Lil Maxine is the project by Jazz singer and composer, Lise Huber. Originally from Graz, Austria, she now resides in Bristol, UK, where she continues her work as a Jazz singer, composer and vocal coach. Currently she works on her second album in collaboration with Francesco Moreno (bass), Charlie Sorensen (drums) and Ed Barnfiel (trumpet).
Lise has performed at top live venues including Porgy&Bess Vienna, Radiokulturhaus Wien and The Hideaway Jazz Club and The Vortex Jazz Club London; she has collaborated with numerous musicians, notable Jazz artists and producers in the field of Jazz, Electronic and World Crossover, and theatre. Her debut album ‘A Little Girl’s Lovesongs’ established her, from a standing start, as a regarded songwriter and artist. With the start of 2019 the album has been signed to one of the world’s oldest music libraries, De Wolfe Music USA. She’s one out of three featured live acts in the Jazz Exchange Austria UK concert series 2019, funded by the Austrian Cultural Forum London.
In October 2017 Lil Maxine studio performed at Spacemountain International Cosmic Arts Lab in Spain, where she was recorded by Beatles, Pink Floyd and Radiohead producer/engineer, John Leckie. In February 2018 she joined the DWD Studio sessions in Goa, where she worked with legendary British ambient electronic act The Egg under the guidance of Ninja Tunes record label founder Matt Black. In April 2018 she played her UK live debut at The Hideaway Jazz Club London, as a trio with Calum Gourlay (db) and Dave Hamblett (dr) and later that year completed a tour of Spain, two highlights of which one was a concert as a duo with bass player Francesco Moreno, for EU politicians and diplomats at the residence of the Austrian Ambassador to Spain in Madrid, and a concert at Jazzenviu – Cafe Auditori Sant Cugat as a trio with Camilo Fernandez (db) and Joao Vieira (dr).
‘A Little Girl’s Lovesongs’ is a multi-faceted debut album, the title of which should not be taken literally: there is nothing small or girlish about it. Together with her rhythm section – Oliver Steger on bass, Konstantin Kräutler on drums, Lil Maxine conjures up splendid Jazz soundscapes for her voice. The trio celebrates the art of storytelling, not just lyrically but also musically. As a result, the songs take the time and liberty to break away from familiar formats. The song cycle presents itself as subtle, almost fragile, and earthy, with an experimental tendency. Balladic-epic sounds flirt with tight grooves. The piano fuses clusters of colour with restrained yet playful elements into vibrant musical settings. Pulsating expanses, driving beats and rolling bass lines carry the songs. Lil Maxine’s velvet and, at the same time, arraigning voice permeates each track and tells timeless stories of love, longing and hope.
An interview with Lise Huber by Lisa Reinisch;
4 questions about Lil Maxine and A Little Girl’s Lovesongs:
1 WHO IS LIL MAXINE?
Lil Maxine is a sort of alter ego. She is an amplified part of me, a compassionate being
from my world. Of course, she is also a superhero with superpowers. She can get lost in
time; she is capable of dissolving the boundaries between what is within and what is
without. She dances, in time-lapse, through a landscape of fiction and reality.
2 THE ALBUM’S SOUND IS EXTREMELY DIVERSE – FROM SUBTLE, FRAGILE
ARRANGEMENTS TO GROOVY, EXPERIMENTAL PROGRESSIONS. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP
John Cage’s Silence may have had a strong influence on me and accompanied the process. I envisioned a self-contained
cycle – a casing that can be emptied and refilled. It was important to develop our sound intuitively as a trio.
We followed and connected our individual musical vocabularies. Within these structures and forms,
the process of searching itself led us to our current sound.
3 ARE THERE SPECIAL INFLUENCES THAT HAVE SHAPED YOUR SOUND?
Everything that touches me has a shaping influence. Everything has its time.
Lacan once said something like: when you enter a room where a glass of water is placed on a table,
but you don’t see the glass right away, then the glass sees you before you see it, compared to the moment
when you finally see the glass. So what influences me? What shapes Lil Maxine?
I would say, everything I am capable of perceiving at a certain point in time.
4 A LITTLE GIRL’S LOVESONGS IS SLIGHTLY MISLEADING AS AN ALBUM TITLE, SINCE THE SONGS DON’T EXACTLY DEAL
WITH CHILDISH THEMES AND MANY DON’T SEEM TO BE ABOUT LOVE. WHAT’S THE THINKING BEHIND THIS?
In very confusing and disoriented times, these songs were my point of reference, something I could hold on to.
I was allowed to leave them, but they never left me. I could always return to them and they were never mad at me.
They gave me time but, time and again, they also called me back. They told me they believed in me. I was permitted
to call on them whenever I wanted and as often as I wanted and that felt secure. They were never malicious because
they never judged me. They persuaded me to dream and to question. They let me be and allowed me to recognise and
comprehend ever more. They led me back to myself. It’s probably true: we determine our lives by the things we love.