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Stacking The Deck with Lisset Diaz of Sweet Lizzy Project
Friday, October 16, 2020

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

To say Cuban rock band Sweet Lizzy Project put a Herculean effort into their debut album, Technicolor, might actually be underselling things a bit.

“We spent almost three years working on Technicolor,” the band’s frontwoman, Lisset Diaz, explains, “We came to this country because we wanted to record and write some of the songs here, and do it the right way. We were looking for the perfect way to put it out, and the perfect time, and yeah, we put it out like three weeks before the pandemic. Great.”

The band, which has been located in Nashville since coming over from Cuba, has been spending their time during the pandemic writing new music, and performing weekly “Sweet Quarantine Sessions” on their Facebook and YouTube pages.

Their latest single is “Sticky Situations” (stream it on your platform of choice), and Diaz says the entire band has been all-in on releasing new music for listeners during this time. “We need to give them what we love the most, which is music, because it’s like giving them love. That’s what people need right now, love, and good things, and good energy, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

“Sticky Situations” is the final non-holiday single Sweet Lizzy Project will be releasing this year, but Diaz is extremely excited about the Christmas EP the band has been working on. The first Christmas music the band has made, the EP will feature two covers of Christmas classics, and two original songs. One of the original songs is about Diaz’s first Christmas in the U.S.

“We don’t really celebrate Christmas in Cuba,” she explains, “it’s not a tradition. Some people do it, but just because they want the decorations, like the Christmas tree, because it looks cute, but it’s not remotely what it is here. (Here) it’s huge, it’s a full season, and there’s a lot more than just a Christmas tree, and Christmas lights. That was kind of shocking for me when I got here, and I’m talking about that in the song. It’s a sad song, because I was missing home, but I think it’s a different perspective of Christmas, not what everybody’s used to, because it’s a Christmas song by a Cuban.”

Christmas, however, isn’t for a few more months, and in the meantime the band plans on continuing to wow audiences with their non-holiday fare.

With so much going on with Sweet Lizzy Project, I caught up with Diaz via Zoom to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about the band’s psychedelic rock n roll inspirations, her love of the ‘80s, and making quarantine concerts fun. 

 

 
The Doors

Let’s start with The Doors. Are The Doors an influence? Did you listen to them growing up, or did you discover them later in life? 

I’m gonna start by saying that I did not grow up listening to a lot of music. That came to me later on in my life.

No one in my family was a musician. We were very very poor. I didn’t even have a record player, or any instruments in the house. It was like that.

Some of this just came to me later on, and it was as spontaneous as the way I found my voice, which was completely like, “OK, I think I can sing.”

I remember when I saw the movie (The Doors).

So the movie introduced you to them! 

I had heard the band before, but I got really into them when I saw the movie because I loved the psychedelic vibe, and I think they’ve been an influence not only for me, but for the band. The song “Technicolor,” I think it has a lot of that, the psychedelic spirit.

You know, we haven’t played any songs by The Doors. We’ve gotten a lot of requests (for them) lately, and we need to do one of those because they’re great.

You’re getting requests for covers? 

Since the quarantine started, and the tour was completely rescheduled for next year, we decided to start doing online shows, just like everybody else, but we’re taking it very seriously. It’s like it’s our own TV show. It’s been a way to engage with fans, and keep ourselves from going insane. {laughs}

We play our songs, of course, and we talk about the way we feel, and our experiences, and all that, but also we play covers, and interaction with the audience is a lot stronger when they feel they can kind of decide what we’re gonna play. We get A LOT of requests, and we’ve been working on it. One of our most devoted fans asked for a Doors song. 

 

 
Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton

Since we’re talking about influences, and we pulled all these guitar gods, let’s talk about some of the guitar god influences of the band. I know it’s probably less of an influence on you, and more of an influence on your guitarist. 

Yeah, but Miguel (Comas) is such an important part of the band. He’s also the producer, so whatever influences he has, you’re gonna hear it on our music, because he kind of controls that.

He’s a huge fan of … it’s between Jimi and Eric.

Has he asked to cover any of their songs? 

Yes! We recently did “Cocaine,” and we did this medley with “Wonderful Tonight,” and oh my God the solo he does in “Wonderful Tonight,” it’s amazing. I think you can really hear the influence of Eric Clapton there.

We played (“Cocaine”) a lot on the last shows, and we also played the song by Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit.”

What a great song. 

I love that song. That’s one of my favorite songs of all-time. I love everything about it. I love the vibe, I love the psychedelic spirit, I love the video, I love her voice. We’ve played that one on the live shows, too, and I always end up saying I can’t believe we have a song about pills and mushrooms, and another one about cocaine. What message am I sending to people?!?! {laughs} 

 

 
Alannah Myles 
 
I am so glad you picked Alannah Myles. I love “Black Velvet.” She is a woman with a huge voice, you’re a woman with a huge voice, is that the connection here? 
 
I think, yeah. I have a weakness for strong women leaders. It (also) happened with Heart, and Joan Jett. They’ve been such a huge influence for me, especially Heart, I would say.
 
But I love “Black Velvet.” I love the genre. I love rock. It’s such a powerful genre for a woman to express herself, and I think it says a lot about the artist’s personality. Somehow I just feel like we’re on the same page.
 
 
 
Madonna

You mentioned strong women, and now we have Madonna, who certainly qualifies as a strong woman. 

She was huge everywhere. She was huge even in Cuba. (We saw) all the music videos, and she was so pretty. You knew her, you had to know her.

It’s amazing that she crossed over to a place that wasn’t even allowing American music. 

Yes! Even for a person that, like I said, I didn’t grow up listening to all kinds of music, I knew this girl.

I don’t think she was, or she is, a huge influence for me in that it’s not the kind of music that I think I listen to the most, or the kind of music that I create myself, but like I said, I have a weakness for successful women that made it. It was very hard, the times she was dealing with when she got famous and all that. It was a lot of work, and it’s been a big career, so definitely I enjoy the story, and I enjoy the story behind the music, and the life behind the music, and all the things you can learn from that.

I speak with a lot of international artists, and it’s always interesting to hear about which American artists really broke through in other countries. 

It was also controversial. It was never only about the music, but her personality, and all the bold things she did, like breaking rules. She’s special, for sure.

 

 
Men at Work

I love this band.

The online shows that we do, because we love the ‘80s, two or three of them were about the ‘80s, and what we do is, obviously we pick some songs from the ‘80s, but also we take our own songs and try to make them sound like they’re part of the same (era). I LOVE that, I love that because I am so sick of singing my songs over and over again. {laughs}

When you have two records, like I do, and you have, I don’t know, we have almost 70 shows now with the online shows, and this is all performing for a camera, eventually it’s like, “Oh my God, I don’t know how to play ‘Technicolor’ again,” so it’s a good thing that we try to make different versions of our songs.

We picked this song by Men at Work, “Down Under,” and we did a mix between this song and (our song) “Turn Up the Radio,” and I just loved it.

 

 
Scorpions

Is it your love of the ‘80s that also inspired you to choose the Scorpions from the cards we pulled? 

{laughs}

Yeah.

I definitely love the ‘80s. I love the fashion, I love the music, I love the harmonies, I love the way they made music. I love it. I love when we play the ‘80s.

Wait … you’re not old enough to have lived through the ‘80s. 

No. No I’m not. I was born in 1991.

You just missed it! 

I missed it. I hate that I missed it.

Also, you know, I think that in Cuba we got the music not in the moment it was created, there was always a gap, so I got a lot of it when I was growing up, just like as a background music, I would say.

 

For more Sweet Lizzy Project, check out sweetlizzyproject.com, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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