Interview: Finding 'A Place To Fall Apart' With Lisa Mitchell
Updated: Apr 23, 2022
Beloved singer-songwriter Lisa Mitchell has returned to release her latest studio album A Place To Fall Apart and it is simply beautiful. It’s been six years since we’ve had a new album from the songstress, and overflowing with catharsis, it was definitely worth the wait.
"The album is a glorious and heartrending tribute to what it means to be alive and learning in the world, having been old enough to feel its bruises and heartbreaks, but also be at the beginning of understanding our own individual insignificance within it. Accompanied by her beguiling melodies and hushed tones, the lyrics within the album are deeply introspective and impactful, written in the thick of the first year of a global pandemic that forced everyone’s lives and spheres to become very small and very still."
I had the pleasure of speaking to Lisa about the release as she unravelled the layers of the personal and creative journey. Her empathy, warmth and intuitive connection to the world around her shine brightly here just as it does through her music:
It’s so lovely to speak with you! I’ve been quite a big fan for a long time, so this is kind of surreal.
You’re so welcome! We’re going to talk today about your new album A Place To Fall Apart, which will be released on the 22nd of April! Super exciting stuff! This is your 4th studio album, how has your songwriting and recording process varied from other albums that you’ve produced?
"So, I don’t think it’s changed that much. I really wanted to just trust… I guess trust myself, more than I ever have and create an album that is really about the feeling of each song rather than being worried about – I suppose – selling the songs? Just letting people come to the album not feeling like I have to exert myself or the song to sell it, or to have that connection. Just really trusting the feeling in each song and really staying true to the integrity of each song."
That’s so beautiful. I think that’s so important, particularly as a creative, to really connect to that because it’s so easy to get lost in the world of promotion and marketing and creating a brand, that you can lose track of it a little sometimes.
That sort of feeling really translates into the visuals for this release. They feel rooted in organic spaces – they look very free and very expressive. Do you have a favourite ritual that brings you into nature that has inspired those shots, or just anything that you like to do generally?
"I love qi gong which is a Chinese movement form which is very elemental and meditative. So I’m sure that [qi gong] has influenced just wanting to have the images quite simple and rich in nature. I was living, for most of the pandemic, about an hour out of Melbourne on a farm in the country, so that definitely inspired the visuals as well, I think."
I was really lucky to hear the album pre-release and, I’ve got to say, within 5 seconds of the first track 'Zombie', I had a smile on my face and was dancing around my kitchen. The sonics are so warm and inviting and the whole album takes you on a journey. What are you most excited about showcasing with this new record?
"What feels really significant to me about this album is the band. So, even though I wrote most of the songs myself, I then took them to my band – which is a new band for this album. Jessie Warren who’s a bass player and singer-songwriter in her own right, and then Kishore Ryan who people might know is work from Kid Sam, Otouto and Hexham. They’re both really unique… thinkers, I would say, and so, therefore, their playing is also really unique. I feel incredibly lucky to have both of their artistry on this album. We wrote all of the arrangements together so that limitation of the three of us has enabled the album to have a space, that I think on my past albums I have really struggled to find that limitation. That was one of my main goals for this album was to find a limitation, you know? That meant that it would have its own world and sound that would be pretty difficult to depart from too much in any song. I think that answers your question?"
Oh yeah! Absolutely! That absolutely answers it. and I think what you say about the album having a space that absolutely translate and you do feel like you’re transported to another world.
You described A Place To Fall Apart, as literally that. To feel your emotion within art is such a beautiful part of being human. Have you watched, listened to, read, in recent memory that allowed you to have a similar experience to what you’re creating with this album?
"Ah, what have I been reading? Well actually, yeah, I’ve been studying shiatzu massage which is a Japanese style of massage. It’s diagnostic so it uses Chinese medicine to diagnose the underlying problem or anything that is uncomfortable in the body. Chinese medicine just resonates with me so much more than Western medicine, and I understand that they are very different, they have very different functions, but because Chinese medicine is based on preventative wellbeing, it means that it is based on… and I know that there are some aspects of Western medicine that are based on wellbeing, but it’s more about if you’re about to actually cark it then someone will go to the doctor, whereas some of my teachers say that traditionally in China you pay your doctor when you’re well because the whole attitude towards health and wellbeing is preventative. You always go to the doctor, but the doctor is about balance and harmony, and adapting to seasonal changes, whereas in the West medicine is not about that at all. It’s such a shame that there’s so much stigma about alternative therapy. I think learning more about Chinese medicine, the different attitudes and the different world view towards the body and the emotions and well-being have definitely been a beautiful place to fall apart for me."
I can imagine how interesting that is. My mum is Malaysian/Chinese so I’ve learned a little, through my upbringing, about some Chinese medicine although she wanted to be more Westernised. I feel like I’m definitely connecting with it more and more as I get older and you’re right, it's so preventative and it's all about balance.
"Totally! It’s gorgeous. And I love how an emotion like anger or anxiety is so respected because, in the Chinese worldview, it can manifest into disease. I love that, it has such a different function than Western medicine does. If you go to your GP to talk about your emotions – you can get a mental health plan, but you have to want that… I just love that emotions are taken so seriously in Chinese medicine because they are, they feel physical, don’t they? I love that it’s all connected. "
That is so fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing that.
With the album as well, we’ve got some really beautiful shows on a tour across Australia that’s happening between the 20th May to 23rd July. What can we expect from these shows? Obviously, you’ve got the new band in your performance, is there anything else that we can look forward to as your audience?
"I think showcasing the sound, as I was saying before, the limitations which maybe will sound a bit funny for people that don’t write or don’t record music that you would want a limitation on. It’s more the sound, this unique sound That goes with this album. I feel super excited to really honour that in shows. We will be playing some of the old favourites, for sure, but I definitely feel very excited for playing the new material, just really enjoying it. Again, one of my main goals for this album was really just to create an album that I just loved playing live. So, having Jessie and Kishore, live with an extra pianist Clio Renner and my partner Danny Ross that’s playing guitar and singing as well. It will be more fleshed out, but very much focussing on the new album and the instrumentation I feel very excited about. "
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today! Lisa Mitchell’s new album 'A Place To Fall Apart' will be out on April 22nd and you can pre-order and pre-save it now.
a place to fall apart: Album Launch Tour Dates
FRIDAY 20 MAY - MUSIC ON THE HILL, RED HILL
SATURDAY 21 MAY - VOLTA, BALLARAT
SATURDAY 28 MAY - ANGLESEA TOWN HALL, ANGLESEA
FRIDAY 03 JUNE - WESTERNPORT HOTEL, SAN REMO
SATURDAY 04 JUNE - CANBERRA THEATRE, CANBERRA
SATURDAY 18 JUNE - THE FACTORY, SYDNEY
THURSDAY 30 JUNE - THEATRE ROYAL, CASTLEMAINE
FRIDAY 01 JULY - CORNER HOTEL, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY 02 JULY - MEENIYAN TOWN HALL, MEENIYAN
THURSDAY 07 JULY - THE NORTHERN, BYRON BAY
FRIDAY 08 JULY - THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE
SATURDAY 09 JULY - SOLBAR, MAROOCHYDORE
SATURDAY 16 JULY - JIVE, ADELAIDE
SATURDAY 23 JULY - TANKS ARTS CENTRE, CAIRNS
Tickets on sale from www.lisamitchell.com.au
FOLLOW Lisa Mitchell Instagram | Facebook | Spotify