Lissy Trullie‘s new self-titled album is straight-up rock ‘n roll. Listening to Lissy’s throaty vocals and domineering guitar-playing is a throwback to a time when Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground ran New York. But instead of coming off as nostalgic for a decade in which she wasn’t even living, Lissy pays homage to the greatness of that very prolific and creative time by adding her own spin to it. Lissy Trullie is a modern rock album of the best kind: Harsh and brash at times, soft and vulnerable at others. It’s a full-bodied offering from the out musician, who took some time to answer our questions via e-mail.
Photo courtesy of Downtown Records
AfterEllen.com: I love the new songs I’ve heard from your album and I was also a fan of Self-Taught Learner. What has happened between the first and second albums that inspired the songs on your self-titled?
Lissy Trullie: A lot! This record taken a while but all for good reasons. Self-Taught Learner was an EP so this is actually my first official album. And I didn’t want to put anything out that I was entirely happy with.
Although I am thankful that my first EP received a generous amount of attention, I wasn’t expecting the “hype” aspect of what happened, which was a little off-putting. So I didn’t mind taking time to settle down and concentrate on growing as a musician and songwriter.
AE: So much of your aesthetic screams “New York” to me. Did you play music when you lived in D.C.? Were you ever part of the live music scene there in the ’90s?
LT: I left DC when I was 15 so I was a little too young to be in a scene, but I definitely got to see it. DC provided many opportunities for all ages events. During the summers they had an outdoor stage in a park by American University called Fort Reno where I was able to see The Make-Up, Slant 6, Fugazi, Jawbox, plus a slew of less famous DC bands. It was genuinely such a thrill, I remember living for those shows.
AE: Coming from a modeling background, do you feel like it’s less or more difficult to have people judge you based on music and not on your looks?
LT: This topic has been the most discouraging surprise in my musical progression, entirely because I didn’t come from a modeling background. I started playing music at 11 years old and continued to do so without stopping. In an attempt to make money while I was in college I modeled for a year and that was the entirety of it.
Unfortunately, that year of my life became a focal point as far as the press I’ve received and not in a positive light. My true background is in the visual arts. I went to an specialized high school where I majored in visual art and continued that on that route attending both Parsons School of Design where I received my BFA in Graphic Design and The New School where I received my BA in Art History. Although what’s been written about my modeling career is not only exaggerated, but, gigantically incorrect, it shouldn’t matter. I’m not alone in my experience, there are many women in the music industry whose work is objectified and judged by their physique rather than the quality of their music.
AE: What was recording the album in Los Angeles like? Why did you decide to record there?
LT: The producers, David Setik and John Hill, live and work out of LA so that was the reason I made the record over there. I absolutely loved this experience but I don’t really think it had much to do with location and more to do with the dynamic of the three of us. Plus, I spent 99.9% of my time working, so I really didn’t get to see much of LA.
Photo by Collier Schorr
AE: As someone who is out and in the music industry, do you feel any responsibility to be a voice for the LGBT community or do you see it as a separate entity from your career?
LT: I don’t think we’re living in a time where I can afford make such absolute distinctions. If you have a platform to which your voice could make a difference, I believe it’s your responsibility to use it. There is nothing trite or shameful about inequality.
AE: Your music almost sounds rougher sometimes than the actual lyrical content. Do you consciously work it out that way or does that juxtaposition just fall into place?
LT: I’m not sure if I’ll be able to shed any light on this question. I think my lyrics are pretty dark but perhaps I’m wrong? Some tracks have the juxtaposition of sweet lyrics and rough sound like, “Rules We Obey,” which I consider to be the most straightforward “love” song I’ve written, and/or maybe the only love song I’ve written. Lyrically this record is about loss of a loved one and simultaneously loss of oneself. However, the subject is not a loss of the romantic kind.
Lissy Trullie is available now.