Along with thousands of other Minnesotans, MN Original braved the frigid temperatures in Lowertown on Saturday, January 26 to sample beers from local and national breweries, listen to great local music, and put our Minnesota pride to the test. We also caught up the Claire, Lizzo, and Sophia from The Chalice to get their perspective on performing outside in the middle of winter. Read on for our interview!
MN Original: So performing outside in temperatures that are barely above zero for a crowd of beer-drinking music enthusiasts, is that the most Minnesotan thing you’ve ever done?
Claire: I think so, I think The Beer Dabbler is maybe the most Minnesotan event I’ve ever been to. I’m not a sports person so much so I’ve never, I haven’t been to that many sporting events in my life. But that was a really cool event. It was just like a bunch of people in solidarity out in the cold, in really good spirits, wearing flannel and beanies and 90% of the men had beards I think. And you know, just gathering to enjoy local music and drink local beer. There’s really nothing more Minneapolis than that I don’t think. So I’m seldom… I’m not a patriotic person, but that’s definitely made me kind of Minnesota patriotic. I was like, man, this is a cool place to live.
Lizzo: Yeah I’m from Texas, but I purified myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka, so I think that’s the most Minnesotan thing I’ve done.
MNO: Yeah, probably so! So when you’re performing in a more extreme situation like that, do you think that gives you more energy? I mean, Lizzo, you were rocking it in short sleeves. How do you get pumped up for something like that?
Lizzo: Well I don’t know, it’s always an afterthought when it comes to the energy. I think it’s the people, you know, and I mean it’s the music. Whether it’s extremely hot, I mean I’ve performed in extremely hot and extremely cold, you know what I mean? The weather doesn’t really set you in your element, you know what I mean? And I think that goes for anybody. It’s kind of is an afterthought. Like for instance, up there I didn’t really notice how cold it was until I couldn’t feel my arms. On one of the last songs I was like, I can’t feel my arms, so I tapped on them a little bit to get some life going in them. Because I was steaming. I was standing there and looking at my body and there was steam coming off my head and off my arms. So it really was an afterthought when you’re doing what you love to do. I mean you can’t complain, you know what I mean? It was great.
Claire: I definitely felt inspired to move a lot. You know our shows are pretty aerobic, and kind of high energy anyways, that’s kind of generally what we do. But even more so I think we weren’t stationary very much during that set because it was way cold. I feel even more inspired to put on a really good show because that audience is, they’re troopers! I mean they’re standing out there in the freezing cold! Yeah it’s incredible. I don’t know, I can’t think of that many groups that I would stand out in the cold to watch myself. It’s an honor, honestly.
MNO: So what other performances and projects are The Chalice working on right now? What’s coming up next for you guys?
Claire: We’re kind of taking, not a hiatus, but we’re kind of putting The Chalice on the back burner right now because we all have a lot of other stuff we’re working on. And you know, starting with this group and kind of getting into this project was very, it kind of just happened, and we made a lot of sacrifices in other areas of our careers and stuff to kind of nurture this baby. When you’re presented with opportunities like we’ve been presented with, and when you have the opportunity to go on the kind of ride we went on over the past year, you don’t turn that down.
MNO: So I know that all three of you guys are very involved in the local music scene and tons of other projects outside of The Chalice. Lizzo, you were just in the tpt studios backing Greg Grease when we filmed with him [for a future episode of MN Original]. And Claire and Lizzo, we just filmed with both of you for an upcoming profile on Spencer Wirth-Davis of Big Cats. So can you tell me about the other music projects you have going on?
Sophia: I’m beginning a little project with Ryan Olson and Sypder Baybie and that’s coming out at some point this year, and it’s really, really fun. The thing about working with those individuals is that they’re brilliant and I feel I’m fairly new compared to Claire and Lizzo, and I love to be around people like that, that I respect and I feel they can coach me and help me become better. So I’m very blessed to have that opportunity. And Lizzo and I have a project coming out.
Lizzo: Me and Sophia are coming out with a mixed tape. And we performed some of those songs at The Beer Dabbler. And some of them, like the one where we went down in the audience, it’s more hip-hop, more rap, you know? Because The Chalice, I would describe as kind of a woman’s anthem, hip-hop pop, R&B. And so we’re doing it, we’re taking it to a new direction, we’re going somewhere else artistically. So it’s like a Jay Z and Kanye thing. And on top of that I’m coming out with my first solo project, which will be produced by Lazerbeak, and it’ll be called Lizzo Bangers, so that’s coming out pretty soon.
Claire: So right now I have a solo record that I’m working on, which is a pretty huge departure from anything that I’ve ever done before, so I’m pretty excited about that. It’s kind of like Beach House, or like Phantogram, really futuristic R&B, but also kind of indie, I guess. The word ‘indie’ kind of weirds me out, but I guess that’s kind of like the best way to describe it. And I’m stoked about that. So I’m knee-deep, halfway done with that at the moment. And then I’m also working on a little project with Katy Morley [from Gayngs]. We don’t have any of songs finished or anything like that, we’re just kind of messing around with that. And then I’m also working a different project, which is kind of rock and roll, like a soulful, foot-stompin’ blues/rock project as well.
MNO: What bands or musicians on the local music scene are you following and inspired by right now?
Claire: Katy Morley’s solo stuff, yeah she’s done some really cool stuff. It’s very kind of dreamy kind of atmospheric type stuff that is really cool. She does her own productions so I’m super excited about that. And then, this is probably like a broken record response to what’s exciting about local music, but I’m really excited to hear Polica’s next record, which is coming out this year, I believe.
Sophia: Everything coming out with the Totally Gross National Product, that whole crew, they make amazing music. Ryan Olson is killing it right now. Everything that I hear, I’m just like, ‘oh my God.’ That whole crew is going to come out with really beautiful stuff. I’m very inspired by what they’re doing. Lizzo’s new album is amazing, and Greag Grease too. So those people at the moment, they’re definitely inspiring me.
Lizzo: I’m really excited about the hip-hop. I’m really excited about the rap that’s coming out. Like Metasota, and obviously Greg Grease. And Bomba de Luz on the other side of things, Bomba de Luz has been really, really killin’ stuff right now. And the lady’s voice is just amazing. We’re gonna throw together a huge jam and she’s gonna like rock out with a bunch of other people. I mean, because that’s really what the scene is doing, you know what I’m saying? It’s just in this huge pot of collaborations. Everyone’s just been working with everyone regardless of genre or age. Because those Bomba de Luz kids are still in high school. In fact they’re working with Doomtree and they’re working with us. It’s almost like a family of musicians here you know, versus other scenes where it’s just a bunch of musicians.
Claire: And I think what’s really cool about the local scene is that we’re kind of off the radar, for better or for worse. You know, there isn’t a label presence here. It gives people a lot of freedom to kind of do crazy stuff and take risks and experiment because they’re not ruining the kind of chance of having the right person be there. And I think that musicians take pride in that fact but also that music fans here take pride in that too, and kind of like being a part of a kind of community that fosters that kind of creativity and that is welcoming about it. I think it’s something that music fans of this area like, have a lot of pride in you know, being the kind of fan base that will let artists change, just like Minneapolis is the kind of city that lets you do changes.
Check out some video highlights from The Beer Dabbler too! Special thanks to Mark Ryan Johnson for filming and editing, with music provided by Heiruspecs.