While Liz Stringer’s release, Warm In The Darkness, may be a few years old she’s still sharing her smooth vocals to captive audiences around Victoria. Liz will take her sweet tunes to Geelong and down the coast for a few one off shows. She took the time out while on the road, to have a chat to Forte about her writing process and what she has planned for the future.
Hi Liz, thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions for Forte Magazine! How has the tour been going so far?
I’m not really touring at the moment, just playing a few shows before I settle in to hopefully record in July. I’m playing quite a few in regional Victoria that I haven’t played before, though, and I’m enjoying it.
It’s quite well known that you get a pretty captive audience at your gigs. How does it feel seeing them respond so well to your music?
They’re not always captive. Some gigs are harder than others to get a real synergy going with the crowd, that’s what makes the gigs where it happens naturally even more special.
You’ve also been likened to Springsteen, how does that feel?
I’m a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I reckoned I was compared to him because we both write narrative style songs. It’s very flattering to be mentioned in the same sentence!
You toured with Mia Dyson a little while back. What was that like? Did she give you any advice?
Mia and I have been friends for a while now. I’ve always looked up to Mia as an artist and professional person. It’s great to find a friend whose opinion you trust and who’s in the same game as you. I’ve learned a lot from her on many levels.
What was it like co-producing Warm In The Darkness with Craig Pilkington?
Pilk is great to work with. We were on the same page as far as how we wanted the record to sound, so it was a pretty easy and flowing experience. I had some issues with my voice when we came to record the vocals, and he handled it really well and managed to get me to a place where I could sing freely again.
Warm in the Darkness is another independent release from you, how important do you think it is for musicians to release things independently?
There are a lot of tools available to musicians now that weren’t a few years ago. An artist can record, release and promote their own work and so, to preserve complete autonomy in the process, it makes sense to do it independently. I have a manager, though, who is also my booker, and I would struggle without that extra support and vision. But I love being an independent artist.
The new release took on a slightly new sound for you, what spurred on the change?
I was just writing songs that needed a slightly different treatment. They were leaning much more in the pop direction, so that’s where I took them with the recording process. There wasn’t anything I could pinpoint that prompted the change, just a subtle change in direction I think.
When writing the album, where did you find inspiration to write your songs?
I find inspiration all over the place. Sometimes it’s books I’ve read or films I’ve seen. Or things I see when I’m out and about. It’s funny what gets stored in your inspiration bank, you can pretty much make a story out of anything.
Did you ever come across writers block? What’s your fix for it?
I go through phases of not writing much. I used to write more six or seven years ago. At first I was worried about the fact that I was writing less, but now my approach is to not worry about it. I’m still writing songs, I might start writing a lot again soon. I just feel like you need to take it as it comes a bit.
You’ve played a few festivals now, do you find the crowd is much different from a more intimate gig?
Festival gigs are great because you’re in front of people that wouldn’t necessarily have heard of you before. I think, in general, festivals are pretty high energy, people are excited about being there for the weekend! But, having said that, I’ve had some really attentive crowds at festivals too. I love playing them.
What’s been your favourite festival to play at?
I just played Bluesfest with Mia Dyson and Jen Cloher. That was pretty amazing. The production was unbelievable.
You’ve got a gig coming up in Portarlington, and have now played Geelong a few times. Are you excited to be back? What do you think of the Geelong crowd?
I always love playing in Geelong and down the coast. It’s nice to be near the ocean! It’s a short drive from Melbourne but a very different atmosphere. Mia, Jen and I had a great gig on a Sunday recently at Beav’s Bar in Geelong. It was a great turnout and a really cool crowd.
Though you’ve just released an album, do you have plans to start another?
I released Warm In The Darkness in 2012. It feels like a lot less months ago than that! I’ve got plans to record again soon, yes. That’s pretty much all I can say, nothing’s locked in yet.
Otherwise, what have you got planned for the future?
I’d like to extend my overseas touring in the States and Europe over the next few years. And try and collaborate with as many great musicians as I can here and overseas.
Thanks again for doing the interview with us Liz, good luck with everything in the future and we might see you at the Portarlington gig!
When&Where: Baby Black Espresso Bar, Bacchus Marsh – June 14; Saints & Sailors, Portarlington – June 21; Main Bar, Ballarat – August 8 and Cimarron B&B, Aireys Inlet – August 30