Interview by Dom Vigil
Carry Illinois are a work in progress, and that’s perfectly okay.
The Austin indie-pop band, fronted by fearless singer/guitarist Lizzy Lehman is known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves, with songs touching on subjects ranging from LGBTQ+ issues to self acceptance, mental health and suicide. Their newest EP, Work In Progress is no different – in fact, it finds Carry Illinois opening up more than ever, making their upcoming shows in Colorado something you don’t want to miss.
Carry Illinois will be performing at Lions Lair in Denver, CO on Sunday, July 8th and at Magic Rat in Fort Collins on Tuesday, July 10th. Details for both shows can be found HERE. Listen to Work In Progress and get to know the band a bit better below!
Can you tell us a little bit about Carry Illinois for any readers who might not be familiar?
Lizzy Lehman [vocals/guitar]: Carry Illinois is an earnest pop/rock band based in Austin, Texas with music deeply rooted in songwriting that reflects my experiences with love, death, sexuality, body image issues, depression, anxiety, and all the tough stuff it can be hard to talk about.
We’ve got Darwin Smith on electric guitar, Rudy Villarreal on drums, Benjamin Violet on keys, Andrew Pressman on bass, and myself (Lizzy Lehman) on guitar and lead vocals. My talented and super creative band mates provide a lush and supportive musical backdrop for my intimate songs; they are a group of super wonderful guys who I have grown to love and trust like family.
Back in May, you celebrated the release of your new EP, Work In Progress. Now that it has been out for a bit, what are some of your favorite things about it?
Work In Progress is the most personal and vulnerable set of songs I have written to date. I love that I had the courage to stare down some of my deepest fears and reveal who I am at my core. I am proud that I was able to be honest about how I feel about my body and the work I need to do to reach towards self love.
Also, this record was a fully collaborative effort by the band and engineer. Everyone got to explore and flex their creative muscles without judgement, and I really enjoy the texture and dimension we were able to develop.
Work In Progress follows your 2017 EP, Garage Sale. What has the journey been like in the year since then? How do you feel you’ve grown?
It has been a personally challenging year, but I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned to be ok with imperfection, to battle mental health struggles with optimism, to look deeper into the inner workings of my relationships, and to see my self as beautiful and powerful despite feelings of doubt or shame. I have learned to sing about my truths even when I’m so anxious my chest could explode.
Lyrically, was there anything you wanted to touch on with this release that you weren’t able to with Garage Sale?
Not really. Both albums were fitting reflections of what I was going through when they were written. I wouldn’t have been able to express my thoughts with so much vulnerability on the new EP without having processed the emotions and grief within Garage Sale’s songs.
What was the biggest challenge you came across when working on the EP? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I came across when working on the EP was making sure that the lyrics from the most intimate and emotionally difficult songs were heard. We made sure to not overcrowd those songs with too many instrumentals or harmonies. The song “Work in Progress” was left relatively bare so the message, that we all have work we can do to be our best selves, was loud and clear.
You’re currently getting ready to hit the road in support of Work In Progress. What are you most excited about on these upcoming tour dates?
I am most excited about bringing these songs to new friends. I love learning how new listeners personally connect to the songs and the performance. If a song makes someone cry or think about something they are going through, I want to hear about it and let them know they’re not alone.
You’ll also be spending a few days in Colorado at Lions Lair in Denver and Magic Rat in Fort Collins. What can fans expect at these shows?
Fans can expect compelling, driven pop/rock designed to make you feel. Don’t be afraid to feel, friends; it makes us human and brings us together.
With Work In Progress out now, do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2018?
I would love to start working on writing new songs for a full length record. It may be time for me to go into my music cave.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We look forward to meeting you in the cooler climates of Colorado! Come talk to us!