Lady Lazarus, the songwriter whose dreamy, off-kilter songs feel equal parts Daniel Johnston and Glasser, just re-issued her most recent full-length. Initially self-released last fall, All Of My Love In Half Light redux dropped earlier this week on LebensStrasse Records and it includes a few unreleased few B-sides. All in all, though, it’s as overgrown with reverb and melody as you remembered. Stream the entire reissue below, including bonus tracks, and read a short interview with Lady Lazarus (real name: Melissa Ann Sweat) about moving to Joshua Tree and writing songs influenced by Joseph Campbell.
Where are you right now? I’m at my home in Joshua Tree looking out onto the Morongo Basin and mountains from my window. Tom Waits’ “Take It With Me” is stuck in my head. We just got Mule Variations on vinyl here at the house. I just moved here a few months ago from LA and I love it.
How would you describe the emotional effect of the kind of distant-sounding atmospherics that permeate this record? Each song and their associated emotions are different, of course, but overall it sounds like a strong and sensitive woman trying to become something more, shake something off. Go beyond, go further. A measured purging. What emotion that is, I’m not sure. Spirited, intrepid, even a little mythical.
How have you personally evolved since initially releasing All Of My Love In Half Light? Are you in a different headspace? We all like to think so, right? I suppose, truthfully, I’m in quite a different space… physically in my new town, head-wise and otherwise. I’m happier—much happier. It’s influencing my songwriting in some beautiful ways.
How important was sequencing on the record? Sequencing is always important to me. I wanted to open with something different, a bit heralding, and something that would set the stage for an album about love and overcoming past failures, trials, tribulations. So “Lapsarian” with just accordion and vocals fit the part. I feel the album reaches a kind of adventurous climax around “Argosy,” with me coming to terms with the idea that I can make my own myth, my own path, and can just keep going as far as I please. The last few songs are that final purging—realizing I don’t want to go back to the way things were, and finally letting go. I was very influenced by Joseph Campbell when I was making this record, and still am, namely The Power of Myth.
What’s the most recent book you’ve read that resonated with you as a songwriter and/or a human? I read Call of the Wild and I want to be like Buck the dog.