Liz Harris covered a lot of ground this year. “Hold/Sick” on Room 40, a vinyl re-release of 2008’s “Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill”, a 12” split with Roy Montgomery, a book/DVD release with Root Strata, a number of North American shows and a jaunt through Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Europe (amongst other places).
We were lucky to catch one of her shows in Australia a few months back and the hectic schedule she was keeping was apparent – the crew she’d been travelling with had just made it from Newcastle in time for the show, and in the short time before preparing for her performance she was kind enough to take a few moments to chat to Fluid.
The thousand-yard stare of the road warrior had not quite set in yet, but whilst discussing her upcoming plans it did become pretty apparent that both rest and recuperation were high on the list of priorities. Whilst local youngsters Ah! Pandita blasted through their set in the background, Liz and I chatted in the windy theatre yard about touring, vinyl and Tarantel.
How was the recent tour?
A bit long, but some stretches to relax spread throughout. Eating good vegan food and swimming with friends in Sydney, drawing and relaxing in Brisbane, the ferry to Rottnest Island off Perth, train rides in Japan, Sanchon temple cuisine in Seoul, the flight across Siberia, and hiking and visiting with friends in Glasgow stand out.
How long were you on the road for?
About 7 weeks.
A break is in order, you said. Is this to work on new material, or just a well deserved rest?
I just feel worn on a particular kind of playing out. Touring a lot makes me feel like a traveling salesman. I don’t even have records to sell. Right now I just want to hang out with my dog, see friends, relax and work at home, draw.
You mentioned you tend to travel light – what are the bare elements that you travel with?
I traveled lighter than I intended to on this trip. Lost half my clothing. A camera too, and a memory card for the new camera my friend gave me to replace it. All on separate occasions, not sure how. I think a few ended up in the Beijing airport.
I bring a huge mixer that I don’t need to, just like having my personal one with me—that’s the heaviest, bulkiest thing in the bag, reshaped/disarrayed my spine on this tour.
(An aside; I got to see the pedal board she was travelling with, and it was enormous. One thing that actually stuck out was the absence of the ever-present laptop that I see guitarists dabbling in effects using. Also notable was a handful of analogue Sony portable tape recorders – given how relatively commonplace digital recorders and iPhones are now, it’s a pleasant anachronism seeing old audiotape being used.)
You spoke of collaborating with Lawrence English, are you able to discuss anything about that?
We’ve been working on a release together. It has been really pleasant. Spacious, glacial songs. Sort of quiet, patient.
What can you tell us about “Divide”, the book/DVD release on Root Strata?
Divide is a book of drawings from the last 7 years or so, most are more recent than that though. There is a DVD from a series called Mirrorhall I’ve been working on the last few years as well.
I understand you’ve been spending a little bit more time in the studio as opposed to recording at home. What are the pros and cons for you for the two different approaches?
I’ve stretched my comfort zone by trying out studio recording. I still prefer doing things on my own time, in my own space, but it’s opened up parameters of what feels possible. The fear of straying from familiar processes was starting to feel feral, making me feel sick.
“Hold/Sick”, your recent Room 40 release, has some guitar similarities – was there a deliberate attempt to link the two tracks thematically?
They’re intentionally linked. The tone leading out on side A leads in to the same tone on B. The songs are about the same topic.
Hold/Sick has recently been reprinted in limited quantities – some were recently made available on Boomkat, but may not last long. The release is also available for download at the Room 40 site. Divide is available Here.