Songwriter Liss Victory and comedian Krish Mohan have toured the country, but their latest tour comes in the wake of their engagement. Despite their different backgrounds and talents, they have learned how to successfully perform together and delight audiences across the country.
Staff writer Isaac Rosso Klakovich interviewed the couple about their upcoming TransContinental Comedy and Music Tour.
The Daily Tar Heel: Tell me what engagement life has been like, especially because you guys are currently on tour.
Liss Victory: I honestly have no idea what traditional engagement life would be like.
Krish Mohan: It hasn’t really changed our material as much so far cause we usually take time to reflect on what is happening in our life and then bring it up later so we’re not just jumping into it. Other than that, our family and friends have been super supportive so that’s been pretty cool. Like being of different backgrounds, we were expecting a little bit more challenge from family, but we’re pleasantly surprised.
DTH: What, in general, do you think people can expect coming to your show when it comes to combining musical and comedic elements?
LV: Something different.
KM: Yeah the short answer is something different... the show opens and closes with music and sandwich the the comedy in between — that way once the comedy starts, people know to at least stay focused.
LV: You need to focus on the comedy much more than on the music. I spent a lot of time on my lyrics, and you can just sort of feel it. But with comedy, you could really miss something integral.
KM: The way that I kind of build my set is like it’s a full argument for the most part. I have a thesis statement.
LV: (laughs) You’re having an argument with your audience.
KM: I think it’s more of a listening room vibe cause we’re both pretty socially conscious in what we talk about, so it’s very issue-driven.
DTH: Can you maybe touch on some of the issues or topics you address on the tour and your shows?
LV: We both talk a lot about mental health stuff. I’m bipolar, and he has to deal with it.
KM: And I’m a massively anxious person, and I have anger issues, which is partially why I’m a comedian.
LV: I talk about feminism and being a female and a predominantly male scene, which is like everything.
KM: Right now, the current material I’m working on is about the idea of progress. And I don’t believe society is progressive, which is part of the reason we’re seeing so much divide and our current political climate. So talking about just an idea of living in a bubble and how labels and identity politics contribute to the idea of this divide. Some of that has to do with race and issues with the institution of religion. I’m a fan of religion, but I just don’t like what human beings have chosen to do with it.
DTH: In your press release, you guys talked about having distinctly different backgrounds. How do you bring and combine those distinct backgrounds during your shows?
KM: I think through our material, we’re both pretty left-leaning, but she comes from a pretty conservative blue collar Rust Belt. My dad’s pretty conservative. My family is relatively traditional.
LV: I have him come up for a song that I wrote that was inspired by a comedy bit that he wrote, which is based on religion and prayer. He was raised Hindu and I was raised Protestant, and his comedy bit is about losing faith in God, and my song addresses that, but in the end, a lot my songs have a upswing of hope so I don’t feel like it’s necessarily a loss of faith in the song.
KM: The bit really doesn’t have like, “Well, I’m an atheist and everything is destroyed.” It’s not a bleak ending — it’s more of a, “Cool, like I get to figure out more stuff and I might not particular not have the right answer to do it, but this seems like the direction I want to go."
LV: 'Cause I’m agnostic or something?
KM: We’re both more agnostic. I think she’s more spiritual than I am. I’m not spiritual, but I like it. I think it’s interesting, so I think we bring those two elements together, especially that song. I think that’s part of how we’ve influenced each other. If this was, I would have denounced that song from the get-go cause I was was still kind of the angry little atheist.
LV: Oh, the prayer-bit song?
KM: But I think even after I wrote that bit and recorded it and released it, the fact that you wrote a song about it and had a reaction to it did kind of help me maybe not change my opinion on religion, but look at it differently that I don’t have to be so angry about it if that makes sense.
LV: We work together a lot and give each other a lot of ideas and suggestions and we pass things back and forth to read from one another.
DTH: Are there any other highlights, without spoiling anything about your show, that you might want to talk about?
LV: I like the stuff we do together, for sure.
KM: Yeah it’s difficult because I’m terrified of singing in public, and then I’m just like ,“I’ll do it because I love you,” and I just hope that I can fade into the mist and no one hears.
LV: We will pick people up along the way or meet people and have them on the show. So people from all around the world can follow us in that way, too, and share the tour experience and not just localized.
KM: Yeah, our big thing is when we go on the road, we like to maintain relationships.
LV: We want to be your friends, we’re not going to hide in the back and not talk to people. In case you haven’t picked up on it, we talk a lot.
KM: Like after the show, let’s keep the conversation going, let’s grab a drink and talk about your favorite Quentin Tarantino movie or whatever it might be.
LV: That’s how we learn and that’s how we expand the ideas because it’s not just a monologue, like don’t talk to him too much when he’s on stage because that’s just heckling, but we present these ideas. We present this art and then we want the feedback, and then based on that feedback, we adjust.
KM: We’re all about building this community and I don’t like the people that go “The show’s over, let’s do the merch and go hide in the green room.” I would rather hang out. If you wanna buy some merch, you can buy some merch and then let’s go.
LV: (laughs) Please buy our merch.
DTH: How would you describe your onstage dynamic? Like you said you might have an aversion to singing.
KM: (laughs) I like that you called it an aversion to singing.
LV: I think it works pretty well somehow, like he co-hosts my podcast all the time and it seems to just come together really naturally. I like that a lot about my experiences working with him. I love working with you... It just feels really natural to be.
KM: She does make sure I’m not standing behind her, so even if I go and retreat, she’ll go back with me so there’s like a level of comfort for someone that is just incredibly incredibly uncomfortable was singing in public. Because she's kind of right there next to you. The prayer-bit song, that one over the course of the last six months of repetitively making me go on stage to do it, there’s parts I now know a little bit more, and now I’m a little bit more comfortable singing more that song.
LV: I actually changed the way I say in parts that song after I started having him come on stage for the song and then some of the ways he sang the song, I started seeing it that way because I like the technique he was using. Also, I had some really great ideas in the car, driving, showering, bathroom time — those are the think tanks for me.
KM: When your mind runs idle, that’s when it comes up with the best stuff.
LV: I think what’s really cool is I’m getting the opportunity to do what comedians do with my music because I’m about to record my solo album. Most musicians or bands record the album and take it on tour. (Whereas) the songs I play are going to be on the CD I’m recording this winter, so I get to workshop my songs before I record them. I’m really happy about it. I didn’t talk to you about this yet, but I want to record you on the album.
KM: Oh god that’s —
LV: I have a whole plan.
KM: That’s terrifying.
LV: Yeah, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
DTH: And if this whole interview hasn’t been enough for someone, what would you say to someone to really convince people that they really need to come out to your show?
KM: I think this is a unique experience to check out some different music and comedy, and we partner with locals on the show so you’re going to see some folks that you don’t see on a normal basis and you get to see some art you don’t see on a regular basis. That’s sort of my last little pitch — come see something cool you don’t see everyday.
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