Stretching is an EP from Lisa Caruso. Not only is it an EP from Lisa Caruso, but it is one that (as of the time of this writing) was recently released. I was afforded the opportunity to ask Lisa about the EP using words and Lisa also responded using words, as can be seen below.
Ez: What are your feelings on Stretching now that it has been released and out for a short bit of time?
Lisa: Yeh really good. I feel as though each song is finding it’s own, in a way. Like a clan of five children each with their own personalities and individual traits. It’s nice to have a bit of distance from the final masters too. Hearing the songs along with everyone else in the outside world shines a different interpretation even for me. There’s a whole lot of movement and ‘stretching’ still going on 🙂
Ez: And how does that contrast against the way you felt about the EP leading up to its release?
Lisa: I was probably a bit judgemental on a couple of the tracks during the mixing and the adding of final touches. But now like a mum of five children, I now love them equally- hah. A lot of musicians do say that releasing music is like releasing a child, after all. We spend a lot of time in the depths of making of the art, scrutinising and adjusting on an emotional rollercoaster of love, till there needs to be an end point.
Ez: What is it about this particular set of songs that best expresses what you were looking to achieve?
Lisa: Sonically, I was after more of a lightness in mood in comparison to my album ‘In Feelings’. And I wanted to ‘make party’ with an array of synth layers that felt warm, yet edgy (always edgy), but also a bit pokey with personality. Lyrically, the EP is big on posing questions and provoking thought; ones that were my own at the time of writing which I thought might connect with listeners. I wanted to prod at subject matters not often spoken about.
Ez: How far into the creation process did it take for that to become apparent?
Lisa: Not far at all. I took to keys after having written mostly on guitar for years. Playing with all the different synth sounds on a new keyboard at the beginnings of writing these songs encouraged what came next, and so it built from there. Same with the lyrics. I tend to write lyrics and chord progressions at the same time. I sit at my writing station and just see what comes out!
Ez: Was there difficulty in working out when the songs were completed?
Lisa: A little, towards the end. But just for a couple. We reworked them as much as possible and kept at it until they hit a sweet spot. I held myself accountable to a deadline, which looking back in hindsight was definitely the way to go. The songs I felt a little uncertain about have turned out to be favourites amidst many. I love that. I’m a believer of there being a song for everyone. Give the people what they want! Hah.
Ez: Did you have any concerns about how the songs worked individually and with each other after they were finished?
Lisa: Not particularly. I knew that with these new synth led arrangements, there’d be a common thread tying them together. I organised myself by setting up a couple of gigs. The first was a duo show with keys player and producer Harry Sutherland. We had two keys, some track and a vocal harmoniser. Pretty soon, the foundation of these songs were set before bringing them to the band! I was very lucky to snatch up some of Sydney’s finest. All with their individual traits, I knew we had the right ingredients to achieve the sound I was after and could trust that we’d get the work done.
Ez: How do you feel the songs work in a live setting that differentiates them from their recorded versions?
Lisa: Yeh! There’s definitely a different energy around them, but I think that’s the case with any music played live. Picking out the most integral layers (because we can’t play 5 synth lines at once) draws attention to the different (and most important) bits! Whilst there’s not that super drenched layered sound heard on the record (unless we add some track) there’s a heat that really pops on stage. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of busting out songs on stage after having sat with them in the studio. You’ve gotten to know the parts so well, like an old friend, there’s a comfort and ease that brings a lot of joy to your playing, and lyrical phrasing too. There’s not that pressure that exists to get it right in the studio. At least for me. Hah/ Recording stresses me.
Ez: Lastly, how has the audience reception been thus far? Is it what you hoped?
Lisa: Yeh really good. I’ve been surprised by people’s favourites. Pleasantly surprised! It’s given me the reassurance that going with the flow and allowing them to follow their natural course is sometimes very important. Although, I have found releasing music in 2023, looking through the PR goggles, quite different than before. Algorithms and short attention spans do not favour anyone. And there’s just been a huge influx of music come out. A few/thousand more ears on the music and eyes on the music videos would be good! That’s all you can really hope for these days with releasing music. I’m very proud of this bunch and hope it at least gets the attention it deserves.