wears the trousers magazine

introducing lisa madisson
April 16, 2009, 9:46 am
Filed under: feature, voice on the verge | Tags: , , , ,


voice on the verge #32: lisa madisson

visit Lisa on Myspace

Lisa Madisson is a maker of small but rather lovely sounds that are beginning to waft out of many a London venue. Her solo career began after moving south from her hometown in Lancashire, where she took her first forays into music-making with several sweaty indie rock bands. Afterwards, feeling the exhilaration but also the loneliness of the capital, she began to explore her newfound independence / detachment in her music, standing on her own feet as a solo performer. 

She describes her sound as uncomplicated and often unhinged, preferring to play small intimate venues (recent gigs include Ear Music and Broken Toy Music events) so her tiny awkward sound has a chance to get under her audience’s skin. Although the guitar is her instrument of choice for live gigs, she has been known to pick up anything from a keyboard to a clarinet, as well as bashing around on homemade percussion. In addition to her solo outings, she also takes on vocal / glockenspiel / electric guitar duties for her ambient electronica project, Konntinent.

* * *

If you could star in any TV show, past or current, which would it be and what kind of character would you play?

I’d play everyone in ‘Twin Peaks’. 

What is your most loved item of clothing and why is it so treasured?

A pair of green jellybean sandals I’ve had since I was 16. They come out every summer and they’re my benevolent kryptonite shoes.

Which female musicians have most inspired you?

Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Emma-Lee Moss. As for males, Phil Elverum and John Burton.

What did you listen to when you were growing up?

In the late ’80s, all that came from the Stock, Aitken & Waterman machine; then later, Madchester stuff. My parents bought me ‘Stand & Deliver’ on 7″ when I was very, very young, because the Adam Ant videos used to transfix me, and, I assume, keep me quiet.

What’s your tipple?

A good full-bodied red.

Tell us about your favourite instrument…

My sleigh bells. They were given to me by a friend who got them out of a secondhand kids’ instrument set.

What did you want to be until you decided to become a musician…if you ever did ‘decide’ that is!

Is this where I get to put my hand on my heart and say, “Y’know, I think music found meeeee”? I’ve wanted to create music since they let us have a thrash about with all the tambourines and woodblocks and triangles and whatnot in infant school. Little room for aspirations prior to that, I guess.

What would you be if you weren’t a musician?

The personification of the Northern Line via Charing Cross. Irritating. Unpredictable. I’d probably be a dull ride too.

What are your views on feminism?

In a nutshell, I think we’ve come a long way but there’s still a way to go. It bothers me when so-called “ladettes” take that voice we’ve strived to achieve for so long and use it to be gobby and insolent.

What are your pet hates?

Overuse and misuse of the word “random”. The use of Comic Sans font. To see the word “random” in Comic Sans would probably pulverise me.

Who was the first band you saw in concert?

The Jesus Lizard. The bassist kicked a punter in the head. Over the music, I still HEARD it. I think I still hear it…

What’s the biggest guilty pleasure in your record collection?

POP! by Erasure.

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

Being interviewed by WTT, of course. ;)

If you had to pick one song from your repertoire to represent your entire body of work, which one would you choose and why?

I have a song called ‘I Blame David Cassidy’, which sort of explores the kind of horrid-things-happen-but-you-gotta-laugh part of life. In songwriting, things ought to be heartfelt but there’s always room for humour. Sorry, I started answering your question and ended up answering Frank Zappa’s…

What’s your favourite song to cover and why?

‘Stepping Out’ by Joe Jackson. His version is so playful but can sound so raw and sore if slowed down and played on an acoustic.

What kind of person would have sex to your music?

Someone kinda awkward, I guess. Or the Hamiltons, maybe.

What would you tell your 18-year-old self if you could go back in time?

“If you feel the need to take a piss behind the Royal Bank of Scotland when inebriated, remember there’s a big chain there that’s likely to trip you up and break your arm.” I did learn what my radius bone was after this incident, mind, and saying the words ‘radius bone’ is quite fun.

Do you have a tattoo? If not, would you ever get one?

I really dislike tattoos, always have. For silly answers’ sake, I’d have “nothing is ever permanent” down one leg and “status symbols are a bit daft, when you think about it” down the other.

How would you describe your music in 10 words or less?

This is the sound of continuous procrastination.

What’s your favourite quote?

“Punctuality is the thief of time”. I don’t know why, I never get to use it and be all witty and that. I’m very punctual, you see. Ha.

* * *

Richard Steele


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