Q&A: Lindsey Stirling’s advice to EDM artists

Lindsey Stirling, Courtesy.

Lindsey Stirling, Courtesy.

She’s sold hundreds of thousands of records, charted on both dance and classical music charts—with the same songs!—while wracking up countless spins on YouTube and Spotify. Yet when you talk to Lindsey Stirling, she talks with the passion (and speed) of someone who’s not sure how long it will all last and wants to get everything off her chest. I only chatted with Lindsey for about 20 minutes, yet the time was so crammed with her thoughts, feelings and memories, that I couldn’t squeeze them all into one place. Here’s a bonus Q&A fans may appreciate.

RIFF: Was violin your biggest passion growing up?

Lindsey Stirling: As a kid, I begged for lessons, but I also had a lot of different interests, especially when I got into high school and junior high, even. I was very into sports, I was super into new media. I was always making videos with my friends. This was back in the day before everybody had editing software. It was a very rare
thing. I got this editing software and I would make music videos with my friends. I had quite a bunch of diversity in my life as a teenager. I loved sewing. A lot of those interests though, have turned into my career. I edit my own videos. I produce them. I still love costuming. My show is quite athletic, and so all my interests have all kind of merged into one, I think.

When you were in high school, you also played in some more traditional rock bands, right?

I was in kind of a happy rock, Jimmy Eat World-style band. It was the first time I had ever played an electric violin, and it was kind of when I fell in love with
performing. I was like, “Wow, the violin can be fun!” It kind of introduced me to the idea of trying different styles.

You have written an autobiography?

It’s a memoir. It’s a memoir I’ve been working on for the past two and a half years with my sister. It’s called “The Only Pirate at the Party” and it comes out in January.

Is it a bit scary to write something so life-defining at such a young age?

Everybody’s like, “Wow, do you have enough experience to write a book yet?” It’s not an end all be all, but it does share the experiences of my life that have gotten me to where I’m at. Now is the time to write it. Now is the time that I have people that want to listen and an audience that’s engaged. So I’m really excited to share this story of what’s gotten me here, but there’s so much left to share.

One of the things you have said was you wish EDM had more of a live element to it. More movement. You do that with your own music, but how can other EDM artists like DJs do that when they’re behind their control board and they’re supposed to be the focal point?

I’ve never understood why DJs don’t have dancers! I don’t think I’ve ever been to an EDM DJ set where they have really skilled dancers. A lot of times they’ll get go-go girls up there that are really pretty and sexy and stuff. Why don’t they get some amazing kick-butt girls that are up there doing technical dance? I think that would be incredible. Also, I’ve been to one of Zedd’s shows, and Zedd can play. He’s an amazing pianist, he’s an incredible drummer, and there was only one small part of his set where he kind of tapped on a drum a little bit.

This guy can perform. I wish so badly that there was a part of his set where he left the control board for a little bit and had played some cool stuff on the keys, showing us that “I can do this live” or played his drums more. I think a perfect example of that is actually Robert Delong. He’s doing a couple of shows with me on my tour. I love his sound. He’s a big artist, but I think he should be way bigger than he is, because he brings EDM with a live element to it. He’s live mixing, he’s actually singing and mixing it and EQing it with remote controls and joysticks and Wii controllers. It’s amazing, and I think he is a perfect example of how EDM can be a performing act.

What do you think about more bands incorporating the violin in their live shows?

I think it’s awesome! When I was in high school, I remember Yellowcard. Seeing that one of the front men was a violinist. I thought that was so cool! There have been a lot of violinists that have done their art and taken this classical instrument and done it in different ways and it was actually very inspiring to me. They
did it with rock and roll, they did it with punk music, they did it with jazz-fusion. What do I want to do? Whatever you play or whatever art form you’re doing, It’s so easy to get stuck into what everybody else has done with it, but it’s so exciting to think about, whether you’re a seamstress, or a violinist, or a guitar player. You can take art to whatever you want.

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