By Jenny Eliscu
Interviews focus on key moments of discovery, and the songs/artists that have soundtracked the guest's life. Hosted by journalist and radio presenter Jenny Eliscu (@jennylsq), these are laid-back but in-depth discussions, with music-makers and music-lovers. Episodes also occasionally feature clips from Eliscu's extensive archive, which includes 20 years' worth of interview audio.
Sampa The Great
"As young, upcoming artists, we aim to be the examples we saw, but as you grow in your artistry, you realize that example was only there to show you you could do it. Now it's time for you to take that example and interpret it into who you are. So, the less I tried to be like Lauryn [Hill], the more I could be Sampa. And the more I could see what I love, the stories I love to tell, the music I grew up on and love sharing, and the more I could solidify myself as an artist," says the Zambia-born Botswana-raised poet and rapper Sampa The Great, reflecting on her creative path, in episode 79 of LSQ. "And so that journey has continued and grown within the past six years, and I think it's taken a really beautiful turn in relocating back home. Because now the context isn't me trying to represent different groups of people in a country I wasn't raised in, to bring people something different than what's shown on the mainstream. You're bringing African artists to the mainstream in a country like Australia, that's huge work, and I know it was a huge weight for me, even though we broke a lot of walls. I realize it took a huge toll on me and it was a huge weight, that, when I relocated back home [to Zambia], that full-circle moment of being in a place where the dream actually started forced me to go back to the mindset of the kid who dreamt it, and how happy I was to express the music and share music, in general, without the opinions or weight of anything else, and really forced me to take a look into representing Sampa for a change, versus everybody else. I mean, everybody else didn't even ask me to represent them, if we're being honest. And just taking a chance to look at who I am outside of my music, my own happiness, and making sure that I actually love what I do. And those all are important ingredients to the world of self-discovery, and just being transparent with myself, and aiming to be my freest self are some of the thought processes that went into As Above, So Below." Sampa The Great's awesome new sophomore studio album, As Above, So Below, is out now. Tickets to her upcoming European headlining tour are available HERE.
September 14, 2022
One of the most influential guitarists and songwriters of all time, Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Electronic, The The, Modest Mouse, The Cribs) delves into major moments in his creative evolution, from discovering his love of guitar at age five to finding favorite artists like Marc Bolan and Patti Smith and The Only Ones as a teenager to joining his first band (Sister Ray; he was fourteen, playing with a group of adults) to the early days of The Smiths and how he dealt with the pressure of their fame, when it came to making The Queen Is Dead, in particular. He also explains what aspects of his songwriting practice he's retained over the years, and how he approached his excellent latest album, Fever Dreams, Pts. 1-4. Marr is on tour in North America this month. Get tickets here.
August 08, 2022
The young San Diego singer-songwriter Jelani Aryeh caught my attention with his awesome tune "Stella Brown" a couple years back, and I really enjoyed his debut full-length, I've Got Some Living To Do, from 2021. But I especially loved the brief interview I got to do with Jelani last year for XMU, and was left with so many more questions for him about these early days in his career as an artist. So here we are, at an episode of the LSQ podcast where Jelani and I dig in further, to talk about influences such as Toro Y Moi, Childish Gambino and The Doors, as well as where his next album is headed. He's currently in the studio, and plans to tour again in the fall and winter. Transcript at jennylsq.com
June 23, 2022
Belle & Sebastian - Stuart Murdoch
One of my favorite insights from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch in episode #75: “Maybe 1994 or 1995, a switch came on, and I started writing better songs. There's no doubt about that. I remember writing a song called ‘Dog on Wheels’ at the start of 1995, and then quickly after that, I wrote a song called ‘The State I Am In,’ a song called ‘Lord Anthony,’ ‘Sleep The Clock Around,' and it suddenly started flowing. There was a moment when I been in my favorite cafe, which I practically lived in — the Grosvenor Cafe — and I started getting the idea for ‘The State I Am In.’ I had a little tune and I took it outside because it was too noisy in the cafe, and the words started to flow. It started coming easily, riding on top of the tune. And I didn't have to ponder the words. And actually I kind of didn't know where the ideas were coming from, I didn’t know what I was saying — it all tumbled out.” Belle & Sebastian's awesome new album, A Bit Of Previous, is out now. Their upcoming tour dates are below, and you can buy tickets HERE. May-24: Rabbit Rabbit, Asheville, NC May-25: TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN May-26: The Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL May-27: Palace Theatre, Minneapolis, MN May-28: The Admiral, Omaha, NE May-31: Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA Jun-1: Roseland Theater, Portland, OR Jun-3: Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA Jun-4: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA Jun-5: Pappy and Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA Jun-7: The Van Buren, Phoenix, AZ Jun-8: The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company, Santa Fe, NM Jun-10: The Criterion, Oklahoma City, OK Jun-11: Stubb’s Waller Creek, Austin, TX Jun-13: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN Jun-14: Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh, NC Jun-15: Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA Jun-16: SummerStage, Central Park, NY Jun-17: Franklin Music Hall, Philadelphia, PA Jun-18: Roadrunner, Boston, MA Jul-1: Spain, Barcelona, Vida Festival Jul-2: Spain, Madrid, Noches del Botanico, Jul-15 Bristol, UK Lloyds Amphitheatre, Bristol Harbourside Jul-16 Stirling, UK Cardross Estate, Doune The Rabbit Hole Nov-13 Cardiff, UK Great Hall - Student's Union Nov-14 London, UK The Roundhouse Nov-15 London, UK The Roundhouse Nov -17 Sheffield, UK O2 Academy Sheffield Nov-18 Liverpool, UK Olympia Nov -19 Hull, UK Asylum, Hull University Union Nov-21 Aberdeen, UK Beach Ballroom Nov-23 Edinburgh, UK Usher Hall Nov-24 Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK O2 City Hall, Newcastle Nov-25 Manchester, UK Manchester Academy Nov-27 Cambridge, UK Corn Exchange Nov-28 Birmingham, UK O2 Academy Birmingham Nov-29 Southampton, UK O2 Guildhall Southampton Nov-30 Brighton, UK Brighton Dome
May 24, 2022
Sunflower Bean - Julia Cumming
“I remember meeting [guitarist] Nick [Kivlen] outside a bar that we couldn't get into because we were probably 17,” says Sunflower Bean’s Julia Cumming, reflecting on the New York City indie rock trio’s early days. “He said, ‘I’m starting a band called Sunflower Bean, and I had this gut feeling, like, ‘Oh sh*t, I’m gonna join that band, aren’t I? And it became my life.” In a conversation recorded during the lead-up to Sunflower Bean’s excellent new album Headful of Sugar (out May 6), Cumming talks about important musical moments from her childhood — four years old, wanting to play in “The Beatles 2”; harmonizing with her dad to the car radio; making a shrine in her bedroom to The Beach Boys’ Smile — and how they shaped her as an artist. She also discusses her first band, Supercute!, how Sunflower Bean has evolved since their 2016 debut album, and why Headful of Sugar is her proudest accomplishment yet.
May 03, 2022
“Fill in the blanks” - that’s how Grammy-nominated hip-hop, jazz and R&B artist, musician and producer Terrace Martin describes the special sauce he brings to any collaboration. What he means is that he is ready, willing and able to offer whatever tools from his well-equipped creative shed the situation calls for. Whether that’s playing saxophone (which he does at a master level) or putting together players or producing beats or writing melodies, Martin explains that he just wants to work in service to the music and he can truly do whatever the situation calls for. He also talks about how he first found his own creative spark while watching his uncle DJ, and how that taught him to keep audiences completely engrossed in the music. Martin also shares insight into his creative process, and how he approached collaborations with Leon Bridges and Kendrick Lamar, as well as telling the awesome story of how he became his hero Snoop Dogg’s go-to producer. Martin’s new album, Drones, came out in November and his 2020 album Dinner Party: Dessert (with fellow LSQ guest Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington & 9th Wonder) is nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album at the upcoming 64th annual Grammy Awards.
March 25, 2022
Stevie Van Zandt
It did honestly feel like one of those Wayne’s World "I’m-not-worthy" moments when I first got on the Zoom with the legendary Steven Van Zandt for the interview in episode 73 of the LSQ podcast. Was truly was an honor and pleasure to get to ask him about his creative ideas and process. Last fall, the musician, songwriter, producer, activist, DJ/radio maven, actor, and more, added "author" to his bona fides when he published his fascinating memoir, Unrequited Infatuations. You should read it. Order a *signed!* copy HERE. Anyway, in the book, he shares not just the incredible story of his life and careers, but also candid insight into what it takes to achieve mastery in music. He elaborates on some of that in episode 73, and we also get to hear about his early days with Bruce, how the E Street Band’s commercial ascent felt from his perspective, his views on the evolution of rock as an art form, how he tried to “turn the Sopranos into a rock band,” what new rock music excites him, and more.
February 28, 2022
The brilliant, genre-morphing jazz, hip-hop and R&B artist (and 4x Grammy winner) Robert Glasper reflects on important early moments in his creative evolution: developing his skills at performing arts school in Houston alongside fellow talents like Beyonce and songwriter/producer Bryan-Michael Cox, honing his craft with encouragement from modern greats like Roy Hargrove and Christian McBride during his years studying at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, collaborating with his college classmate Bilal as his music director, and getting involved with the late 90s Neo Soul scene led by artists such as The Roots and Erykah Badu. Glasper also talks about his creative process, and how he approaches the collaborations in his phenomenal Black Radio album series, which began with the Grammy-winning Black Radio in 2012. (That LP became the first album ever to debut in the top 10 on four different genre charts simultaneously — a feat repeated by Black Radio 2 the following year.) On February 25th, Glasper will release the highly anticipated Black Radio 3, which features appearances by his frequent collaborator Terrace Martin, Q-Tip, Esperanza Spalding, H.E.R., BJ The Chicago Kid, Common, India.Arie, Ant Clemons, and more. He is also nominated for two 2022 Grammys, for Best Progressive R&B album (for his Dinner Party collaboration with Martin, Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder) and Best Traditional R&B Performance (for “Born Again” with Leon Bridges.)
February 07, 2022
Fontaines D.C. - Grian Chatten
Fontaines D.C.’s leader, Grian Chatten, joins LSQ to talk about the Irish post-punk band’s newly announced third studio album, Skinty Fia, which is f*cking excellent, btw. (It’s not out until April, but I was lucky enough to hear an advance, in preparation for the interview.) Of course we also delve into his formative creative experiences — from setting up a makeshift drum kit with boxes and pots and pans to recreate a drum fill in Bad Religion’s “American Jesus” (“There was something so symmetrical about it — it reminded me of a dolphin jumping out of the water and creating an arc in the air…”) to memorizing poems in exchange for football cards (an inspired parenting idea from his dad), to playing in a group that actually won their local battle of the bands, to realizing during early gigs as a frontman that he felt an uncanny sense of calm while performing. Skinty Fia comes out April 22nd via Partisan Records and you can pre-save or pre-order it HERE.
January 15, 2022
Wet Leg / Kevin Morby & Hamilton Leithauser
Have you heard the song “Chaise Longue” by U.K. duo Wet Leg? Are you as obsessed with it — and with them — as I am? Great! In episode 70, get to know Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, who talk about how they overcame their own shyness to become fearless leaders of one of the most exciting young punk bands in years. (Their self-titled debut album comes out April 8 via Domino.) Episode 70 also features an on-the-road catch-up with LSQ alumni Hamilton Leithauser and Kevin Morby, during their co-headlining “Fall Mixer” tour. Hear them talk about what they view as each other’s strengths as a performer, and share news about the music they’re working on currently.
January 03, 2022
Courtney Barnett, on the unpredictability of inspiration: “Sometimes I just sit down on the couch, and I’m watching TV, and a whole idea will come to me in one. I never know what’s gonna happen, and that keeps it really exciting. It’s sometimes very frustrating, when I feel like I don’t know the answer, and I feel like I’ll never be able to write another song again. And then a week later, I just accidentally write a song I love. There’s inspiration in everything, that’s the most important lesson I’ve ever learned. You can’t just sit down at a desk and bang your head against a wall for six hours and assume some grand idea will come, because the greatest ideas do come when you’re getting a blood test at the local medical center, and you’re sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine — that’s when the best ideas come.” We talk about the poetry of Hendrix’s lyrics, covering Foo Fighters at a high school talent show, the Australian singer-songwriter's awesome new album, Things Take Time, Take Time, and more, in episode 69 of the LSQ podcast. Courtney is on tour extensively during the coming months. Get tickets here.
November 19, 2021
The War On Drugs - Adam Granduciel
The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel remembers feeling the electricity through the floor and the house shaking, the very first time he played an electric guitar. It was at his friend Jeff’s house, on a rig he admits he's been chasing ever since, and it ignited an obsession whose evolution he discusses in episode 68 of the LSQ podcast. We talk about Nirvana and Bob Dylan and songwriting and being a perfectionist in the studio, and his band’s brilliant new album, I Don’t Live Here Anymore. (There’s a fascinating story about an epic mixing session he and producer Shawn Everett undertook in the album’s eleventh hour; he describes it as one of the best creative experiences of his life.) The War On Drugs tour extensively next year. Get tickets here.
November 05, 2021
“When I used to be in Oingo Boingo, I was constantly battling these impulses to go in opposite directions,” says film composer Danny Elfman of his earlier career. “First, I was in weird musical cabaret theater for eight years and suddenly I hear ska music out of England and I say, I want to be in a band. Every two years I wanted to be in a different band, but you can’t do that when you’re in a band. And then suddenly I become a film composer out of the blue, and I realized these competing influences worked in my favor, rather than torturing me. Because you can go from one extreme to the other. You can go from really intense grinding music to something very small and minimal and touching to something very lush and romantic to something completely absurd and ridiculous. And that appealed to me, both sides of me settled down because they each got their turn.” Hear Elfman discuss the film scores that fascinated him as a child, how Tim Burton and Pee Wee Herman got him into doing movie music, what it was like working with Elliott Smith on the score and soundtrack for Good Will Hunting, the inspiration behind Big Mess - his first solo album in 37 years - and why he relates so strongly to his famous Jack Skellington character in The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Elfman reprises his role as Skellington for a live performance of Nightmare in Los Angeles on October 29th.)
October 18, 2021
Goo Goo Dolls - John Rzeznik
Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik discusses the music that inspired him as a kid (The Cars, Springsteen, Petty, the Kinks) and how it taught him the importance of melody and each song telling its own story. We also talk about Goo Goo Dolls' early days, touring in a van and crashing on couches (he always brought along blank cassettes so he could copy some of his host's music); what it felt like to have a huge mainstream moment that also alienated some of their original fans; and why he's taking his approach to writing and recording back to basics for the new Goo Goo Dolls album, out in 2022.
September 17, 2021
On the heels of her fantastic new album, Home Video, singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus describes the path that led to it -- growing up in Richmond, Virginia, finding a passion for creative writing early on, discovering musical favorites like Yo La Tengo and Broken Social Scene, playing her first gigs at house shows, developing her songwriting practice, and beyond.
August 27, 2021
Manchester Orchestra - Andy Hull
Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull talks about early influences (Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, the Beatles, the classical music his mother played around the house); his evolving approach to songwriting; how his band's sound has grown to cinematic new heights; what advice he gives young artists who come to him for wisdom about surviving the music business; and more! Manchester Orchestra's new album, The Million Masks of God, is out now, and they are on tour in the U.S. this fall, as well as next year. Get tickets here!
August 06, 2021
As a producer, writer, recording artist and entrepreneur, Poo Bear is always searching for collaborators who bring out the best in him, and vice versa. "Do you believe in me?," he'll ask an artist who wants to record one of his songs, because for him, the best work arises when there is that mutual passion for each other's work. He's definitely found that zone with Justin Bieber, his most extensive song partner over the past several years. But his prolific work includes hundreds of tunes, for artists as varied as Jill Scott, the Zac Brown Band, J. Balvin and FKA Twigs, to name just a few. In this conversation, we talk about his earliest projects (as a kid, singing in R&B groups in Atlanta, and writing professionally from the time he was 16), how he has evolved his songwriting formula, where he sees pop music going in the future, and more.
July 12, 2021
Tegan and Sara & Lili from Beach Bunny
Tegan and Sara Quinn rejoin the podcast for a fun, roundtable-style conversation with Lili Trifilio from the up-and-coming Chicago indie band Beach Bunny, on the heels of their recent collaboration on a new version of Beach Bunny's viral hit "Cloud 9." We talk about how the collaboration - where each chorus features alternate pronouns -- came to exist, Lili's early musical experiences, and Tegan & Sara's next book (on twins), and Lili gets some big sisterly advice from T&S about how to deal with trolls.
June 18, 2021
Tame Impala - Kevin Parker
Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker delves into his earliest musical endeavors -- learning to play his brother's drums, writing songs on one guitar string, playing with his first band at the high school talent show -- and how his attitudes toward songwriting and creativity have evolved since then. He also talks about plans to get back into collaborating with other artists, now that social distancing has relaxed. Tame Impala will also be getting back on the road in the coming months, playing festivals including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.
May 24, 2021
Flaming Lips - Wayne Coyne
Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne on the profound influence of punk rock in his life: “Previous to that, you didn’t know that art was fucked up. To be a musician meant, ‘You’ve gotta know music. If you don’t know music, you don’t belong here.’ When really, some of the greatest musicians would say just the opposite — ‘Don’t worry about that, fuckin’ do your thing.’ But in this world, when you’re young and surrounded by a bunch of know-it-alls, everybody wants to tell you, ‘This is how it works and you don’t know nothin’.’ And you’re innocent, you believe them and say, ‘Well, I wanna try to do it my way.’ I was lucky punk rock came along. And I really did relate to John Lydon, I really did relate to the guys in Duran Duran and even Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They just said, ‘Fuck it, we’re gonna do it our way and we don’t care.’ Beastie Boys. Having that inspiration, you can’t know how valuable that is. Suddenly what you thought might be true, they’re living it saying, ‘Yeah, it’s true.’ We started to do more and more shows and Black Flag came through here and played and the Minutemen came though here and played and the Replacements. And all these people, Sonic Youth came here and they would sleep on our couch and we’d talk to them and it’d be like, ‘We’re not alone.’ And I think that’s such a powerful bond, and it’s even more of a bond than just doing music. To know that there’s this thing, that you can do it, you can be a part of it. They’re inspiring you and you’re inspiring them, and it’s amazing. It’s knowing, ‘I’m not stupid for thinking this. I’m not purposely being an outsider.’”
April 23, 2021
Oneohtrix Point Never
Experimental electronic composer and producer Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never delves into key influences from Chick Corea to Rush to My Bloody Valentine to Nirvana to DJ Premier, in a conversation about his evolving creative process. He talks about growing up as the child of Russian immigrants, recollecting the “beautiful red velvet walls” of the Russian restaurant where his father’s rock band played weekly covers gigs; his early adventures in sampling while working as a video store clerk; his fascination with “the way melody emerges from texture, how an incidental sound can be a rhythm,” as well as “the hallucinatory experience of music” and the “hidden frequencies of life.”
April 05, 2021
The three members of Houston, TX trio Khruangbin — bassist Laura Lee, drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, guitarist Mark Speer — share insights into their individual and collective creative journeys. “LL,” as her bandmates call her, talks about learning to read by studying Beatles liner notes, her teenage obsession with Radiohead, and how her approach to art has evolved since she joined Khruangbin. DJ shares memories of being three years-old, playing Barry White songs on his little kids' drum kit, how gigging in a church band with Mark developed into playing in Khruangbin, and which of the band’s recent achievements he’s proudest of. And Mark describes learning how to use his older brother’s abandoned synthesizer as an early songwriting tool, his experiences working at a drumstick factory, his philosophy for Khruangbin’s sound, and more.
March 15, 2021
Vampire Weekend - Chris Baio
“I didn’t like curse words when I was real young, so my dad would read Spin and get black ink and blot out the curse words for me,” says Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio, explaining how his father helped shape his early interest in music. “He would bring home records he was interested in and it always ran a wide gamut. His favorite musician is Jimi Hendrix and we would listen to so much Jimi Hendrix, but at the same time, I would have been ten years old when he bought his first Guided By Voices album and we would have had that on in the house. Always having music around in the house, reading the Saturday or Sunday paper, that’s how I grew up. There wasn’t one defined sensibility. My dad would buy A Tribe Called Quest, he’d buy Green Day, and so I’d listen to a fairly wide gamut. It’s definitely a huge reason why I’m a musician today.” Baio’s new solo album, Dead Hand Control, is out now.
February 18, 2021
Fleet Foxes - Robin Pecknold
“I’d write terrible songs constantly, and I just loved it so much,” Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold says of his early years exploring songwriting — a process he began by elaborating on Joni Mitchell and Elliott Smith tunings he’d learned on the internet. “I felt so passionately about it as a teenager that I think every other possibility started to seem unlikely. I just felt like that was what I was going to do.” Episode 56 features a conversation about Pecknold’s creative journey, favorite artists of his including Nirvana, John Prine and Joanna Newsom, how his songwriting has evolved since those teenage years, Fleet Foxes’ beautiful 2020 album Shore, and more.
January 29, 2021
Beach House - Victoria Legrand
Victoria Legrand, on writing music for Beach House: “It’s like something magical happening. And I believe in that, there’s love, but it’s not just love between us, it’s the whole universe around us and all the things we’ve been reading about the stars and the movies we’ve seen and the pain I’ve felt from talking to people about their loss. It all sucks down into this one moment of pure reaction. I’ve always said music is very personal to [bandmate] Alex [Scally] and I, but it’s not just that I got my heart broken by this guy or girl, it’s I got my heart broken by the whole world. Or all the things I ever heard about somebody’s heartbreak, it’s in me somehow. It’s like this stain and it’s coming out because I hear these tones and these chords and these notes and they make me feel like crying or they make me completely euphoric. That’s the thing that hasn’t changed, but I think it’s become amplified. And that is why I don’t think we’re done making records. Because if that ever stopped, if that really innocent reaction, where all of the angst and all of the sorrow and beauty didn’t just get triggered into something beautiful or something that takes us out of the news or the car-crash, then we would stop, I always said that. But it’s not stopping.”
January 12, 2021
King Tuff - Kyle Thomas
The dude behind the King Tuff moniker, Kyle Thomas, talks about the punk music he discovered as a kid, growing up in Brattleboro, Vermont; learning to shred by studying Jimi Hendrix; playing in the band Witch with one of his heroes, Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis; how his songwriting has developed since he started King Tuff; the ways that learning a new instrument inspires new song ideas, and more! Support the LSQ podcast at anchor.fm/jennylsq
December 04, 2020
The Charlatans - Tim Burgess
Tim Burgess, frontman for The Charlatans, talks about how his lifelong music fandom fuels his popular "Tim’s Twitter Listening Party," and more.
November 17, 2020
The National - Matt Berninger
On the occasion of releasing his debut solo album, "Serpentine Prison," The National's Matt Berninger talks about key moments in his creative journey.
October 27, 2020
The awesomely uncategorizable singer-songwriter Shamir talks about key moments in his creative trajectory, with nods to influences including The Who, Taylor Swift, Nina Simone, Björk, Tegan & Sara, Vivian Girls, and more.
October 07, 2020
A revealing deep-dive with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Michelle Branch about her life in music — from her childhood obsession with the Beatles and Frankie Valli to early songwriting explorations inspired by artists like the Gin Blossoms and Lisa Loeb, through her tenacious teenage pursuit of a record deal, the making of her multiplatinum 2001 album The Spirit Room when she was only 16, the battles she fought for creative control, and how she approaches her music today.
September 18, 2020
Chances are you already love Justin Tranter’s songs, even if you’ve never heard their name before. During the past several years , Justin has written massive pop songs by artists including Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons, Halsey and many more. In 2020 alone, Justin has written songs for The Chicks’ Gaslighter, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Selena Gomez’s Rare, and Gaga’s Chromatica, among others. We talk about childhood obsessions that inform their creative sensibility -- The Little Mermaid, the musical Annie, and female tennis champs like Monica Seles -- and discuss their old band, Semi Precious Weapons, as well as of course getting into their songwriting process and how it has evolved.
August 31, 2020
M. Ward // Phosphorescent - Matthew Houck
M. Ward talks about his new album, Migration Stories, and early influences from The Beatles and Bach to Firehose and Sonic Youth. Plus, an excerpt from a recent conversation with Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck, about folk music and the magic of songs.
August 10, 2020
Dashboard Confessional - Chris Carrabba
A look back on key moments of creative discovery for Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba, including a discussion of the new music he's working on for the band.
July 10, 2020
Empress Of - Lorely Rodriguez
Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez talks about her new album, I'm Your Empress Of, and the creative journey that led her there. Plus, the debut of a new LSQ theme song, composed and recorded by Houses' Dexter Tortoriello!
June 22, 2020
Chances are you’re already aware of the genius of Tim Heidecker as a comedian, actor, writer and director. But if you haven’t been paying close attention to his career the past decade, you might have missed that he has also devoted quite a bit of time and passion to making music, as well. And he’s quite good at it. Heidecker talks with Jenny about some of his lifelong musical favorites (Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, the Beatles, the Band), discusses how writing music differs from writing comedy, and shares exclusive insights into the making of his next album, a collaboration with Weyes Blood, and members of Lemon Twigs and Warpaint.
May 22, 2020
tUnE-yArDs - Merrill Garbus
tUnE-yArDs co-founder Merrill Garbus chats with Jenny about her life in music, discussing early musical influences (Ani DiFranco, Johnny Clegg, Ali Farka Touré, to name a few), how her focus shifted from theater and puppeteering (!) to making music in a band, and how she hopes tUnE-yArDs can contribute to positive change in the world.
May 06, 2020
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Alex Ebert
“The biggest artistic change for me in the last ten years is that I finally view my inconsistencies not as my Achilles’ heel, but as my superpower," says Alex Ebert. "I can score a movie, I can work on political stuff, I can write, I can do all these things, I can be happy, I can be sad, I can be a punk, I can be a hippie, because to quote Walt Whitman, I do contain multitudes. And so do you. I think we all do.”
April 06, 2020
Grouplove - Hannah Hooper
Hannah Hooper went through a lot in the months leading up to making Grouplove's new LP, Healer: emergency brain surgery, the death of a close friend, recording an album down the road from one of the most notorious U.S./Mexico border detention camps, and the cathartic experience of painting her first solo exhibition. We delve into all of it in episode 42, as well as discussing her evolving songwriting practice and how she’s learned to overcome stage fright by embracing a superhero version of herself.
March 17, 2020
Cursive - Tim Kasher
Episode 41 traces the creative journey of Cursive and The Good Life’s Tim Kasher, who helped his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska build its own cottage record industry, in partnership with bands such as Bright Eyes and The Faint. The conversation also finds Kasher reflecting on the ebbs and flows of songwriting, his relationship with his singing voice, his screenwriting hobby, and more. Plus, some important Kasher news: The Good Life are touring again this spring! Dates below.
March 04, 2020
Bat For Lashes - Natasha Khan // Archive clip: Best Coast - Bethany Cosentino
Natasha Khan, the U.K.-born artist who records under the moniker Bat for Lashes, talks about major musical moments in her life (the Michael Jackson concert her mom took her to, the feeling of laying on her patio in a green mohair sweater, dreaming of Kurt Cobain, her earliest attempts at making her own art, etc.) and how they have shaped her creative approach. She also explains how she came to the 80s-tinged sound on her new album, Lost Girls. Plus, in honor of a new LP by Best Coast, the episode includes an excerpt from LSQ #13 with the band’s Bethany Cosentino.
February 10, 2020
Hop Along - Frances Quinlan // Archive clip: Lana Del Rey
Hop Along's Frances Quinlan, on her creative evolution and her new solo album, Likewise. Plus, an excerpt from a 2011 chat with Lana Del Rey.
January 24, 2020
An in-depth interview with singer-songwriter Hamilton Leithauser (erstwhile frontman for The Walkmen), where he shares the first details about his upcoming new solo album. He also discusses early influences (Springsteen, The Cramps, soundtracks to Fred Astaire films), his initial songwriting endeavors (using the mathematical side of composition to sketch out his ideas) and why he chose to build a home studio to record the new LP.
January 07, 2020
Broken Social Scene - Kevin Drew
“The problem with good vs evil: Evil has a better publicist,” says Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, describing the difficulty of cutting through digital noise in an algorithm-driven world. It’s part of a fascinating interview that touches on early creative influences (Morricone’s The Mission soundtrack , trips to Rod Stewart concerts with his mom), the pros and cons of leading a band with more than a dozen people in it, and what it was like to sit court-side during the Toronto Raptors epic NBA Fi
November 22, 2019
Caroline Polachek // Archive clip: Scott Weiland
Caroline Polachek, known for her work in Chairlift, discusses her intoxicating new solo LP and key moments in her creative journey: from learning the basics of music transposition playing Disney songs on a keyboard her dad brought home, to her teenage nu-metal band, to the ladies’ choir where she performed a cappella versions of Enya and Brandy & Monica tunes. Plus, a 2001 interview with Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland, where he discusses sobriety, bipolar disorder and STP’s place in rock history.
October 30, 2019
Devendra Banhart // David Cross
Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart talks about his earliest creative experiences, growing up in Venezuela and Southern California, falling in love with music by artists as varied as Caetano Veloso, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Radiohead and Modest Mouse. Plus, an interview with David Cross about his tastes in music and comedy, and a fascinating discussion of the writing process he uses to put together his albums and TV specials.
October 18, 2019
Stephen Malkmus // Archive clip: Angel Olsen
Indie rock legend Stephen Malkmus chats with LSQ about early influences (Devo, Sex Pistols, Stones), how his songwriting has changed since the Pavement days, and what he thinks of modern artists like Vampire Weekend and Frank Ocean. Plus, highlights from a 2018 interview with Angel Olsen, on the eve of her new album, All Mirrors.
September 26, 2019
Laura Jane Grace
Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace reflects on the music that inspired her as a kid, how her songwriting practice has evolved, and what she's learned from twenty years on tour. She also discusses her excellent debut solo album, Bought To Rot, and addresses whether Against Me! is likely to make another album.
September 12, 2019
Adam Green // Royal Trux - Jennifer Herrema
On the eve of releasing a fantastic new album, Engines of Paradise, Adam Green (formerly of The Moldy Peaches) joins Jenny for a lively dissection of his creative process and the influences that have shaped his art. We also discuss his quest to figure out what cologne David Bowie wore. Plus! Royal Trux legend Jennifer Herrema talks about getting the band back together, and how she found her way to being one of her generation's most iconoclastic artists.
August 28, 2019
Interpol - Paul Banks // Colin Hanks
A wide-ranging conversation with Interpol’s Paul Banks about his childhood musical influences (Nirvana, Bruce, the song “Tears of a Clown,” and more), his passion for surfing, and how songwriting can feel like an archaeological dig. Also, actor and documentary filmmaker Colin Hanks talks about how early experiences hearing Bowie on the radio or seeing hair metal give way to alt-rock on MTV shaped his taste in music.
August 14, 2019
The Drums - Jonny Pierce // Archive clip: The Raconteurs
A fascinating deep-dive with The Drums' Jonny Pierce about how his songwriting journey was shaped by his strict religious upbringing (including being subjected to conversion therapy by his parents), and how he's learning to let go of the idea that he needs to be sad to be creative. Plus, from the archive, a backstage interview with The Raconteurs' Jack White and Brendan Benson, recorded at Lollapalooza 2008.
July 25, 2019
Superchunk/Merge Records - Mac McCaughan + Laura Ballance // Ex Hex - Mary Timony
As the legendary indie label Merge Records prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Chapel Hill, its founders — Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance — join LSQ to talk about the evolution of the imprint, and their separate experiences growing up as punk rock kids in the Eighties. Plus, Helium/Wild Flag/Ex Hex’s Mary Timony explores the influences that forged her current approach to songwriting.
July 04, 2019
Imagine Dragons - Dan Reynolds // Busy Philipps
Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds discusses his creative journey, examining influences ranging from Harry Nilsson and ska music to spiritual crisis and self-acceptance. And actor-activist Busy Philipps chats with Jenny about various musical obsessions, from Tori Amos to Father John Misty.
June 12, 2019
Perfume Genius - Mike Hadreas // Archive clip: Cat Power - Chan Marshall
Singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas, who releases his intensely captivating music under the name Perfume Genius, talks about early creative influences including the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack, Liz Phair’s Whip Smart, a babysitter with a small role in the Twin Peaks tv series, and more. Plus, an excerpt from a 2003 interview with the brilliant Chan Marshall of Cat Power, on the subject of motherhood.
May 23, 2019
Singer-songwriter Kevin Morby discusses some of the defining influences on his music, including musical heroes such as Bob Dylan and Mountain Goats, as well as the bigger life stuff: the midwestern cities he moved between as a kid, the panic attacks he suffered during high school, the death of a best friend he made after moving to NYC. We also talk about his excellent latest solo LP, Oh My God, and how Morby’s creative process has evolved since he was in the bands Woods and The Babies nearly a decade ago.
May 03, 2019
Chvrches - Lauren Mayberry // Archive clip: PJ Harvey
The magnetic and sharp-witted Lauren Mayberry joins Jenny in Los Angeles for a chat about her creative journey, from growing up in Scotland idolizing artists like Gwen Stefani and Kathleen Hanna to discovering how to tap into her own powerful onstage persona as frontwoman for electro-pop trio Chvrches. Plus, from Jenny’s archive, an excerpt from a 2000 phone interview with PJ Harvey about the making of her brilliant Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.
April 12, 2019
Twin Shadow - George Lewis, Jr. // Archive clip: Nick Jonas
Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr. delves into the evolution of his sound, from the time he was a little kid emulating Boyz II Men, through his early years playing punk and indie rock, and his more recent drive to explore sounds from his native Dominican Republic. Also: A clip of Nick Jonas in 2009, at the height of Jonas Brothers' fame, discussing how he went from singing on Broadway to being a pop superstar.
March 21, 2019
Bob Mould // Archive clip: Mavis Staples
Indie rock icon Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar) discusses his creative journey -- a childhood obsessing over jukebox 45s he got from his dad, his experiences in the Minneapolis/St. Paul punk scene, his current life in Berlin -- and how those touchstones inform his excellent new album, Sunshine Rock. Also featured: an excerpt of a backstage interview with gospel and R&B legend Mavis Staples at Lollapalooza 2010.
February 28, 2019
Kurt Vile // Archive clip: Weezer - Rivers Cuomo
Don't even get me started on how much I love Kurt Vile's music, and his entire presence as a dude. In this episode, hear the singer-songwriter discuss his musical evolution and his new album, Bottle It In. Also featured: An excerpt from a 2002 interview with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, about finding ways to integrate more metal into his music.
February 07, 2019
Sharon Van Etten // Archive clip: Gwen Stefani
Proving herself a master multitasker, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten made a brilliant new album in the midst of going back to college, starting a new side career in acting, and welcoming the birth of her first child. Hear her conversation with Jenny about her new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, and the creative journey that led her there. Plus, an excerpt from Jenny's 2004 interview with Gwen Stefani about her debut solo album.
January 17, 2019
Eleanor Friedberger // Archive clip: Amy Winehouse
Singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger (formerly of Fiery Furnaces) joins Jenny for a discussion of the creative influences that shaped her early songwriting endeavors; how a long trip to Greece inspired her fantastic new album, Rebound, and more. The episode also includes an archive clip from one of Jenny's early '07 interviews with Amy Winehouse for Rolling Stone, wherein Amy talks about her own beginnings as a songwriter and performer.
November 29, 2018
Dirty Projectors' David Longstreth
Few artists of David Longstreth's generation have pushed back as persistently at the boundaries of their own sound. But does that make Dirty Projectors' music "experimental"? That, among other nerdy tangents, populate a conversation about Longstreth's early influences -- his older brother, a book on Beatles' recording techniques, and more. He also discusses his creative process and perfectionist tendencies, and how they led to a last-minute remix of Dirty Projectors' new 'Lamp Lit Prose' LP.
November 08, 2018
Leon Bridges // Archive clip: Jack White
One of modern R&B's most intriguing new artists, singer-songwriter Leon Bridges discusses how his childhood love of dance evolved into the look and sound he's developed since his excellent 2015 debut, Coming Home. Bridges also talks about how he plans to continue expanding his sonic palette, as he begins to think about album three. Plus, from Jenny's interview archive, a 2007 clip where Jack White looks into the future and isn't stoked about what he sees.
October 24, 2018
Conor Oberst, Part Two
The second half of a rare, candid conversation with Conor Oberst about his life in music.
October 04, 2018
Conor Oberst, Part One
The first part of a two-episode special with Conor Oberst, featuring a rare, candid conversation about his life in music.
September 27, 2018
Waxahatchee - Katie Crutchfield // Speedy Ortiz - Sadie Dupuis
Interviews with two exceptional young singer-songwriters: Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield and Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis. Both artists discuss early musical influences, including, for Katie, the impact being an identical twin has had on her craft; for Sadie, how teaching songwriting to children opened up her own process.
September 06, 2018
Death Cab for Cutie - Ben Gibbard
Benjamin Gibbard, leader of indie rock icons Death Cab for Cutie, discusses key moments in his musical journey, from teen years spent taking the ferry to Seattle to see all-ages shows, to making Death Cab's excellent new album, Thank You For Today. (An excerpt of a 2008 interview with Gibbard is this episode's archive clip.)
August 16, 2018
Best Coast - Bethany Cosentino // Archive clip: Christina Aguilera
A lively chat with Bethany Cosentino, leader of Los Angeles indie rock duo Best Coast, about her creative journey and how missing home helped her discover her voice as a songwriter. Plus, from the LSQ archive, an excerpt of a 2006 interview with Christina Aguilera.
July 26, 2018
Rostam // Archive clip: Beck
An exceptional multi-talent, the singer, songwriter, producer, & composer Rostam joins Jenny for a wide-ranging conversation examining his creative evolution: his classical music studies and early work on film scores, his years with Vampire Weekend, and his current solo endeavors. Plus, a 2014 excerpt of Beck talking about why he's come to find collaboration so rewarding.
July 09, 2018
Hot Chip - Alexis Taylor // Archive clip: Dave Matthews
Alexis Taylor -- singer, songwriter, guitarist & keyboard player for U.K. electronic outfit Hot Chip -- discusses his early musical influences, from the Farfisa at his grandmother's house to the local record store owner who put out Hot Chip's debut EP. Plus, from the archive, an excerpt from a 2009 interview with Dave Matthews.
June 14, 2018
Haim - Danielle Haim // Archive clip: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
Jenny visits Haim's middle sister and musical leader, Danielle Haim, at home in Los Angeles, for a conversation exploring the singer, songwriter and guitarist's creative journey -- from playing at a clown museum in the San Fernando Valley where she grew up, to touring the massive stages Haim now easily occupy. Also, an excerpt from a 2000 interview with TLC's late great Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.
May 23, 2018
The Kills - Alison Mosshart // Archive clip: Kanye West
Alison Mosshart (The Kills, The Dead Weather) discusses her evolution as a songwriter and artist, her early experiences on the road in the punk band Discount, and what she looks for in a musical collaborator. Plus, hear Kanye West explain why he thinks he's more "delusional" than arrogant, in a 2007 interview excerpt from Eliscu's vault.
May 03, 2018
Jack Antonoff // Archive clip: Rage Against The Machine - Zack de la Rocha
Grammy-winning songwriter, artist and producer Jack Antonoff (Bleachers, Fun., Steel Train) joins Jenny for a lively discussion of his NJ punk rock roots, his creative evolution, and what it means to be a working-class artist. Also, hear an excerpt from a 2000 interview with Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha, including his thoughts on the importance of making concerts a safe space for women.
April 12, 2018
Angel Olsen // Archive clip: Avril Lavigne
Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen describes her musical evolution (spoiler: her first band played ska punk) and discuss why it was important to her to take greater creative control on her critically lauded 2016 album 'My Woman.' Plus: an excerpt from an interview with Avril Lavigne for her 2003 Rolling Stone cover story.
March 22, 2018
Porches - Aaron Maine // Jonathan Wilson // Archive clip: Paramore - Hayley Williams
Interviews with two of LSQ's favorite up-and-coming singer-songwriters: Aaron Maine of the beat-driven indie-rock band Porches, and musical jack-of-all-trades Jonathan Wilson, a singer-songwriter, producer, guitar-maker & multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire. Also, from the LSQ interview archive, an excerpt of a 2008 phone chat with Paramore's Hayley Williams.
March 01, 2018
Tegan & Sara
A pair of conversations with the hilarious, neurotic Quin sisters, featuring Tegan and Sara's reflections on their songwriting process, their personal and creative goals for the coming year, and the work they plan to do with their Tegan & Sara Foundation. The episode also includes an excerpt from Jenny's 2007 interview with the Quins.
February 08, 2018
Spoon - Britt Daniel // Archive clip: Metallica - Lars Ulrich
The impossibly cool Britt Daniel, frontman for indie giants Spoon, tells Jenny about a time in 1999 when he almost broke up the band, as well as discussing his early musical development and songwriting process. And from the vault, an excerpt of a 2000 phone interview with Metallica's Lars Ulrich about the band's Napster lawsuit.
January 15, 2018
The National - Aaron Dessner // Archive clip: Missy Elliott
Producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner discusses The National's Grammy-nominated new album, Sleep Well Beast, and talks about his formative years as a musician, when he was first absorbing the diverse array of influences you hear in The National's songs. Also, from Eliscu's archive: An excerpt of a 2003 conversation with Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott.
December 04, 2017
Sylvan Esso - Amelia Meath // Archive clip: Beyoncé
Amelia Meath, singer for Durham, NC electronic duo Sylvan Esso describes a creative life that began with learning contortion at age 16. Also, from Eliscu's archive: An interview with Beyoncé from summer of 2000, when Destiny's Child were on the cusp of superstardom.
November 06, 2017