I had a small dream come true yesterday when I got to interview Lindsey Stirling. I’ve been a fan of hers for several years and her music is incredible. Today, her latest album, Artemis, drops and it’s one of my favorite albums from her. The album has a very hopeful tone to it, and it features the talent of Amy Lee and Elle King providing voices on the tracks “Love Goes On and On” and “The Upside” respectively. When talking with Stirling, we talked about the album, and then we talked a bit about her geeky side and what things in the geek world she tends to enjoy. Oh, we also got some more details on the comic that is accompanying Artemis.
Tommy: So I have some questions about your upcoming album. But before I get there, I’m a bit of a musician myself and have some questions for you about some of your previous albums, your gear, and recording process if that’s okay.
Tommy: My number one question is on your second album, “Shatter Me”. You got Lzzy Hale to come sing, how?
Lindsey: Oh, well, you know, I wrote “Shatter Me” for a very specific voice. At the time, all EDM music had very ethereal voices, all these dubstep tracks, and they were always like angelic voices. And I was like, no, I won’t write a song for a female rock voice. I want it to be a gritty voice, I want it to be edgy, you know, and it was really a process of searching for the right voice. And when we found it, you know, I hadn’t actually heard of Halestorm before and Lzzy had never heard of me before. But, I found her, I listened to her stuff and was like, she’s perfect. Then they sent the song to Lzzy, Lzzy got acquainted with my stuff, and it was really interesting. I think we both resonated with each other because we had very similar stories, of just being self-made female artists that were paving our own path. And, you know, we paved our own paths in very different ways, but it takes a certain person to do it in that way. So we just had an automatic mutual respect for each other and to this day, I love Lzzy Hale. She’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever worked with in terms of being willing to try something different. She was so fun to work with. I absolutely love her to this day.
Tommy: Yeah, no. I absolutely love her work. Her voice is incredible and it is such a breath of fresh air to have her voice on a track like that.
Lindsey: Yeah, it’s very, it was very unique. And Oh, it just literally gave me chills. I was in the studio as she recorded it and she like went up to reach that high note, “shatter me” like she does and she like literally screamed out, I was blown away. It gave me like full-body chills cause you’re like, there’s no way she’s going to hit that note, and then she hit it every single time. She’s just incredible.
Tommy: Yeah, no, it’s, it’s incredible. And real quick, I’m gonna stay with other artists really quick. How the heck did you line up a tour with Evanescence and becoming friends with Amy Lee? She is like a rock goddess.
Lindsey: She is, she was my rock goddess. Like Amy Lee and Evanescence inspired me so much when I was just kind of finding out my own sound of music. I really drew a lot of inspiration from them and from her, I don’t know, just such an iconic group to me personally. And so it’s always interesting how people say to put things out to the universe and manifest things and they will come back to you. And that is probably the biggest examples of how that’s happened in my own life. I made music videos to like bring me to life when I was like 15 years old with my best friends. And you know, I actually originally wrote shatter me with Amy Lee in mind and you know, and that’s why we found this perfect for the track. But it’s just interesting, you know, what a full circle moment to have been, not only inspired by her, but to have written songs for her. And then, you know, just presented to me the idea of possibly doing a co-headline tour with one of my most inspirational muses. And so it was crazy that they are looking and that that all came to fruition and yet now I’m like Amy’s my friend, like what, how cool is that? Now she’s on my album, so it’s this really cool course of going from being, I still am a fan to being the friend and collab writer.
Tommy: Yeah, no, that’s, I’m very jealous. So real quick, I want to jump to when you record tracks, do you record using one of your acoustic violins or do you typically go back and forth between an acoustic violin and an electric violin?
Lindsey: Yes, I’ve always recorded, I think every song I’ve ever recorded actually has been on my acoustic violin, Excalibur. Which is my German made a hundred year old violin. I love the way it sounds. I’ve even at points gone and tried out, you know, thinking maybe it’s time to upgrade and get a more expensive violin now that I’m, you know, I just always end up back being like, no, I love the way this violin sounds. I got it when I first decided I wanted to be a professional, I used my own savings to buy it, so it’s pretty cool that that violin to me still holds up. It still is my favorite violin to play and it’s on all my albums.
Tommy: Well that’s incredible. Okay, so let’s jump on to I’ve got a few questions here about your upcoming album, Artemis. I’ve had the privilege of listening to it. It sounds really good. It’s one of my favorite albums of yours today.
Lindsey: Thank you.
Tommy: So real quick, one thing I noticed on the title track “Artemis,” I was sent the music video for that a few days ago and I was listening to it and watching it and I noticed the very first line, and it repeats a few times, sounds very similar to the, the force theme from Star Wars.
Lindsey: Oh yes, I saw a lot of comments of other people feeling the same way..
Tommy: Was that intentional or is that just a happy accident?
Lindsey: Well, it was kind of a happy accident, which I very quickly realized does sound like Star Wars you noticed that it kind of was just the way I wrote it and we tried out several other melodies, you never want to be mistaken for, especially, you don’t want to get copy written for somebody else’s work. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Secondly, it was that melody that stuck. It isn’t note for note, it’s not an exact replica. It’s slightly different, so it can’t get copy written for it, but also, at the same time, it is a fun little homage to a theme that I grew up with. John Williams is…If I could collaborate with anybody, he’s my favorite musician, and so in a way, I think this is a bit of a tip of the hat to John Williams who wrote that theme and has written many of my favorite pieces and such beautiful compositions. From Star Wars to Harry Potter to Indiana Jones, like he’s a legend in the film scoring world.
Tommy: Yeah, no. John Williams is incredible. I don’t think anyone could ever argue otherwise on that one. Once again, in the video, there’s a moment where one of your costumes, you’re playing a violin, but it’s designed to look like a crossbow. Is that kind of an homage to Artemis being the goddess of the hunt?
Lindsey: Yes, so that whole video is kind of supposed to represent these two opposing sides of Artemis that I think make her such a powerful goddess. And even in the song you hear different parts of the music and the way the violin is played that sound very aggressive, and I was like, “This is supposed to represent the hunter.” And there’s stealthy and subversive like a boss. And then you saw that with the crossbow and the choreography to be symbolic with me and my dancers are going into battle as archers and warrior women. That’s why the choreography is the way it is and I was like, “I’m going to get a crossbow violin made.” Yeah, that represented the hunter and then there’s other parts of the video and parts of the music that are more ethereal and you hear this voice that’s supposed to represent the softer side of Artemis where she is the goddess of the moon and she’s protecting virtue and femininity. That’s one of the reasons I loved the goddess character so much, because I’m like, “Wow, I think that’s the ultimate feminine representation of females, that we’re strong, we can be warriors, we can do that side, but we can also be soft and nurturing and virtuous.
Tommy: That describes the video very well, I would say. It’s a very well done video.
Lindsey: Thank you!
Tommy: A song that a lot of people might not know because it’s not a single, is “Darkside.” I was caught off guard a little because I was listening to it and was like, “What’s this song called?” Because it sounds very hopeful and uplifting, but then I saw the title Darkside attached to it. With a name like “Darkside,” I would’ve expected something darker and heavier, so where did the name “Darkside” come from for such a hopeful track?
Lindsey: Right. Well, one of the big themes of the album and even the story, I wrote the album alongside a comic book and so it had a very clear story to me, one of the big themes is that there is hope in darkness. Artemis, being the goddess of the moon, a big part of her mission is bringing light into darkness. So, even when there is darkness, or when there is a dark side, there is always this hope that light will come back. That’s why I didn’t want to write a song, like there’s definitely darker tones in the chorus and certain sonnets of the song are dark, but also the melody is a very upbeat melody and the tempo is upbeat. So it’s kind of a play with roles. It’s got some dark things like the chords, but at the same time, even in darkness, you can find hope and light. It was kind of the theme of the album and why I called that song “Darkside.”
Tommy: OK. So, you mentioned the comic just now, and I know you announced it on social media a week or two ago. Can you give us any more info about the comic?
Lindsey: Yeah! From the album artwork, it is a manga, like anime style, comic book, and what else. I mean the themes are around kind of the goddess of the moon and how she came to be the goddess of the moon, but I don’t think it’s going to be what people are going to expect because it takes place in our future world. And it’s a world that has been consumed by darkness where Nix, is the goddess of the night in Greek mythology and she’s an evil god, so she’s kind of the villain of the story and she’s come into our world. She’s taken over, she’s ruled out the sun, and so now the only source of light left is the waning moon and that is Artemis who is still hoping to save our world from darkness. She reaches out to one of the characters in this future world, it’s the main character that’s on the cover of the album, through dreams because that’s when the moon is awake and there’s an opportunity to communicate. And so through dreams she speaks to this character and at first the character thinks they’re just random dreams, but then she realizes they’re even more than that and that they’re guiding her and they’re actually communication and she starts to trust this guidance. So the comic book takes place in like two very different aesthetics: these dream sequences that are like the music video for “Artemis” where they’re like ethereal goddess in this beautiful forest and it’s green and lush and then there’s the future character that lives in this uninhabitable place and so she decides to help bring light back to this world.
Tommy: That sounds pretty cool. Since it’s a manga style, is it one where we have to read right to left or is it going to be traditional Western left to right?
Lindsey: It’s traditional Western left to right. So, it’s funny. Manga style comics normally go the opposite way, but also they have a different style of storytelling. So it’s like a western inspired story that I pulled from Greek mythology to write a western style story and then it’s artistically expressed through Japanese anime. My artist is a Japanese artist, so it has created quite the cultural fusion project that I’m really proud of.
Tommy: Well I’m looking forward to it. Do we have a release date for that yet?
Lindsey: We don’t. Sadly, because of the challenges of having artists and the team that’s across the other side of the world, it’s been a little slower and so I’m hoping for mid-September. We were really hoping to go with the album. Obviously that’s not going to happen. I’m hoping for mid-September.
Tommy: Let’s move on a little. I’ve got enough set of questions here for you. How much of a nerd or geek would you say you are? Are you just someone who kind of just dabbles in geeky things or are you like, “I dive in headfirst into anything geeky?”
Lindsey: I’m a pretty geeky person. To me it depends on I would say I’m a nerd because I’m very well versed and if you bring up Harry Potter, I’ll start to like spout off spells as like humor thinking I’m really funny. And then you realize, Oh my gosh, no, I think I’m just a nerd. But yeah, the things that I like I really like and whether that’s, like I said of fan fiction culture, like Harry Potter or whether that, if you get me talking about editing software and how I like to edit videos and I start to become a real nerd again because I dive deep into that and I get really excited about stuff.
Tommy: Okay. So real quick, some rapid fire questions. What’s your favorite movie?
Lindsey: Ooh, my favorite movie. I’m going to say Singing in the Rain.
Tommy: Okay. Favorite show?
Lindsey: Favorite show? Probably Stranger Things.
Tommy: Okay. Favorite game?
Lindsey: Mario Kart.
Tommy: Since you brought up anime, what’s your favorite anime?
Lindsey: Probably Sailor Moon.
Tommy: Great choice. And what’s your favorite book or books series?
Lindsey: Harry Potter.
Tommy: Okay. so have you ever been geeky enough to the point where you play a tabletop RPG?
Lindsey: No, I haven’t. I’m not well versed in that.
Tommy: You should. Have you ever given it any thought?
Lindsey: I should do it. You’re right. I feel like that’s a part of my culture and I’d probably really get into it, but I haven’t ever done it yet.
Tommy: Okay. well, I would highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic way to let off stress. I’m sure you could find people while you’re touring that you could play with. It’s growing in popularity. So I would recommend that. Another question I have is I don’t know how much time you have to go around watching shows and stuff, but have you ever heard of a show called RWBY by Rooster Teeth?
Lindsey: No. I know Rooster Teeth well. I remember when I first started getting to online culture, they were massive.
Tommy: They were massive. Rooster Teeth is actually still growing and creating great content. RWBY is a show that, just based on what you’ve mentioned about the album and your comic and just how you’ve come up as an artist and your appreciation for other women in your life, I think I would highly recommend RWBY to you. One of the big reasons I bring RWBY up is not just because I think it’s a fantastic show that everyone should check out, but also they have a lot of incredible music and I know that you are an incredible musician and I would love it if at some point in the future, I got to see you cover some RWBY songs.
Lindsey: Okay. Well, very interesting. I’ll definitely check it out. Always looking for a new show.
Tommy: I’m being a little selfish in my recommendation there, but I think you could pull off some amazing covers there. And speaking of covers, do you have any that you’re kind of thinking of doing right now? I know right now you’re getting ready to tour and stuff, but are there any that you’re sitting there going, “Oh man, when I’m done with my tour, I really want to make this cover video?”
Lindsey: You know, I feel like I’ve missed so many opportunities to do this one, but I’ve really, because I am such a Harry Potter fan, I’m ashamed of myself because I’ve never done a Harry Potter medley, you know, and I’m a John Williams fan, so I’m like, yeah, that’s a big one that I will do someday. As well as, I love the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I loved the music for that. And so I think those are two that are, you know, kind of considered old school at this point, but that I would really like to do.
Tommy: Those would both be excellent choices. I think you could do some really awesome stuff there. Is there anyone that you would think about bringing on board with you? I know you’ve done a lot in the past with like Peter Hollens, I want to say Henry Williams, was that his name when you did the Halo cover, the Halo medley?
Lindsey: Yes. William Joseph.
Tommy: Yes. William Joseph. I knew William was in there somewhere.
Lindsey: One collab that is very overdue, I did a collab years ago with the Piano Guys and I wanted to work with them again and they’re good friends of mine. It’s just they are so busy because they’re all not only full time musicians, but full time dads, but they’re, they’re such amazing people. They’re wonderful and so talented, so I would love to do one of those with the Piano Guys.
Tommy: That would be incredible to listen to. One final question for you. Cause I know that time is a little precious right now. If you could work with Weird Al Yankovic and parody any song, what song would you want to parody with him and what would the parody be called?
Lindsey: Oh my gosh, this would take some time to think about. Let’s see, what would the parody be and…I mean, I would have to think about that. Do people usually have an answer for this question ready?
Tommy: I’ll be honest. It’s the first time I’m asking it.
Lindsey: Yeah, it’s a great question. Okay, if I was going to work with Weird Al. I think it would be fun to do a Brittany Spears throwback parody. I love those old nineties, or like someone from nineties pop music, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys. It’d be really fun to take one of those songs and do a parody. I’m not sure what it would be, but something making fun of…what would we make fun of? We’d make fun of [laughs] fad diets. That’s what we would do. Yeah.
Tommy: Well, sounds great. Lindsey. I don’t, I believe our time is up, so I’m gonna let you get on with your day. Good luck with your tour and, and thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to chat.
Lindsey: Well, I appreciate your time as well, and your preparation, and I hope you have a wonderful day.
Tommy: You too, Lindsey.