More Than Another Day Q&A PART II with Lisa K. Hilton
Q: Happy New Year!
Lisa Hilton: Thank you – and to you too!
Q: Your new album More Than Another Day, is quite upbeat, which is really nice to hear right now, but I’m curious how you composed this music during the first few months of the 2020 lock down?
LH: Our tour had to quit in March of course, and that was troubling – actually everything in March was troubling – remember? My intuition told me that I needed to stay home, so I just started composing and the creativity flowed. Originally though, yeah, there were honestly, some dark tunes from those dark times. But I knew the album would be out in December and we’d be all healthy and enjoying life by then, right? So I tried to focus on the everyday beauty in life: despite any pandemic in our world the sun rises and the sun sets with majestic beauty. I tried to focus on what is good, right, and freely available everywhere. Of course I was completely wrong about that timeline: the pandemic was much worse in December than it was in March! But that upbeat vibe we recorded is translating to people everywhere. We are collectively all adapting and it’s nice to have music to keep our spirits up, so I’m happy with the results even if my assumptions about the pandemic were completely wrong!
Q: Now that 2020 is now behind us, how are you feeling looking back on the music, recording during a pandemic and the year in general?
LH: I’m glad to see 2020 in the rear view mirror like everyone else. More Than Another Day, was probably the easiest album I’ve ever done, yet the most difficult too. The year was extremely challenging yet the outpouring of positive response the last month on the new music has been a wonderful gift to us coming as the year has ended. There’s just a big mix of emotions on this one.
Q: It has been an unusual time, but what do you mean by the “easiest, yet the most difficult?”
LH: Trying to arrange a recording session is always difficult with everyone’s conflicting schedules and busy studios too. It takes about two months to finalize a date. When I started setting up the sessions, the east coast was being hit hard by Covid, so we made the decision to record in West Los Angeles, but by the time the August date arrived, California was in bad shape! I booked a studio, and then lost a studio – that kind of thing. Everyone was really thankful, and proud too, to be working again, but we were nervous to be in a work environment after five months at home. When we record an album the hang is one aspect we all enjoy, but we had to eat our meal at separate tables and it felt awkward and isolating. We all had to create workarounds too – like creating a video from existing photos rather than have a photographer in the studio. Ryan Nava has been photographing us for a couple years, and did a great job on the slideshow style video for the track More Than Another Day, and it was a much safer solution. Despite the difficulties, we all felt lucky to be there and emotionally we really needed to play. I think you can hear that good energy in the recording – there was a propulsive drive that we had in the studio, and that was captured.
Q: Are you planning to tour in 2021, or are you planning to live stream any shows?
LH: I am not planning to tour in 2021: I don’t think venues will be able to be at full capacity and although our band will be safe on stage, I don’t want to put anyone going to our shows, or working at our shows at risk. I have been asked a lot about live streaming and I’m not leaning in that direction yet. There are some artists that have really done cool things with this concept, and venues too that are stepping up here. But I always want to think about the “big picture” – a performance involves maybe 10-15 people working on that event. If I were to live stream, I don’t feel I’m being supportive of the venues, the ushers, the box office personnel, the lighting and sound engineers, the maintenance staff – everyone that works every day for musicians. It doesn’t seem fair to me that I can perform, but the support team is on furlough. I want to be supportive of the people who support artists, so it doesn’t feel right to live stream for now.
Q: I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I understand what you’re saying. Ok, so what are your hopes and plans in 2021 then?
LH: I hope in 2021 our music continues to lift spirits around the world day after day after day. It’s cool to hear about how the album touches lives around the world – we love hearing these encouraging words! This is also an amazing time for creativity, and I’m excited what will emerge next musically. We have a new year, a new president, new health vaccines, a new decade, new music, (and I’ve got a birthday this week too), so we can all feel optimistic. Happy 2021 to us all!