- STARPOLISH: When you went into the studio this time, did you do anything different than when you recorded albums in the past?
PHAIR: Not really (laughs). That’s the funny part. The songs came out a lot differently just because of who I was working with, but I am always the same type of being in the studio.
STARPOLISH: So you don’t take a different approach each time?
PHAIR: No. That is misleading. I just take it the same way that I take people, which is one-on-one. I just work out some kind of relationship with whomever I am working with. It’s the same as if I was speaking with you on this interview, or I am meeting someone like a producer. I just work out a relationship with them and we try to figure out between the two of us how we can get the best thing out of what the both of us know how to do. So that is my process. I am not technically minded.
STARPOLISH: Who produced this album?
PHAIR: A bunch of different people. Michael Penn did a bunch. Walt Vincent, Pete Yorn’s producer, did a bunch. I did a bunch with my touring band, and it says that I produced it, but really we are just recording together.
STARPOLISH: In what ways does the new album represent you in a different manner than your past albums?
PHAIR: I don’t know. That’s a hard question for me. I don’t really have a strong sense. I don’t take in my mind with me the “Liz Phair, The Artist” wherever I go. I am inside myself. I have the same process recording and writing, and I try to do my best in any given situation. I don’t have that self-overview. I think a lot of people feel [that], because I collaborated with a more commercially successful group, The Matrix, that it really affected the sound. But if I just put out this stuff with Michael Penn, people would have said that as well. I just think it’s a feature of me being gone for so many years and of my willingness to explore beyond a musical style or genre.
STARPOLISH: How long have you been playing music?
PHAIR: Oh God, since I was five or six probably.
STARPOLISH: Always playing guitar?
PHAIR: No, piano lessons. In the beginning it was just lessons. I didn’t like to practice so I would pretend to be playing a piece while making up variations on the piece. Then guitar lessons started about seventh or eighth grade, and I did that for a while. I just had a lot of music in my life. My parents listened to a lot of music. God knows summer camp was full of it…..
And a whole lot more.