Today, November 11th, Liz Green releases her debut record O, Devotion! on the London-based label Play It Again Sam.
O, Devotion!is a fabulously peculiar collection of waltzing folk and she’s bringing it to The Academy 2 on November 30th – tickets are €11, available from Ticketmaster – but not before introducing herself.
Who are you and where are you from?
I am Liz Green and I’m from West Kirby on the Wirral, but I make my home in Levenshulme, Manchester.
Who are your favourite artists from your hometown?
Manchester’s home to some of the greatest people I know. Among them… Honeyfeet, The Travelling Band, Louis Barabbas & The Bedlam Six… and The Moulettes and George Thomas & The Owls (they both don’t live in Manchester anymore – but they used to so that counts…)
What’s it really like touring?
I spend a lot of time in the back of a transit van. It’s mostly cold and dark. When out of the van: fun, drunk, shattering, disorienting and life-affirming.
What’s your favourite city/town/venue to play?
I love playing in Germany. There’s a legendary venue called The King Georg in Koln (Cologne). I think I’ve played there four times now. It used to be a strip joint… and has retained that slightly seedy, grubby, low-lit atmosphere, where you can’t see faces for cigarette smoke. The place stays open as long as you stay drinking. We normally retire at dawn, having drunk them dry of white russians and dark rum.
What’s your ideal festival line-up?
Fantasy = All the dead people I will never get to see. Johnny Cash, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Son House, Ian Dury, Joe Strummer, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Blind Willie McTell, Sidney Bechet. That’d be a lovely day out.
Reality = All the bands I mentioned before from Manchester. It just makes me so happy to see them all play.
Tell us a tour story…
The time when we got the van wedged in the entrance to the underground car pack in Zurich’s red light district? That was good. It came out a bit funny shaped. Then there was the time it could only be started by hitting the engine with a hammer? The time the key broke and we had to start it with a wrench? We drove into a couple of walls too. It’s all mainly van related.
What has been your biggest achievement of the last year?
I can’t remember what happened yesterday, let alone a year ago. And I have very little concept of tomorrow, either. But my biggest achievement today is making time to go see my favourite painting “The Scapegoat” by William Holman Hunt for the first time. It’s in Manchester Art Gallery – and I never even knew!
What do you do to relax?
Crafts. There’s nothing better than sitting round a table with your friends for a craft and wine evening. The wine will always win out eventually. But it’s a delightfully productive kind of drunk.
What are you reading?
At the moment, Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo about a Mexican town inhabited by ghosts of it’s past…also The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver which is a fictionalised account of the time Trotsky can to stay with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
How about TV, anything good on the box?
“Is the last refuge of an impoverished mind…” someone once said. But I disagree. I love telly. I’m currently enjoying, Frozen Planet, The Antiques Roadshow, The Walking Dead and my guilty pleasure… Strictly Come Dancing.
What’s the last thing you bought online?
An assortment of Victorian lace collars off eBay. I’m going to stitch them on to old boring clothes to make them new and interesting again.
Who would you most like to collaborate with if you got the chance?
Someone who’s really different. I loved collaborating with French artist Villeneuve on his last album. He makes big, atmospheric pop music. It’s refreshing to do something so removed from what I do. I’d quite like to do the singing bit in a hip hop song. Or maybe a duet with R. Kelly.
What is the worst cover your band has ever performed?
I wouldn’t be able to judge. Cover’s are supposed to be a bit of fun. My favourite cover I’ve done was of Pulp’s ‘Help The Aged’. I plan to do a whole Britpop covers album one day in the future.
Have you ever trashed your equipment?
No. Everything I own is a bit broken anyway. I don’t have to trash it. I see it as a bit pompous. Though I loved it when Gang of Four beat a toaster to death with a bat onstage. That was great. Toasters deserve it.
What website do you visit most?
The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art! It takes casual crafting to a new dimension. Knitted Brains anyone?
What is your favourite…
‘The Pie Song’ by Baby Dee. It’s about how much she want’s a pie.
Lost classic song?
‘I Wish I Could Sing’ by George “Bongo Joe” Coleman. He was a street singer and oil can player on the streets of San Francisco in the ’70s. It’s amazing stuff.
I always liked Anticon. Also Anti-. They both consistently put out really good stuff. In Manchester it’s all about Humble Soul (who put out my first recordings) and Red Deer Club ( whose roster includes some of my favourite folk). And obviously I like my label, Play It Again Sam.
Baby Dee (I’m repeating myself aren’t I? … she is without a doubt my favourite living artist in the world right now though…)
A close fought battle between this very silly song about Alan-A-Dale (feat. Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and Harry Seacombe)
And this incredible performance of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
What was the last great gig you have seen?
I went to see Baby Dee on my birthday only two days ago. It was every bit as wonderful and beguiling as I could have hoped for.
What should we expect from your Irish show?
Don’t expect anything. That way you’ll always be surprised.