Shortly after the release of her beautiful album Worlds Away, I got to chat a bit with the supremely talented, cheerfully optimistic, and ever so lucky Lindsay Schoolcraft about the recording process for her latest harp album, her favorite fall tunes, and what she has in the works for later this year. Schoolcraft was a delight to talk to and her friendliness is unmatched!
MPN: Hi! I just have some questions about your new release – congratulations, by the way!
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Thank you!
MPN: First, how was your quarantine?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Honestly, it’s been amazing! You know, how do I say this, I planned to take this year off so it’s kind of what I planned to do. There’s been no FOMO this year. It’s been really good, really productive for most of the first half of this year – it was writing and recording. Then for the last half, the last two months, it’s been full-blown business, which is great. I’ve been really enjoying it.
MPN: That’s wonderful to hear! Did you have to do your work remotely, or did you have to do it before lockdown. What was the process like?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Well, I was recovering from burnout, so before lockdown things were pretty chill. There were plans for this year, but I had to pivot really quickly when lockdown happened. It was kind of a blessing, because at the beginning of the year I said I wanted to do this harp album, and then we heard plans of the lockdown. I felt so incredibly fortunate because my producer is also my neighbor.
MPN: That’s awesome.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: I got really lucky. I’m very grateful. I think we both kept each other sane during that time. I just went into full-on days of writing and recording and arranging and back and forth, then doing everything remotely with my string composers and string players. It was insane. It was absolutely insane, but in the best way possible. Then I think by the time the first lockdown was finished and we went into phase 2, the album was being mixed and mastered. So, it was really good. I feel really fortunate for that time and what happened. Then, of course, here in Canada we had a little bit of – we’re pretty much in phase 3 – and I went to Montreal and worked on my other band, and then when I came back we had to go back into lockdown again. So, even though this has been a very difficult year for everyone collectively, I’ve been very lucky. I feel like I have a little guardian angel on my shoulder giving me all these windows of opportunity, you know?
MPN: Yeah! That’s awesome. So, I learned that this album is sort of a celebration of your ten year anniversary of being a solo artist. Is there any other kind of driving force behind this album, or something that made you want to rework previous songs?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah, actually, I have this issue. I feel like when I put out my first E.P. in 2012, I felt it was underdeveloped. It felt like a rough idea of the direction I was going in, and I didn’t really know who I was musically or what I wanted. I knew I really wanted to recreate this song and this song and this song. And, you know, as time passed I’m like, “yeah, I have so many new songs, why would I do that?” So, when there was the opportunity for this album, I was like, “you know what? I can’t wait to redo ‘Your Mind,’ and ‘Masquerade.’” There are a few others from that E.P., but I can’t remember right now. My mind draws a blank. I wanted these to show up in the way I planned for them. This harp album is the perfect opportunity for that, but it felt like closing a book, like okay, this is the last ten years – this is what I’ve accomplished. It’s like starting with a clean slate whenever I decide to start my next full-on rock album.
MPN: That’s amazing! When you look back, what does that feel like? Ten years of being on your own and doing what you want to do?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: It’s weird because the older I get, the more I feel “oh, that feels just like yesterday,” you know what I mean? I started in 2010 and I know the exact date – it was November 17th.
MPN: Coming up soon!
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah! I opened a fan page and it was really strange because at the time I was in a local band that wasn’t doing so well. We broke up two years later. At the time, I had to have 25 likes, so I started a mass message friends and family on Facebook to get my url. I was so nervous, but at the same time I was like, this has to happen because that band at the time wanted to go in a different direction, and then I knew what I wanted to do with my music, so it was just… it feels like yesterday. I mean, it also doesn’t help that I’m living in the same place that I lived in ten years ago. Like, I went all over the world and moved to different places during that time, but then I came back to live with the drummer of my solo project. He’s great. He’s the easiest person to live with and he lets me have a cat, so bonus! But yeah, that was only yesterday, but it’s been ten years. That is crazy. Coming into my mid-thirties now, I know who I am. I know what I want to do. I don’t compromise. I think I aged well? *laughs* I’m like, you know, I think I like my face better now than I did in my twenties.
MPN: I love that.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah! It’s been such a humbling experience. I love where my life has gone and I wouldn’t change any of it, but ten years is a long time. Throughout those ten years I was in multiple other bands and a part of me wishes I just didn’t give up so much of my time and energy to crap that didn’t matter – not to say the bands were crap. Just focus more on my solo career. I’m very happy with where it is right now.
MPN: Would you say that a lot of your confidence has come with aging? Where does your confidence come from?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: You know, I think confidence is practiced. It comes from not only knowing who you are, but going through those difficult situations and learning from them. It comes from experience. I think it’s experience and practice and finding who you are. I think that is the most important key.
MPN: Would you say a lot of your lyrics have to do with finding that sort of confidence? I feel like a lot of them have – I mean, your lyrics seem to contain a lot of emotion. What is the process there?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: I honestly just let them happen. A lot of them are about extremely emotional situations like losing a friend or a loved one, or breakups or heartbreak, or stupid boys. *laughs*
MPN: Right, right, right.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: It comes from such a genuine place of raw emotion, and it’s like me bearing my soul. There are songs that are just like… they’re so uncomfortable because I’m saying exactly what I want to say, and even though it’s not like showing up in the smoothest, classiest Top 40 way possible – not that that’s my goal – it’s like, it’s who I am and it always comes from that genuine place, you know? It’s something I always keep in mind when I’m writing my music. It’s like, “okay, I have to be okay with singing this in 5,10, 20 years, so I can’t just be like bleh, here it is on the paper.” I know I can do better, but there are some songs that just come out in five minutes and they never change, like “Blood From A Stone.” That was a very raw moment in time, but then there’s songs like “Dangerous Game,” where that took months of me and Rocky going back and forth. So, you know, it just depends on the song, but I always try to convey a story, and I really am about the story – I’m a Disney kid. I feel that there’s part of us that has to express ourselves, but also a part of us that has to not only entertain ourselves, but entertain others too.
MPN: Yeah! “Dangerous Game” is actually one of the songs that put tears in my eyes. It definitely has a very strong story to it.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Aw, I wish I could hug you.
MPN: Aw! Can I ask what led you into heavier music?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: You know what? Really funny story. One that happened recently, actually… I guess I discovered metal in 2007. I mean, I listened to it in high school. Like, Kittie, Korn, and Chevelle, Linkin Park, Evanescence – that form of metal in high school. That was my stuff. But then I got into European metal in 2007, so that would have been – gosh, how old would I have been? Early 20s? Yeah, early 20s. At the time I was going for my classical studies, so it just made sense. When I first heard Nightwish, I didn’t get it, and then after some classical training, I was like, “this is the best thing that has ever happened to music.” Especially the Once album, and Dark Passion Play – it was like, “oh, my goodness gracious.” So, I actually was doing my own thing, and the band I was in was more of a rock thing, not so much metal – like a goth rock type thing. I wanted to do metal and I found this band in Quebec City called Daedalean Complex, and we worked together on a few albums. They’re great guys. They’re still around, just all with families now and have other priorities, but they’re still doing things. It was really strange because I was speaking with Xen, who I have another band with – like my current band Antiqva that I’m about to launch – and I told him I made one of my first vision boards ever. I said I want to be in a black metal band and tour the world. Now, I didn’t know that was going to manifest as Cradle of Filth, but it did, and then of course I can’t get away from it because now I have Antiqva, and that’s even more black metal than anything I’ve ever done. I don’t know. It’s just one of those things that I find fascinating and I love the component of the female voice and the classical piano and the strings, and I feel like classical music today still continues to live on in film scores and in heavy metal. I want to put my own stamp on it. I don’t want to just – yeah, it would be cool to be a part of an orchestra within the city and be classically trained and stuff, but I’ve just been a driving force. There’s been this thing inside of me that drives me to go, “no, you have your own ideas. You have your own music. You have to write and record and release music into the world. That is your purpose.” I would die happier knowing I got out every musical idea that’s been gifted to me versus just replaying the classics over and over again. And there’s nothing wrong with musicians who do that and they do it beautifully and they have careers because of it. So, yeah, I think it’s weird. I think through studying classical music is how I came to really fall back into heavy music again.
MPN: I just need to say real quick that my introduction to you was seeing the live version of Her Ghost in the Fog from maybe 2016. My old coworker showed me it and I thought it was the coolest thing ever, so it’s really cool to see that you have your own stuff going on now. I think that’s very, very special.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Thank you! It was an honor to perform that song with Cradle for as long as I did. Oh, man. That was an experience, for sure.
MPN: I don’t know if you do this, but I find that music like yours kind of has a somber aura to it, and it fits really well with transitional seasons, like fall into winter. Do you have any albums that you find yourself listening to more in the fall?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah, definitely. Every year Katatonia’s The Great Cold Distance is a fall album for me. Obviously, October Rust, but that’s like everyone’s fall album. The Open Door by Evanescence because it came out in 2006 in the fall time, so that one definitely. Midian by Cradle is definitely a Halloween album for me. Then when the first snowfall hits, I always every year listen to Björk’s Vespertine. It’s a winter album, for sure.
MPN: So, do you have a favorite Evanescence song?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Oh, yeah! I have a top three that I can’t decide between. It’s “Farther Away,” “Tourniquet,” and “Hello.” They’re all the Fallen era, but I can’t decide between those three songs. That era has shaped me so much into who I am today as a musician.
MPN: Understandable, for sure. I also have a question about your album artwork. What’s the story behind that?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: So, that is by a Russian illustrator and animator. Her name is Anastasia Solti, and we actually met on Tumblr. She did some artwork for Her Ghost in the Fog for Cradle.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: I found her on Tumblr, and I was like, “I love this!” Then we got in touch and we became friends. She’s a huge Lacuna Coil fan, so am I, so we had a lot to talk about. She’s just a wonderful human being full of amazing energy, and she’s doing her own animated series called “ Sunny Man,” and it’s really good. It’s a comic book right now. But yeah, it was two years ago and I was going through Russia with Cradle of Filth, and we met up for the first time and she just – oh, man, her energy – she’s just all tears and hugs. She’s such a beautiful person. She printed and framed the artwork for me that became the album cover and she handed it to me and I cried, and I said, “can this be my album cover?” At the time I was having such a hard time deciding, “do I do a photograph, or do I do artwork?” I was actually trying to contact the artist – he’s in the band Baroness.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: He wasn’t getting back to me! I was like, alright. I understand, though, and no offense, I understand artists have seasons and there’s months where you’re not doing artwork and you’re doing music, or you’re taking care of family, you know? So, it’s okay. I’m sure the poor man is just overwhelmed with requests to do artwork. I really wanted him to do something literally in the style of what Ana did, but Ana has her own art style, so yeah, that was in. She went home and we pretty much went onward with the artwork and it was good for her, too. It was a big learning curve for her, but now she’s like all ready to design for bands, should she ever get the opportunity. I’m just so happy she’s on board, and then she did the artwork again for this album. We’ll see how much longer we keep this going! I think I might do a single next year, and I’ll be like, “hey, you wanna do the cover art?” It’s nice to keep that congruency, I think, with album artwork. *laughs*
MPN: That’s so special! It’s really cool that there’s an artist bond there, too.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah. Oh, yeah. We go through our artist struggles together. We joke about it quite a bit.
MPN: It’s important. You gotta.
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Oh, yeah.
MPN: Alright! So, for a final question, I have to ask what is something you’re looking forward to?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: I’m looking forward to Antiqva finally releasing a single because no one’s ever heard us yet. They haven’t heard our stuff before at all. So far, the response from people who’ve had the private link – they’re just so excited, so that makes me excited. It’s new, and I’m very, very nervous, but I’m also very, very excited.
MPN: Is there a certain time we can expect this to come out?
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Yeah! Early December. That will be coming then.
MPN: Awesome! Very cool. Thank you so much!
Lindsay Schoolcraft: Of course! Thank you. It’s been awesome speaking with you.
MPN: Same to you!