8 WITH MOANING LISA
Delve into the minds of our Corner Award shortlist artists with our ‘8 With The Top 8’ questionnaire!
Hello! Firstly, congrats on making this year’s Corner Award shortlist.
Thank you! We’re honestly blown away. Like, what on Earth!? Electric Fields are shortlisted and they’re on another plane.
Basics first, how long have you been performing as *artist* and how did it all get started?
Moaning Lisa started in… 2016? Wow, that’s seems like so long ago. Everyone met at music school in Canberra and slowly started neglecting their studies as they spent more time being in a rock band.
Can you tell us about your most recent release, what inspired it?
We put out a single earlier this year called Take You Out, which Hayley wrote and brought in to everybody. We kind of stepped out into some sounds that we hadn’t used before. We were listening to a bit of Blur and Cake before we went in to record it, I’m not sure how much of that made it through to the finished product though.
What’s your writing process like? Do you start with lyrics, music.. a beat?
We’re doing a lot of writing at the moment and ideas are coming from lots of different places. Sometimes someone brings in a song with all the parts already there, fully formed. Other times we’ll have the basic concept there and it’ll take us six months or a year to fill in the last few blanks. Hayley and Hayden have been sitting in a room playing looped guitar parts over and over until a song comes out which has made for some interesting results.
How do you push through the ol’ writers block when it strikes?
Most recently when we’d been a bit stuck creatively, we actually just took a month off. It definitely happened for lots of different reasons, but taking some time to not be in a band and just focus on other areas of our lives meant that, when it was time to get started again, the whole idea of making new music felt a lot more achievable. We basically wrote a song a day after that.
What’s your favourite thing about performing live?
Look, kind of everything. We’ve been so lucky to play some amazing venues (like the Corner!) all around the place. On our most recent tour, we were playing these really small, intimate venues, and then mixed in with that we had these massive festival stages. It was so much fun working with those two extremes, having people right there in your personal space one night and then having everyone on the other side of a punter barrier on another night and having to figure all that out on the fly.
What’s the best show you’ve ever been to as a punter?
We all got to see Wolf Alice together at Splendour this year. We met them backstage before the set too – I think Ellie gave Hayley a slice of her pizza. And then all of a sudden they were up on the main stage, and the sun had just set and they just put on this kind of masterclass in being a rock band. We’ve seen them a few times before so I think we were at this point of watching the set from a more technical, performance kind of level instead of a completely emotional one. It was a really bizarre, fascinating, amazing experience. Pro tip: stand near the sound desk.
Has there been a moment that has made you stop and think “yeap, this is where I need to be, I’m doing the right thing” throughout your career?
We’ve spent enough time in places up and down on the east coast that we get off the plane or park the car somewhere and it sort of feels like home. We have these home bases all over the place, like save points in a video game. So I think when we’re resting up in Redfern, or Coburg, or Belconnen, or Brompton, or wherever it is, and we can feel at home, that’s when it kind of hits us how lucky we are, and how amazing it is to get these kind of opportunities. And then of course we get to go someplace we’ve never been before and that’s its own whirlwind kind of thing.
What advice would you give to budding musicians?
Just to keep putting yourself in situations that challenge you, and surround yourself with people you look up to. It can be so hard to avoid comparing yourself to the artists you see and not feeling negative or competitive about it. But if you can work through those feelings, being in an environment like that keeps you improving.