Allison Weiss is something of an internet phenomenon, having used all of the social media to get where she is today. But that story is old so we didn't ask anything about that. Way more interesting is her new album. "Say What You Mean" is different from her previous releases and other than that all you need to know about this album is that it's really good.
PRT: First of all congratulations with the new album... that’s not really a question but I just wanted to say that I enjoyed the hell out of it!
Allison: Hey thanks!!
PRT: “Say What You Mean” is your first album that rocks from start to finish whereas previously you had more of a folk thing going on… is this what you’ve always wanted your songs to sound like? And if so, why did you wait until now?
Allison: In the past, everything started out on an acoustic guitar because I was just writing songs and immediately performing them. SWYM is the first time that I wrote for an album, so I was able to approach songwriting and recording in a whole new way. It's definitely how I've always wanted to sound. I think the timing just wasn't quite right until now.
PRT: I read somewhere that you grew up in a small town in Georgia where there weren’t a lot of kids and that that’s why you started playing music. Did you ever ask yourself if you still would’ve ended up making music if you grew up anywhere else?
Allison: I'm not really the kind of person who thinks about the "what ifs" of how my life turned out. I'm pretty thankful for where life has taken me so far. That said, I probably would've played music no matter what. My parents are musical. It's in my blood. It's undeniable.
PRT: You seem to have a good team around you now but up until not too long ago, you did everything by yourself. Is that something you would recommend to every artist that is starting out?
Allison: It's definitely smart to stay DIY as long as you can. You save money and you get to do whatever you want. But I will say, having a team is amazing. After so many years of doing everything alone, it's so nice to be able to relax a little bit and let my dudes handle a lot of the business side. Now I have more time to write and get creative.
PRT: How big of an adjustment was it to not have total control over everything anymore?
Allison: I'm still getting used to it. I don't know that I'll ever truly be used to it. Luckily, I still have a ton of control. Everyone I work with really believes in me and what I want to be doing. You can count on me to never sign my life away to somebody else. I'm too much of a perfectionist and I know what I like.
PRT: Something else I was wondering about… you’re very open about yourself in your songs and in interviews and very accessible through social media. Are you ever worried that you might be giving away too much of yourself?
Allison: Definitely, but I have no regrets so far. My music is very honest and open, so it's hard to not be the same way in other facets of my life. I grew up on the internet, with MySpace and Facebook and this share-everything culture. As I get older, I'm a little more aware of how weird it all is. I think I'm finding a balance, like everyone else.
PRT: What was the first thing you thought when you heard that Lou Reed asked you to be in his backup band?
Allison: They sent me the songs about 45 minutes before the first rehearsal, so I was mostly scared shitless. Then after rehearsal #1 they told me to learn 7 more songs before the first show, with no rehearsals. So again, mostly fear.
PRT: What is the most important thing you learned from Lou Reed?
Allison: He and I are a lot alike in what we want out of our music and our live shows. He's an incredibly inspiring band-leader. He wants things to sound perfect, but he also wants to make sure everyone is having a great time. I learned to let go a little bit and have fun. He told me I should only do something if it's fun.
PRT: What’s up next for you? Lots of touring this summer? Any plans to come over to Europe?
Allison: Hopefully as much touring as possible! Now that the record's out, I'm just dying to be on the road as much as I can. In May I'll head to Michigan for Bledfest, in June I'm playing the Acoustic Basement stage on Warped Tour. After that, all my plans are under wraps for now, but I'm sure you'll know soon enough.