienced over these past few years?

Gosh it’s hard to say, the last few years I’ve experienced some of the realest changes in my life. One big change amongst many has been moving from the city to the country-side.

I lived in Portland for 10+ years.  Interpersonally, there’s also been many adjustments and life changes, maybe too overwhelming to begin to think of them all.

Previously we have touched on the idea how your songwriting is very much a meditative process or form of cathartic release for you. Are you still very much inspired by your own experiences and the open spaces of Maine? 

Yes, still very much inspired in this way.  I live in rural Maine now, so it’s even more a part of my life now to walk in the woods, and go on hikes, as  a mental health tool.

The last time we spoke we were all in a forced break with lockdowns and covid. Have you returned to the exciting charm of live shows since then?

I have! I’ve been playing a little more this (second) half of the year. It’s just started to feel like it’s a little more natural for me again to play live. For a long time,every other show was getting canceled because of Covid. It’s nice to be back. It’s a very nice feeling to come back and play music, and to be able to,   it feels very fun and healing. Aspects of returning feel like discovering a love for live music all over again.

Your life’s journey has very much been infused into your music. Last year you released a wonderful melancholic track called Rose Petals which looks at the idea of finding solace during turmoil. Was it a direct response to the pandemic? 

It wasn’t a direct response to the pandemic exactly. My experience I put into that song, had more to do with unknown chronic illness, and the experience that came with dealing with that. The pandemic made that much harder and more difficult.  Processing that, alongside my working on my mental health, created that song, which was very honest in trying to recognize where I was at emotionally.

Liza, you recently called your latest Ep Songs Bloom, “A collection of unreleased songs that got lost along the way”. Why are they important to you? And why did you choose to share them?

I think they are important to me because they sort of showed me that I kept working on music specifically, through a lot of interpersonal difficulty and struggle. It would have been fine not to,  which made me realize how much  this stuff is part of myself , that really grounds me.

Even in moments where it’s not about sharing it, or playing live, it helps me to have this tool to process things. These songs kind of represent, really singing through some very real things, and I was struck by them in that way, and felt it was important to share them, just to say “see” “keep going”. And I also felt they kind of offered to my audience what I needed to share in the moment, something vulnerable, but a little more carefree of its reception.

You have described these unreleased songs as a little more offbeat and raw. Your beautiful vocals seem even more softer than usual, even sonically there is a laid-back ease and charm to them. That said, you seemingly have this uncanny knack of writing songs that seem like they are exactly what we need to hear at any moment in time. Is that a fair assessment? Can you also elaborate a little about their offbeat nature? 

Aww that is very kind! Thank you.  Haha, it is nice to hear  that you feel  my music can reach people in that way. It feels like a very vulnerable process for me, and this EP was especially that way, in that it wasn’t curated and thrown together over years, as say a record would be. The songs were really pretty lo-fi,  and then my friend Matt Bachman mastered  them, and did a great job in, only adding to that feeling.Matt’s support, also inspired me to have the courage to release these songs.

Even though you have said you likely won’t play these songs in a live setting, which song do you feel an audience would connect with the most? And why? 

I love this question! Maybe Flower Moon and Pretty Sign. I think those songs have a very simple flow to them, that would be nice in a live setting.

You recently shared with me that you will have a new album coming out next Spring. What can we expect to hear lyrically and sonically or is it too early to say?

Haha, not too early! Well, I think what I hoped to capture was captured, and for me, I’m feeling very glad about that. It’s really an album that for me expresses a little more joy in its vibe than the last ones,- I think in a way like sunlight breaking through a heavy winter, but  it is  about hope to me.

I’m curious about your forthcoming recording process for the new album. When you have generally written a song, do you live with it for a while taking it in, maybe a few months or even a year, before you actually record it? Or do you immediately know that you have nailed it? 

In the past with songs from my band for example, I waited years to record songs.  A lot of songs I write on my own and the way I write now,  it’s very much one motion. Sometimes I might take more time to see how it works out live before recording. I am hoping in my next record to be more experimental in the recording process and writing process, it’s probably my favorite part, so I might as well take more time with it.

Finally before we say goodbye for now. Liza, the last word is yours.

Thank you Robert. I appreciate getting to share these thoughts about my music with you. And always appreciate your questions.  I am so happy that “Songs Bloom” EP was something you connected with! Cheers!

Lisa/Liza’s latest release Songs Bloom is available via Bandcamp. For more on Lisa/Liza, including tour and music updates, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

1 comment on “Songs that got lost along the way: Interview with Lisa/Liza.

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