Lydia Loveless is an Indestructible Machine: An Interview
ELM:I read in your press kit that you grew up in a “weird” town. What was weird about it?
LL: It was small and rural and stuffy.
ELM: I noticed in the first couple tracks off your record, you seem to almost be singing against the music, rather than with a melody created by the music. Can you tell me more about that?
LL: I’m not sure what that means, but I hear it a lot. I didn’t think many people besides Black Sabbath could get away with singing a melody created by the music, hahaha. I guess I write music to melody, and not the other way around, so the melody is more important to me.
ELM: On a similar note, your vocal phrasing is unique. Do you have any vocal role models/inspirations?
LL: I pretty much learned to sing by singing along to Ace of Base and Fiona Apple. They were big inspirations to me. But I can’t really mimic people’s voices, so I don’t usually try.
ELM: Has Steve Earle responded to your song about him? (Side note: I once attended a benefit concert where he played, and apparently his only backstage demand was diet Dr. Pepper. Is that not cool?)
LL: Ha, funny. I don’t think he has heard it, no. I think originally I thought
it would be funny if he did but now I’m kind of wondering if he wouldn’t be
a little weirded out.
ELM: You also mentioned in your press kit that Britney Spears has been an influence on you. How does that manifest?
LL: She inspired me because I was 8 when she blew up, and I thought it was really cool that people could perform music for a living. She put the idea in my head before I was ever a musician.
ELM: “How Many Women” is a great feminist anthem. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
LL: I have never thought of it that way, but that’s funny. I do consider myself a feminist, but not so much the modern definition.
ELM: How many instruments do you play?
LL: I play bass, guitar and a little bit of piano.
ELM: Can you walk me through your songwriting process?
LL: I get a melody or theme first. Then I try to write as many lyrics as I can before delving into the guitar parts, although sometimes I will just fiddle around with something on guitar. I am not much of a guitarist, though, so that usually doesn’t happen. I try to work somewhat quickly before the emotions leave the song though.
ELM:Do you ever co-write with others?
LL: I have worked on/written songs with Todd May, my friend/guitar player. I do not do much co-writing though, as it makes me a little nervous. I’m getting better about that lately,
ELM: Do you have a favorite song on the record?
LL: Learn to Say No
ELM: How did you get signed to Bloodshot?
LL: My manager has connections to them through a couple different people. My memory fails me with the exact sequence of things, but I believe it was his cousin who sent them my music.
Nan wrote to me the following day, and then they came to see us a couple months later at SXSW. We kept in contact for a year before we worked out a deal in January 2011.
ELM: How long have you been performing? What were your early days like?
LL: I have been performing since I was 13. I played bass for a band called Carson Drew, and then about 2 years later I began writing and performing my own music. My early days were probably pretty obnoxious, full of songs about Zack Morris and AC Slater and hating men and women, hahaha.
ELM: Who are your favorite writers?
LL: John Steinbeck, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, and Mary Karr, off the top of my head.
ELM: If you could raise awareness of any social cause, what would it be?
LL: Getting celebrities to part with their moldy money instead of telling other people to do it through social awareness.