Lizette Lizette in the Void - photo: Izabella Englund (Instagram)
Brought to earth to slay norms wherever necessary, Lizette Lizette (Facebook) caught our ears and eyes with a number of singles leading up to the full length album 'Queerbody' (Bandcamp) in 2017.
Gifted with a uniquely gorgeous voice and expressive style, Lizette Lizette's new 2019 album 'Non' (Bandcamp) is a precious gem with facets evermore interesting to uncover.
Lizette's story is one for which artists will be inspired, with a fascinating collection of work to discover, all created in a fabulous signature fashion.
A-F: Welcome Lizette! Thank you for having this chat. My first listen to your music was when I fell in love with the track 'Rest' feat. Nicklas Stenemo (YouTube) via exposure to the Johan Palm - Rest Remix (SoundCloud). That track was on a repeat playlist for much of 2018. Such a cool remix with I'm assuming guitar work by Johan Palm (YouTube) himself? How did you come to work with Johan on QueerBody Remixes and how collaborative was the development of the remix?
LL: I met him at a party in 2016 and we quickly became friends. We also started doing music together that summer, so it felt kinda natural to ask him to remix something from Queerbody. I gave him total creative freedom cause I really love his unreleased music and knew that whatever he’ll do, it would be amazing. It’s funny, because we both auditioned for the Swedish idol in 2008, before knowing each other. He became the big star of that season, and I got rejected and made a total fool of on national tv.
A-F: Let's talk about your new full length release 'Non' (Bandcamp). I first heard the album on earbuds while taking a Lyft to A-F studio. Listening felt like my subconscious was getting a big hug from a relatable friend with an amazing story to share, just kept getting better. Upon arrival I switched to a set of monitors and the tracks just came alive, I was hooked. Days later I was obsessed. It's such a welcome surprise when a new album delivers such immediate enjoyment. How did you feel when you heard the completed record? Have you had a chance to listen much outside of your recording process, maybe in a club or car stereo?
LL: I’ve listened to it everywhere since we completed it in April last year. I’ve played it to all of my friends, at parties and while casually hanging out. So it feels kinda unreal that it’s actually now released for everyone to hear cause me and my friends have had it available for almost a year.
A-F: I noticed your past collaborator on the track 'Fuck It Up' (YouTube) Gabriel Wagnberg (Bio) of 'Peta and the Wolves' (SoundCloud) and 'Alatus' (SoundCloud) is the producer of Non. How did the choice to work together again come about? What are some of your favorite things about working with Gabriel?
Lizette & Gabriel 'Fuck It Up' ('Fuck It Up' video)
LL: Me and Gabriel also met at a party, in 2014. A mutual friend (that had nothing to do with the party) had that very same day recommended him to look me up and see if we could collaborate, cause he really thought we would hit it off. So it felt kinda destined that we would meet, but that very same day was kinda hardcore. Since the very start we really creatively connected and we had so much fun while doing it. Ever since I’ve admired all of his work, he is such a genius to me. I respected his work so much that I didn’t even wanna bother him without being able to compensate him for it. And last year I had the possibility to do it so I asked him if he wanted to produce my new album. Once again the creativity flourished, we really share the same taste and references so it’s so easy. Since then he’s also become my drummer and my dancer, and we just wanna continue writing and producing together indefinitely.
A-F: The first track off Non 'Junk' is such a great introduction to the album. One can empathize with the story portrayed, I’m reminded of individuals who commit themselves to art outside established culture and the need to recognize and celebrate sacrifices made to pursue music. Could you tell us more about your inspiration and how this track came to be?
LL: It started as a Kite-demo that my partner Nicklas played for me. I can’t stand him throwing all these amazing songs he writes away, so you can say that I’m a savior of Kite-demos haha!
From the beginning it’s about him getting burned out, loosing all his inspiration. But when I took it on, I changed the angle to self hatred and destructive mind loops. Something I relate to quite much.
A-F: I'm a massive fan of Nicklas Stenemo (Instagram) and the band Kite (Bandcamp), your past collaboration on the aforementioned track 'Rest' was epic! How does your relationship with Nicklas affect your creative life these days?
LL: Just like Gabriel, Nicklas is also a creative soulmate of mine. I’m so blessed to have both of them in my life and to have the luxury to work with them. Since Nicklas has been burned out I don’t want to bother him too much, but I always value his opinions whenever I play him a demo or production. He inspires me a lot, and I think I might inspire him a bit too. We complement each other quite well.
A-F: Amazing! The music you're creating brings such inspiration, happiness and importantly connects with us at times we need it most! We have a mission to celebrate creative individuality all while supporting just this type of collaborative culture. Such an effective countermeasure to negative systems at play in our societies today.
I've been interested to talk with you about the track 'Obey' along with the title track 'Non' which convey a message of defiance to established social expectations and labels. Are you finding a sense of freedom and satisfaction with expression through art and music?
LL: I used to have all this darkness accumulated inside of me when I was a kid. I was secretly struggling and hiding my emotions from traumatic experiences and extreme loneliness. When I first started to express that through my clothes, makeup and music... it felt so, so good. What a relief. Not hiding anything anymore, but expressing it in any way I could think of creatively, so EVERYONE finally could see. I’ve learned so much through all these years of struggling on my own, being declined by every record label I’ve ever approached... declined by most of the businesspeople I’ve ever approached. I’m lucky I have this entrepreneurial side and been able to do all this on my own.
"The void is about alienation, about rejection and never getting accepted by society and people in general."
A-F: The track 'Void' is a standout to me and one of my favorites. It’s also accompanied by a wonderful music video (YouTube). There’s a simplistic beauty to this track so well captured in the video. Can you tell us more about the Void and how we might visit there? How did your video concept come about?
The 'Butcher Queen' performs (Lizette Lizette 'Void' video)
LL: The void is about alienation, about rejection and never getting accepted by society and people in general. It’s a plea from the small child in me that just wants to get some love and approval.
Before we even started producing this album I had a vision of wanting it all to sound like a pool, bubble bath and a sea. So that naturally became the visual vision too. And of course, I always include my best friend and muse “Butcher Queen” in all my videos.
"My idea was to create a sound as if 'Enya went to Berghain'"
A-F: Sound design on the album is brilliant and makes just the right moves a listener might desire. What do you attribute to the success of the more developed signature sounds throughout the album? Could you describe the process in finding instrumentation for the album?
LL: This time I had a profound idea and vision before making the album. So we had a concept to stick to. My idea was to create a sound as if “Enya went to Berghain”. I wanted to combine that airy new age sound with a clubby beat and heavy bass.
A-F: It’s always interesting that listeners can recall a distinctive sound so easily. I've already seen mention of a classic track in reference to 'Obey'. Is the Enya-esque 'orchestral-hit' sound sampled, sound design, or derived from a classic synthesizer?
LL: Actually Gabriel created that synth sound from scratch, he is amazing at construction his own sounds. It’s very impressive!
A-F: What besides vocals do you tend to gravitate to as a main instrument when writing? Are you interested in synthesizers, classical keyboards, guitar?
LL: I always write songs in Propellerheads ”Reason”, I love their sounds. It always starts off with a base to build a framework, then I add a pad and some drums. The main thing I wanna do while writing a song is to create an atmosphere.
A-F: What advice would you give new artists looking to the possibility of creating music as a gateway to expressing themselves?
LL: My advice would be; There is no such thing as being “discovered” by a major record label. They are all struggling big time, and they belong to the twentieth century. They are ONLY looking for a sure income, therefore they mass copy Justin Bieber or Ariana Grande in absurdity and then go on “to the next thing”. You don’t wanna be there, caught in a slave contract. NEVER apply to Idol, X-factor or those kind of shows either, it rarely has a positive outcome in the long run.
A-F: Sound advice, it's such a complex moment in history for artists, new possibilities are sprouting up every day. What else have you found to be effective ways one can get the help, are there any specific services you'd recommend out there?
LL: If you wanna have the freedom to look and sound like YOU want - do it on your own, it’s the future. Learn how to produce and write on your own, if you can't do it all find a friend to collab with. Release it through a distribution service, like RecordUnion (recordunion.com) or Spinnup (spinnup.com), it’s easier than logging into Facebook. Do the PR on your own or ask a friend for help. I’ve learned that the more times you message journalists the more likely they are to respond so hang in there. Also find a mentor, someone older that has some experience - it’s very rewarding getting their advice and support. And one last thing - give it time, time is the key. Be patient and have trust that it all will fall into a perfect place in time. Don’t get too rushed, this just makes stupid decisions. If you are consistent good business people will find you sooner or later, never rush into anything. Be careful with who you work with, and ALWAYS read the contract and also have a lawyer read it.
A-F: Have you any future plans to perform shows in the US to promote Non? Any new remixes or videos in the works? What are your plans for 2019?
LL: I would love to. I’ve been craving New York for quite some time now, it’s my favorite city in the whole world, I feel very at home there. BUT, since I am a poor independent artist I need to find a way to finance that. It’s not cheap to get artist visas for three people and then provide for their traveling, accommodation and food for that time. But I dream of being able to solve that somehow, maybe some day.
A-F: We’ll do our best to get the message out! Lizette thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. Lizette Lizette will continue to be a favorite at A-F, we can’t wait to get a vinyl LP of Non on our turntable. We would also love to have you in-studio sometime to perform a track or two. The invitation is always open!
LL: Thank you, I would love to! I’ll let you know when I’m on my way :-)
Find more at: http://www.lizettelizette.com