Jinx McGee and Lizzy Lehman Collab on Ode to Queer Intimacy
New song “Skin Against Skin” premieres on Qmmunity
By Beth Sullivan,
11:55AM, Tue. Apr. 14, 2020
Who said you can’t dance to a song about depression? Certainly not local musicians Jinx McGee and Lizzy Lehman, whose latest – and first – sonic collaboration, “Skin Against Skin” is a gliss-gloss, synth-pop ode to queer intimacy in the depths of depression.
Qmmunity caught up with the duo for more on the backstory behind the highly danceable track, which they describe as “dripping in sexy depression,” and how they’ve been holding up during this pandemic. From McGee’s and Lehman’s big, queer hearts to yours: Qmmunity readers are able to hear “Skin Against Skin"’s premiere below.
Austin Chronicle: What’s the backstory behind “Skin Against Skin?” Have y’all collaborated before?
Lizzy Lehman: The lyrics from this song come directly from my battles with mental health. When I have struggled the hardest in the past, I sleep too much and other times insomnia has driven me out of my mind. Amongst these painful feelings (or lack of feelings), there is still a hope and yearning for intimacy even when it seems mentally impossible to gather the strength to seek it out. I have dealt with deep depression and extreme anxiety a couple times in my life, and I wanted to express my mental health experience within a queer context. I am lucky that my brain is feeling pretty good these days.
Jinx McGee: As a songwriter, I’ve always been timid to express my sexuality, feeling like I needed to swap pronouns so I wouldn’t “freak anyone out.” It’s just in the last couple of years that I’ve learned to love myself and all the queerness that comes along with it, so I jumped at the chance to collaborate with one of my favorite songwriters who also happens to be a proud and out member of the LGBTQIA community.
Although this is our first collaboration, we’ve been in each others’ orbits for almost a decade. We met at the Kerrville Folk Festival, where songwriting is a religion, and lyrics are prayers. Although “Skin Against Skin” sounds nothing like a folk song, we actually wrote it on acoustic guitars before I produced it.
AC: What was the goal with making depression sound “sexy”?
JM: There’s something about battling your demons that is simultaneously both dark and beautiful. We found common ground in those dark and depressing times, but we both came out sexy AF, amirite?
AC: How has COVID-19 impacted your musicmaking process and performances?
JM: Making music has always been like therapy to me, and guuuuurl I’ve been needing that therapy. (WE LOVE YOU SIMS!) Music has literally saved my sanity during this quarantine.
LL: I haven't been super inspired to write and play, but I am totally okay with that and with taking things day by day. When the inspiration comes, I am so grateful and it feels much more special considering the circumstances. I find myself dipping into the livestreams of friends and heroes and FaceTiming/Zooming with friends and family. I haven’t felt the urge to perform online, but things could absolutely shift. I miss playing shows with my friends!
AC: Where are y’all drawing strength from right now?
LL: I am drawing strength from chats with friends and family, listening to the soothing sounds of Carole King and Ólafur Arnalds (and so many other incredible artists), laughing and hanging out with my wife, snuggling with our fur babies, and seeing all the love and care that folks are expressing despite the tough times we are in.
JM: Watching the Austin music community come together during this pandemic is GIVING ME LIFE. I’ve seen people supporting each other like never before and I’m again reminded why I live in the greatest city on Earth.