Liars have come a long way since the release of their debut full-length, They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top. That 2001 album, rife with sublime, herky jerky dance beats, was recorded in a mere two days.  Critics were quick to peg Liars as one among the pack of revivalists of the NYC post-punk, art/dance rock scene.

Skip to the present. It’s been a hectic decade. Liars have toured with Radiohead and Interpol, delved into three other albums and numerous art videos for their music, moved from NYC to Berlin and onto Los Angeles.  Immerse yourself in their latest venture, Sisterworld, and just try to slap a name on what the band is up to now.  It’s a dare.

Though Liars still explore deliciously-twisted rhythms, atmospheres and surreal lyrics in their art, they’ve moved onto a more conceptual, multi-textural place that they deem “devoid of influence.” It’s attracted to the loner and the urban outsider, which makes sense since the band is now living in one of the most disparate of cities, Los Angeles.

There seem to be quite a few lone notes and sounds throughout Sisterworld. Could each note be a symbol for a lonely person trying to find their niche in a crazy city?

Why not? It’s important to us that there be no right or wrong way to interpret this album.

And I agree that despite living in a large and vibrant city its very possible to feel alone.

Somedays people just don’t feel connected.

To open the album, “Scissor” starts out elegantly and then shatters into a cacophony of drums.  How did you want to ready the listener for the songs to come with this song as intro?

We felt like “Scissor” incorporated a lot of the elements and moods we were exploring throughout Sisterworld. I guess it felt kinda emblematic of what the listener had in store for them for the rest of the album. [Check out the beautifully-disturbing video, revolving around singer Angus Andrew as a castaway, for the song here].

Is every song a separate story pinned together under one theme?

Sort of, each song offers a different perspective on ideas that run through the record. I’ve never thought of the songs as stories, more like focul points or nodes of thought. Maybe they’re more like scenarios that enable the listener to experience an alternate viewpoint.


There are certain classical elements in the album.  Were these something you knew you definitely wanted to bring in even before you began writing?

No, not really. It had more to do with the amount of time we afforded ourselves to record. Certain ideas that may in the past have been limited to guitars or bass were given the opportunity to go a step further. I think we’re always interested in extending our scope musically, so it felt very natural and without pretense.

You play with pace in the order of the songs, slow, then speeding up, then slow, but never predictable.  Did this happen by chance or was it something you wanted to do to keep the album unpredictable?

Laying out the tracks is a really important step to us. Mostly because it involves a heck of a lot of editing. Each song should serve a particular purpose in the way the album moves and feels. Many good songs were omitted from this record precisely because they’d didn’t relay the correct atmosphere.

I don’t think a goal of ours was to make the song list unpredictable. I think we just we’re interested in shading and how moods are moved gradually or more abrasively.


How did you come to choose Tom Biller (Kanye, Beck) to record with?

We knew Tom from awhile back and were familiar with his recording techniques. I think what drew us to him was the prospect of being able to work over a long period of time. He made it clear that we could let our ideas dictate the process and that he had several ideas for spaces to record in.

Would you say “Proud Evolution” is one of your more “accessible” tracks in recent years?

I can never tell what’s accessible or not. There’s been times when I thought I wrote a complete pop song but was told immediately that it was far from normal. A song like “Proud Evolution” doesn’t really sound any more accessible to me than “The Other Side Of Mt.Heart Attack.”

Your Sisterworld site came out months before the album, with its foreboding video segments that took place near the sea, gave the viewer an uneasy feeling, almost as if the end of the world was coming.  Do you feel the ocean to be more of a comforting or threatening force?

I find the ocean mysterious and daunting, but not threatening. I can take extreme comfort from looking at it.–Madeline Virbasius

Liars official site

  1. [...] Brooklyn-based Liars arrived to unleash their impressive fury of trippy-experimental-psychedelic-punk, concert [...]

  2. [...] Liars – Sisterworld [...]