When Liss Victory recorded her solo album, Quelque Chose, on the third floor of her Garfield house, she wound up using different recording techniques on all nine songs. Though her fiancé, comedian Krish Mohan, and Strange Monsters frontman Don Strange added some vocals and production assistance respectively, Victory did most of the heavy lifting herself, a first for the guitarist.
“I was learning as I was doing it,” she says. “Because I was alone, any idea I had, I just explored it: ‘Should I record this with one mike or two mikes? Let’s do both and see what happens.’ Sometimes it didn’t work, sometimes it sounded amazing. Being able to do that really changed the game for me.”
The guitarist/vocalist, who plays solo, and with the band Victory at the Crossroads, has already released three sets of her dynamic music. She often bangs it out on an acoustic guitar, but Quelque Chose includes both electric and acoustic instruments. Victory’s lyrics draw on a variety of topics, from Star Wars fandom to immigration, all brought together by the message of togetherness. Much like the recording techniques, Victory delivers her thoughts in several different manners.
The name Quelque Chose (French for “something”) refers to a quip Victory once made about her music: “It’s something, more than nothing, maybe interesting.” In contrast to that modesty, she shows her ambitiousness early on, singing in French during “We the Heathens,” as well as Russian and Tamil, the native tongue of her fiancé. “That song means a lot … because the overall message of the album and most of my songs is, ‘We’re all in this together.’ That’s even my slogan: ‘We’re all one’,” she says.
Other songs take a more lighthearted approach to the message. “The Prince (Reylo)” references the faction of Star Wars fans who approve of — or “ship” — a relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren in the series. “I hope that one goes viral, on Reddit,” Victory says, going on to explain that the lyrics go deeper, referencing Bhagavad Gita.
But album-closer, “Fiscal Cliff,” ratchets up the intensity. Between verses, Victory yells through a megaphone, like she’s speaking at a rally, pledging her devotion to an unspecified cause. Her rabid delivery almost sounds a little unhinged, until the final line, when she vows gently: “I will fight beside you.”
“It’s meant to be an empowering aggression, not aimed toward people, but toward the things that we’re fighting against: poverty, hunger, discrimination,” she explains. It’s quite a tonal contrast to the album’s introduction, “OM,” a series of chants punctuated by tolls from her singing bowl. But the message of togetherness, through fight or comfort, continues throughout the whole album.