Born in England but raised in Australia, Lisa Mitchell first grabbed our attention in 2006 when she finished 6th in Australian Idol. After signing on to the English publishing company, Little Victories in 2008, Mitchell moved back to England to master her talents. A decade later and Mitchell is a well respected talent in the international music scene. Before the release of her highly anticipated 3rd studio album, Warriors, we had a chat with Mitchell to find out what we should expect from the latest installment of her musical odyssey.
Let’s start with ‘The Boys’. It’s the first song we’ve heard from you since ‘Wah ha’ a couple years back and it’s still got the Lisa Mitchell voice that we know and love. But the signature piano and guitar seems to be missing. Does this mark the beginning of a change in trajectory for the musical stylings of Lisa Mitchell?
Hehe… I do love skipping around… Changing form… It keeps me fresh and inspired. I have folk roots. They are deep and essential to my song-writing, but I will always have that. Right now, it’s 2016 and the colour palette is great! Why would I pass up that opportunity? Eric J Dubowsky, who produced this album, is at that ‘helm’, if you will…
‘The Boys’ does have more of a retro-pop and electro vibe to it. Can we expect more of the same on the rest of Warriors?
The album does have more of an electronic feel and a bit of a sassy retro-look-back colour to it. Eric and I were influenced by 80’s style production à la Dev Hynes and also we loved listening to 90’s style pop in the vein of The Lemonheads and Sixpence None the Richer…
You have teamed up with Eric J for this record, a producer who’s no stranger to working with well-known Australian artists such as Flume, Meg Mac, Chet Faker. What sort of influence did he have on the songs on Warriors?
Eric J and I worked closely on this album. I came with the songs, he came with the sass. With his new frame, his new way of seeing. It is a super challenging part of the cycle, this stage, where you let someone else in (to produce) right at the end… After you’ve lived with these private stories for so long. But Eric charmed his way in, charmed his way all through it, and I dig what we made.
We know Eric J is more inclined to favour modern pop and electro where you tend to find your inspiration in older folk stylings. How easy was it to find a happy medium between you two?
Yes, there was a bit of a good-war happening between us! I was always recoiling into the story, the essence, the quietness, the messiness, the humanity and he was always pulling at us to be more open, to let others in, asking for more sign-posts, adding more light adding more beat. Polishing and preening. I loved the irony of it.
We understand that this album is based on your childhood. Being thrust into the music scene at the early age of 16, you were surely exposed to some daunting realities of the music business. How important is it for you to reflect on a time before being a recognised Australian artist?
I hold close to my heart my childhood, as most do of course… It has a special weight to it, like a sterling silver pendant placed in your hand… My teenage self, wide-eyed and full of dreams feels present in this album. I like thinking about ‘her’, who she was, who was pinned on her inspiration boards, which posters she had on her wall, who she listened to… It is fascinating, no? To remember who you were before you left your nest, your family, and ventured out into the world…
You’ve also mentioned an interest in who the 15 year old Lisa Mitchell would have pinned up on her inspiration board. For the 26 year old you, who is most likely to feature on your inspiration board?
My 26-year-old inspiration board goes something like this; Julie Andrews, the Australian bush, JK Rowling, Tim Burton, Seth Godin, Joan Baez, St Vincent, Starhawk (an earth-based spirituality author) Vandana Shiva (a seed-scientist and activist) and artist, Vali Myers.
Here at The Wandering Lamb we’re always interested in what artists are listening to at the moment. Can you give us some insight into the music which helped shape your new album? Or possibly even someone who you’re just happy jamming to at the moment.
I’m loving listening to Leon Bridges for relaxing to, BUOY for heart-opening vibes and Mariee Sioux for some mind-smiling Americana folk… 🙂 x
Warriors will be released Friday 14th October
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
Photography by Ryan Kenny