In conversation with singer-songwriter Liz Borden, The Crush delves into the process of creating and releasing a new album in the middle of a global pandemic - a reality that many artists currently share with Liz. In an in-depth chat, Liz speaks of her new album “Dancing on the Moon”, the challenges of promoting music in the current climate and what she expects music and live shows to look like in the "new normal".
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. How have you been doing in the quarantine?
Thank you for interviewing me. It is much appreciated. I am not a fan of this quarantine but who is really. I obviously see the big picture. People are sick and dying, jobs lost, businesses crumbling. So I am a small piece in the big picture of it all. I am worried clubs and big venues won’t be opening anytime soon. I had gigs and a tour booked to support my new CD. All have been canceled. I am worried about my fellow musicians and music venues. For some of us not only is it our jobs, but it’s a huge outlet. For fans it’s a big social outlet that is missing. It’s bleak. I’ve been up and down. Some very down moments. I’ve been watching the protests and watching the world change with these two events. It’s worrisome, interesting and obviously life changing.
I know you have a new album out called “Dancing on the Moon”. What can you tell me about the album?
I am really proud of this album. It’s a very different sounding album than I usually put out. The songs just poured out of me and I went with it. It’s very much a crossover album. Rock, pop, country, Americana. I write all types of music for myself and other people. I have songs in movies, TV, etc, so it’s not surprising that this album is a mix. Usually I will offer those songs to someone else. These songs felt like mine. I went into The Den Studios with a couple friends and let it happen. Danny Modern and I always play together, so Dan, an awesome drummer Corey Spingel and Doug Batchelder and I played. Doug owns The Den Studios in North Reading, Ma. Corey did his Drum thing and Danny, Doug and I played all the other instruments. It was really enjoyable. I also just recorded the Johnny Cash song, “Jackson” with Doug. It was lots of fun to do that song.
With the pandemic happening all around the world, how has that affected the release and promotion of the album?
It has definitely affected it. All shows canceled. People not wanting to spend money and then people who were going to help promote the album were affected by COVID. The CD release show canceled. I was going to tour with this CD.
What kinds of things have you been doing to promote the album?
I have reached out to one of my agents, friends and working social media. I have a new video being edited right now as I speak by 17 year old Isaac Valiente. I found him through Cherie Currie. He edited her pandemic “Roxy Roller” video and we both thought he was brilliant. He is a talent. He’s making a video for the title track- “Dancing On The Moon”. I told him to take it and run with it and he did! I saw a little of it last night and it’s really beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect and he has soared past any expectations I had. Thank you for this interview. This helps me also.
I saw you had some videos released with the Man Band. That was a creative way to put out a video during quarantine. Where did that idea come from?
Ahhh The Man Band! The greatest band to never play out! We joke about that. After we recorded the album, Danny Modern, my music partner in crime, put together the band for me so we could play and promote my album. What a great group of musicians he found. Danny Modern on guitar, Brian Yebba on Drums, Mickey Z on Guitar and Jimmy Gildea on bass. We were working so hard and then the Corona hit. Our first show and all shows canceled as of now. So back around to your question, we just wanted to play together even if we were not in the same room. We record our parts and Bryan Yebba, the drummer, puts the videos together. We are working on our 4th video now. All songs off the new album. I also just recorded two new songs with them. People have seemed to really like the videos. We were determined to play and get the songs out there.
I have also done virtual concerts and started the Sarah and Liz show from home. It’s loose and it’s fun. Many venues have had to cancel booked shows, and have yet to open their doors.
What were your spring and summer tour plans?
As I said, I was playing as much as I could to promote the CD and hitting the road. No messing around. I really wanted, and still want, people to hear these songs. I also enjoy performing so it’s a bummer. I’m afraid we are going to lose many venues that can’t bounce back. Virtual shows can only work for so long. People want to see the real deal and we have to figure out a safe way of doing that.
Is there a certain venue or show you were most looking forward to playing?
The CD release show. The first show. It was in a small club but the band and I were ready to go! I like most venues and I love outdoor shows. I was really looking forward to those also.
What are some differences you’ve seen in the days since the quarantine when it comes to trying to get your music out there to the fans?
As we discussed, we can’t do it live so the virtual platform is really interesting. Besides the pandemic videos with The Man Band, I would sit in my music room and just sing, play and record videos on my own. Just live videos of me singing random songs. Nothing fancy. That was new for me. Then my girlfriend Sarah and I started the Sarah and Liz Show. People kept requesting that we go live. At first our sleep patterns were really off from the pandemic so we would go live at all hours. 9PM, 3AM, it didn’t matter and people tuned in. Even if it just to talk. We would play some live songs but there were times people just wanted to talk. One person in the hospital said we would make her day and that we got all the nurses dancing. People needed that and so did we.
I have seen venues, artists and professionals come together to try and keep the music business going in various ways. What are some of the more creative things you’ve seen or been involved in?
The Sarah and Liz show live from the music room in our house. We would go live and then thought we would branch out and do interviews and have guests so we invited Stormstress on. We did an hour on FB and an hour on Instagram doing interviews and switching off playing music. Danny Modern and I tried to play live on Zoom but there was too much of a delay. I was recently a part of an all-day virtual concert for a former club in Boston called The Channel. It was 40 years to the day they opened. I was on a virtual panel. It was a good time. From home but fun.
Is there a venue, or city, you want to play that you’ve never had the chance?
I’ve played all over the place. At one point years ago I was even booked in Russia, it was the USSR then. Right now I really don’t want to leave our country with everything going on. Say it wasn’t a pandemic, I’ve always loved London. I’d like to go play Australia. Hell I’ll go anywhere!
What about your favorite venue that you have played?
I don’t have a favorite venue but I have some favorite shows. Loved playing with Spinal Tap, Cheap Trick, Flock Of Seagulls, The Divinyls, Motley Crue, The Ramones, Blondie, Skid Row, Cherie Currie, the list goes on and on.
Wow! What a list! What do you think the new normal of concerts is going to be for now?
I’m afraid we won’t have concerts in the so-called new normal. States are limiting the amount of people allowed in public places. It’s not worth the cost of venues opening with limited capacity. It’s not worth it for bands to tour for no money or Merch sales. I myself would tour or play as long as my expenses were paid to get the show rolling. So pretend the capacity restrictions were gone. I think outside concerts with people spaced six feet apart, large stages, everyone bring your own microphones, and lots of sanitizer. In places with nice weather year round, it can be done. Inside venues, not so much. I’m worried.
In your opinion, do you think the entertainment industry will ever return to pre-pandemic norms?
I hope so, but as long as the coronavirus is out there, no. Or we all say the hell with it and see where the cards fall. Then the venues have to be comfortable with reopening. I don’t think it can happen but I want it to. The psychological aspect of this thing is huge. It will always be in people’s heads. “Will I get it if I do this? I love this band but I don’t want to get too close”. I have a friend whose new album is doing really well and she says she is going to tour for her new album. I want to see it and I want to be there. I want it to happen for her and so many others.
You’ve been in the music industry in multiple roles over the years. What are some of the most important pieces of advice you can give to other musicians?
One of the most important pieces of advice I tell musicians is to learn everything. Always listen and pay attention. I made a promise to myself that I would learn every aspect of the music business. I wanted to be self-sufficient. I wanted to be able to read a contract. Not every artist is built to work in the business end, but make sure you can learn enough to make sure you are ok.
There are some shifty people in the biz, so by having crappy managers, I learned to be a good manager. Be able to look after yourself even if you have a manager or lawyer.
My favorite important piece of advice I share is to remember why you started playing music. When things get crazy in the business and you are moving up and record labels are coming at you, and you are tired and your drummer is late, take a step back and try to remember why you started and see if in your heart and mind you can get back there. Obviously our reasons to stay in the business vary but try to find that spark that started it all for you.
FOLLOW AND SUPPORT LIZ :
Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/5K5uxEJyD41JgQH8ESUJVr?si=DCOGFufpRm-hNeiaXYQg-A
Instagram : Liz Borden (@lizbordenofficial) • Instagram photos and videos
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/lizbordenmusic
Written by Amanda Epstein
Amanda is an avid music lover and supports independent artists in various genres. She writes for music publications in her spare time to share her love of music with the world, as well as learning to be a musician herself. She believes that music has to be experienced and not just heard.
WANT TO WRITE FOR US?