If you are a survivor of any or all of the following: A) adolescence; B) Junior High; C) High School, you will quickly find yourself addicted to this weeks interview subject, the irrepressible Allison Weiss. Allison is a musician I’ve rabidly been pushing on my tumblr page for ages (approximately 2 months) whose uber-catchy, hopeful songs make unrequited love sound superbly scrumtrulescent.
What was your favorite part of being a kid?
Probably the part that involved exploring the woods and pretending to be an adventurer. I grew up in Georgia and had friends with creeks in their backyards. I’d go in the water and try to find salamanders. I still can’t see a lizard without trying to catch it. This is a fun fact about me. Now that I live in New York I don’t actually see that many lizards, which is okay I guess. I don’t really think about it. I’ve been considering adopting a pet iguana.
What’s your favorite part of making music?
Performing and entertaining is THE BEST. I like to create songs, of course, and discovering the perfect parts when you’re in the studio can be pretty magical, but I think my number one love is being on a stage and really playing a solid wonderful show. I love how it feels to lock in with a band. Like I said, THE BEST.
Who / What are your influences?
I’m completely and totally influenced by relationships, how they work, and how they don’t. I’m fascinated with the way human beings connect with each other. I’m very interested in figuring the whole thing out and I do that mostly through music. Many of my songs are based on my inner monologue, “Why is this happening! What does this mean! What do I do!” If you’re actually asking what bands I love most, I’d say Rilo Kiley, Tegan & Sara, Neutral Milk Hotel, Weezer’s first two records, so many more.
Why do you do what you do?
Because there is nothing else.
Unrequited Love Songs Never Sounded This Good
How do you know for certain that Pizza can’t drive a car?
I guess I don’t, you know? I suppose I shouldn’t underestimate Pizza.
When did you know music was in your blood?
There wasn’t really a definitive moment. It was always there. I picked up a guitar and I knew it was meant to be. Maybe it has something to do with my parents. Probably. All I know is that I started over 10 years ago and I never stopped and I never will.
Tell me about your first break.
Break? Do you mean break up? I was 14. His name was Sam. He was my best friend. I met him in August and by December I had convinced him to date me. We ate lunch together every day and one time we made out in my parents’ basement. He liked to make out after school but I typically tried to avoid this. After a month, I received a note from him, stating that he preferred friendship to romance. For some reason I was heartbroken. It took me forever to get over it. That’s kind of my ‘thing’ I guess.
What is the strangest thing to instill a sense of accomplishment and pride?
I once designed a website called ‘Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber’.
What is the most extraordinary or memorable thing anyone has done for you/your musical career?
I have a friend named Jenny Owen Youngs who met me when I was 22 and she sort of took me under her wing. Through her I learned about the amazing music scene in NYC and eventually moved here. She also introduced me to many of my best friends who I’ve had some of the greatest touring experiences with. I guess it’s not really extraordinary but it’s definitely memorable.
Where do your songs come from?
Most of the time they’re just the things that I don’t have the guts to really say to people. I think songwriters have it easy when it comes to breakups and relationships because, for instance, I can yell at someone or confess my undying love through a song and not have to suffer any awkward consequences. I just get on a stage and let it all out and then go about my daily life as if I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary.
For it/Against it – go!
For: King sized beds
Give me some insight into your music + songwriting process.
I don’t really have a definite process. For me, a song starts with a feeling. From there it becomes a melody or a lyrical idea. I’ve never had a formula really, I just try and capture what I can as fast as possible and try and create the best aural representation of the things I’m thinking or feeling. It’s so hard to explain, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.
Who do you write for (besides yourself)?
I really only write for me. I write for me and I hope that other people who are feeling the same things can also get something out of it. I guess technically I write for the people that I write about. But even then, I may be writing to them but I am still writing for me.
Whats the nuttiest local custom you’ve come across in touring so far?
Someone gave me a jar of moonshine in Charlottesville, VA. Is that a custom?
What have you learned about our species from touring and being an artist?
Human beings love shitty food. It’s so hard to find a good solid healthy meal on the road. There are times where I’ll go 15 hours on trail mix and water because I know if I give in and get a Big Mac I’ll spend the next day feeling horrible. It sucks!
What can your fans count on at one of your shows?
I prefer that everyone have a blast the whole time. Fans can expect that I will be having a blast for sure. Whether or not they decide to partake in that blast-having is up to them. So many of my songs are lyrically depressing, I try and focus on the fact that they’re also upbeat and catchy and fun. Music is awesome. Let’s dance.
I think you may be an even more stubborn optimist than myself – do you think that’s possible?
I don’t know you, so probably!
Whats our problem, anyway?
You’re doing a great job, actually.
What prompted the tour updates from gas stations?
Last summer I set out across the country alone in my brother’s car on the Forever Alone Tour. I was all by myself and bored, and trying to find some way to keep it interesting as a single person out on tour. I had no idea that people would like them so much!
If your music was a theoretical ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Strawberry. Familiar but just the right amount of different.
You’re forced at gunpoint to get your karaoke on; and….?
I perform a very nervous version of Wilson Phillips “Hold On”
Name your Guilty Music Pleasure
I am not ashamed of anything. Maybe my last answer will prove this point.
Allison Weiss, perhaps the only entertainer who wants to and potentially does please all of her audience all of the time, is currently on tour with one of her bestest friends, Bess Rogers. Their tour dates are listed below. By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Allison’s unofficial video for my favorite AW anthem “Fingers Crossed” and then check out the official video at allisonw.com.
TOUR DATES WITH BESS ROGERS
10/12 – Atlanta, GA @ Wonderroot
10/13 – Tallahassee, FL @ Mockingbird Cafe
10/14 – Melbourne, FL @ EGAD! Art Lab
10/15 – St Petersburg, FL @ Hideaway Cafe
10/16 – Orlando, FL @ Natura Coffee & Tea
10/22 – Chicago, IL @ Martyr’s
10/23 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews new
10/24 – Fairfield, IA @ Cafe Paradiso
10/26 – Louisville, KY @ Derby City Espresso
11/01 – Providence, RI @ Fete Lounge
11/02 – Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East Upstairs
11/03 – Burlington, VT @ The Skinny Pancake
11/04 – Montreal, QC @ Shaika Cafe
11/05 – Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
11/06 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The B Side
11/07 – Cleveland, OH @ Wilbert’s
11/08 – Columbus, OH @ Brothers Drake
11/09 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Point Park University
11/10 – Harrisburg, PA @ Stage on Herr