Axe slinger, singer-songwriter, vocalist Lisa LIm joined Guitar Girl Magazine in December 2012 as a Contributing Editor writing on topics about gear and GAS (Gutiar Acquisition Syndrome), tips on how to be a good rhythm guitar player, learning the lingo at a blues jam, product news from NAMM, and so much more. Picking up the guitar before she was a teenager, Lisa knew that music was in her soul.
Hailing from the Mid-Atlantic region, Lisa can be seen performing in over 150 shows a year. She released her self-titled album Lisa Lim last year through a successful Kickstarter campaign, and has been described in the press as “… Sheryl Crow meets Joe Bonamassa.”
Not only is Lisa a Contributing Editor for Guitar Girl Magazine, she also contributes to Premier Guitar and is a faculty member with the National Guitar Workshop, and.has lead clinician performances and performed on stages at NAMM.
With all this talent, we wanted to bring you “Up Close and Personal” with the soulful blues/rock musician Lisa Lim.
Tara: First off, I’d like to thank you for your contributions to Guitar Girl Magazine and for being an inspiration to females that want to pick up a guitar and start playing. When did you first pick up the guitar?
Lisa: Thank you! I’m thrilled to be a part of the team at Guitar Girl Magazine! I picked up the guitar when I was 10years old. It’s been a mad love affair from day one! Rarely, do you ever catch me without my guitar close by.
Tara: Do you play any other musical instruments?
Lisa: Yes, I do. I also play piano, keys/synth, bass guitar, mandolin and drums.
Tara: Who were you favorite musical influences that helped shaped your musical style?
Lisa: There are so many. It started with Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. I found myself expanding, listening to Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, Heart, Joe Pass, Robben Ford, Arlen Roth, Robert Johnson, Willie Nelson, Debbie Davies, Sue Foley and many more!
Tara: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for your new self-titled album. Can you share with us your experience with Kickstarter?
Lisa: Kickstarter was a very positive and humbling experience. I had gotten to a place in my recording project, where I was just tapped out financially. So much time, effort and energy had been put into the production end. I found myself scrambling to come up with the funds to finish and give it a proper promotion to support the release. I had seen many of my artist friends have success using this crowd funding platform. So, I dived in and knew I had nothing to lose. I was honest and candid about my circumstances. I spent 30 days reaching out to family, friends and fans, asking for each and every one to pledge or share the campaign with someone they felt would have an interest in supporting my cause. The campaign closed out a little over my initial goal I had set. I was deeply touched by the response and support that I experienced with the campaign. The success of it enabled me to finish my recording and release my latest CD. I would recommend it highly to anyone. But, also stress, that it requires your undivided attention throughout and long after the duration of the campaign. It is a huge commitment that you owe to the wonderful support, and speaking first hand, I received throughout my campaign.
Tara: Tell us a little about your new album – the inspiration behind the songs, the recording process, and other artists that contributed to the music.
Lisa: Preparing and recording the material on my new album was quite the journey. I was bringing to close one chapter in my life and beginning another. The inspiration came from so many places. I tapped into childhood experiences; saying goodbye to loved ones that had just recently passed away, love, desire, economic struggles, making amends, and moving forward in life. The 12 songs on my latest release are diverse, capturing many influences I’ve drawn from over the years. I spent months writing, doing revisions and making demos of my ideas before going in and laying the final tracks. The recording process was intense. Laying vocal and guitar stratch tracks initially. It was a two part process. We focused on about eight tracks at first, laying all the instrumentation. Once everything was finished on the initial eight tracks, then we returned and went through the same process with the remaining four songs. My producer, Thomas Johansen, then sat down with me, and we both listened to each song and thought about any changes or revisions that needed to be made before final mix took place. It was very time consuming. It really all became a blur, the amount of hours poured into the process. Months.
I wrote all the lyrics and music arrangements. Lead vocals and some backing vocals. Lead, rhythm, slide, acoustic and electric guitar. Distorted bass and percussion. Thomas Johansen, produced, mixed, contributed on Hammond organ, percussion, programming, Moog, CP70, Rhodes, Harmonica and backing vocals. Other contributors were: Scott Rabino on drums and percussion, Andreas Holmstrom on bass guitar, backing vocals by Mary Shaver, Tara Jacobs and Pauline Anson Dross, Steve Fallone mastering at Sterling Sound, Photography by Sylvia Devoss and Mark Lim, and Graphic Design; Metalworks Graphics.
Tara: When writing, what comes first? The lyrics or the melody?
Lisa: It varies. Sometimes it comes to me as a hook, musical idea, or even as a drum beat. I write all the time. I have notebooks scattered throughout my home and packed in gig bags that go with me everywhere. I write my thoughts down constantly, no matter how random they may seem, and find myself revisiting them and being able to build upon them. I also keep a recorder close by. Once again, capturing something I may just hum, or play on my guitar, keys or drums. Then I build upon it.
Tara: Share with us a little about your gear and your set-up?
Lisa: I’m such a gearaholic! I’m constantly making changes, in regards to pedals I use and so forth. In a typical live setting, I usually have one of my Dr. Z amplifiers on stage. You can catch me most of the time running thru a Dr. Z Monza 110 amp. It’s loaded with a Red Fang 10 inch speaker and has a Dr. Z Attenuator mounted inside the cab. Pedals that are typically found on my pedalboard these days: MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay, Boss Digital Reverb, Cusack More Louder Boost, Boss Blues Driver, Cusack Screamer and a Budda Wah. I usually have my PRS Custom 24 and PRS Custom 22 on stage.
In an acoustic setting/gig, I usually am playing my Taylor Koa K26c, running thru a Hughes & Kettner Redbox, MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay and a NZ Hotcake pedal direct to the PA.
In my studio I have a lot of stuff that I play around with and experiment on. Many guitars, bass guitars, drums, various tube and solid state amps, miscellaneous pedals and keyboards, drum machines, loopers and recording software.
Tara: What companies are you endorsed by?
Lisa: I’m currently endorsed with GHS Strings, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Taylor Guitars, Daisy Rock Guitars, Spectraflex Cables, Retro-Sonic Pedals, Pedaltrain, Levy’s Leathers and G7th Capos.
Tara: You’ve been to NAMM on numerous occasions in the past, and are planning on attending the Winter 2014 show this week. What is your favorite experience from attending this show?
Lisa: Yes, I’m planning on attending the Winter 2014 NAMM show. One of my favorite experiences has been learning and becoming familiar with the new products being released. Also, some of the amazing performances I’ve caught during the NAMM show and during the after hour parties. It’s funny. It’s typical for me to catch up with folks that live on the East Coast, like I do, once a year only during the West Coast NAMM show. I never see them until attending the trade show on opposite coasts. It’s like our annual reunion! Insane!
Tara: Have you experienced any obstacles in terms of being categorized as a “female” guitarist?
Lisa: Sure. I think as a female guitarist in this industry, you have to work a little harder demonstrating your ability as a solid guitar player. It’s the boys club. I’m one of the lucky girls that got accepted many years ago, while growing up playing with the boys!
Tara: What is the best piece of advice you can give to young, aspiring female artists?
Lisa: Practice, practice, practice at your craft. Stay grounded and realistic. Go out and catch live shows. You can learn so much from seeing what other artists are doing. Network. Go out to jams and leave your ego at the door. There’s always going to be someone better just around the next corner. Be eager to learn and grow. Do it for the right reasons.
Tara: Upcoming topics that our readers can expect in 2014?
Lisa: I have lots of topics I’m looking forward to covering this year in Guitar Girl Magazine. Keep an eye out. I’m excited and looking forward to sharing and spotlighting some talented folks and amazing venues in and around the Mid-Atlantic Region! Stay tuned.
Tara: Any new projects for Lisa Lim Music in 2014?
Lisa: I am currently working with Lisa Lim Band, Over The Limit Band, Don Chapman & Lisa Lim Duo, plus freelancing with many DC Bands and artists. There is some new stuff in the works that I will be announcing soon.
Five Fun Facts about Lisa Lim
First concert you ever attended? Ozzy Ozbourne.
Top 3 songs on your playlist? “I’m Shakin by Jack White, “Still Got The Blues” by Gary Moore and “Somewhere Over athe Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
I cannot live without “music”!
My dream performance would be with “Jack White.”
My guilty musical pleasure is “being in my zone, live on stage, playing a screaming blues rock guitar solo!”
To learn more about Lisa Lim and hear her music, clck HERE.
Also, stay tuned on more articles from Lisa!
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PHOTO COVER: LISA LIM CD COVER