Lydia Loveless: February 26, 2014

Courtesy Bloodshot Records
Courtesy Bloodshot Records

First off, let me say congratulations on the new record. It’s fantastic. Now that it’s out there for people to listen to, how do you feel? Is it a relief and are you happy with the final product?

Yeah…It’s always weird when it comes out and you hear people’s weird opinions, a lot of them good, some of them bad. You go back and over analyze. Right now I’m trying to step away from it a little bit, even though I have to be totally immersed in it because now I’m going on a two month tour. I’m just really happy that people have it now, legally and everything, and it’s just not some figment of my imagination.

Well, even before the record came out, SPIN was putting you on their top fifteen artists and Rolling Stone put you on their list, was that an added pressure for you?

I guess I am afraid of being over-hyped because then people, I think it sort of messes with their actual ears and what they’re actually listening to. So, it’s definitely way cool and exciting to get that recognition but it’s also, yeah, a little intimidating I would say. I know I’m the kind of person if someone’s getting raved about, I’ll be like a year later I’ll listen to their album after everyone stops talking about it. So, maybe I’ll have a wave of fans in like two years.

I usually don’t fall into the hype either, but since I started doing this website, I like to keep track of what’s going on, so I checked you out. I started with your first record which was completely on one side of things. I listened to the second record, which was such a huge change, and then here the new record is such an evolution of your sound. But now that the album is out, and the reviews, there is a lot of talk and a lot of the descriptions that you’re getting are ”brash” and “full of angst”…basically calling you a hard ass in a lot different ways. I think there may be a lot of humor in there that people might be missing. How do you feel about that reputation, or that label being put on you?

It’s definitely a little weird. I think of myself as a big cry baby. I can be a little bit….”hard assy” I guess. I guess one thing that I’ve noticed that’s weird, is that people say I sing about partying which I really don’t feel like I do. I guess it’s just when you’re a girl and you sing about possibly drinking a glass of wine. The way most women drink wine I think is to sit alone and cry over their little Pinot Noir. It’s not really a party. I guess people have to have an angel. You have to be pin-pointed in some way, so the best I can do is just…I mean, I’ve gotten a lot better at interviews I guess I would say. Because I mean on my last album, people were still trying to figure out who I was. I’m letting a little more of my personality show.

I know I’ve read that when you went to make this record, you basically locked yourself in an office and wrote what you thought you had to write, not what you were inspired to write. I think it was more of a country theme, or with the alt-country label that was put on you. Then you went and played SXSW and it sparked something in you. Is that true?

Yeah, and I think a lot of that was just having some down time with my band. Cause I got so wrapped up in my own head and I was just trying to isolate myself and be the artist in the tower or whatever. But I think that trip was inspiring because I was hanging out with musicians. We also toured down there with another Columbus band called “Two Hell Garage” and they’re super motivational guys and they just play constantly.  So there were a lot of nights in the hotel room, after hours, playing and just writing songs. And I think that is really what I needed. I was kind of isolating myself instead of reaching out to other people and just having fun with it again.

I think that shows on the record, too. It has a free feeling to it and there are no boundaries.

Yeah, I hope so.

You mentioned Columbus, I really think that’s interesting that you’re up there in Columbus making SPIN’s list and Rolling Stone’s list. You didn’t have to move to Nashville or L.A. like so many people think they have to do. Is that a good setting for you?

I think it is. I think I’ll eventually get too comfortable. It’s taken me a long time to even break into what we have to offer. I was so young when we moved here. I was fourteen and kind of shy and terrified and I really couldn’t go out and meet people. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to network and meet other musicians and realize what we actually have to offer. We have that, I don’t know how to describe it, I guess Mid-Western sound of like “the working band.” It’s a good place for music. I think there is something for moving to places and getting different perspectives and sort of making yourself uncomfortable. But in 2014 if you can’t make something work from anywhere you’re really not using all of the recourses that everyone has I would say.

Your label (Bloodshot Records) is out of Chicago. Is there a lot of travel between Columbus and Chicago? Or can you just stay home and do your thing?

We can keep in touch. I’ve gone there to play shows pretty frequently. I probably play Chicago more often than I play Columbus. So I always hang out at the office and we’ll have meetings or whatever, but it’s not really like, I mean it’s an Indie label, so they’re not needing much of my time. They just need to know that I’m writing songs and not being an asshole.

It seems too that everybody has the need to compare you to someone. You’re like this person, or like that person. Does that drive you nuts, or is it a compliment with some of the names?

Yeah, and I think that is a woman thing, not to be all whiney woman or anything. But I’ve noticed that a lot of dudes never have to be the next so and so. And it’s like your worth and merit as a female artist is like “she could be the next so and so, but not quite” or “her voice is a mix of this and that, but not really as good.” Well, why can’t you just judge me on what I’m doing? Um, that’s a little weird. You don’t often see male bands called the next anything. They can just be what they are. But at a certain point you either have to decide that you’re going to get over that and just do what you do and live your life, or you’re going to be mad all of the fucking time. There’s really no sense in that.

Now that you have the record done and you’re getting ready to hit the road, how do you enjoy the touring aspect?

I like it. I always get super-bad panic attacks and anxiety before I leave, but I kind of ease into it. One thing I’m learning as I get older is that I have to pace myself. I can’t be like “party” every night. So that’s what I’m working on right now, is just getting myself in a good mindset cause you can’t spend six weeks on the road eating Taco Bell and drinking PBR constantly. I want to enjoy it and actually experience it so I’m going to be a little more responsible this time around.

What is a touring cycle like for you? I see your going down to Newport, then back to Columbus and then Indy, so you’re staying fairly close.  What’s the longest you’re out before you see home?

This will be six weeks, so that’s going to be the longest without coming home at all. I’ll be home for like maybe a couple of days maybe here or there. Then we’ll be home for a lot of May. We go out May and June. So it’s pretty much never ending. There’s not really like a set schedule. Then people are like “why aren’t you coming to such and such on this tour?” I’m like oh we’ll be there, it will just be later. So it’s pretty much like when I start writing again and demand to go in the studio I guess that we’ll get to go home.

That is one of the biggest pet peeves that I have, personally, when on Facebook an artist makes an announcement about something, and all of the comments are “you need to come to San Francisco or somewhere.”

Or, “I see you have an off day here. Why don’t you come here?” It’s like, well we’re driving twenty hours that day.

I am look really forward to Friday night. I’ve not seen you in concert yet, what can I and others expect from a Lydia Loveless show?

It’s going to be really cool. It will be a five-piece band with Jay, the new-ish steel player that we really haven’t gotten to take out. It’s energetic. It’s often probably more rock n’ roll than people expect.  I think we really put everything into our shows and like playing live more than anything. We all have a special stage bond, so it should be really good.

The venue is really cool. I don’t know if you have been to The Southgate, or have seen any pictures of it, but basically you’re playing in an old church.

Cool, I haven’t been there yet.

Another thing I read, it says something, I see in July your coming down to Cincinnati to play The Bunburry Festival.

Yeah, I didn’t know about that until a couple of days ago.

What’s funny, well, I don’t know funny, but that’s a rock festival. Then the next week they have a country festival called The Bootstrap Festival. As much as people want to put the alt-country label on you, you got picked to play the rock festival. I thought that was a cool thing.

I think that’s great. I think I fit much better in the rock scene. I love country and I play country cover encores, but for the most part our show is a rock show I would say.

Where do you see yourself going from here? How long do you think it will be before you get back in the studio? Or is that not even a thought right now? Right now you’re just going to take it in and see what happens?

It’s a lot of both. I don’t want to make the same record, so I don’t want to get into writing too soon. Obviously, we recorded this close to a year ago, but I’m still sort of in the “Somewhere Else” mindset so it’s going to be a little bit of just taking notes and deciding what I want to do next. I would like to be back in by the end of the year, if that’s possible, at least to do an E.P. or something.

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