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Interview: Lizzy Lehman of Carry Illinois

Photo by: Brandon Aguilar @bmaphoto

1) Hey Carry Illinois! Thanks for interviewing with Indie Witches. How did Carry Illinois come to be?

Hi! Thank you so much for chatting with us! Carry Illinois was formed in 2013 shortly after the break-up of a previous project. I knew that I didn't want to return to performing solo, so after recording a much more rocking and sonically experimental EP with studio musicians, I gathered some old and new friends and began practicing my songs with the support of a rock n' roll band. Feeling empowered and reinvigorated, the songs began to take on a much more powerful and driving feel that really excited me! After a few months getting comfortable with the new band, we played our first show in March of 2014 with some of our favorite local Austin bands!

2) Lizzy, how is it being a female in an all male band/heavily male industry?

It can be tough at times to get my opinions heard, but I feel very respected and loved by all of the guys in the band. I know they have my back, on and off the stage, and that they are there to support my voice and my music at large. Being female within a heavily male industry can be frustrating. There have been moments when I have felt demeaned, treated as though I do not know how the music industry/scene operates, and that I am not as capable. Luckily, this has only happened a few times. It can be really tough to be female in music, but there are so many incredible, strong, and talented women who are getting their chance to shine theses days, and that is truly inspiring.

3) Being an active and vocal member of LGBTQ advocacy, what are your favorite methods of activism?

Openly expressing and writing about the love I have for my wife in song and on stage is one my favorite methods of showing pride.  I also believe that being involved in LGBTQ music events shows the power and strength of the community and that we cannot be silenced. Being open about my sexuality and supporting equality on Instagram is an amazing way of showing strength in a more global fashion.

4) What advice would you give to other women in the industry?

Don't give up, don't let anyone make you feel unworthy, don't be afraid to be honest and vulnerable in your music, and know that your voice is important, powerful, unique, and beautiful!

5) Who were your musical inspirations/favorite artists growing up?

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, The Supremes, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Third Eye Blind, and Shawn Colvin just to name a few!

6) How has your music evolved since you first started?

I have gone from making up lyrical content to writing songs that are honest, vulnerable, and directly about my real life experiences. I realized that I needed to take off my mask and show the world my real self, by openly expressing my raw emotions and the painful struggles I have experienced.  My music began with a much more folky feel and I have since embraced my love for classic and 90s pop music, creating a more catchy, universal, and driving feel to my songs.  I also went from primarily writing/performing on acoustic guitar to going electric! Electric guitar opened up a whole new world of sonic possibilities and inspiration for me.

7) Could you briefly describe your music-making process?

Over the past year I have been inspired to make music related to my personal struggles with mental health, my body image, my painful teenage memories, and the complexities of relationships. I tend to either start with a chord progression I feel connected to or begin by writing lyrics and then exploring chord options. After I have fully fleshed out a song, I bring it to the band and I allow them full creative reign to experiment with sounds and parts that they feel will compliment the music. Once we have explored for awhile, we hone and arrange the music to create a powerful and appropriate soundscape based on the emotional feel of the specific song.

8) What is your favorite venue you have played? 

SPACE in my hometown of Evanston, IL is incredible!  The sound system, atmosphere, hospitality, and staff are all top notch! 

9) What is your spirit animal?

A bear cub. I can be timid, clumsy, and need lots of love, support, and comfort, but also know that I can be strong and learn to navigate the tough world.

10) Who are you currently listening to?

Max Richter, The Rosebuds, Plants and Animals, and The Zephyr Bones.

11) Any upcoming shows? Where is the best place for fans to follow you?

We will be playing September 23rd at Hotel Vegas in Austin, TX. The best place to follow us is on Instagram: @carryillinois

Check out their music HERE!


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