September 2002 - Lisa Loeb: a new label for Lisa!
source:The Female Musician
Conducted by Theresa J. Orlando
On February 26 2002, Lisa Loeb's "Cake & Pie" CD was released through a division of Interscope Records. A label shift is currently happening with Lisa which has caused me to add a few more questions to the original interview that was conducted on June 27, but not yet previously published. Here you will still find the June interview (which refers to Cake & Pie) in its original form and two more additional updated questions which lead off the interview. These were answered by Lisa on August 28, 2002. As it was explained, Lisa will re-release "Cake & Pie" under a new name "HELLO LISA", which must have something to do with her passion for Hello Kitty. "Hello Lisa" will feature new additional tracks and tour dates under the wing of the New York based independent label Artemis Records.

August 28 Update!

[FM] Within the same year as the release of "Cake and Pie" you have yet again made another label change to Artemis Records. What led you to the new move?

[LL] I decided to move to Artemis Records because they are a small boutique label with people who have major label experience running the label. This label focuses more on how to sell the music that I am making and fully support my creative vision. Although they lack the funds of a larger label, they will hopefully make up for it with a more creative approach to marketing. I think I'll be able to make more music and release CD's more frequently.

[FM] What can fans expect from you with the release of HELLO LISA?

[LL] Fans can expect to hear some new tracks, a new song order, and cool new artwork. The fans will (hopefully) be more satisfied because I'll be able to make more music. Also, I think it will make it easier for me to tour.

June 27, 2002 FM Interview:

[FM] How was Cake & Pie recorded? digitally/tape? Did you use Pro Tools?

[LL] The album Cake & Pie was recorded on many formats. The work that I did with Dweezil Zappa at Bitch Stevenson Sound was done primarily on DA-88, work I did with David Reitzas was done on Pro Tools and on Analog tape, other work was done on Sony Digital Tape, and in France we used A-Dats. We also used Pro Tools for some editing, comping, and in conjunction with mixing.

[FM] The big buzz is you've been baking cakes on stage... eh? Sounds yummy....But is there enough for everyone?

[LL] We didn't make cakes, but Dweezil and I did make pies on stage with the help of my friend, Mark Tarbell, a chef from Arizona who also owns and runs two restaurants, Tarbell's and Barmouche. There is enough of the pie for the serious fans, and for the other fans we provided brownies or other sweets.

[FM] In 1993 ,you were the only unsigned artist ever to have a number one single. Then you signed to Geffen, which merged into A&M which are both divisions of Interscope. During the Geffen Universal/A&M/Interscope/ transition, and your 5 year hiatus from releasing, did you ever get the urge to release this CD independently again?

[LL] Just wait. We have some plans to stop working with a large commercial label and move onto something that makes more sense. Not completely independently, but with a smaller label that focuses more on music. We'll talk more about that when it is set in stone.

[FM] Explain the desired vocal sound that your Audio Technica AE3300 brings you...

[LL] This mike, like the AKG C-12 brings a great rich depth to the representation of my voice combined with a great airy high end. It lets the voice breath without adding extra bass or crispiness on the top. These qualities make it easier for me to hear and feel my voice and my pitch in the headphones while I'm singing.

[FM] Explain your love for acting.....

[LL] I studied acting, growing up in Dallas and at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Acting is another art form in which I can express yourself, or a story through someone else's creation. I enjoy it. I've been focusing so much on getting my album out that I haven't had enough time to dedicate to acting and all of the work that it involves. Hopefully in the future there will be more time and opportunity.

[FM] Do you have any favorite music web sites?

[LL] No, I don't really look at music web sites that much. I like the Peavey site- we have a cool contest going on right now with Peavey. You can win over $20,000 of gear- a whole PA system, a pink version of the Wiggy amplifier- a cool new amp that Dweezil Zappa designed with Peavey, and also some cash to come see me play in concert. Pretty cool. Otherwise, I spend time on the computer looking up the weather, checking out cookie recipes, and checking e-mail.

[FM] Tell us about your relationship with your Taylor 512-C?

[LL] I love my Taylor guitar. My primary 512-C is actually a custom version that I bought at Matt Umanov guitars in NYC. Matt had a guitar made with a thinner neck, a cutaway, & gold tuners. The guitar has excellent action (unless I don't pay attention to the extreme dryness and humidity changes when I travel) and the cutaway allows me to play things high up on the neck. Also, in the studio, because of it's smaller body size, I get better definition with the notes and chords I'm playing and we don't have problems with boominess. The guitar sound can be shaped more with the mic placement and EQ instead of being problematic.

[FM] What is your favorite track on this release and why?

[LL] My favorite track on the release - that's a hard question. I think that I really like "Everyday" at the moment. It was a moment in time. I had just finished the final details writing the song with Randy Scruggs- it was a song that I had been writing, and he helped me finish it. We went immediately into Conway studio in Los Angeles, and Dave Reitzas was engineering. My drummer from my band, Ronny Crawford, Lee Sklar, Jim Cox, Randy Scruggs, and I played the song live. Most of the recording that you hear is really a live, in-studio performance with the energy of the moment. I don't mean to be hippie-dippy, but it is very special to capture that kind of performance. Later we added harmonies and a few other things.

[FM] You are learning to speak in a few different languages.. How is that working out? Do you suggest other singers should try?

[LL] I was working on Japanese. I also speak Spanish and some French. I just like it. It's challenging to learn a language, and helpful to speak other languages to communicate with other people. Growing up in Texas and now living in California, I think it's necessary to speak Spanish. If other singers want to try, they can. I don't think it helps singing rock and pop music, but it helps relating to other people in your day to day life.

[FM] What's in your CD player today?

[LL] Today I have Queen's Night at the Opera, the new 5.1 mix. I was also going to listen to some breathing exercises on a CD later.

[FM] Who's one of your favorite female artist?

[LL] Hmm. I never think about these kinds of questions. I love Rickie Lee Jones-I think that she has an incredibly expressive voice and a story telling songwriting style that communicates clearly and poetically.

[FM] Do you have your own "biggest fan" story, ala the movie Misery to share?

[LL] Um. Not really. My fans are really respectful. They draw pictures, take photos, make CDs for me, develop incredible websites about me, and make what I do worth doing.

[FM] If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?

[LL] I would make more of the people at the record labels the kind of people who recognize the unique qualities of the artists that they sign. The executives could support the music being made in the way that the musicians hear it. Then, the executives could figure out interesting ways to market the music that the musicians made. In most cases now, the record company makes the artist work and work until they have something that somehow fits into the labels' mysterious expectations and the supposed demands of the marketplace. This doesn't do anything positive for the development of the musicians, or for the fans getting music in a prompt manner. It's a drag, really.

[FM] Here's a question from one of our FM readers from Texas: The Dallas scene seems to be geared more for cover bands and large groups. How and where did you, as a solo female musician, get your original music heard when so many venues want a "big-loud-sing-along-bar sound"? Emily Rowley, 35 Rowlett, TX USA

[LL] I started writing music when I was in high school, but there weren't a lot of places for me to play other than school talent shows. The real development started in college where I was able to record, perform at clubs, and write tons of music. I had a group with Elizabeth Mitchell called Liz and Lisa. When I left Providence, Rhode Island, we went to New York City where we had already played shows (while still in college.) I'm not sure what to tell you. I used to play at open mics in Dallas when I came home from college. The good thing about open mics is that you can meet other musicians who do what you do, and also you can play a couple of songs that people can hear instead of overwhelming the audience with a whole set of music. Look for places to play, and don't forget to enjoy a good karaoke session when you can!

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