In an impromptu interview situated in the backstage area of Corporation in Sheffield, 26 year old Allison Weiss was kind enough to sit down and chat with us about her first time performing in the UK as well as upcoming new music and future touring plans.
Allison’s most recent album Say What You Mean is available now through iTunes.
There was quite a big gap between your last album, … Was Right All Along, and this one, what was the reason behind that?
Let’s see, … Was Right All Along was 2009 and this one [Say What You Mean] just came out in 2013… A lot of it was because when I put out … Was Right All Along I was still in school. That came out the year before I graduated, so the whole year after that I didn’t really do a lot of touring, didn’t really write anything new. Then as soon as I left school, I moved to New York, so I was in the middle of moving, and then I did some touring.
I started recording Say What You Mean in 2010, right after I moved to New York. The end of that year was when we started pre-production on it and I’d written about half of the songs. It originally started out as an EP, so in my mind, I was going to have an EP coming out the year after … Was Right All Along. But, me and my friend Chris Kuffner who was producing it, he and I were having so much fun we decided to go ahead and record more songs. We had four, then I wrote a couple more, and then there were a couple of old ones that we redid so it was like “Why not make it ten and call it a record?”.
So, I finished recording it all in the spring/summer of 2011, then we mixed it and that took a few months. It wasn’t like “I’m going to make a record, so I’ve booked a month of studio time and at the end of that month, we’ll have it done”, there was a lot of overtime spent making this record, just because I had a lot of things going on, and he had a lot of things going on. By the time it was ready to be released, I was about to put it out myself and everyone around me was saying “Don’t!”, and I was so ready to be done with that thing! I spent the whole next year taking time to put a team together, and I got involved with No Sleep Records and then finally in April 2013, the record came out!
Were there any tracks you had written that were left off?
There was only one song really that I thought we were going to put on the record but we just couldn’t figure out how to make it work with the other songs. It was an older song that I had written back in college, but almost all of the songs off Say What You Mean were songs that I wrote that first year of moving to New York in 2010. There are only a couple of ones that are older, like ‘I Was An Island’ was also on Right All Along but it was a little, quiet ukulele thing and we made it a big Weezer style rock song for Say What You Mean. There was only that one that we left off really, we picked the ones that were going to happen and we were committed to them.
Are you working on a follow up at all?
I’m writing stuff now, but I owe No Sleep one more EP, so there’ll be an EP before there’s a record.
You also had The Teenage Years, where you released one song every month. What made you want to release music like that?
Well, The Teenage Years started out as a Kickstarter reward, because I used Kickstarter to fund Say What You Mean, but I decided I’d also make an EP of four old, old songs. It was something I’d really wanted to do, because I wrote a lot of material when I was younger that I still really loved, and I just never had the chance to put it out. I get excited by new things and then forget about the old ones, and a lot of fans wanted the legit recordings of the old songs.
So, the way that I did it was I made YouTube videos of ten possible songs and have people vote for the ones they liked the best, then in doing that I realised that I really liked all ten songs, and that was when I decided to change the project and make it a monthly thing, which was cool for me because it helped me to deal with the fact that I had this record that I really wanted to put out, but couldn’t release yet, and my record before that was like two or three years old. So, The Teenage Years was my way of getting through 2012, putting out a song a month, I thought it was a fun way of doing it.
This is your first time playing in the UK, right?
Well, I was here once before for only two days, but I wasn’t playing my songs. I was singing backing for Lou Reed’s band, we came for two shows and I didn’t really see anything and didn’t get to play my own songs.
So you’re playing solo for now, would you ever consider bringing the full band over?
Yeah! That’s the hope, that I can make it happen and bring the whole band over some day. It’s expensive. Say What You Mean is a full band record and I mostly play with a full band now, so that’s the way that I want to play. Luckily, I can do it myself because I did it myself for so long, so when someone like The Front Bottoms are like “Hey, come and tour with us”, I can go over by myself and sneak into their van and ride with them.
Do you have any plans for coming back to the UK?
Nothing’s set in stone yet, but it’s always on my mind. I want to get over here as much as possible!