By Dylan Robinson
Lyza Jane has already graced a select few with a handful of simply soothing, mind opening works of art which left myself, and others, heavily anticipating her next project with Bad Taste legend Will Sniff.
It is seemingly a match made in heaven (or hell), as Sniff’s natural tendency to produce slower beats suits Lyza’s tempo well, allowing her to glide alongside his bars with not a care in the world, unveiling the life she finds herself in, and the glory of it all.
In between writing, singing, producing, filming and of course, not knowing the time of day, Lyza caught up with me to discuss her musical drives and background, and how she has been able to self-release two projects before this one with Sniff; Blue Baby Champion.
Having been a huge fan of both ‘Milk Teeth’ and ‘Nobody But You,’ I wanted to see how Lyza had come to produce these works, which for me, highlight an absence in our music scene. Like many of her Blah associates, she has created a sound, a genre that suits her, and this is what makes her so massively impressive, so I wanted to find out where it all started.
When did you first start writing music and was there any particular reason?
“I started as a backing singer… I actively tried to not overthink what I wanted to ‘be’ or ‘do.’ (I) just wanted to surround myself with music. I had to learn how to produce because I was too shy to sing on other people’s beats in case they didn’t like it. It was definitely learning my way around Ableton that made me fall in love with the writing process because it allowed me to just make/say what I wanted.”
This is telling. Lyza does a lot of backing vocals for the Blah boys across a variety of beats, which I think has made her musical selection so adept and helps explain how the production of her tracks has always been so professional yet unique.
She produced and mixed the first two tracks on this EP which I think are as close to her previous works that this album comes. The development is clear, especially when you have the veteran beat-makers Sniff and Lee Scott helping hang up the rest of the instrumentals on this carefully spoken couple-classic. Sumgii also mixes Blue Sunday, which is probably my favourite song on a very strong tracklist.
When did you first think about recording? Was there anyone who ‘inspired’ you or made it a reality?
“I’d spent time in studios doing backing vocals so I guess that was my introduction to recording. Being in a studio environment I was surrounded by friends that were musical in one way or another, so naturally, they inspired me a great deal. The reality started when I invested in my first sound card and microphone… I still use that same mic!”
Is the Lyza we hear through the mic a true reflection of yourself? It feels like real genuine emotion in the vocals and lyrics.
“Yeah definitely. For the most part, I write very honestly but that’s not to say everything I’ve written is absolute truth, It depends what the project is or how I’m feeling. I feel most inspired to write when I’m sad so can sometimes come across miserable as hell.”
Nothing wrong with miserable. Without it, there’s no gauge of happiness, and although Blue Sunday may have brought a tear to my eye I can promise it was of the latter. It summed up a situation I never thought I’d find myself in and made it almost relatable. I think the same song would have a similar effect on most struggling, providing respite like only music can.
This and WOW are my two favourites from possibly the easiest listening album I’ve heard in a while. I don’t think you need me to tell you Leezus had a key role in the making of this one – it stinks of his production and allows Sniff to concentrate on the bars, which, throughout, are impeccable and remind me of the old Sniff I grew to love. The ‘Trellion and Sniff, Sniff,’ where he doesn’t say a lot, but what he does say has a real impact. Oh yeah and his production is HARD.
How do you think you’ve developed since the past two albums? I noticed Blah released this one, the last one was self-released and the other Hostage Music Ltd, any reason for this change or just simplicity?
“So far, everything’s developed really naturally. Every day you learn something new and I’ve been lucky enough to have great artists around me to bounce off of. Working with Sniff’s a dream because we write well together. He makes the sickest beats, too, so between us we managed to whip up this project in a couple days. We’d been having a lil Ja Rule and Ashanti session while he was staying with me in Acton and ended up churning out this EP of lotion. I actually lost the session for the first track on the EP, so the mix is literally the first bounce after we made it that night. I was so pissed, I’ve never lost a session before.”
“Essentially everything’s been self-released until ‘Baby Blue Champion’ so I’m super happy for it to come out on Blah. I’ve just finished my first full LP which is being mixed now. I’m still creating independently which I love as it gives me freedom… really excited to share it, it’s a real reflection of where I’m at”.
Do you have any thirst for mainstream attention, or is the fun that you get creating new projects enough alone?
“It’s a tough question, everyone wants their music to be heard so I’d be lying if I said I had zero interest in what I’ve made gaining attention… but fitting into the ‘mainstream’ or making generic pop has no appeal to me whatsoever. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by the people I work with, creating’s where all the fun’s at and what I create doesn’t always fit into the current mainstream genre. I don’t see myself compromising my sound anytime soon.”
You have to appreciate Lyza’s honesty. Out of the Blah crew, she must be the most marketable, yet somehow, working with these veterans of underground British rap is what makes her music so special. There literally isn’t anyone else doing this – a benzo-fuelled sound which isn’t totally angry and in fact, is more progressive and open-minded.
Miserable sometimes yes, but entirely original and fucking beautiful.