Carla Lippis is taking her show, Cast a Dark Shadow, to Edinburgh Playhouse this Fringe, deconstructing rock ‘n’ roll into a much more intimate cabaret format. Juxtaposing the vintage with the modern, this is set to be an intriguing addition to the programme for 2017.
The Fountain spoke with Carla ahead of her performance in Edinburgh about her background in music, her love of deep-fried haggis and her influences.
TF: Carla, you have quite the musical career, do you want to run us through that?
All I wanted as a teen was to be in a band. I thought it would make me the coolest. I was in a punk outfit called The Rules, and we made music that was a cross between the riffs of Rage Against The Machine and the attitude of Peaches. After that, I had an alt-country band called The Martial Hearts, where I explored my love of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. Whilst gigging that project I met Sacri Cuori, an instrumental group who make music inspired by classic Italian film soundtracks of the 1960s, and they invited me to sing with them, so I moved to Italy and spent a year or so touring and recording there. That was an interesting experience and I recorded my Baby Carla record with them as a backing band, paying tribute to the Italian divas that I grew up listening to with my parents in Australia – Mina Mazzini, Patty Pravo and Dalida. That led me on to Edinburgh, where I adapted the Baby Carla record into a show and had a great debut season which led to me getting a start in Cabaret in London’s West End.
TF: And what is it about the Edinburgh Festivals that makes you keep coming back?
It’s different to being on the road with a band. You get to settle in this beautiful place, get to know it, make new friends from all over the world and get a chance to hone your ideas until you grow some kind of new art limb.
TF: And do you spend much time in the city when your here? Do you have any suggestions for other performers and perhaps first time visitors?
I love Edinburgh so much – it’s a beautiful romantic place to wander amongst the fairytale architecture, and being a bit of a foodie I really embrace the restaurant culture there. Not to mention deep-fried haggis. But of course at Fringe time Edinburgh becomes some weird arts-portal to a new dimension, and you have to embrace it as much as you can – it’s one of the few times that us freaks become the dominant species. My suggestion to other artists is: go to as many shows as you can afford, spend the money on shows, not beer. Go and learn from watching others – you won’t regret it. To punters – I would say exactly the same.
TF: Where did the inspiration come from for this Cast a Dark Shadow show?
It’s inspired by a lot of different music that we’ve been exploring recently, from Iggy Pop to Suicide, Joe Meek and Diamanda Galas. I adapt classics with my own voice and blend them with originals so there’s not a clear demarcation of where my material stops and the covers begin. We take a bunch of common sonic threads running through 60s pop, surf and rock n’ roll, and embellish them with influences from electronic music and the avant garde. It also traces the journey of a female character, starting as a a tragic ultra-fem and gradually transforming into a strega (italian for witch). Madness, sadism and masochism, violence, spite and anger all dwell within the woman’s primal nature, buried beneath the social conditioning of femininity, which demands tenderness, deference, meekness and resignation.
TF: What other plans do you have looming on the horizon?
We’re going to tour the show as far and wide as we can, and make a record to accompany it, which will include all the original compositions from the show plus a bunch more that we couldn’t fit in to one hour!
For more information on Cast a Dark Shadow or to buy tickets click here. It runs at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 7th until 26th August.