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“Coocoo Banana-” Album of the Coocoo Banana Year

Oct 23, 2020

By Mossy Ross

Photo: Bjorn Magnusson

Lizzy Young. She’s smart. She’s funny. She has a song called “She Farts While She Walks.” Which, I have to say, has become my favorite tune to listen to when I find myself on the Upper East Side. There’s just something so very satisfying about watching posh, refined women bustling around, while someone sings “she farts while she walks” in my ears. Lizzy has an uncanny ability to have a laugh at life’s expense. She delivers truth in a deadpan voice, over hypnotic beats and beautifully textured melodies. She’s the friend you wish you had in high school. Where she’d not only have a snappy comeback for backtalkers, she’d elegantly deliver her sass with a French accent.

Lizzy Young’s debut album “Coocoo Banana” (out today), is truly revolutionary. Young is showing us that women don’t necessarily need to shout to be heard. That maybe the best way to right the injustices of our past, is by quietly taking the reigns instead. To lead by example with new attitudes and ideas. In her album, Young paves a way for empowerment, by showing us how to calmly laugh at life, while still admitting to how fucking depressing it can be.

In her video for “Obvious,” Young wildly and badass-edly destroys a car, while seeming to poke fun at how silly it is that we sometimes need to be told the simplest of facts. Possibly because we’re increasingly becoming unthinking people, who probably use common sense way less than we should.

What Lizzy Young’s album is telling us that’s not always so obvious, is that there actually were some good things to come out of 2020.

Mossy: Where does the name Lizzy Young come from?

LY: I used to have this project called Young Cleaners. And I really love the French musician, Lizzy Mercier Descloux. So I just thought it would be cool to use her name, and then use Young from the Young Cleaners.

Mossy: You have an interesting background. How would you describe your life?

LY: I grew up in a suburb of Paris. I have a small family, just a brother and my parents. I guess I had kind of a bit of a hard childhood. I don’t have a really good relationship with my parents. Now it’s a little bit better, but I think very young, I felt like I had to go. So I lived in Paris for awhile, and then I moved to Barcelona. I’m an actress, so I studied theater for awhile there. I left Paris when I turned 23, and I left home when I was 18, when I could legally leave.

Mossy: So you said you and your family are better now. How did that come to pass?

LY: I guess just being far away helped a lot, at least for me to try to figure out who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life, and how to do it. Growing up, I had absolutely no guidance. So every decision I took, was sometimes just out of my feelings. It was not always very thought out. And I was on my own really, so it took a lot of time. And forgiveness I think, is the key. I’m still working on it, but I feel like I’m getting closer every day to finally forgive. I don’t think there’s any other way, really. Because in the end, (parents are) people, too, and they struggle. It’s hard to look at people and try to take them out of their suffering, I guess.

Mossy: Especially parents. Because you think they’re supposed to fulfill this role, and when they don’t, there can be a lot of trauma that comes from that.

LY: Yeah, and a lot of insecurity. For me the hardest was to feel confident, and this album is like a dream of mine. I never had the courage to say, “Okay, this is my music, this is what I do.” I always played music with other people, hiding a lot. And I don’t know, I always wanted to do it, but never had the courage. So I think that’s a big one for me right now, because it’s something I needed to do. To tell my stories through my songs, and get it out of myself.

Mossy: What gave you that courage?

LY: I would say a fear of dying. I had a health scare that made me think it was now or never.

Photo: Samuel Tressler IV 

Mossy: So once you left Paris, you went to Barcelona?

LY: Yeah, I studied theater there for two years. I had my first punk band there actually, in Barcelona, a little more than ten years ago. My bandmate and I were a duo. She was playing drums, and I was playing bass, and we were wearing mini burkas. (Laughs) So we don’t show the face, but we show the ass. And I was just basically yelling in a microphone. And then I felt like I needed to come to New York, because all of my favorite bands at that time were in New York. I wanted to play rock and roll and make noise.

Mossy: What were your fravorite bands then?

LY: I used to listen to a lot of Sonic Youth and Spacemen 3, Spiritualized. Kind of that vibe.

Mossy: I was watching a commercial for St. Vincent’s master class, and she talks about how she walks people through her songwriting process. I was thinking that, if I were to teach people my songwriting process, my method would be: drink a bottle of Jameson, smoke a couple spliffs…and see what happens. What’s yours?

LY: (Laughs) That would be so much funnier! Yeah, I used a little bit of mushrooms, a lot of water. I was very inspired at that time. I was writing songs very fast. As soon as I started it was very fast. I have a very hard time finishing things. I always think everything I do is not good enough, so it was hard to finish. I almost gave up, like, a hundred times.

Mossy: Where did the name “Coocoo Banana” come from?

LY: I used to say “coocoo banana” when I felt like people were going crazy, and then I went crazy. Because basically this allbum is kind of the story of my experience going through all these things in my life, and also the fear of dying. I’ve always been very scared of death, and I feel like the entire album is about death sometimes. (Laughs) But it’s not in a way that it’s always obvious. But a lot of it is that. And so I just felt like “coocoo banana” was a good way to summarize the feeling of this time. I like humor a lot, I like to laugh. And I feel like it’s hard to have a real good tragedy without having a little bit of humor in that. So I’m trying to mix everything together.

Mossy: Can we talk about “Kill All the Men?”

LY: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s, uh, pretty clear, I guess. (Laughs) I’m just so tired of everything. I feel like everything is just a box now. Everything has to be labeled and explained. And sexuality has to be up front, and I feel like people care too much about nothing. It’s all about money. That’s what’s so disgusting. It’s not a real thing. It’s just a way for people to make money. It’s product. That’s what really bothers me. Because I think it’s good to talk about it. People should live their lives. But it just gets to this point where it becomes a product, and I just find it really strange. And boring. It’s like you know, God, there’s no character anymore in anything. It just feels like, kind of washed out a little bit.

Mossy: Do you think we should kill all the men?

LY: I think sometimes, yes! (Laughs) I mean, I love men, too. I have a lot of friends that are male friends. It’s just, I think in general, they’re disgusting. And it’s hard to be a woman because of that. Just my album for example. So many people, the first thing they ask me is, “Who did you work with? Did you do everything alone?”  It’s like, oh I’m a woman, obviously, I can’t do shit because I’m a woman. Yeah, I think I’m upset with the men. (Laughs)

Photo: Samuel Tressler IV 

Mossy: Does the car in the video for “Obvious” have a story?

LY: In the quarantine, I went and hid at my friend’s farm. So we spent the time making videos for my album. We made eight music videos, and that one was the last one. He had a BMW, and he sold the car to this guy who was not paying him. I always had this dream of going and breaking a car. So I said, “Okay let’s go. Let’s take a baseball bat to the car you just sold to the guy.” But a couple days later, the guy actually ended up paying for the car. So my friend found this car on Facebook Marketplace for very cheap, and we picked up the car, and it doesn’t look like it, but the car is a piece of shit. And we painted it and made it nice, and then I finally got to try to break it. But apparently German cars are very strong. (Laughs) So I failed.

Mossy: I don’t know French, so what is “Elephants” about?

LY: I was working at this bar in Brooklyn, and I started thinking about how people behave when they’re drunk, and how annoying it is sometimes. Feels like you’re babysitting. I mean, this song is about many different things. Also the beginning of Instagram. Just the feeling of all these images taking over the world, and how we just end up kind of being sad, I guess. I think sometimes it’s depressing. And it’s a lot of waste of time. I have a weird relationship with social media.

Mossy: What is it?

LY: I hate it. It’s not really my personality. I just feel like people really like to see you, and I have a hard time with my image. I just find it weird and disturbing sometimes that everyone is addicted to it. I feel like everybody is living these weird, fake lives. And it’s a lot of people, you know? And sometimes you want to not have to deal with that many people in your life. You just want to have the people you have to deal with already, and I feel like social media is just so much sometimes. It’s like the universe.

Mossy: What is it about your image that you’re not comfortable with?

LY: I guess I don’t like too much of my face. When I was growing up, I had really bad eczema on my face, and I think that distorted my vision. I’ve been struggling with that. Sometimes I feel like I have a distorted view, even though I’m an actress, which is absolutely insane. I don’t really like watching myself. I might have one of those mental sicknesses, you know, where you see yourself in a weird way? Or maybe I’m just a victim of society. (Laughs) It’s just so hard to be a woman sometimes and I have a hard time with that.

Mossy: It might just be as simple as you’re not fucking vain.

LY: (Laughs) 

Mossy: You said you were a party girl. Any juicy stories?

LY: (Laughs) I used to work in this club in Barcelona, and I used to go there really early when they opened, and I used to go there and do cartwheels in the club. That’s a silly story. But…there were many, many parties. That’s why I left, actually. I was thinking if I stayed there, I would just party inside out. (Laughs) I’m not gonna do anything else with my life.

Check out the stunning new video for the album’s title track “Coocoo Banana,” and listen to the entire album out today!

Lizzy Young is on IG @lizzyyoung

Support independent artists by purchasing the album at https://lizzyyoung.bandcamp.com/releases

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