Lizzy Borden

Lizzy Borden

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Today, LIZZY BORDEN release the first album in 11 years and this is the perfect occasion to discuss the making of “My Midnight Things” and take a peek at the plans the talented singer/frontman/writer has for getting this album on the road. Ladies and gentlemen here’s Lizzy Borden, the Master of Disguise himself.


 

Lizzy Borden

Hi Lizzy welcome to METAL KAOZ!
Cheers man, how are you?

I am doing good, thank you. Let me start with a fun fact; this will be our second interview with the first one having happened almost eight years ago in Athens, Greece.
Whoa, that is cool Dimitris.

Of course it is! How are you?
I am doing really good, I am in Las Vegas now and it is amazing.

Are you getting ready for the album release party (on June 14th)?
Yes! We are doing something an old-school album release party something that no one does nowadays. We want to do an official, cool – you know – release part for this album and make it really special. We are doing this in Las Vegas at Hard Rock Live and it is free to get in.

Great, and since you mentioned how things have changed all these years, was this the reason why it took you so long to release a new album?
Well, we kept touring but it did not make sense to make albums anymore with the old record deals and the way they released records; I mean, you could spend lots of money recording an album and then realize that there is no marketing plan, nothing. I thought it was a waste of time to make a record. Metal Blade has changed the game and has figured how to do things in this landscape following the collapse of the music industry and this is why a lot the records they are putting out are top-ten records and they are doing better than they have ever done. So, Brian Slagel came to me and explained that it is a whole different world, there is different record deal and a different way of doing things and he basically convinced me to start making records again. So, I signed and three-album record deal and this is the first of the three so I am excited!

This is great news about committing for three albums.
Yes, there will be at least two more. I have missed being a recording artist, you know. It is fine touring all over the world performing but the main part of this is the artistic side of writing records you are going to perform. Going through the process of making this one was so fun. There was a time when we recorded four albums in 14 months; that’s how much I loved it back then and each one is a cathartic experience. I am already writing the skeleton ideas for the next album.

Oh my goodness…
I am, but most of my focus is on “My Midnight Things” right now.

I guess what you are describing was captured in the press release where you say that with this album you have hit the restart button, right?
Yes. During the last anniversary tour we did some amazing things; we played in South Korea, all across Europe and we ended up in Russia where we did our last show and then I told the band “you guys, go and find other bands because I don’t know what I am going to do”. And this when I started talking to Metal Blade to hit the restart button and start doing things a little bit more on the pure side. This album is more pure because it has not been diluted with anybody else’s influences. It is just my influences so “My Midnight Things” may be the most pure LIZZY BORDEN, besides “Master Of Disguise”, that I’ve had. I guess, this is why I got my first 10/10 rating in my career. All my albums had mixed reviews but this is the first now that everyone seems to love and it feels awesome so I want more.

Listening to the album I got an 80s feeling so is it just my ears telling me so? The melodies are “happy” but there is a dark twist in the music and this is why it brings a sweet 80s nostalgia to mind.
Well, all of my influences are from the 70s and vocally it was all about QUEEN. Guitar-wise I did not want showcase musicianship in this album. And sometimes, I get caught up with that when working with someone who is very talented and then, I let him do his thing and this may ruin the song. I did not want this for this album and I was catering to all my influences and all the amazing songs that are still around today because they were written so well back then. This is what I did, and I guess this is why you get this feeling. The “dark twist” that you mentioned comes from the fact that I always write from the dark side of things but in this case, I did want to have an opposing fight. I didn’t want it to be a dark brooding album; I wanted to have something to be fighting for that light and this is probably what you are hearing there. Because it is mostly dark but there is a fight happening to bring it to the light and is what I was looking for.

I see what you’re saying and in fact, I better understand the album title “My Midnight Things” which are all those things that all of us are fighting trying to get towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, this is what everybody is fighting for every time he is going through a struggle hopping to see that light and when this darkness is going to end. This is what I was trying to do in this album even though I was recording the vocals very late at night in an abandoned warehouse-type building where there was dead silence. Sometimes, I would not see anyone for a week and I will just be there singing and I really wanted this to come out in my voice. I wanted to be authentic and pure.

I don’t want to sound cheesy but in some cases when I was a teenager music was the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I believe this is one of the purposes or the meaning, if you prefer, of music.
It is, and sometimes it is all people have and that’s a lot of pressure to put especially on a song; I mean, creating a song to help someone get through a bad situation. I had a lot of people coming to me saying this for some old songs and, you know, when I am writing music I am thinking about them so I want the dichotomy between dark and light.

Speaking of writing you did all the writing and recording right? Aside from the drums that your brother played.
Right, I write most of my songs on my own and if I do collaborate with someone, they will give a chord-progression or a riff and then, I will write the song. This is how it has always been.

Did you also record everything?
I had a great pianist, named Marliese Quance, who’s been a friend for years and I wanted her to play on one song; so, I gave it to her and she loved it so much that she wanted to do more. So, she ended up playing in almost the entire album and she did an amazing job.

You did the production of “Midnight Things”, right?
Yeah, Joey [Harges] and I did the production and this is exactly how we worked on the last two albums.

So, why didn’t you go ahead and do the mixing and mastering too? I mean, what was the reason for choosing Greg Fidelman and Tom Baker, respectively?
This album had a lot of pressure on because it is the album after eleven years so I did not want to get any chances. I liked what Greg did with the last METALLICA record and although my albums are nothing like that but I did sense that he had some creative juices that he could bring to the table. And he did some interesting things bringing everything to light but it was mainly me guiding him so really, I was producing the mix as I was going. I am happy with what he did but I may mix some of the albums in the future, we’ll see. This first one coming out of the gate I really did not want to take any chances.

Got it! There are 10 songs in the regular version of the album and there are a couple of bonus ones; “Silent Night” and “Waiting In The Wings” so what are those? Are these tracks that did not make it the album?
No, those are songs that were lying around; there is a guy named Eddie Bravo who appears in “The Joe Rogan Exprerience” podcast and he has his own stuff – he is a Jiu-Jitsu expert, and he is a big LIZZY BORDEN fan. He with Danny Lohner from NINE INCH NAILS got together and re-did the song “Waiting In The Wings” which is off the “Master Of Disguise” record and they invited me to their studio in Hollywood to listen to it. So, I did and I loved it and they said “sing it”. I had not sung this song since 1989 so it was really wild to go back and sing it. It was really interesting to do that and it came out great so I wanted to include it as a bonus track. I mean, it did not really fit into my album but I thought it would be a cool bonus track. And then, “Silent Night”, you know, it is the Christmas song (laughs). I wanted to do a dark version of it. This song has been done to death by a zillion of people and I wanted to see if I could put something on that; something that has never been done before. So, I started writing this thing with the acoustic guitar and it just started to evolve. Once it was done, I thought it would be a really cool bonus track as well.

Although the album is being released in Summer… (laughs)
Yeah… (laughs) I always try to put bonus tracks that are exactly what they are; bonus tracks and they are not outtakes. I don’t do outtakes. I mean, I started out with 30 or 40 songs for this album and I had them all down but I don’t like long albums. I have a folder that I call “the junkyard” so any songs that do not make it I throw them in there and for a future album I will go through there to pick a chorus, a verse or riff out and I will retool it. This is how I work and I don’t record extra songs to just throw them as bonus tracks. Usually, it is a cover song or some sort of a unique thing.

Something that literally caught my eye was the cover artwork of the album; I guess, this can be the first one LIZZY BORDEN cover without any theme…
Well, what you see in the cover is one of the main characters of the album. When I am writing an album I have a main character in mind and this is what I explained to the artist. But before doing so, I made him listen to the record and told him about the main character. I knew that it was going to be a little bit Sci-Fi but I wanted to be tailor-made to this adventure. So, this is kind of what the artwork represent and that is the main character of “My Midnight Things”.

Will this character appear onstage during the upcoming tour?
Yes, he will (laughs). I am designing the whole show around the theme of the album and this is a really cool character.

Speaking of which, at what state are you preparing your stage show?
Right now, I want the album to come out because I usually play a lot from it and the show is based on it. This is the first album in 11 years so I want people to get used to this album and learn the songs and everything. Once it comes out on June 15th I am going to put a band together and start booking a world tour. I have already been working on the production ideas, working with special effects people, designing the characters and everything.

By ‘world tour’ you mean both sides of the Atlantic right?
Of course.

That will be awesome! The last time I saw you live was in ‘Keep It True’.
Oh, that is a long time ago. The last tour we did, I believe, it was the end of 2014 or 2015 and it was across Europe. It was one of the most fun crowds we had and in every city we visited. The audience was so young and so enthusiastic singing every song and it was really cool. And this is one of the reasons I wrote this album; I wanted to write something for that young fanbase we have in Europe and it is exciting for me. I cannot wait to play these songs live.

Economically does it make sense to have the same show in Europe and the US?
That is the thing we are working on right now; I am working with people who know how to do this. You know, you cannot bring the production with you when you're flying between shows and I really don’t want to do that. I want to bring the production wherever I go so, we are designing the stage show to be able to do that. Like I said, we are in the designing face and I want to bring the show everywhere. And this means that we are making it financially feasible to be able to do that.

That sounds amazing!  What about videos? Are there more coming from the album?
We have already done the first video for “Long May They Haunt Us”, that came out about a week and a half ago, and it is getting rave reviews which is really amazing. If you look at the video all the makeup represents the emotions this guy is going through singing this song. So, he is like a chameleon going from reminiscing to anger and go back to the start again. The video has a lot of depth I think, and the next video we are going to shoot is “Obsessed With You” which is going to be probably the most in-depth video I’ve ever done; just the nature of the song and the lyrics and everything about that. The record company has already green lit a third and probably a fourth video on top of that.

Awesome, you may have enough material to put a DVD together.
We are talking about that. Before it was not feasible and that's a shame because we did some amazing shows in the past; I mean, the “Visual Lies” show was one of the biggest shows we have ever done, “Master Of Disguise” was a huge production. I always wanted to do a live DVD since the first time we did and that was in the beginning of my career. Back then, people were not buying those, but now they have started buying them again so it now makes sense to do it again. Metal Blade has already done a couple of DVDs and they are doing really well. So, if the response is going to be the way it has been so far for this album and people continue buying the records, and by the way, like I always say; it is ok to download the album all you want but please out down the $10 and buy at least one copy because in that way we can make sure to come to your area to play. Because we will know how many songs we’ve sold in that area and that we have to play in that territory. If that happens and the tour is really successful then I am pretty sure we will record it.

This definitely makes sense Lizzy. Now, something silly so please, bear with me; since you mentioned that the second video will be for “Obsessed With You” I have to ask you; listening to the chorus of that song  it sounds like you are singing 666 (laughs)
Yeah, (laughs)… that’s good. There is a lot of hidden stuff in this record and if you listen hard you can hear it because it’s very subtle in a lot of songs.

So, it is not my ‘crazy ears’ hear this, right?
(laughs) I don’t know Dimitris

Well, thank you Lizzy for your time it was great talking to you.
Hey, it was great talking to you.

Thank you for the new album.
I am glad you like it.

Before letting you go, do you know what version of the vinyl edition of the album Amazon has? You have some really cool colors coming out.
I have no idea but you can contact Metal Blade and they will answer to all your questions. There are a lot of packages out there and this is the first time I have ever had packages in my career. So, this is the introduction to me as far as that goes; you know, having the vinyl, the DVD and t-shirt and all that stuff. It is a really coon thing to me also.

Thank you man, I wish you the best for the album release party and hopefully we’ll see you live here in Chicago.
Ok man, I will see you there for sure! Take care.