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

A Tribute to Unlikeable Women in the Movies
I really enjoyed the recent series on "Unlikeable Women" from the folks at Bitch Flicks. I remember a panel of women filmmakers at Comic-Con all agreeing that the code word for making female characters meek and pliable (and giving all the tough dialogue and action to the male characters) was "relat

posted 3:50:31pm Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

WIN Tickets to "Danny Collins" With Al Pacino and Annette Bening
WIN tickets to a free showing of Al Pacino's new film, "Danny Collins," in Washington D.C. on March 11, 2015. Inspired by a true story, Al Pacino stars as aging 1970's rocker Danny Collins. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John L

posted 11:00:21am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

When Boredom Beats Mental Busywork
I love this tribute to boredom on car trips with children.  I well remember being in the back seat with my sisters, alternating games of GHOST and Botticelli with highway bingo and, yes, arguing with each other about who had to ride in the middle.  What will today's children remember about family

posted 8:00:55am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Screenwriter Graham Moore on Writing About Smart People
One of the most touching moments of the 2015 Oscars broadcast was from Graham Moore, a 28-year-old screenwriter who won the Best Adapted Screenplay award for "The Imitation Game," based on mathematician Alan Turing's word to solve the Enigma code during WWII. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/wa

posted 3:59:29pm Mar. 03, 2015 | read full post »

YouTube's New Campaign for Women: #DearMe
What advice would you give your younger self?  In celebration of International Women's Day, take part in YouTube’s global #DearMe initiative to inspire and empower young girls everywhere. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AbqT_ubkT0Y?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 2:19:03pm Mar. 03, 2015 | 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.