Interview: Shannon Lay / Fall Show
Californian singer/songwriter Shannon Lay will perform at First Avenue on November 14th, opening for fellow Freedom Band member Mikal Cronin (tix/info). Lay is supporting her excellent 2019 record August. We asked her a few questions about her latest work and upcoming tour plans.
Reviler: You have crossed paths with a number of LA musicians, obviously, Ty Segall and the other Freedom Band members, not to mention Kevin Morby, The Cairo Gang, and others. Is the artist/music scene there as tight-knit as it seems? And if so, how important is that community to your evolution as a solo artist?
Shannon Lay: I believe everything I’ve done happened because my friends believed in me. I feel very lucky to know such wonderful people. Everyone needs a support system and I really do believe that you get back what you put out. Celebrating your successes and the successes of others is essential.
R: Outside the scope of your own immediate community, is there anything new you are listening to and loving right now?
SL: Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts, mostly true crime stuff. Or the first record by The Meters, that’s really been hitting the spot.
R: August‘s opener “Death Up Close” is a stunner – can you tell us anything about the genesis of that song?
SL: Thank you! Death up close is a reflection on the insane amount of things we all go through, it never seems to stop. It’s overwhelming and exciting and sometimes unbearable but in the end, it’s what connects us.
R: You have described music as a river that “everyone’s throwing things into… it’s a place you can go to and feed off of that energy.” I am wondering if you can go into that metaphor a bit more as it is fascinating, and am also curious whether it also fits with the traditional Buddhist idea of the river as a metaphor for life?
SL: It’s the idea that when you create your leaving behind this marker. It is now a thing that people can look at or listen to that will impact them in some way. Just like how the things we have discovered in our lives has impacted us in one way or another. I like a river as a metaphor for life because no 2 moments are the same, it’s constantly moving, growing, surroundings change. You have to let go and become a part of that movement, let it take you wherever it plans to.
R: You have said of your new work ” Think of August as a warm hug for your psyche.” Is that warmth something you are always trying to capture? Do you ever feel like you want to do the opposite (i.e. use your music to confront, challenge, etc?)
SL: I like the idea of creating music that brings people peace but I do also like exploring topics that are less of a warm hug. “Wild” for instance is about the capabilities of human beings and the evil that exists in all of us. There is so much to talk about, I hope to delve into all kinds of moods and scenarios as I continue to make music.
R: In your upcoming tour with Mikal Cronin (all over the U.S. and then over to Europe) is there anything you are excited to do/see? What are your plans?
SL: I’m really excited to do the US tour with a band, I have 3 of my best buds playing with me and I’ve never done a tour with a full set up so I’m stoked for that.
Once again, Shannon Lay will perform at First Avenue on November 14th (tix/info)