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Liz Phair crashed into the indie-rock world in a huge way in the early ‘90s with her instant classic album Exile In Guyville, and she was already the talk of the town—in this case Chicago—before she had even performed publicly. It was an auspicious start to a fascinating career that went from indie-world stardom to Lilith Fair to composing for films and TV to a consciously pop-leaning album to a fantastic memoir called Horror Stories. And it comes full circle, sort of, with her new album Soberish, which she created with the help of producer Brad Wood, with whom she worked on her early albums, including Exile.
Zella Day took a very different path in her music life, starting out very young—at age 15—trying to write songs and make it in Nashville. That led to a revelation that she’d rather perform herself, and eventually a record deal and 2015’s pop-centric album Kicker. She played Coachella and other huge festivals, but wasn’t fully satisfied with where she was artistically, as you’ll hear in this chat. After relocating to L.A., she fell in with a slightly more serious crowd, included pals like Lana Del Rey and Weyes Blood, and her music shifted a bit. She’s currently working on an album with producer Jay Joyce, and recently released a song with Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood called “Holocene.”
Phair and Day hit it off right away in this conversation, diving right into a conversation about restarting their careers post-COVID—Phair’s dad is a retired infectious diseases expert, which gave her some unique insight—as well as the challenges of not giving too much of yourself during an album’s promotional cycle. They also tackle the meaning of the word “sober-ish,” which is pretty great. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse podcast, and thanks to Liz Phair and Zella Day for chatting. This episode was produced by Melissa Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Photo Credit: right, Elizaveta Porodina; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)