Lizzie No’s breakup anthem “Narcissus” tells the universal tale of losing yourself in a relationship and getting your heart broken, told allegorically through the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo. “Narcissus” merges sophisticated storytelling with an undeniably stuck-in-your-head melody. The song also sees No stepping out of her folk comfort zone into ambitious roots-rock territory with bright electric guitar, hoot & holler backup vocals, a rollicking bass line, and a Sheryl Crow-inspired powerhouse lead vocal performance.
We get to sit with the singer songwriter to discuss more on the single, the new visuals and more!
Hi Lizzie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Doing great! Summer in NYC is heaven. For someone who doesn’t have a 9-5 job I am weirdly busy at all times but this summer I’m doing my best to go to shows, take naps, and eat melon in the park with my friends as well.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Mary Glen Fredrick is the incredible director and editor who created the music video for my song “Sundown” in 2017. I couldn’t wait to work with her again! The folks at the Folly Tree Arboretum in East Hampton were kind enough to let us film in their incredible green space, and we ran all over the property for a weekend filming the storylines of three different characters: Narcissus, Echo, and Tiresias. Our goal was to make people feel like they were along for the ride of this doomed romance between Narcissus and Echo, in a mystical ancient paradise.
I have the brilliant Lauren Hamilton and Munk Foo to thank for the surprise dance number at the end. They are dazzling professional dancers and my most rigorous dance experience was a tap class in the seventh grade. So, it was a labor of love to bring me up to speed on the choreography. But it was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been a part of.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Narcissus”? How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process was tear-filled, let me tell ya. I had to get to a place where I was vulnerable enough to confront some past heartbreaks and take responsibility for my role in them. It’s easy to point out the ways other people have hurt you, but it doesn’t make for particularly interesting storytelling. So I had to dig deep and take a hard look in the mirror as well. The Narcissus myth was a great framework for the story I wanted to tell, which was about projecting your own insecurities onto another person and losing yourself in the process.
When it came time to record the song, my co-producer Nick Rapley and I listened to a bunch of Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty, and then went to work crafting the most fun, in-your-face, Americana rock breakup song we could. There are six different guitar tracks on the song because we wanted it to feel like a wall of warm sparkly sounds were hitting you all at once. I always knew I wanted a chorus of dudes singing backups on the bridge so we brought the band in to sing gang vocals.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I think I’ll keep the mystery alive on that.
On which aspect of the myth did you choose to focus the most?
I was really interested in interrogating Echo’s innocence in the story. The standard telling of the myth focuses on Narcissus’ self-absorption, his guilt in breaking Echo’s heart. But I believe in her agency and wanted to explore her side of the story. What would lead a person to chase someone who’s obviously self-obsessed, even when she knows on some level that he will never be able to love her the way that she loves him? I took some artistic license and expanded on that question. I realized Echo has an ego too! She is drawn to Narcissus because she sees him as a reflection of herself. Of course this attraction is fatally doomed, but what else is new.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! I have a new album coming out this summer. It has nine songs on it, all about different sides of the ego. I’m in that pre-album-release anticipation phase where I’m putting finishing touches on everything, and every little detail is scary but exciting. I can’t wait for people to hear the new music.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
August 2, 2019. And it’s called ‘Vanity.’
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I have a bunch of tour dates coming up. My next shows are 7/5 in Columbus OH, 7/6 at the Ann Arbor Summer Fest, 7/12 in Charlotte NC, and 7/13 in Washington DC. Then in August and September I head out on an album release tour. I will be posting updates at lizzieno.com/tour.
What else is happening next in Lizzie No’s world?
Rehearse, tour, write new songs, rinse, repeat.