Ahead of Lisa Crawley's New Zealand tour which is making its way toAuckland's Tuning Fork this Friday 13th November, I caught up with Lisa for a chat about her brand new EP, Up In The Air, before she made the journey home from across the ditch.
"Firstly, there is the major restriction of money," Crawley laughed when asked about her decision in releasing an EP rather than a follow up album to her 2013 'All In My Head' record. "It also just seemed like a good thing to do," she admits. "I've been living in Melbourne for a little while now and I'm still in the process of meeting different people so I didn't really know what I was going to do with this collection of songs in the beginning. But it just felt like it was time to get something new out and get more established in Australia with a new release, so I was probably just a little bit impatient," she truthfully added with a laugh. "I do like the idea of doing a full album, but so often now, people only hear songs as songs - if they're streaming stuff, so I thought, well maybe it's okay to do an EP because that's pretty common for a lot of artists these days."
Listening to the EP in full, you'll hear a slightly more electronic sound throughout a number of the tracks, especially lead single and title track, Up In The Air, which showcases a darker sound and deeper vocals from Crawley.
When asked what inspired this new musical direction, Crawley explained, "Partially just the songs as they were. I was pretty open production wise as to how they would sound and Ryan Ritchie (producer) and I just tried a number of different sounds when working on all the tracks."
"What I do best is just piano and vocals which is what I normally start off with, but for Up In The Air I began by mucking around on logic audio at home and I just came out with that demo. I had been listening to lots of dramatic music I suppose, but as long as I didn't lose my sound, which is really just my voice, I was happy to try out all of the new ideas Ryan put forward. I think being in a new country and trying different things has been good for me," Crawley cheerfully added.
In terms of inspiration, "Simon Sweetman was pretty bang on with his review of the EP," Lisa admits. "I did listen to some of Lana Del Rey's string arrangements for the Up In The Air song, but I haven't actually heard a whole heap of her music. It's funny because he said the second song [Is There Something Wrong?] started off sounding a bit like Amy Mann and I thought, 'yeah, I really do like her', but not many people know her. I love The National too, but I don't think anyone would pick that when listening to my songs," she confessed. "It basically just comes down to what I listen to all the time which is a lot of older music and orchestrations from old 60s music and what not," Crawley explained.
"I definitely wanted to play around with using different parts of my voice on this EP as it has gotten quite a lot lower over the past few years, but I've never really experimented with that in my previous recordings, it's always just sat in the middle the whole time, so I really enjoyed doing that."
"It's probably Up In The Air and Safe and Sound which are the most different sounding songs on the whole EP," Crawley exclaimed as we discussed each of the songs. "I wrote Mayday with a good friend of mine a long time ago and first performed it live in London eight years ago, but we didn't really do anything with it back then so I thought I'd pull it out again," she explained.
Moving on to discuss the music scene in Melbourne, Crawleycheerfully announced, "There are so many venues to play in here it kind of blows my mind the number of places there are. There's a lot of artists who play quite regularly and still manage to get good crowds but I tend to do about one gig a month with my band. I watch a lot of music though," she chuckled. "A lot of my friends do the country-folk type music, more like the scene that Marlon Williams is dominating in at the moment, but I'm slowly meeting more people involved in all different genres at live shows and people overall are very respectful," she added.
"There's so many gigs here that some venues give you a guarantee where you play two sets rather than having a door charge, which is quite a different way of doing things that also makes it challenging when you do want to put a door charge on, because there's so much free music and choice, why would you go to a gig where you have to pay?" Crawley explained. "But I'm starting to get more people along that I don't know, which is a good sign, I guess!" she laughed.
Despite basing herself in Melbourne, Crawley has been back and forth between Australia and New Zealand numerous times throughout the year for both private functions and a tour with Greg Johnson earlier this year. When asked what she's most looking forward to about coming back home Crawley, between chuckles of laughter jokingly replied, "I was going to say BurgerFuel, but I had it just the other day.. obviously it's all about seeing my friends and sharing my new music though," she added, with a slighter sense of seriousness to her answer. "I haven't done my own show here for a while and I've never played the Tuning Fork so I'm really looking forward to that and just being back in my favourite place!" she added excitedly. "
"The Auckland show will have my full band team together who I cannot wait to play with! At this stage all of the other shows will be solo performances, so that makes the Auckland show extra special! Lisa exclaimed, adding, "then it's back to tour Australia in December!"
Thursday November 5 - Darkroom, Christchurch
Friday November 6 - Taste Merchants, Dunedin
Saturday November 7 - The Sherwood, Queenstown
Wednesday November 11 - Cabana, Napier
Thursday November 12 - Meow, Wellington
Friday November 13 - Tuning Fork, Auckland
Sunday November 15 - Leigh Sawmill, Leigh
Thursday November 19 - Nirvara Lounge, Hamilton