Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Interview: Milkshake’s Lisa Matthews

posted by Nell Minow

Lisa Mathews and guitarist Mikel Gehl once wrote songs for grown-ups as the indie rock group Love Riot. But now, as Milkshake, they write lively and singable songs for children. I spoke to Lisa about the similarities and differences of writing and performing for older and younger audiences.

What is different about writing songs for children?

It’s a good rock song first. The melody’s got to be great, easy to remember. Simple isn’t dumb. And then the subject matter has to be something they care about and also understand. When I had my little girl I wanted to get her some music and I never bought the typical kid music, more world music. We were listening to all my favorite songs, Beatles Green Day, The Killers and she was too young for me to even bother trying to explain. And then when she was older, there would be a song with another thing I don’t want her to hear. Even though we loved the music, it was the words that were the problem. I was writing her songs from the beginning, counting songs, alphabet songs.

Do you consider the Milkshake songs rock?

We write in all kinds of genres, whatever befits the song, Cajun, Bert Bachrachy kind of stuff, a uke. We are treading the line, walking the tightrope between alternative adult rock and songs children can relate to.

Does your daughter have a favorite Milkshake song?

Her favorite is “I Love You.” I wrote that for her.

Was it a challenge to adapt to different subject matter for the song lyrics?

That’s the whole beautiful thing about kids’ music, the pallatte, this whole vast grand palate of subject matter that we didn’t have before when we were doing adult music. That tends to be pretty much “I love you,” “I drank too much.” Sports, being in a parade, imagination. Friends and family are a big thing, feeling competent is a big thing, knowing you’re loved. Feeling normal, fitting in. Our song “Enemies” is inspired by a book by Maurice Sendak called Let’s Be Enemies. Our song “Statue” is inspired by Mike’s daughter, who jumped on top of a rock and said she was a statue.

What is it like to perform before kids? They can be very enthusiastic!

They are wonderful! We’ve played places that as adult rock stars we only dreamed of playing. We never knew the definition of a green room before, but now we play venues that have them!



Previous Posts

Telling Time in "All That Jazz"
One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies -- Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse's autobiographical "All That Jazz" for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable to use it due to rights problems with the movie clips h

posted 3:19:48pm Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on PBS: The Makers: Comedy
Be sure to tune in to PBS tomorrow night for what is sure to be one of the highlights from one of the all-time best series on PBS: "The Makers," the story of women in America.  Tomorrow's episode is about women in comedy. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHxHMgSF7UI[/youtube]

posted 8:00:45am Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on HBO: "The Fifty Year Argument" -- Scorsese on The New York Review of Books
Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles about the important is

posted 3:59:26pm Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

FREE Tickets to "The Good Lie" on Sept 30, 2014 in DC!
Based on a true story, "The Good Lie" is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983.  These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.  Pla

posted 11:50:22am Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

The Sensational Hollywood Costume Exhibit Comes to LA
The gorgeous Hollywood Costume exhibit that has been getting rave reviews and massive crowds at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is coming to Los Angeles, its final stop.  The costumes will be

posted 8:00:05am Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.