LSQ

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. read less
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Jason Isbell
20-10-2023
Jason Isbell
After years of admiring Jason Isbell's gifts as a songwriter and storyteller, I finally got to ask the alt-country artist about his earliest sparks of creativity, and it was fascinating to hear his memories of sitting on the front porch, singing with members of his extended family during weekly Sunday evening gatherings, and of listening to his Pentecostal preacher grandfather playing guitar, and introducing him to gospel and mountain songs and bluegrass and the blues. "Music was something that was presented to me as something that was directly tied with family," he says. "The way creative pursuits were presented to me, it was something people did because it made them feel better, and because they could control the machines. And they had grown up very poor and didn't have control over much else. I think that combination of lack of options and just a genuine love for the way the arts were presented to me from the beginning culminated in my identifying with it so closely. And then something sort of made me a fool. Something in there somewhere told me to actually pursue this to the ends of the earth if I had to. That's the part I don't exactly understand." Isbell also talks about his love for Hendrix and Pearl Jam, about the lessons he learned from teaching guitar in his early twenties, how his songwriting process has evolved, and more. Jason and his band the 400 Unit are playing shows at Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium this week and have additional US dates early next year. Following the awesome new Isbell & The 400 Unit album Weathervanes earlier this year, he recently put out a deluxe, 10th anniversary reissue of 2013's Southeastern. You can get a copy, and tickets for the upcoming date, here. Isbell can also be seen in the new Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon.
The Strokes - Albert Hammond Jr
28-06-2023
The Strokes - Albert Hammond Jr
"I always said, I felt like, when the five of us are together, the universe does something different," says Albert Hammond Jr, guitarist for The Strokes, of his band's cosmic connection. "From the moment I met them, even before we did anything, all of a sudden the world felt different. I can only explain it like in the Matrix when he sees the numbers, so then it didn't feel that weird when stuff would happen. I didn't know what was gonna happen, but it felt like something was gonna happen." I had a blast interviewing Albert for episode 92 of the LSQ podcast. I am a massive fan of The Strokes (like, Top 5 all-time favorite bands kind of thing), and feel lucky to have a long history with them. Albert and I have known each other since the band's early days, when I got to write about them a bunch for Rolling Stone, and it's been awesome to watch his solo career develop alongside his band's. His new solo LP, Melodies On Hiatus, is one of his best -- 19 tracks that explore new facets of his musical personality while still brandishing his signature sound. In this interview, we talk about his childhood influences, an era when he was a rollerskating champion, the beginning of The Strokes, his songwriting process, and hopes for the future such as this one: "I'd love to create with [The Strokes], as I'm older. Because I feel like we're so interesting at different times with each other. So even at 60, I wonder what we would create? What would the band sound like? What would we do? Would our strengths and weaknesses change and how would that make our sound change? It still feels so exciting."
Bartees Strange
04-11-2022
Bartees Strange
Bartees Strange reflects on important moments during his musical development, including: Learning to sing alongside his opera and gospel singer mother, who brought him to most of her performances as a child, until eventually he was singing alongside her. “There's something magical being a child in an opera Hall, hearing sound without microphones, bouncing off of the wood, bouncing off of the space, and then looking up on stage and seeing like a 5’2” black woman who's your mom just fill it. And it's like, ‘I know not everybody's moms do this.’”Seeing the hardcore band Norma Jean in a church basement when he was in middle school, and realizing that music — especially live music — has the power to make an entire room full of people feel an energetic connection. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is just a music thing. Like, this is just what happens when music works, regardless of a classical space, hardcore space, or like a gospel space, like music can just do this. And I was just like, ‘how do I wield this magical power?’”Moving to New York after a stint working in politics in Washington, D.C., and finding inspiration in the music scene he plugged into there. “I grew up in a very rural area of Oklahoma and dealt with a lot of racism and questions about who I was and who I was allowed to be, and I don’t think I was fully comfortable in my body until I moved to New York City and I started meeting all these artists — like are you familiar with the band L’Rain, Taja Cheek’s band, and Kia and Melanie Charles? These black artists in Brooklyn who I honestly fell in love with and was so inspired by, because I always felt so alone and singular. My whole life, I was the only black kid. And in my musical space, I was often the only black person. And when I was making records, I was often the only black person in the studio, and people didn’t listen to me, they didn’t think I knew what I was talking about. I was struggling with even trusting my gut on knowing if I knew what I was talking about. I had listened to the gaslighting so much that I don’t think I even knew who I was until I saw those artists and I was able to connect with them on a level where I was like, ‘Oh I’m like you. I’m not weird. Actually this is what *we* do.’ And being around them it kind of created the space for me to spread my wings and try some stuff and feel comfortable sharing music with people who understood my experience and where I was coming from, and then once that happened, I was kind of able to lay it all out.”How his goals have evolved between his 2020 debut album, Live Forever, and his recently released sophomore LP, Farm To Table. “Honestly, I wanted to kind of show people it wasn't a fluke, like, I could do it again. And that was also why I put it out so fast. I was like, ‘I’m not letting three years pass before I drop another one. Because I don't want people to think ‘Oh, like, that was cute,’ I want them to be like, ‘Oh, Bartees, this dude is a pretty serious cat. He’s gonna stick around.’”What he has planned for his first major headlining tour in North America, and why you have to see openers Pom Pom Squad, They Hate Change and Spring Silver. The tour is on the road until 12/19/22. Get tickets HERE.
MUNA / The Womack Sisters
17-10-2022
MUNA / The Womack Sisters
On the heels of their excellent latest LP, LA indie-pop trio MUNA (Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson) call into the LSQ podcast from the road, to talk about their individual experiences falling in love with music as kids, how they came together to form MUNA, and how their approach has evolved over the years. The original ethos remains: “We decided to make music that made us feel good, for sure, but that also had an audience in mind, and that could be useful to an audience,” Katie says.  Adds Josette: “Songs that can be used to dance to or that can be used as a mantra to say to yourself when you’re at a really low place. When we say we had an audience in mind, people who need to hear those things are the audience we’ve always had in mind, and that’s always been a guiding force. MUNA has become for the people, and I think that’s why we’ve been able to do this for so long.”  *** After releasing a single I loved earlier this year called “Blocked,” the Womack Sisters (BG, Zeimani and Kucha) shared their debut EP, Legacy, in early September. When I caught up with them this summer, they had just pushed back the release a bit, so they could add their cover of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” the song made famous by their legendary grandfather, Sam Cooke. We chatted about what it was like growing up on the road with their parents, Womack & Womack, and how they went from roadies to back-up singers to forming their own group. They plan to release a debut LP next year.
Sampa The Great
14-09-2022
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.