Liana Hell Lean, a 19-year-old living in New York City, is one of the latest additions to the Sister Polygon family. Liana fronts a relatively fresh hardcore punk band called Decisions, bikes around the city, and is regularly on tour. For the past five years, they have been making music on their own. Blood Club (previously Liana’s Fire) is Liana’s solo project - a bit experimental, jazzy, ambient, and poppy - it brings to mind the most recent Sneaks album.
Liana performing with Decisions in Bloomington earlier this year
“There was definitely a point when I was in like middle school where I really wanted to make music so fucking badly and thought I didn’t have the tools or skills to do so, but did so anyways,” Liana said. And it worked. Taking inspiration from solo electronic acts like Grimes and Doldrums, Liana realized they could make the music they were imagining without traditional music skills.
“I put so much effort into Blood Club in an emotional capacity that feels so different from the work I put into the band,” Liana said. “And also I work so differently with others than I do by myself.” Although they feel that their punk band Decisions is more accessible than the experimental Blood Club, they find both projects equally important and rewarding. Liana is glad to be making music in both a group and solo capacity, as it gives them the opportunity to express themselves in different ways.
During live performances, Blood Club consists of pretty minimal equipment - a sampler, loop pedal, Casio CA-110, a Volca Beats, and sometimes a delay or distortion pedal. “
I’m not really a gear head,” Liana admitted. “Most people would probably be surprised with the lack of electronic gear that I use when it comes to actually making the music!”
Liana finds inspiration from hardcore punk, the city and from their friends.
“My friends do so much amazing work that inspires me and pushes me and encourages me,” they said, citing HVAC and Flower as two of their favorite New York groups at the moment.
When they aren’t making music, Liana says you’re likely to find them on their bike, at a show, or searching for secret spots around the city. At the moment, they just want to record music and tour as much as possible.
“I’m trying to play every connected state in the U.S. within the next few years if I can!”
Q & A
SHUT UP AND LISTEN:
How does living in NYC affect your work?
New York is the best honestly. I’m glad to be here. I have a very deep connection with this city. My family is from here, I grew up coming here all the time, and I just feel so good inside of this city. I moved here without a computer so it changed the way I made music completely and made me switch to analog recording for Blood Club. I guess the Decisions tape was also recorded analog too. I think the analog thing has probably had the biggest affect on my music, but my life experience is also so different now and that obviously affects my art. Also, real talk, I’ve met so many friends here who have inspired me and affected my outlook on everything including my own art. New York definitely made me get more serious about working with my band too, and juggling two projects at once.
SHUT UP AND LISTEN:
What’s something you wish was different about music culture?
There’s too many fucking elitists. Also, ageists. I grew up in Boston and avoided telling as many people my age as I possibly could cause I wanted to get booked and taken seriously (and on the flip side, not get tokenized as the local kid who was participating in the scene). I was 14 when I started playing and going to shows. Even now, something that really bothers me is that New York Hardcore (which feels like the only thing I have time for right now) is super bar-centric, and I feel like I often can’t participate to the full extent that I want to because so many shows are happening in shitty hipster bars and not at all ages spots. There are so many punks who are in their late 20s and early 30s, which is sick, but also I think Decisions might be one of the only punk bands in NYC with kids in it right now. Maybe I’m misguided. I wish people would make more room for kids in punk and otherwise, and not simultaneously tokenize us and exclude us! Also I hate the idea of an apolitical scene, which isn’t really NYC’s problem right now when it comes to punk, but in other communities and other music scenes it definitely is a huge problem. It often felt that way in Boston. But people have also always been doing radical and important shit in both cities and I don’t want to downplay or discredit that.