Los Angeles Loves… The Lovemakers
You know those free Monday residencies that LA clubs are known for? Remember why they started in the first place? It was Spaceland’s effort in the 90s to get Monday club-goers to come out from The Strip to the other side of Sunset Blvd. We’re old enough to remember there used to be a 2-drink minimum harshly-enforced on those “free” Spaceland Mondays and therefore old enough to have seen 20+ years of great bands like Rilo Kiley, Silversun Pickups, and Edward Sharpe play them. So take that into account when we declare that The Lovemakers’ 2005 March reign at Spaceland stands as one of the very best Monday residencies of all time. Prior to their big show Thursday at Resident, we chatted with the band’s Lisa Light about all things recording, rapping, and Lovemaking.
la-underground: First of all, we’re huge longtime fans and are happy you’re still doing music, both solo and with The Lovemakers. What’s the status of both for mid-2017?
Lisa Light: I’m definitely focusing more on The Lovemakers this year. We are working on new material and are going into the studio next week to do at least one song. I’m actually cleaning up lyrics right now. As for El Elle, I’ve been experimenting pretty hard with some edges of envelopes. But nothing is ready yet.
LAU: You played The Satellite, the same venue you had a residency at in 2005, a few weeks back. We hadn’t seen the new band but you all sounded great. How is the dynamic of this new band compared to the original trio?
LL: I like this lineup a lot. Its GREAT to have another woman in the mix, and our drummer is really solid. Both Julia (Synth) and Mike (Drums) are pretty stable personalities in a way, which is good for us. With Jason, the original synth player, it was kinda like Mom and Dad fighting in the front seats and him like rolling his eyes constantly. Scott and I don’t fight as loudly or as often now.
LAU: We never saw that explicitly before, but we did get a sense of volatility on stage at every Lovemakers show. The songs are still incredible to hear live, however. What is the new material leaning toward sound-wise?
LL: Thx! I think the new couple [songs] we are working on pretty much sound like what we’ve always done… very hook-laden, upbeat. At least one of them is pretty funny. The one I’m working on now is a little more relationship-y, I guess would be the term. That one is Scott’s lyrics, but I’m the editor cuz I’m just way more interested in language nuance than he is. He’s better at arrangements, so it works out. I think now more than ever we stay in our own lanes, and don’t bother trying to compete in any particular layer of the song. It’s like he starts it, I finish.
LAU: Do you ever do co-writes with other artists. Any possible collabs or features with band friends? You introduced us to Sivan Lioncub (thank you for that, btw). Have you two recorded any music together?
LL: We haven’t recorded together, though I would love to. Those guys (Everyone Is Dirty) are very adventurous. I recently worked on a songwriting session with a young singer which was very fun, but that was just for her not us. I like collaborating in general, but with Lovemakers, we just end up doing the writing ourselves, and then whoever is producing (if anyone) of course lends ideas. Julia has been contributing synth lines on the new stuff and Mike is excited to try some drum ideas out. We have always been very open to whomever contributing, but like I said between Scott and I, generally we just quickly fill things in when the time is right to do so. Actually tho, “Beautiful Master” was a collab with the guy from Blondie, sort of. We took a loop of an instrumental song he had and rewrote the song around it. And we are going to be working with Jeff Saltzman [The Killers, Blondie] again on the next few, who we have been working with for our whole careers. We are all good friends.
LAU: Kind of like the idea of you co-writing with young artists needing narrative. Have you been approached by a lot of managers/labels about writing for new artists? That’s how half of the musicians in Los Angeles that aren’t seeing anything happening with own their bands are making a living.
LL: There’s not as much of that going on here, I wish there was more bc it’s something I REALLY enjoy. I love finding the perfect word. That’s why I like rapping, lol. So many words. But I can’t really rap for The Lovemakers so I do it in secret as “Weird Elle.”
LAU: In the Bay Area, it’s probably more likely to see people building apps that would make this happen. Lyricify.. or something. Which brings us to.. How is the Bay Area music scene these days?
LL: Haha totally lyricify. Crowd sourcing synonyms. I think The Bay is healthy right now, I mean we have so much good hip hop its not even fair. I don’t really pay attention to rock bands TBH.
LAU: Who are your favorite local hip-hop acts?
LL: I like Kehlani, DJ Fresh, IAMSU!, Ezale. I still love Andre Nickatina and E-40 doesn’t seem to be letting up either. My cat is named Keak after “Keak Da Sneak.” I have his CD next to the food bowl. Oh I forgot Kamaiyah. She’s awesome.
LAU: Didn’t know you were so into hip-hop. We competed a bit in DJ battles in the late 90s. Has it inspired any of your writing or production/beatmaking [for The Lovemakers]?
LL: Oh for shizzle lol. I spent a year making rap songs. I didn’t want to do anything else. I still don’t really haha. I don’t like starting things as much as finishing, as I mentioned, so the appeal of ripping off an instrumental is very high. I like all the rhythms, characters, and enunciations you can do with rapping.
LAU: What about this new generation of Soundcloud mumble rappers?
LL: Internal rhyming and such. Eh. I prefer the other direction that is happening where its more intellectual and the music is more technical too. Like [Kaytranada], Anderson Paak, obviously Kendrick. However, Schoolboy Q is probably my favorite. He’s not really either of those. He’s just a good lyricist, and his shit BANGS. I think the mumble rappers get to have Black Beatles and that’s that.
LAU: Our goal then is to get you a collab with Q.
LL: Yeeeeee. I wrote a really nasty (like Minaj nasty) song over a DJ Fresh instrumental. I’m planning on sending it to him once I’m happy with it. As my BF says, I haven’t quite found my rapper voice yet. I’m still really trying stuff out.
LAU: We see that you have a show again in Los Angeles at Resident, your second show in town after a few years away. Are you trying to make it down here more often? Will you be trying out more new songs then?
LL: Yeah, I’m pushing us to expand our regular spots to include SD to Reno and everywhere in between, bc we love to perform so much, but can’t really do that unless we travel. Scott opened a bar this past year, so hasn’t been able to leave, but finally we can now. We are working on a 3–4 day Southern California thing in Sept. I’d like to come down every 4 months or so. I’m not sure if we will be ready on new songs or not, but probably. Once we record something, we are generally good to play it live.
LAU: Will a new record come out later this year then?
LL: I really don’t know. We’ve been taking the slow boat since we got back together lol. Everyone is just really busy now. I’m about to go back to work for Pandora on Monday, which takes a lot of my brain power. I can’t write unless I have copious amounts of time to do so. I can’t just like schedule it in.
LAU: Ok, well, when it does come out do let us know. Again, we’ve always loved everything you do. Thanks for playing all those El Elle shows with us a few years back and anything you need from us, please let us know. Thanks for the interview!
LL: Of Course! Thx so much for sticking around all these years with us/me! Let me know if you see a good show opportunity down there for either project and for your amusement . http://cargocollective.com/elelle/WEIRD-ELLE
Watch their new video for “No Love Left in Game” below and catch them at Resident on 9/14 and 4th St. Vine in Long Beach on 9/15. Download/stream all their great music at https://thelovemakers.bandcamp.com/.