Lissy Trullie and Antifragile Music are excited to share the new single “Here”, the first new solo material from the critically lauded NYC musician since her John Hill and Dave Sitek produced 2012 LP Lissy Trullie. “Here” is available today on all DSPs, following a premiere on i-D who praise the “bop” as “sharp, focused, and packed with propulsive rhythms.” Trullie’s return to her solo career comes after some extended time away from music, and a recent stint as one half of the now retired Zipper Club, a group that performed at Coachella 2017 among other highlights. With “Here”, Trullie reasserts herself as one of the most captivating figures in music. New Yorkers can catch her at Baby’s All Right on April 10th.
It was the end of the aughts when New York Magazine proclaimed that “the red-hot joint of downtown cool has been passed to Lissy Trullie,” while name checking the likes of Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, Debbie Harry and Jim Carroll. That auspicious declaration and many others (from Rolling Stone, Spin, Vogue, NPR and Village Voice to name a few) that came alongside it when she burst onto the scene would hang heavy on the eventual release of her 2012 self-titled LP. “On the business side of things, my story is pretty typical,” relates Trullie. “I had a great run with my first release, Self Taught Learner, and couldn’t wait to keep that momentum going with the second record.” But in signing with separate labels for North America and the UK, the competing interests, ideas, and expectations led to a less than simple recording process.
Trullie ended up making two different versions of the album while working with multiple producers over the span of almost 3 years. It was enough time for the red-hot joint to lose a bit of its lustre in the eyes of a fickle and easily distracted public, and most crucially, in the eyes of her labels. “I finally ended up with a piece or work I still love to this day and am very proud of,” says Trullie. “Unfortunately, after all that, when the time came to put that record out, my labels gave it very little attention or support.” Through her career ended up hitting a wall as a result, Trullie sees a silver lining to those difficulties and the events that followed. “Without anything else to distract me,” she says, “it forced me into a place where I had very little choice but to assess some of the lifestyle choices I’d been making for myself.” She came to the decision of cutting drugs and alcohol out of her life, and over the few years that followed, she focused on herself.
Trullie has learned and grown a lot in the interim. Her self-imposed exile from the music industry allowed ample time for reflection on the whirlwind that engulfed her during those early years in her career. Much of that involved dissecting her experience as a queer woman making music in an environment that, even just a decade ago, was that much less hospitable when compared to the present. “Rather than talking about music and playing music,” says Trullie, “I found myself having to navigate the tumultuous terrain of being an unconventional androgynous queer female former-model in a straight cis-gendered male dominated industry. I had no idea I was such a difficult pill to swallow. Even as a gay girl I don’t fit an identifiable mold. I contradicted the usual classifications, summaries or diagnoses. And provoked speculation and doubt around not only the validity of my music but the validity of myself as a person.” At times, Trullie relates that she felt like she was drowning in a conversation she didn’t know how to have. “I was judged on my appearance rather than my work, and I ended up internalizing a lot of that negativity. ”
Today, Trullie is more assured of herself than she’s ever been. “I know it’s not my responsibility to make anyone else feel comfortable,” she says, “to prove my value or worth or that my music should be taken just as seriously as the next person.” When the opportunity to play and write songs as part of Zipper Club presented itself, Trullie felt ready to jump back onto the stage. While she is proud of what that band accomplished during its brief existence, Trullie did not feel that as a woman and queer person she was free to fully be herself while part Zipper Club, and so the end, it felt right when the project came to an end.
Trullies newly emboldened sense of self and the confidence that comes with it can be heard on her new songs, recorded with producer Vlad Holiday. “I always thought of myself as a guitar person, I’ve been playing it religiously since I was 11 years old, and later piano, but for songwriting I’ve learned that when I pick up a less familiar instrument I activate something new in my writing. The bass has been that catalyst for this new material.” She dabbled more in the electronic side of music making as well, almost out of necessity at first. “I was living off and on in LA sleeping on couches with just my computer handy, so I started experimenting with synths and messing around with drum machines and drum programing. That’s how I came up with the idea of how these tracks would be sonically.”
For inspiration on where to go with her new found songwriting process, Trullie turned to avenues she hadn’t in the past as well. “I’m being very mindful with instrumentation, I’ve really left my guitar behind, leads are deliberate and careful, with more emphasis on rhythm driven arrangements, having percussion or synth be the hook. And, I’m focusing on my voice way more than ever before, finding its power, pushing its character, and celebrating its quirkiness. Basically the rule in the studio right now is think twice before you guitar, only use it when it’s absolutely necessary.”
Lissy Trullie’s life over the past six years has been an exercise in taking something positive out of tough breaks and personal challenges. Plenty others might have thrown in the towel on their dreams, but she has an almost zen like approach to looking back on the past. “In all honestly,” she says, “it was such a valuable experience to work really really hard and get super close to reaching that ‘thing’ and touch some seemingly untouchable dream only to lose it all shortly after.” With her new single “Here” and future releases in the works, Trullie is back to doing what she loves, making great music. Only this time, she’s doing so on her own terms, and uncompromisingly so.