Following the release of her hugely popular, Warriors LP last year, Lisa Mitchell joins fellow Australian-musician-abroad, Justin Tebbutt for a co-headline Distant Call tour, kicking off in June. Separately selling out shows throughout Europe, the pair will soon embark on a joint national tour, sharing the same band and performing together for the very first time. Lisa Mitchell took some time out to chat to us from her Shepherd’s Bush home before she head’s back to Australia next month.
You’re heading on a joint tour with Dustin Tebbutt in a couple months – how did this whole thing come about?
We have a band member in common, Ben, who plays guitar and keys for both of us. They were on tour in Europe a few months ago and were talking about touring. My manager and I were also talking about what tour I should do next and those guys suggested we join forces. I’m a big fan of Dustin’s so it kind of works – I think you’ve got to be a fan of the artist for this kind of thing to work. Especially because we’re collaborating, we’re not just going to be doing our own songs, we’re going to be singing on each other’s and harmonies. We’re not doing it for the sake of it but any chance we have where we can collaborate and it makes sense, we’re going to collaborate. We’re going to do some covers as well and we’ve been going through all of these songs trying to pick some but it’s so hard!
It must make you feel a bit like a pop star – it’s very Britney/Madonna.
It is a litte bit. It’s strange though, it either makes me feel like an absolute pop star, or really alternative and totally weird. Both are pretty fun.
Is there anywhere you’re particularly keen to play on this tour?
I’m just excited about the shows, I think they’re going to be quite different. Because we’re sharing the same bands, I think it’ll feel really good and it will be… not a pantomime, but I hope it will feel a little more theatrical.
You’ve changed your approach to your live show up a little bit recently incorporating things like a head mic what have you got up your sleeve for this tour?
Great question! I’m not sure if I’m going to bring the head mic out for this tour. Now that you mention it… No, I think I’m going to stay slightly normal for this tour. I’m basically here touring and then I’m in Australia for a week rehearsing the tour and then we start the tour so I can always bring it along to rehearsal… It’s actually so fun to have a head mic on, it makes things a bit theatrical and all of my sound engineer friends absolutely hate it which is great (laughs).
‘Warriors’ was quite a shift, into the more electronic pop-sphere – what was behind the change in direction?
I was working with this producer Eric J, and I’ve really come to see albums as collaborations now. I know I’ve made a couple before that but I feel like it really hit me on this album that it’s a collaboration. I’m not really someone that likes to work as a dictator. I like it to be a collaboration and Eric’s great at just making pop music sound cool as fuck basically and I really love that. I loved working with him on that and it was kind of like, that was the palate and those were the paints and the colours, and you don’t always get the opportunity to work with someone like Eric so I just leant into it really. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the next album yet but it’s just interesting I think the longer you do something, I’ve just started realising some probably really obvious things that I’m just not denying anymore. Things like that a producer-artist relationship has to be a collaboration. Obviously every producer is different too but I think in the end, everyone is more creative when everyone feels like they’re being heard and it’s a group effort.
You lent your voice to Super Cruel’s track ‘November’ which was such a great match – how did that collaboration come about?
Thank you! It’s such a good track – I was totally stoked to sing on it. It was their first song they’ve released as Super Cruel. Jesse and Matt who are individually Porches and Tigerilla, they’re both producers and writers in their own right. They’re also on Warner and I think I met them through my A&R at my label and I heard the track and thought it was a really good song. They’re just funny, lovely guys and I think for me it was selfishly a really fun, different genre to dip into and dip out of. A magic jacket to wear for a bit.
Are you keen dip in again and do more collaborations like these?
I really love that world… I think it’s a bit like, a country that you really like to go on holiday to, but you don’t want to live there (laughs).
After the tour with Dustin Tebbutt wraps up, what’s in store for the rest of the year for you?
I’m definitely due to record another album. Just personally, I really want to record again. I’m just deciding… OK, get ready for another analogy. I just feel like a little pregnant hen, kind of like, ‘Where am I gonna drop these guys? Where am I gonna nest?’ So, I’m kind of just remembering again who’s around producer-wise or if I want to produce it myself and just work with an engineer. I’m trying to decide how I want to make the new album and I’ll be between Australia and the UK still which is interesting. It’s great, it’s kind of like having two lives.