Lizzy Farrall – ‘Music is a coping mechanism’

Words: Miljan Milekić

Lizzy Farrall is a new name in the UK singer-songwriter scene. Combining the elements of acoustic and alternative pop with influences from punk rock, emo, and even hardcore, Farrall created a unique style, writing songs that just had to be heard. Repeatedly. She gained attention from the legendary label Pure Noise Records and released her debut EP ‘All I Said Was Never Heard’ on January 5th. That was more than enough for us to catch up with her.

So how are you? You’re on tour right now, right?
Lizzy: Yes, I’m on tour with Seaway and Whoes. I’m very good. Tour is differently testing my sleeping pattern. (laughs)

How is it going so far?
Lizzy: It’s been really good, we’ve had some really good responses and quite big crowds. I’m finding that the older crowd tends to be getting my music more than the youngsters. We’ve had a really good run and Seaway​ and Woes​ are both lovely.

You said you’re a bit tired, and I know tours can be exhausting, but also fun. Did you have any fun situations? Lizzy: My guitarist Jack​, he fell down (laughs) two of smallest steps you could ever imagine, and he’s twisted his ankle. So, on the Leeds date, we had to go to a pharmacy shop and get him a bandage, I spent about 30 minutes trying to bandage his ankle, so he’s been hobbling around the last two days, which is not funny but for us, it’s highly amusing (laughs). I think that’s probably the funniest thing that’s happened so far.

Well, you still have enough time to top that. (laughs)
Lizzy: Yeah, definitely. We still got a few more days. (laughs) I still have time to fall headfirst down some stairs. I’m as clumsy as Jack​, I’m just surprised that wasn’t me. Out of all people, it was Jack​.

So, after this UK run, you will join Seaway for a few shows in Mainland Europe…
Lizzy: Well, Seaway​ have been put on a tour with Neck Deep​ in America, so the Germany shows have been postponed, which is really devastating. So, we will be doing them, but we’re not yet sure when. I’m so gutted because I’ve always wanted to go to Germany, and I haven’t yet. But I’ll be out there, as soon as I can.

Have you played in Mainland Europe so far?
Lizzy: No. I’ve never played. I’ve been to Europe but I’ve never actually played, and it’s a dream of mine. I definitely need to push my booking agent to get me there (laughs)

Your music fits more under the singer-songwriter label, but it can also be seen you are influenced by punk rock and hardcore music. Who were your main influences?
Lizzy: I listen to many genres. I don’t know if there is a style of music I’m not keen on. My family listens to very different styles, So I’m influenced from hardcore to classical. It’s ridiculous. But the big bands I was listening to while recording, that were influencing me are bands like Foxing​, Jimmy Eat World,​ From Indian Lakes​. And The Story So Far ​has always been a big influence on me, I think their lyrics are really clever. And also the singer-songwriters like Damien Rice​, if you’ve heard of him he’s quite big in Europe.

A few days ago, you released your debut EP ‘All I Said Was Never Heard.’ How happy are you with it, and the feedback you’re getting?
Lizzy: Yeah the response has been absolutely amazing. I’m really, really happy. I mean I was quite shocked, I’ve been sat on the EP for over a year now. So the response has been amazing, and I haven’t seen a bad word at all.

For the EP you worked with Pure Noise, who are predominantly punk rock or a hardcore label. How did you fit in and how would you describe your experience with them?
Lizzy: I’ve been a big fan of the label for many years. I’ve been a fan of the people themselves, Jake​, Andy, and Cahill are lovely people. I’ve been a fan of the artists from the label, so it is pretty much a dream come true to actually be approached by them. I was shocked because I wouldn’t put myself on this kinda by looking at the genres of artists they have. I think they see a big room in the scene at the moment for a female artist doing kind of emo-style stuff. And they said to me before signing they want to work more with female artists to sort, get a perspective on like a female in the industry. But they’ve been absolutely wonderful I can’t fault them at all.

Since you mentioned it, from your perspective, and in your experience, how is it to be a female in the music industry?
Lizzy: To be fair it’s hard, I’m not going to deny it. I’ve been in and out of bands for a long time, I was getting kicked out and being replaced by male singers. I think the music industry in this alternative scene is pretty male-dominated at the moment, but with bands like PVRIS and others, I think it’s becoming less. To be fair, I haven’t really witnessed anything too horrific on my behalf, but I have had stuff thrown at me and thought this would be completely different if I was male but I’m not going to go into it. But yeah overall it’s really nice to actually be respected for what I do as a female by my label and my team who help me.

I’m glad the situation’s actually getting better.
Lizzy: Yeah, it’s getting a lot better.

On your EP you have both, acoustic, and full-band songs. What do you prefer, and how do you know which one is gonna be acoustic and which one you want to do with a band?
Lizzy: Well, when I tend to write my songs, I tend to do it on an acoustic guitar and get all the basic chords down. But in the back of my mind, I am always thinking this will be amazing for a full band. But then again at the same time, there’s some songs I think – these lyrics are really really personal. And I got want the lyrics to be the main focus of the song, so I’ll do it acoustically so the lyrics stand out more. But I love playing in a full band, I just feel a bit more comfortable on stage playing with a full band and can let my head down and go a bit crazy, which is good. (laughs) When I recorded the EP, we just recorded everything to start with as acoustic, and I recorded with Neil Kennedy who worked with Boston Manor and Creeper​. So we were like – actually, I think this could work really well full band and some songs would actually sound better acoustic.

On your Facebook page, you said your music is like a diary for you. For you, how important and how helpful is to have a way to express yourself?
Lizzy: Well, basically, that’s what songwriting was for me. It’s just a coping mechanism for many years when I was sad, or if I was happy, I’d just write everything down and ended up turning it into a song. Especially when something personal was going on, it would really help me to cope with it because I’d sing that song over, and over, and over again. So it was like a relief, my songs are like my coping mechanisms and people asked me a lot if it’s hard to sing them and release them. But for me, it just feels natural.

A few years back, I did an interview with Boysetsfire’s Nathan Gray who told me that for him, writing songs, and singing them is like therapy. Would you agree? Can music, or art, in general, have that kind of power?
Lizzy: Yeah, yeah definitely. Well, it has been for me and it has been for a lot of people that I know. I think everyone has that happy song, there’s one song that everyone has, if they’ve put it on, they’re immediately in a good mood. Or if they’re down, they put on a song that relates exactly how they feel. And I think it just helps people to express themselves. So yeah, I totally agree it’s like therapy.

Also, do you feel your music can do that for someone else? Do you even think about it?
Lizzy: I hope so. Yeah, I really hope so. I hope that a lot of people can connect to my songs, or can interpret them in a way that they can.

Do you ever think you have gone too far or gave away too much? Does it ever make you feel vulnerable, or letting people get too close to you with your songs?
Lizzy: I don’t really think so. I think, especially with ’Pack of Wolves,’ a lot of people didn’t really completely get the story behind it. When it came out, many thought it’s about family conflicts and issues within the family, a lot of people thought it’s the breakup song. So, I don’t think I completely go into exactly what I’m going through. I do feel vulnerable when I sing them on stage, but at the same time, it’s sort of, a really nice feeling. You’re letting everyone know exactly what you’ve been through but you’re not actually going into full detail to them.

So, one last. With the EP out, and the tour almost over, what is next for you?
Lizzy: Everything is very hush, hush at the moment, I’m not really allowed to say. But I’m gonna be playing, sort of, a local hometown festival called FOCUS Wales​ in May. Other than that, I’m not allowed to mention anything and nothing’s really been set in stone, so it’s just talking up in the air. All I can say is keep an eye out on social media, and stuff will be getting announced very soon. Which I’m very excited about.

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