5 Under 5000: Liis Takes Pop In A New Direction

5 Under 5000 is a series highlighting artists with under 5000 likes on their official Facebook pages. These are artists we believe are worthy of your “likes” and deserve a listen. Follow along weekly to discover some new artists.

Liis are a duo you don’t want to sleep on. The city of Los Angeles brought together Dana Cargioli and Lisa Haagen who are making the moodiest pop music that Lorde’s Melodrama can’t even make you feel. While they’re not quite pop, but not quite rock, their self-described “dark pop” is the perfect way to classify their easy to listen to, easy to fall in love with music.

Check out our interview with Liis’ own Lisa Haagen below:

Where did the name Liis come from?

Liis predates us playing together. I had been performing under Lisa Haagen previously but I knew I wanted to move towards a larger sound and away from being a solo artist. Picking a name is super hard, so I was trying out a lot of options that still felt personal.

Once Dana came on board everything had already switched to “Liis”, and we talked about changing it (in anticipation of always being awkward with this question) but ran into the same problem of finding something we connect to. We both decided ultimately that it still fit, and ran it past other people to make sure that it sounded like a band and not an individual. As a band, we refer to ourselves as “Diis” a lot as a joke.

Your voices blend together flawlessly, was Liis an organic collaboration that came about? What led to making music together?

Dana and I met at our bassist’s birthday party where we both were playing a solo set in her living room, and I loved her voice. We started hanging out and playing together, but we were both still doing our separate projects. She started filling in here and there and then suddenly she was half the band. I’d have her take the lead part so I could show her the harmony, but then it would sound so good that I’d just stay on the harmony for that song. I had only experienced that blend with my sisters (who I haven’t been able to convince to be in a band with me) so finding it in a friend felt like something to hold onto.

“Thief” is a great cross between acoustic melodies and electric riffs, how did that sound come about?

I got really into stylistic acoustic playing for a while which opened me up to alternate tunings. When I started trying those tunings on the electric, this song was one of the first things that came out.  We had already started in on the EP with our good friend/ producer Taylor Morrow when this song was added to the mix, and it wound up changing the tone for the EP. Before this one, we still were taking the songs a more acoustic direction, but this track felt like we had found our sound.

How did the “dark pop” sound, as you’ve described before, become the term you identify with?

Sad isn’t a genre.

We gravitate towards moodier music, so “pop” didn’t feel like a good description even though there are definitely pop-elements in it. Different from our folkier beginnings, these songs have a beat behind them that makes it a little more vibey than depressive.

On your upcoming debut EP, what can fans expect?

A fun rollercoaster of relational instability.

There is a lot more grit to these songs than there used to be. There are moments listening back where it’s like “oh my – I am yelling” which is pretty far from my shy sing-speak days. Dana and I really cut loose for this and I think it’s cool to hear it translate onto the recordings.

Who are some of the artists/bands that really influence the Liis sound?

Dana and I are shooting for something between the emotionality of Daughter and the swag of Kesha. I think we are influenced as much by sounds as we are by high energy.

What’s next for Liis?

I wish we knew! Putting this EP out is a huge moment for us, and we are just trying to play live as much as possible.

Make sure to keep up with Liis and be on the lookout for when their new EP drops in May!

Stay Connected with Liis:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Listen to Liis: