Music Features

Lisa Mitchell (Interview)

Earlier this month saw the first taste of music from former Australian Idol star Lisa Mitchell's third studio album, Warriors.  Due for release in October in Australia, and elsewhere in 2017, the album was produced by the legendary Eric J Dubowsky, a previous collaborator with artists such as The Chemical Brothers, Flume and Chet Faker.  Lisa took some time out to talk to No Ripcord about his influence on her sound, also discussing her current music tastes, and touring Cornwall in winter...

Is lead single The Boys a good indication of the general mood and feel of your new album?  The instrumentation certainly sounds different to that on your previous releases.

Albums are so influenced by their producer, and Warriors is no different.  I chose to work with Eric J Dubowsky because I liked the idea of a contrast of our spheres, mine being these very personal private stories (the songs), mainly guitar or piano-based, and Eric's being his huge depth of experience in the studio, from being Rick Rubin’s engineer to becoming a successful mix-engineer to now making a name for himself as an incredibly in-demand producer in his own right.

How did you decide on the album title?

Warriors is also the name of one of the songs on the album, which was inspired by my growing-up in the country outside Melbourne, Australia.  It is a study of the staunch independence and a clan-behavior of us 'country kids' that being 'far away' bred in us.

How did Eric J Dubowsky get involved with the project?

Eric was introduced to me by my label, Warner.  I did a day with him and worked on a song, Love, Death X which is on the album, and decided it was a good fit.  There was a simple-ness to it, a ‘you’re here, I’m here, there’s a vibe, lets go!

All of your EPs and albums prior to Warriors have been produced by Dann Hume of Evermore.  How did working with a different producer impact on your experience of creating this album compared to your previous works, did the process feel very different?

Dann Hume and I both made our first forays into our respective crafts with my first EP; his in production, mine in being an artist.  Oddly though, it felt very natural to me that our season had ended, and it was time to open up to other worlds.  I’m sure we’ll work together again, though.  In terms of the recording process with Eric, I really wanted to experiment with what it was like to be open to what he wanted to bring.  I know that might sound like a given.  But you must remember, I am bringing my own personal stories that maybe only 3 people have heard, into this new place and working with someone who I’ve only just met.  It is a total exercise in trust to not micro-manage an entire album process.  But in letting go a bit, I found the real creativity started to bleed in. 

Earlier in the year, you did a winter mini-tour of Cornwall, UK with dates in three relatively small Cornish towns.  It's fairly unusual for an international artist to tour small venues in Cornwall, especially in winter.  How did the idea for the tour come about?

It seemed that it was unusual for anyone to be in Cornwall in Winter.  (laughs)  No, the shows were sweet!  Cosy and good turn-outs, really worth doing.  I took my little tape-player down with me as my ‘drummer’ and acoustic guitar, so it was very relaxed and real.  My boyfriend came with me so it was just the two of us on the road.  At one venue it became very apparent after the first two songs that this bar was the local friday-night-get-pissed place.  I could see the people who had come to watch me straining to hear over the chaos (as I was!) and so I picked up my tape-player, told everyone who wanted to listen to follow me, and played the rest of my songs to two dozen people in the empty restaurant next door.

Did you enjoy being out on the road again in Australia last week with GROUPLOVE?

The GROUPLOVE shows in Australia were really special.  They are such open-hearted artists, and so their audience were similar; friendly, up-for-it and a really sweet crowd to open for. 

Often for artists, the next step after announcing an album release is to announce tour dates so...can we expect some tour dates before too long??

I actually just announced my Australian tour for October!  Feels great to be working towards a show again.  I am looking forward to coming over to the UK and US next year and spending some time over there with you lot too. ; )

If you were to pick one place you'd like to tour where you haven't already done so, where would that be?

I’d love to spend some time playing music in South America.  Also, Hawaii…  That’s two...!

And finally, which artists are you enjoying listening to at the moment? Is there anyone you'd be interested in collaborating with in future?

At the moment I am listening to BUOY’s EP [Break] that just came out.  She is magic, I really want her to support me in October in Australia...!  Montaigne, another Sydney artist, just released an album [Glorious Heights], which I adore.  I’d love to collaborate with other artists in the future, not sure who yet…  Perhaps an Indian singer…  I am pretty into that world…  I love Celtic music too, being half Scottish, so there’s that world as well…  

Our thanks to Lisa for taking the time to answer our questions.  As mentioned at the top of this article, Lisa's album Warriors is due for release later in the year in Australia, and early next year in the UK and US.  For details of her October 2016 Australian tour dates, check out her Facebook page.