Elizabeth Ziman, The Lead Singer of ELIZABETH & THE CATAPULT Reveal Info On Their Latest Release, Their Current Tour And Much More!
Posted On 29 Jan 2015
Tag: Adam Minkoff, Aimee Mann, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Anne Hathaway, Antibalas, Arcade Fire, Artist Interview, Ben Folds, Billboard, Blake Mills, Bright Eyes, Brooklyn, Catapult, Daniel Johnston, Danny, Dave Rawlings, Elizabeth & The Catapult, Elizabeth Ziman, EMEFE, Esperanza Spaulding, Father John Mysty, Frank Ocean, Gabriel Kahane, Gillian Welch, Happy Pop, Here We Go Magic, Jeske Hume, Joan As Policewoman, Jonno Linden, Kishi Bashi, Laura Mvula, Lauren Balthrop, Les Miserables, Little India, Lucius, Luke Temple, Michael Arthur, Mike Mogis, Miles Arntzen, Mother Jones, My Brightest Diamon, NPR Music, Ny Times, Nylon, Paste, Pete, Philip Glass, Ron Sexmith, Scratchback Records, Sharon Van Etton, Spoon, St. Vincent, Taller Children, Thank You For Nothing, The Other Side of Zero, Thirty Tigers, Tilly and the Wall, Tom Waits, Tony Berg, Tuneyards
Elizabeth & The Catapult released Like It Never Happened (Scratchback Records/Thirty Tigers) on January 20th. The band has been praised by the NY Times, NPR Music, Nylon, Billboard, Paste, Mother Jones and more.
Elizabeth & The Catapult is currently on tour, opening for the Kishi Bashi String Quartet.
As Elizabeth & the Catapult, Elizabeth Ziman has released two full-length albums and a self-produced, recorded and released EP. 2009’s Taller Children was produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and featured collaborations with Tilly and the Wall. The band’s second full-length was The Other Side of Zero, produced by Tony Berg (Aimee Mann) and features Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.
Before Elizabeth headed on tour, she took a few minutes for the following interview:
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band:
I play with Jonno Linden (guitar), Jeske Hume (bass), Adam Minkoff, Miles Arntzen (drums) and Lauren Balthrop (vocals). I also recorded my last record with Pete and Danny from Lucius.
Do you remember how did the band come together? How long has it been?
The original members to the Catapult were back in college, including Esperanza Spalding on bass but I’ve been writing and performing since I was 18.
I have read that after you released two albums, you took to busking in the New York subways to teach yourself to play guitar. Tell me about that experience.
I actually ventured out from my subway station today and played at 14th street and it was a very different experience than I’m used to playing in the Little India stop in Brooklyn. It was very busy and impersonal. But I go to my particular station to play because the acoustics are divine. It’s like my own personal practice space. That is till the cops come and try to kick me out.
You’ve worked with incredible producers that are behind some amazing artists like Bright Eyes and Aimee Mann. What were those relationships like?
I met some really wonderful musicians and networks through both Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and Tony Berg…. I remember Mike had Tillly and the Wall come in and “tap” on some tracks to my first album. Then for my sophomore album with Tony, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings were just chilling in the studio and somehow agreed to sing on the title track. I also discovered my favorite guitar player, Blake Mills while recording that album. Incredible people!
Your second album with The Catapult, The Other Side of Zero, drew interest from Anne Hathaway who used the album’s track “Thank You For Nothing” as inspiration for her hair cutting scene in Les Miserables. How exactly did that all happen?
I think Tony Berg sent the album to Anne originally. She told me that she was just very drawn to that song and it helped put her at ease and get her into character for the moment she had to shave her head. I recently got to play that song opening for Philip Glass so I’m pretty sure it’s my good luck charm.
You were then cast by Anne Hathaway later on as a street musician in an upcoming film about New York musicians! Has that already happened? Do you enjoy acting?
I wasn’t really acting, just doing what I usually do…I learned accordion for the role though. I saw the premiere of the film last night and was so surprised I wasn’t cut! How cool! It was great company to be in as well…I love Sharon Van Etton and she had a great cameo of her in a club doing her thing.
You have toured and sang background as well for many artists. Do you have a preference?
I never believed I was the best background singer but dependent on the gig it can be really exhilarating. I’m singing backgrounds on Kishi Bashi’s tour soon and his band is a total blast. Not to mention I get to sing in Japanese with a string section on this upcoming tour- so I’m quite happy to be doing it. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they’re recording a live EP of the show as well.
You recently released the video for “‘Happy Pop”. Tell me about the statement that you put out- “’Happy Pop’ is about making music for the right reasons.” What exactly does this mean? Can you talk about the creation of the video for the song with Michael Arthur?
It means pretty much what it sounds like. For me making music is for myself, for my friends, for my dad who’s always supported me- and not for any company or label who wants me to sell records. That’s at least what I TRY to do. I still have to make a living somehow, but I think it’s possible to find your voice, do what you think is cool, and still make a living right? I’d like to believe that anyway.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making? Are there any new artists that you are enjoying these days?
I always like what St Vincent is doing. I loved Frank Ocean’s record a couple years ago, Luke Temple from Here We Go Magic, Gabriel Kahane’s new record, My Brightest Diamond, Father John Mysty, I wrote a little with Ben Folds a couple months ago and he’s recording an amazing concerto which I was inspired by, Laura Mvula, Tuneyards, Spoon, Blake Mills, Ron Sexmith, Daniel Johnston, Tom Waits, Joan as Policewoman, I could go on forever.
What would you say the band has already accomplished and what do you have your eyes set on next?
I have no idea. But for the future I’d like to keep making records and tour with cool bands in America and hopefully beyond as well.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I hope they can relate to it but still listen to it without listening too hard. Like cook or clean to it or something. That’s how I know I love a record if I can listen without listening.
Would you like new fans to know anything else about you or the group?
I own a rabbit.
Where can people see you perform next?
Opening for Kishi Bashi DUO with Miles Arntzen (Antibalas, EMEFE, Arcade Fire) next week on tour in Seattle, Portland, LA and San Francisco.