Brooklyn’s TEEN, comprised of sisters Teeny, Lizzie, and Katherine Lieberson, along with Boshra AlSaddi, just released their third full length album Love Yes last week and I recently had the opportunity to chat with them about the record at Spice House Sound in Philadelphia.
JL: Love Yes is your third album. What have you learned along the way that influenced how you made this record?
TL: I think we’ve just become a better band. Since Boshra joined, we’ve toured a lot. I think that’s changed our dynamic of how we write and play music and influenced how our sound is now. And I think we also really enjoy recording live. That’s something that we definitely learned from recording the last record, which we multi-tracked. It was good, but we didn’t feel that it really captured the sound of the band the way that a live recording does. We were really trying the capture the human feeling of the band. We didn’t want it to sound perfect.
JL: I feel like each of your albums, you change your overall sound and do something a bit different. Has that been a conscious goal?
TL: Yeah, I don’t think we’re ever interested in doing the same thing twice. And it’s just natural. I like different things all the time and I’m influenced by different music all the time so I’m constantly changing as a writer. That affects the band and I feel like also just playing more and more affects how you play together.
JL: I understand that environment came into play a lot in the writing and recording process. The band is based in New York, but you went back to your [the Lieberson sisters] home in Nova Scotia to make the record?
TL: That’s where we went to record. I wrote songs in Kentucky and we actually did a band retreat in Woodstock, NY that was sort of a failure, but Lizzie wrote an amazing song that’s on the record, “Please,” there, so it wasn’t a total failure.
JL: Why Kentucky?
TL: There’s so much music in Kentucky and also so much space that I think I lost any self-consciousness that I may have in a more urban environment or distraction. You can just kind of experiment and not worry about the fashion side of music, because I don’t care about that as a writer. But it sort of trickles in, living in New York City.
JL: I read a statement where you called this your most feminine album. Is it also your most feminist? Would you define those as two different things?
TL: Lyrically I suppose so. Femininity, I feel like, has to do more with the sensual side of being a woman… for me personally. I cannot speak for all women. How I relate to my femininity is probably being more in touch with the sensuality part of who I am as a woman, and I think that that is part of the record. And then also the feminist part of the record, it just ends up being a topic in my songs because it’s something that women have to deal with all the time – sexism and the more political / social side of being a woman in the world.
JL: Is that something that you set out to write about for this album?
TL: I think honestly it plays a little bit into the losing some self-consciousness that I was talking about. It’s just something that’s always on my mind and I feel more confident speaking about and writing about now, being a little more culturally observant in my songs. I think I used to be a little more shy about that. I didn’t set out to do that. It wasn’t a conceptual thing, just a natural thing that happened.
TEEN has just embarked on a U.S. tour through early April that will take them to SXSW. Check out their new video for “Free Time” here and listen to their live performance of that song along with “Tokyo” and “All About Us” on our SubModern Session here. Find out more at TEENtheBand.net or CarparkRecords.com.
~ By Josh T. Landow