"Patti Smith meets Edie Sedgewick"

Lissy Trullie is a fashionable one to watch. Hailing from the US and wearing leather like a second skin, her style and sound screams out ‘New York cool’, and is exactly what the UK loves to love, so why is she so keen to break the mold? Clash finds out.

The Leather Jacket: a symbol of everything right to have been sung, strummed and strutted out of NYC. Passed down from generation to generation, it has adorned the shoulders of cool New Yorkers for years, retaining its emblematic status from decade to decade, and at the same time giving the middle finger to anyone who thinks it could be ever become cliché.

Lou Reed was the first to set the trend, swaggering out from a haze of heroin and Warhol to set the standard for any would-be heirs to the leather-clad throne. Next up Jim Carroll, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith, then The Ramones piled into the equation. Like a wild child, getting its hands on a massive inheritance, these icons caused reckless havoc and scared the shit out of their predecessors as they cemented the link between the Big Apple, good music, not giving a fuck and…the leather jacket.

After all the mayhem that came along with The Ramones, it seems that it was time for a break; the poor jacket needed a rest. Then, The Strokes came along and the jacket was back where it belonged. And now Casablancas et al have done their bit, the leather jacket needs a new hipster to continue its lineage.

Step forward Lissy Trullie. A twenty-five-year-old singer/songwriter and front woman to her self-titled band, she has all the attributes needed to prolong the tradition that comes with her decision to wear her signature leather motorcycle jacket. She is like Patti Smith meets Edie Sedgewick: her music and style embodies a quintessential New York chic. She has the androgynous look of one of Warhol’s girls and complements her leather with a uniform of tailored tight clothes and a strawberry blonde bowl cut. Her voice growls through her songs and the sound is reminiscent of a previous generation of famed New York songstresses.

“People say, ‘Oh, you sound so New York’ but I just don’t get it, maybe it’s because I live there and don’t see it.” It’s statement that suggests she’s heard plenty of the comparisons before and doesn’t appreciate it.

Which is all very well and good but listening to her debut EP ‘Self Taught Learner’, it’s hard not to imagine that it’s 1979, rather than 2010, in Trullie’s world. It feels very late-1970s new wave: Blondie and The Pretenders spring to mind, especially as there is a female front with the boys backing.

However, her debut EP is one thing, her debut album - due for release early this year - is another.

“My goal for the record is to break this mould of New York punk or post punk that everybody tries to push me into the corner with. It’s never been my intention to make that sort of music. I think it was a little bit by default and also the EP was something I really like but we didn’t have enough time or money to do what we actually wanted to do with it. So, although it’s fun and it’s good and it’s upbeat it doesn’t accurately represent the full range of what I do and the album definitely does.”

So, what can we expect? “It’s not three-minute pop songs at all…no ballads. You know what I mean?” With none other than Mr. Bernard Butler at the production helm, we’re sure we can expect something a bit more interesting than the picture Lissy herself is painting.

And, hopefully this quintessential London producer will also be able to banish any further nostalgic comparisons.

Lissy says she is keen to prove her music credentials. Having flirted with the fashion industry when she was younger, and occasionally stepping forward to help out her designer friends, she has become an easy target for disdain, with some grumbling about her place in the music world, as she can appear so close to the fashion world.

“The whole fashion thing is kind of a myth to be honest. I did modeling when I was younger but it was so fucking long ago it’s like someone asking me about my summer job as a camp counselor and being like, ‘so how has that career affected you?’ It was never a career!”

New musicians who have the look and the hype will always be easy targets, but Lissy just needs to keep heading in her current direction to prove critics wrong. With her blend of talent and charisma - and Butler’s expertise - her debut album is definitely one we’re all excited for.

Words by Tom Giddins

Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylists: Rose Forde and Hannah Thompson
Stylists’ assistants: Vicki Carr and Sonia Shahid
Hair and make-up: Nathalie Eleni Bouziotas using Mac make-up and Bumble And Bumble hair products.

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