Interview: Lexie Roth
Published on February 18th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Lexie Roth is back with her eponymous second album – lusciously brooding and gently soulful affair it is, too – so Rocksucker fired her over some questions pertaining to the LP’s genesis, the influence of her visual artist mother Deborah Bussichio and legendary guitarist father Arlen (he played with Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, among others), and what she’s got lined up next.
It’s also worth mentioning that her grandfather Al was the oldest living New Yorker cartoonist, although we didn’t ask about this. We probably should have. Anyway, have yourself a simultaneous earful of and butcher’s at the album’s irresistible lead single “Stay Or Go”…
Were all the songs on the new album written in the time since your debut album One Long Blink? Do you feel as if your songwriting has developed in any particular way?
All of the new songs on my new self-titled album were written over the course of the last few years. I think my writing has grown both musically and lyrically since my first album. More intricate guitar parts and changes. One Long Blink still has many songs I still play and that mean a lot to me but I have to say I have outgrown some of my material.
To what extent would you say the lyrics are autobiographical?
Some are, some aren’t. I’m trying to write more abstractly and about fictional stories mixed with real occurrences in my life and make it less autobiographical. I feel like a lot of my necessary stories about myself I have shared in these two albums. It’s time to branch out and have some fun. Enough about me.
What are those crazy noises in “Forget All About Me”?
That was my engineer and bandmate Matthew Cullen playing around with a theremin. You are also hearing it backwards.
Some of the rhythm sections are really unusual, like the stompy motif in “Ghost of Childhood”. Did you all work those out together as a band, or did you have them in mind at the songs’ inceptions? Or is it a bit of both?
“Ghost of Childhood” I have pretty much always played in this manner. I came up with the idea of the band coming in on those “stompy” parts when I was living in Northampton and was about to play a show at my school Hampshire college. Nina Violet, Marciana Jones, Colin Ruel, Sam Mason and I threw together some rough arrangements and it came together then at rehearsal. What a crazy night that was. The choruses came together in the studio when we gave it some extra gusto, twelve-string and when I laid down thick harmonies.
How much are you influenced by the work of your parents?
I am very influenced by coming from such a beautiful, talented, loving pair of parents. My mother Deborah, who passed away far too soon, influenced me with her strong nature and passion for life and visual arts, to say the least. My father Arlen Roth always kept music around but without pressure. Creativity was always first priority in our house. I’ve lived and breathed music and art since I was born. But all that being said, I take what they have gifted me and have made it into my own. I feel so fortunate to have felt very supported and inspired through my formative years.
As early as it may be to ask, have you given much thought yet to your next album? Any other projects on the horizon?
Yes, I am already working on new songs for my next album and also on my ever-present side project A Bordo where I produce the beats, tracks and vocals. I played one of my new songs at my last show and everyone said it was their favorite so that makes me extremely happy.
Which were your albums of 2012? Are there any that you’re particularly looking forward to in 2013?
I loved the sweet, saucy serenading of Frank Ocean and Miguel. Grimes, who I loved seeing live so much, Cat Power’s new album Sun, Sharon Van Etten, and friends of mine had some amazing, addictive releases as well. Annie and The Beekeepers and Kelly and The Hermanos each put out exquisite full-length albums of all original material. I’m looking forward to another buddy band Lucius’s full length in 2013, and my dad Arlen Roth’s slide summit album with the best slide guitar players out there.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, with the entire back catalogues of just five different musical artists for company, whose would you choose?
Stevie Wonder, Patsy Cline, The Band, The Kinks and Arlen Roth.
Lexie Roth, thank you.
Lexie Roth’s eponymous second album is out now. For more information, please visit lexieroth.com