“A knockout” - The Australian
“Divine” - Rolling Stone Germany
“4 Stars” – The Guardian
“Carla Lippis’ vocals....curl around you like the 'fern in the spring' of legend.” - Record Collector
“Carla has an incredible voice ranging from sensual mumble to soaring magnificence” - Louder Than War
What inspires you to write?
Fashion and nostalgia really influence what I do. Looking at old photographs, whether they're French chanson singers or Ronnie Spector, inspire me to write songs. I'll look at a beautiful vintage dress, a hairstyle, a look, and I'll write a song for it. When you put on the perfect outfit, you’re in another world - you can be anything you want to be from that moment you put it on. That's the transformative power of fashion. When you mix fashion and music together it's such a rich experience. That's why going out on a Saturday night and living for the weekend was (and still is) a powerful thing. Together, fashion and music give a sense of freedom and a means of escape, and that's why they've always been central to youth culture.
What interests you about sixties music culture?
What fascinates me is the quality of singing that emerged, the maturity in these young women’s voices. Connie Francis is one of them. Her voice was something else. Whether she was 16, 35 or 50 she had this maturity in her voice that you don't find as often today. Some artists have this beautiful, mature bell-like sound. I really aspire to that.
What drew you to Italian music specifically?
There's something so elegant about the Italian music of the 60s, especially in the arrangements and instrumentation, it's so lush. It even comes down to the cover photos for the records or the way they recorded singers for TV spots – the imagery is so strong and elegant, you can feel the drama bubbling underneath. It's so powerful. It was a different mentality from the US & the UK. Tropo Poco by Mina Mazzini stands out to me as one of those pieces. The level of vocal mastery is incredible, and the song somehow manages to be both intellectual and emotionally intense. I can hear the influence of the best songs from this period in modern artists that I admire, like Roisin Murphy and Beth Gibbons. The contrast between the songwriting of that era and now is that today's often lacks enough contrast in the melody – singers with narrow ranges end up flattening the emotional power, unless it's a token ballad by one of the big pop stars. A lot of those sixties songs weren't crassly-huge fist-pumping ballads, they were a lot more subtle. It takes a lot more sophistry to write something like that.
What are the themes behind the new record?
The new record is about a woman scorned – a traditional theme that's worked since the beginning of time - but the woman in my songs is a lot more violent and angry. I'm connected to that because that's how I've felt in the past. It's a way to express that rage but use a musical medium that's subtler than overtly 'angry-sounding' genres like metal. I want to avoid that cliché. Anger is a very real, living emotion that resides within me and I found it very easy to connect to when making this record. It is something both sexes experience, but women are always taught that anger is not elegant nor feminine, and that it makes them less desirable in the eyes of the men in control - they need to be little kittens that can be played with at will. Well, the maxim behind my new record is that 'scary is the new sexy'. If a woman is scary or too powerful, then people get intimidated by that. Women get intimidated by that too, when really, it has nothing to do with the people watching, and everything to do with self-expression. There's nothing more thrilling than seeing a great performer on stage really letting loose. They could be standing completely still, but through their mastery they exercise – or maybe exorcise - their emotions. Hurt, anger, despair, anything. I think anger is an emotion that needs to be used in a more constructive way by everybody in the world, especially those of us who live in our comfortable western social media holes. It can be frightening to feel like you want to speak up, but we do need to speak up, and this project is just one way that I get to express those feelings and confront bad past experiences.