Breaking Down Sound, From Texas to Brooklyn
Sarah Lipstate/Noveller. Photo by Aaron Wojack.
Starting with the percolation of New York's pan-disciplinary No Wave phenomenon in the late '70s, a small but steadily-expanding space has been cleared out for female musicians in the tradition of rock guitar. Groups like the Bush Tetras, Ut, and the various permutations of James Chance's bands showcased the intuitive, innovative playing of women like Pat Place and China Burg, who matched their contemporaries Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca in breaking down and reassembling just what six strings could do.
Sarah Lipstate (aka Noveller), who relocated to Brooklyn from Austin in 2005, stands firmly within this tradition. A formidable experimentalist since her college days, she extends the language of her guitar with both a sonic ferocity that make the boys blush and the tender sort of sensuality that makes them crush. I had the chance to send her some questions ahead of her March 12th show with Xiu Xiu -- which she graciously (and painstakingly) answered through the agency of her iPhone while driving between Little Rock and Dallas -- about finding inspiration, the perils of touring, and life after Texas.
Noveller is playing Friday, March 12th, at Warehouse Live, along with Xiu Xiu & Girl In A Coma.
SCR: What are the origins of your interest in music and, more specifically, the sort of music you are now making? What is your current setup, and how has it evolved over the years?
Sarah: Music was a huge part of my life starting around my high school years. I started teaching myself to play guitar when I was 17, and at the time I was listening to a lot of Sonic Youth, the Pixies, Toadies, [Brian] Eno, and No-Wave.
When I moved to Austin for college and started connecting with other musicians, I learned about guitar pedals and started building my arsenal of effects for creating soundscapes. My setup from Noveller has evolved over the past three years from heavily using my double-neck guitar and double E-bows to my current setup, which includes my Jaguar and Telecaster six-strings and 12 or so effects pedals.