The late 2000s brat pop duo HOLYCHILD might not have been known for their individualism, but within the bright, well-oiled machine, were two performers - Liz & Louie. A lot changed personally and professionally between those years from 2012-2020 (including a two-year hiatus). Liz sat down with EARMILK to talk about the lessons learned from her time in HOLYCHILD, working in isolation, and tackling the creative process and mindset of her new solo project, Revenge Wife.
"Ah man, if you know me from HOLYCHILD, it was around 2017 when I really started writing for Revenge Wife, because I was feeling frustrated with the industry and HOLYCHILD was having some problems," she shares openly right from the start of our conversation.
Towards the end of HOLYCHILD, Liz and Louie (the other half of HOLYCHILD) were having problems, specifically, as they weren't able to release songs the way they wanted, or as fast as they wanted... in fact, they were waiting years to put them [songs] out, even though they were writing "so much" for that project at the time.
"I just started writing on my own," Liz says on the origins of her solo project, "my first experience with songwriting was with Louie - so I had never written songs by myself."
Prior to dipping her toes in solo work, Liz got a tarot card reading in 2016, in the early stages of her solo writing experience. "[And] the woman was like: 'Whatever you're doing, keep doing it.', Liz says, "and I was thinking 'I'm not taking care of myself, I'm literally getting drunk every day right now, there is no way that the spirit guides are like "do drugs," (sic) Liz laughs. "They must be telling me to write music."
Liz took that as a sign (from the spirit guides) to run with Revenge Wife, so she wrote a lot of songs. However, she came to a point at her time in HOLYCHILD where she wanted to do a solo project, and with HOLYCHILD getting complicated (difficulties in releasing music and different opinions with Louie to an extent), she started to feel like she was working within a "machine that wasn't moving forward (sic)."
I feel like what happens to me, is that I write a bunch of songs, and at some point I evolve and then I start writing in this new phase. I realised that had happened three times in the process of writing for Revenge Wife (sic). -- Revenge Wife
At the start of 2020, Liz had 90 songs written, ready to be shared with the world, and with the mindset of releasing a full-length album. That idea evidently turned into a streamlined two-part EP release, with the first part of Revenge Wife's album being Background Songs for Your Boring Life, Part 1; a four-track EP that includes her debut solo single, "Earthquake."
"Earthquake" is a multi-layered track that features a slow-burning, distorted sound that creates a more introspective feel to her previous work. The various drum beats, synth keys, and hypnotic loops help create a soaring ballad and puts Revenge Wife's versatile vocal range on full display.
"I was feeling sad and I found myself listening to these songs that I had written but had not been released yet," Liz reveals about her forthcoming record. "There's one called 'Broken Hearted,' and it was just really comforting to me. And a Phil Collins-inspired pop song (sic)." "My boyfriend is so loving, but I feel like I don't trust love," she continues, "Because of my past experiences and I have so much trauma and I think a lot of these songs are trying to understand why we block things that are good for us."
Even in her downtime, Liz continues to write music without a particular plan for releasing all of them. However, as Revenge Wife, she is not of the mindset of "this song is going to be out," rather she likes to write songs free on any strategic release plan. This fluid approach allows her creativity to remain unrestrained and thus her songs feel more personal and in the moment.
"It's like writing in your diary," Revenge Wife continues on the aforementioned. "You're not going to release it [diary entries], you're not going to put it out, but then maybe in [like] three months, you're like, you know what? That poem is actually really cool - I am going to put it out!"
To coincide with Liz's Revenge Wife project, she has also found success with Patreon. "I've been putting a lot of demos on Patreon," she shares. Housing artists like Ben Folds, Alissa White-Gluz, RAC, Kimbra, Cautious Clay and Amanda Palmer, just to name a few, Patreon has provided an alternative platform to release music directly to a fanbase. The content can also be directly curated to allow fans a sneak peak of new content, interviews and Q&As, and never before scene audio and visual content. "Because I have so many songs, I am even now, right now, writing a song and then putting it right on Patreon, and I love that. Like, it feels, so connected, and I really like it! It's a cool place to also just talk."
When I was starting Revenge Wife, especially when I was doing sessions, it was like ABBA meets early Eminem. That is what I am going for right now. -- Revenge Wife
With Revenge Wife, her hopes are to give listeners comforting music, that you can put on while you're driving, or hanging out with your friends. "I think that [honesty] is something we are craving right now as a culture," Revenge Wife continues in our chat. "I remember this song that I liked, and I heard that person didn't write any of it - I felt so dooped."
"I think a lot, and spend a lot of time alone," she humbly shares in our chat. "Before I write a song, there is an inevitable time alone. You're kind of in your own space, alone, just thinking your thoughts. I write a lot before I even write a song in my journal."
With Background Songs for your Boring Life completed, Revenge Wife is already working on a second album and is expected to feature more acoustic, ukulele, and piano-driven songs. The overall feel is set to provide a more acoustic, gritty and DIY sound than her more polished predecessor. Coming out of this interview, it's clear that Liz processes a limitless amount of untapped creative potential that was being stifled for one reason or another in her previous ventures. Now, free to flex that creative muscle, she concludes, "I kind of just go with my gut now, I've had these songs around for a bit and they are songs that I just love and they're songs that I... I don't know... are another thing."