As Posted on NeonNettle.com
Neon Nettle’s Exclusive Interview With Lizzie and the Yes Men
Lizzie talks ‘Tarantino pop’ and new EP ‘Walk Alone’
The Hackney-bred band, Lizzie and the Yes Men, have had a busy year full of infectious hit singles. The foursome recently released the title single off their forthcoming EP, ‘Walk Alone’, reviewed by Neon Nettle.
The album, out September 8th, is a testament to their affection for keeping things nice and simple and is shaping up to rock the indie charts.
Neon Nettle sat down with leading singer Lizzie to have a chat about the new EP, why the band feels their music would work in a Tarantino film and the logistics behind forming the band.
NN: You’ve previously described your music as ‘Tarantino Pop”, what does that expression mean to you?
LYM: It means a cinematic sound that would be fitting in a Tarantino movie. Mexicana, desert tones for a movie like Dusk till Dawn or something more 50’s surf or rockabilly for Pulp Fiction, and then throw in a bit of Americana for Kill Bill. Tarantino movies always have such great soundtracks and I guess we find it a fun reference point when writing and recording.
NN: How did you all meet and decide to form the band? Did you all get on well from the start?
LYM: We all live in Hackney, London, and met in various pubs around the east end. The boys didn’t actually know each other, but I knew each of them. I would say they are friends now and get along well, seeing as they meet up regularly outside of practice for a drink and never invite me 😉
NN: What aspects of your life inspire you the most when you are writing your songs?
LYM: Love, isolation and human nature inspire me the most. I’ve not got much faith in mankind and yet I’m always moved by gestures of love and that gives me hope. But I often feel isolated and removed from society and I find writing songs and singing allows me to express some of these emotions.
NN: As Lizzie is responsible for forming the band, writing the music and a lot of the production, did you ever consider going solo? What influenced your decision to stay in a band?
LYM: We actually write the songs together. I often write the lyrics and melodies, but Brenden (guitar) writes songs as well. Everyone writes their own parts and comes up with their own harmony lines. In terms of production, because I started the band I always had a clear vision of how I wanted us to sound and so it makes sense that I should be involved in the production process. I actually really enjoy the final stages of production, the final touches where the song is finally realised and what you had imagined in your head is now a reality.
As for going solo, I think that would limit my possibilities. Right now, this is a set up that allows me to realise a vision in my head. If I were solo it would be more of a challenge to make this happen.
NN: Having spent a lot of your career working with Americans, do you feel as though there are more opportunities in the states for bands like yourselves? What are the main differences between the music industry there and here?
LYM: I don’t know much about the American music industry or whether there are more opportunities in the states. But for a band like ourselves, I think it’s fair to say that we have a more Americana sound than English. So it was assumed that we might be able to reach a wider audience out there, which is how we got signed to a New York label.
NN: As musicians working independently without backing from a major label, if the opportunity arose would you choose to switch to a major label? Or would you consider there to be too many restrictions on your creative control?
LYM: I get asked this a lot and the answer is very easy. I would definitely switch to a major label, as long as the creative vision was shared and I could see in writing that this vision would be honoured. If not, it would be too risky and I might end up in a situation where I’m truly embarrassed by the music I’m forced to release. More money can really help you reach new creative heights that you didn’t imagine possible; at the same time, it can destroy them.
NN: What is your favourite track from the EP and why?
LYM: ‘Walk Alone’. I really felt I got somewhere emotionally on this track that I’ve not been able to achieve before. A close second is ‘Chrome Youth’ because I don’t sing on it, so I get to sit back and enjoy the music rather than over analyse my voice.
NN: Do you consider yourselves to be alternative? How do you feel about that term?
LYM: Not really. We write songs that have a verse and chorus structure; we sing words and melodies and we play traditional instruments. Doesn’t seem very alternative to me. I like the term, but it has to be used carefully when describing music.
NN: What’s next for Lizzie and the Yes Men?
LYM: We are not sure. We were planning to record an album, but that really depends on funding. Only time will tell. If money were no object I would have a long list here. Realistically, writing and recording is a priority and we will work very hard to make this happen.
NN: What would your advice be to other aspiring musicians looking to start a band?
LYM: Read a book called “Kill Your Friends” by John Niven before embarking on a career in the music industry.
Fans of alternative pop can also check out my interviews with Lewisburg and The Airplane Boys: