An interview with Allison Weiss

AE: I met your parents and they seem to be extremely supportive of your music. Were they equally supportive of you when you came out?


AW:
My parents are extremely supportive. If it has been hard for them at all, they definitely haven’t shown it. I think their main concern was that I’d automatically be forced to live a harder life, but I try to show them that things have changed since they were young. It’s getting better every day, and I’m lucky enough to live in a city where it doesn’t really matter for me. They’ve also seen the comments and letters I’ve gotten from kids all over the world in response to my It Gets Better video. They see why this is a fight I want to fight. They’re very proud of the fact that I’m gay and that I can be a role model. Now, my budding tattoo collection and summer mohawk, that’s a different story.

AE: You told me once that you feel like your style is going away from dresses to a less femme look — why is that?


AW:
There was a time in my life when I loved the s–t out of a good summer dress, but I have always been more of a tomboy. I wore baggy boys’ clothes until high school and really didn’t start rocking dresses until my early 20s. I recall being younger and thinking that the reason the boys didn’t like me was probably because they didn’t want to date a girl who dressed like them. So I changed and I got used to it, and I even liked it.

I still think nothing is more badass than a girl in a pretty dress who can play the f–k out of a guitar, and I sure did feel like a badass, but it’s just not me anymore. Who knows what the future holds for my personal style, but for now I choose to embrace my inner hipsterdyke.

AE: What are your musical goals?


AW:
I’m working on my second full-length album right now. In the past, I primarily performed with an acoustic guitar, but this time around I want to make something more fun to play. The last record is pretty chill. It rocks slightly on a few of the songs, but when I play live with a full band, everything is louder and faster. I strive to capture that on this new record. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to just say “f–k it” and pick up an a electric guitar, but I’ve always wanted to make loud fun indie pop songs and so now I’m doing that.

Above all I love touring and performing. I want to be able to go out on the road whenever I feel like it and I want to make a living. I think I have the same goals as most musicians: I want to write great songs and play great shows and I want to entertain a captive audience.

I’m also very excited about paying my dues. I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to tour by starting from the ground up. Right now I do everything myself. I don’t have a manager or a booking agent or a publicist but it’s all by choice. Aside from the wonderful musicians who play with me and the people I’ve met who’ve helped me out along the way, I am totally alone. That said, it’s definitely gotten harder to keep up with lately and this year I hope to put together a solid team to help me level up.

AE: What are the new songs about that you have been writing?


AW:
I’ve always been very motivated by relationships and how they work or don’t. My first girlfriend and I broke up last August, which coincided with my moving to New York, coming out to my fans, and changing my image. A lot of the songs on the new record are about figuring myself out in relation to those events.

I admit, I’m more pessimistic than I used to be. This probably sounds weird, but I love hearing about breakups. I always want to know everyone’s side to the story, maybe that’s my way of trying to figure out why right goes wrong and how everyone just deals with it. I think I’m more of a realist now. I think I’ve done some growing up. But I’m also still young and hopeful and confident that everything will work out in the end. I crush hard. I want love. I try and address those feelings in the songs I’ve been writing, and I think listeners will be able to hear that.

AE: Who are your favorite musicians and why?


AW:
This is always such a hard question! Honestly, most of my favorite musicians are friends I work with on a day-to-day basis. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by an immensely talented group of people. Bess Rogers, one of my best friends, has a new album coming out soon. Her husband Chris Kuffner, who is also the best bassist and guitarist I know, is producing both of us, so I’ve gotten to hear most of her record from the beginning. I love her songs and have so much respect for her work ethic.

I recently met a guy named Dan Campbell who fronts a band called The Wonder Years. We played a couple shows together in April which was the first time I saw them live. It was so intense and fun, I haven’t felt an energy like that since I was a teenager. I want to perform the way they do.

I guess I could give you a list of my favorite bands, but there are so many I’d be afraid to leave some out: Rilo Kiley, The Magnetic Fields, Kevin Devine, Laura Veirs, the list goes on. I think Tegan and Sara will always be near the top. I love their songwriting and also their business sense. Oh, and I’m obsessed with Robyn right now! I adore everything she has done. I listen to so much music though, as soon as I read what I’ve said here I’ll probably regret not mentioning more.

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