SONG PREMIERE/INTERVIEW: Lizzie Weber and Markéta Irglová Talk Collaboration, Share “River” and “Free Floating”

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO and now based in the Pacific Northwest, Lizzie Weber began her journey as a songwriter living in Studio City, California, where she moved at twenty years old to pursue a career in acting. Two years after her move to Los Angeles, she found herself back in St. Louis writing, recording and producing her self-titled debut album as she pursued a degree in Journalism from Washington University. That was in 2014, and since then Weber has come a long way, evolving into a songwriter who can effortless cross genres and marry folk, pop, classical, jazz, and indie rock.

In March of this year, Weber traveled to Reykjavik to collaborate with singer and pianist Markéta Irglová, who is best known as one half of The Swell Season but also has a successful solo career. The two artists shared a natural musical chemistry, and Irglová ultimately produced and performed on two of Weber’s songs, “River” and “Free Floating.”

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of both songs. “River” was recorded in part in Anacortes, WA and completed at Irglová’s studio in Reykjavik. It is a quiet folk song with angelic harmonies and lush instrumentation that swells into a dramatic, beautiful soundscape. “Free Floating” was more of a spontaneous collaboration that happened while both artists were in the studio during that same period. As the name suggests, it feels more laid back and simple as a charming soul tune that sways with acoustic guitar and background harmonies that lift the music and enchant the listener. There is a dreamy folk quality to both songs and a soothing sense of hope that comes from the symbiotic relationship between lyrics, vocals and musical composition.  

Listen to the tunes and read our chat with Lizzie Weber and Markéta Irglová below…

How did you two connect and was there a moment you realized you had musical chemistry?

Lizzie Weber: In the fall of 2014, when Markéta was on tour for her second solo album, I shared a song of mine with her and asked if she’d consider me as support for the tour. She graciously replied that she already had support, but still invited me to join her at a show and perform one of my own songs during her set. I joined her in LA, where we met in person. It was truly special to meet her and receive her support at that time.

Markéta’s artistic range and sensibilities have always been so striking to me; I’ve always felt a deep connection to her music and its transportive qualities. On my wedding day, I walked down the aisle to her “Point of Creation” if that hints at the way in which her work has impacted me in life and as a musician. So, in January of this year, I emailed her and asked if she’d like to sing on a song I was working on for a new EP. I sent her the vocal and guitar track and, to my great pleasure, she replied that she wanted to collaborate. When she sent back a first pass, I was so inspired by her performance I felt compelled to join her in Reykjavik so we could work together in person.

Markéta Irglová: When I listened to the song Lizzie shared with me through my Facebook page, I liked her immediately, both musically and what I could tune into on a personal level. I find her a very skilled lyricist and songwriter, equipped with a beautiful and pure voice, and her expression seems to come right from the heart, bypassing the ego, where things get usually a bit distorted. I am in general drawn to performers such as herself, and I felt honored by her effort to reach out and connect. When we met in Los Angeles, I could see right away that she was a true gem of a person, honest, humble, generous, extremely positive and down to earth, with a big heart as well as a load of talent. It was a joy to have her join us on stage. She fit right in with us, and I remember really enjoying harmonizing with her. Looking at her sitting at the piano, I was thinking to myself that this is what it must have felt like watching young Joni Mitchel perform. I was only too happy to hear from her all this time later and get a chance to collaborate.

Tell me a bit about the recording process and development of the two songs.

LW: “River” was initially the one track we planned to work on together. The tracking for electric guitar, string accompaniment, and my guitar and vocals was completed at The Unknown Studio in Anacortes, WA. Before traveling to Iceland, Markéta had already added her vocals and piano at her studio (Masterkey). We left the rest of the work to be completed there.

I had written the lyrics and basic chord structure for “Free Floating” a few weeks prior to leaving for Iceland. Markéta and I had some extra time on our second day in the studio to work on it. We sat at the piano and played with structure, accompaniment and harmonies. I trusted her instincts and vision, and by the third day we were in a place to begin recording. She and her partner Mio Þórisson, who engineered and mixed the two songs, have such an incredible dynamic. Their energy together made for an amazingly comfortable environment in which to create.

MI: We started our collaboration remotely, as Lizzie says, which was nice and comfortable, but became something altogether more fun, once we were in our studio together. The dynamic of the three of us together was that of old friends, which perhaps we are. Thanks to technology, collaborating remotely is very easy in our day and age, but it is always nicer to be able to be in the same space together and gather momentum, which encourages a better work flow. It’s been an exciting thing for me to discover over the years, that when a piece of music resonates with me, I start getting a lot of ideas, hearing parts, harmonies, and anything I feel it might need to start sounding and feeling whole. That means that I can enjoy sitting in the producer chair sometimes, even when the music being worked on is not my own. It was lovely how open to my ideas Lizzie remained during our session, while still being honest about her own thoughts and speaking up when she felt strongly about going in or another direction. Having to worry about hurting people’s egos is a hindrance in any creative process. I was happy for that to not be a part of our dynamic. Mio was the perfect member in our team. He gave us a lot of space to work our ideas out, while being ready to hit the record button. He always has very helpful input, and his own opinions and ideas which he shares when he intuitively feels they would be of benefit. For example, when he feels one is hesitant and unsure whether to go further with an idea or change course. There is always a steady flow of encouragement and positive feedback from him while remaining objective and focused on the goal at hand.

Was there something in particular you wanted to attain sonically with each? Did it end up sounding as you expected, or did it go in a different direction?

LW: I wrote “River” a while ago, but had sort of detached myself from the song emotionally. I now feel as though it was fate to have Markéta’s strong intuition as co-performer and producer to carry it into another realm and breathe new energy into it. She has an ability to bring texture into music so seamlessly: something I admired greatly in her solo records. Her ideas regarding layering percussion onto the track changed the soundscape and brought so much dynamic.

“Free Floating” started as more of a slow, dreamy folk song. I went into the booth and sang it a few times after we tracked guitar. After a few takes, Mar shared that she heard a more vibrant energy: a song to be shared around the campfire. Again, I was happy to trust her instincts. There was also a lot of freedom in letting go of whatever notion or intended direction I’d thought of. I couldn’t be more proud of the result.

MI:I usually don’t go into projects with a specific expectation. I try to remain open to whatever the music wants to be, and do whatever serves the song. I think we kept going with both songs until they felt whole. I am really happy with how they turned out.

What inspires you most as songwriters?

LW: Nature, books, films, people. Probably most of all: people, relationships, and life experiences. This experience in particular was one of the most inspirational yet.

MI: The experience of being human. With all our flaws, and the trials we go through. The Love we have the capacity to experience. Our journey of inner growth, out of separation and back into oneness.

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