Erin: The first song I remember writing was with my twin sister when we were about 8 years old. We had never been alone in our lives because we were twins, but the song was called, "Alone." Our parents would have us sing it for dinner guests and everyone would get a good laugh at the cute little twins singing their song. I think we were going for a more serious response, though; and my only embarrassment would come from that lack of somber reaction.
I’ve noticed that there are a few common themes in your work. Can you tell us a little about those themes? What inspires you to write about them?
Erin: I think the common theme would have to be what I call the "human experience." It is all about the ups and downs, the good the bad, the beautiful and the ugly in life. It has all come from a place of experience and reality. Above all else it is inspired by my love for God, and my desire to expose our "humanity" and the inner person in all of us. My desire is to make you feel something.
Lisa: I've noticed a lot of humanitarian theme to your songs. With that in mind I'd love to know: If you could organize your own benefit, what would be the one organization you would choose to donate to, and why?
Erin: There is a store called Vina Moses in a town where I once lived. People donate to it like the Goodwill or Salvation Army. What makes this store special is that needy people in the community can shop for free once a month, and take as much as they can fit in a paper grocery bag. There are clothes, cooking utensils and appliances, books and games, food, and other useful things. It is completely volunteer run. I would love to start something like that in my community.
Lisa: It would be nice if every community had organizations like that. I'm sure that there would be a lot more harmony across the globe if everyone in need could go a little less without. Back to the music....
Writing music is a lot like storytelling. What story do you feel your music tells?
Erin: My music tells the story of my life.
Erin: I have always loved the modern classics: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles (John Lennon in particular). As a teenager I was inspired by the incredible voice of Geoff Tate from Queensryche. I started taking private voice lessons when I was about 16, and sang backup with my twin sister for a band called Texas Flood. In college I learned a bit of discipline by singing to the older classics such as Mozart. We joined a band called the Mojo Project in our early 20's. It was about that time also that I picked up my first guitar. It was love at first sight. I couldn't put it down, and I started writing my own songs only two weeks after I started playing. A friend taught me 6 chords, and I used them all in a song to teach myself how to play. The rest, as they say, is history.
Erin: I think the reason we don't see more family bands out there is because of how hard it is to work with family. Sometimes what another professional musician might take as constructive criticism gets taken personally by a family member. Working with a teenager adds an extra challenge. Here is an example. There are a few songs she plays something that just does not work musically with what I am doing. At one of our last rehearsals I told her to try something different, and she refused. "You can't tell me what to do!" "Fine, then I just won't play at all!" Well, you get the picture. She has a very nice voice, but she is so used to playing the violin that singing is outside her comfort zone. There is only one song the feels comfortable enough to sing on, even though so many people have told her she needs to sing on more songs. I hope to encourage her to sing more.
Lisa: I would love to hear her voice on more of your songs. She is a very talented violinist. It would be neat to see what kind of music she would write, too, if left to her own devices. I'm sure she has an interesting story to tell, too.
You live a slightly unconventional life. Can you tell us a little about it and how it has influenced your music?
Erin: We live on a mountain in the woods. We moved here three years ago, and spent our first summer in a tent on raw land. We built our home with our own hands, which started out as a 16 x 20 room that served as our bedroom, kitchen, and living space for the first winter. We have since added a larger living room and bathroom. We are completely off-grid and use solar energy. We haul water from a local well, and melt snow for water in the winter. Have you ever drank snow water? Washed your hair in it? You're missing out. Our first winter here was an unusually severe one. We got ten feet of snow that year. The county plows the main road, but not ours. We had to walk in and out with a sled and our food, propane, laundry, etc. to and from the main road, which is about 1/2 mile. I remember coming home late one night during a blizzard, walking that half mile through knee-deep snow, carrying my son. The wind and snow were coming down so hard I couldn't even see. I remember thinking that night it was a miracle we made it home. I think that allowing ourselves to "go without" has humbled us beyond words. We do not take things like water and power for granted, because if you just let them run, you run out and have to wait until you get more. I think we also have a deeper respect and understanding for nature because we live in it. This is all expressed in my music.
Erin: I have a recording studio set up in a trailer on our property. I charge a battery using the solar panels, then take it to the trailer, run it through an inverter, and plug in my equipment. It is nice and quiet up there.
Lisa: I'm sure it is; not many people can boast to living atop a private mountain. When you’re not making music, how do you spend your days? What other creative outlets do you have?
Erin: I make stained glass windows. My family runs a shop at the bottom of the hill. It has expanded into a crafters' mall with handmade arts and crafts made by other local artists. We have pottery, baby blankets, hats & scarves, pocket watches, earrings & necklaces, mirrors & jewelry boxes, wood crafts, blown glass, and of course, Lisa Lane's books, among other things. I also cook, and I insist that cooking is an art. I love good, healthy food. We garden a lot, and strive for the freshest, healthiest food we can get. I love to try different, exciting recipes. We are further expanding the crafters' mall and will have a restaurant in a couple of months, and look forward to sharing our food art.
Lisa: I can't wait to hear more about that. It sounds like a very exciting venture.
Since this is an author website, tell us about your favorite book and/or author. How do you think literature compares and contrasts to music?
Erin: Literature and music are very much the same because they create imaginary scenarios in our minds, whether based on something real or not. My music, anyway, is very much about the lyrics and what I am saying. Just like in writing any poetry, writing lyrics to a song is a stratregic placing of words. Many times those words will only fit one way, and it takes a bit of puzzling them together to get it right. Also, just as you find in literature, there are hidden meanings and allegories that can be found if critically analyzed. My favorite book is called The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. It is an easy read and to the point. It puts into practical use ancient Toltec wisdom that can be applied to anyone's life, regardless of religion or belief. Just like my music, it makes a statement about life, and our inner connection to God and to each other.
Lisa: Erin, thank you so much for the interview! Keep us updated on your music, art, and your upcoming shop!
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