|Rock and Roll Mermaids...photo by Lauren Pilson|
WDS - Let’s start with the name, I was compelled to listen to you based on the name of the band – initially, I wasn’t sure if I liked it but it really seemed to connect with the music when I listened to you. What’s the story behind the name?
Lottie - The meaning behind the name Says She's Ms. Blat stems from an old New York Times article found on the Internet. The headline was "She Says She's Mrs. Platt". The article was about a woman in 1915 who had continuously married wealthy men, divorced them, took their money, changed her name and moved on to the next victim. She was a con artist who was quite progressive for a woman in the early twentieth century. I liked the idea of her ever changing persona. As an artist, you are constantly changing and coming up with new ideas. Ms. Blat is the persona I took on as a musician. Although I write from personal experience, my world is constantly forming and reshaping around me, I'll never be the same person I was when I wrote a particular song or album. I'll be whatever I want to be and right now, I say that I'm Ms. Blat.
WDS - So give a bit of background on how this project came together. How long have you been together? Other bands you were involved in, how you & Bret met, etc.?
Lottie - Bret and I met in 2000, we were naïve little teenagers that had just moved to the Bronx for undergrad. We had dabbled and “jammed” but never did anything serious. I had been writing on my own for years, since I was a little kid, and was ready to record and play out. I didn’t want to play piano by myself; I hate that whole “singer-songwriter” bullshit. So I contacted Bret. We began to record my songs in his old studio in Bushwick. I played the keys and he decided to get behind the drums, something that he wasn’t used to doing as a guitar player. All of the sudden we were a band. It happened easily and naturally. I guess we got lucky, we work really well together and have a great chemistry as friends and musicians. That doesn’t happen very often.
WDS - There are seemingly so many types of musical genres at work in Says She’s Ms. Blat – from the carnival freak out of Man Man or Gogol Bordello to a bit of a nod to artists like Regina Spector. How would you describe your sound?
Lottie - The hardest thing in the whole world to do is to describe your own sound. I have no clue. Sometimes when I think I might understand, I realize I am wrong. I wish I could give you an explanation that would put me into some neat category and make it easier for everyone, but I can’t. I think we sound like Ms. Blat. Loud fucking drums and keys. Excited! Aggressive! Energetic!
WDS - How are the songs written (is there one songwriter or is it more collaborative)?
Lottie - I normally have a piano part or lyric that is the basis of the song. I get things in my head then work them out on the keys. Bret always adds the drums and gives suggestions along the way. We normally work the songs out together once I show him my initial idea. I do most of the lyrics, but Bret will always add his two cents.
|Says She's Ms. Blat's Bret Puchir & Lottie Leymore photo by...Aileen Abercrombie|
Lottie - No label, we are DIY at the moment. Bret produces all of our material in my home studio in Brooklyn. Like I said, we do everything ourselves. We follow our own rules and experiment as we go.
WDS - I really like the video for “Violent Nudity”…it led me to think of Says She’s Ms. Blat as a forum for combining many different mediums, not just purely music. Is this a consideration when writing songs or for the project more generally?
Lottie - Most of the music I write comes to me at random moments. The lyrics and sound stem from my experiences, ideas, dreams etc. Most of the songs have some sort of story or idea that could become visual, whether it is via video or stageshow. I guess the tunes are a soundtrack to my life. They are what I hear in my head everyday when I am going about my life. “Violent Nudity” came to me after I stepped outside of my loft and a sudden feeling of euphoria swept over me. The day was absolutely stunning, it was a perfect summer day. As I began to walk through my neighborhood I noticed lots of crazy thing going on. New York City is a weird place. You see crazy shit all the time. Pair that with a warm day and…. BOOM! Wild stuff happens. I wanted to project that into a video. All of the performers in the video are real life artists that live and work in the city. They made my vision a reality by just showing up and being themselves.
WDS - What is the state of the New York City/Brooklyn music scene these days? You seem out of step with most of what I’ve heard coming out of that “scene” recently.
Lottie - I take all of that as a compliment. Brooklyn definitely has a scene. I am not interested. I like to stay away and do my own thing. There are definitely tons of musicians doing their own thing that are extremely talented that don’t fit the stereotype of what is coming out of Brooklyn. I like to hang around those kids. I am over the “throwback” genre. I like fresh ideas. I am sick of Pavement and 50’s girl doo-wop and lo-fi, etc. etc. Give me something NEW and Different.
WDS - For the readers that only have the video and this interview to go on, how would you describe your live show?
Lottie - We are very loud, fast and hard. Extremely sweaty and energetic. We completely let ourselves go, no inhibitions. We both have been musicians our whole lives. It is natural for us to be on stage and perform. It is where we belong.
WDS - How tough is it out there for an up and coming band to get noticed and get your music out to a wide audience?
Lottie - It’s tough. We are working hard…..
WDS - Any plans on touring the West Coast?
Lottie - Yes. Soon. We just need money.
WDS - Where would you like to see Says She’s Ms. Blat be in the next couple of years?
Lottie - Touring the world. Several more albums under our belt. A few more videos.
“Ridiculous but Necessary Questions”
What is your favorite cheese? Midnight Moon
Louis Prima & Keely Smith or Jack & Meg White? Captain and Tennille
Beverley Hills 90210 or Gossip Girl? My So Called Life
Violence or Nudity? Nudity