Excitingly versatile, bewitching artist, LL, follows up the release of her stunning debut EP ‘Cocoon’, with CIRCLES – produced by WMP – another taste of her alluringly clever, modern dark-pop offering.
“I think we use gender, sexuality and age too quickly – says LL (AKA Laura-Louise) – there are more interesting ways to describe myself and others…I want to make music people ‘feel‘ and make memories to”Interestingly, CIRCLES is the sound of LACOSTE’s Pour Femme global TV campaign.
How are you today Laura-Louise?
Hey. I’m good, thank you! Life is interesting (occasionally stressful and often exciting). I think constantly swimming in deeper oceans is a hugely thrilling experience – sometimes scary! Rewarding though always, I’m learning a lot.
Tell us everything we should know about CIRCLES?
CIRCLES is my latest release and it’s about to be the sound of Lacoste’s Pour Femme TV campaign. I was asked if I would top-line for the perfume commercial and I thought it would be a great experience. I didn’t want to over – control the process. I thought just ‘Go for it’ & I did. There’s been so many lovely people on this project, it’s been a pleasure to work with the agency involved and the producers, WMP. Considering we had never met before getting in the studio, they made me feel very welcome… CIRCLES – is proving to be a fantastic opportunity as someone so new to music. It’s a different way of creating for me as an artist as I was approached to record something specifically to a visual as opposed to sitting down and seeing what happens naturally. It has been fun!! Lacoste were looking for a new sound for the Pour Femme campaign – I believe they were feeling that sort of dark-edgy crocodile energy mixed with vulnerable, feminine vocals that I am in my music. Dark and light. I’m really happy that they liked my sound, which they had heard on Soundcloud and that they wanted me on the commercial – I’m looking forward to it being released! It was all recorded really quickly but it’s been a good string to add to my bow in terms of working in this way and I’m excited about the idea of working with more people this year in all ways.Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Different every time… When I am by myself it is very natural… The other day, I literally dreamt a melody and lyrics. Woke up and sleepily voice-noted it on my phone. Later I found a beat and recorded a rough demo. I love that natural way of creating. It feels real. Other times, I will feel something – music for many whether creating or listening can be a therapy and for me that is 100% the case. So if I feel sad, I will go to the piano… Find some chords (although I’m not really a pianist, very self-taught) and then I’ll record it into my laptop… I’ll then sit there and just feel and a melody and words just come, usually instantly. I like to use that as the seed and work around it. I never write anything down. Well, not often anyway. It’s all very live and then re-worked a little to make it fit. Then I need other people to come in to help me produce ideas. Concepts, they all come naturally too. There’s other ways of working with other people. My producer (Geo) on my first project – we sat and wrote for days…. Just organically playing keys and singing, recording it live on our laptops and then taking some of those seeds into the studio. He is very talented with regards to crafting the instrumentals. We probably have albums of work that may never see the light of day because things change and you end up with hundreds of tracks. I feel a really close connection to my work, so I always feel a bit of heartbreak thinking that idea may not get out there because there’s about 200 more. That’s after one year of writing though so really, the best philosophy is to believe things will be good and the ones that are meant to be will find their wings… I’m also working with other producers in LA and having to do everything remotely as I can’t afford to get out there yet! So, that is challenging me in terms of recording in my bedroom and then sending over… I finished one track like that but as things get more intense… I’m having to look into better equipment so my headphones don’t bleed for example and a reflexion filter so the sound is as strong as possible. Things like that… limitations like that… are teaching me a lot, so I have to be grateful in a way. Though! I cannot wait of the day where I’m in the studio whenever I want, creating with wonderful people. There’s so much material to finish so that excites me more than anything. Other times I will come up with acapella and send it to a producer and then they will put a beat around it… Other times I may top-line over a beat… So, each time different. Each time I love it.
You said: “I think we use gender, sexuality and age too quickly…”. Please tell us more.
I couldn’t feel stronger about this statement… I HATE LABELS. Label yourself, if you wish but no-one else should label you… These are 3 areas that people do just that. I think we are so primitive with our language when describing another human being. NAME | AGE | GENDER | SEXUALITY – It’s so void of personality and that’s ignorant to me. I think we are all on a spectrum. I get the name thing… Sure, it’s a nice moment for parents to create a name for their kid to identify them. Would it be nice to be able to rename yourself when you know yourself – Sure, maybe… I’m not going to be so crazy on that though. It’s innocent and fine. Rarely are people judged on their name. Age, is literally just a number to me. I have always felt too old or too young for something. People’s maturity and experiences and genetics have a huge part to play in ones ‘true age’… So I don’t ever want to see a number next to my name as it stops my sense of direction. I want to be guided by how I feel when making choices. Not what I should be doing at a certain time in my life. In some ways I’m way younger than my biological age and in other ways I am more mature… So, I think there’s a decade of relevance when you grow up… When you are younger, age is a little more relevant regarding schooling but then I think it shouldn’t follow you around. It’s limiting to me and too statistical but I never was one for maths. Also there’s a lot of negativity that come from these stereotypes: Sexism, Ageism, Gender inequality, Homophobia – all issues that if we didn’t put so much wait on these things from the outset, wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Gender… I know so many people on a spectrum of gender and even in an open-minded society paralysed by fear of what people think about who they truly are. That breaks my heart. Bullied when they were kids and repressed, unable to speak out for how people may react, now. No – that’s not cool. So I also don’t think we should have just Male or Female. I feel it’s too specific. Describe yourself as you wish but don’t forget there are colours in between black and white. Sexuality – well, that’s no ones business unless you want to make it so. Again, I think that is something that is spectrum orientated too. Lots of people are more open these days. So don’t feel you can’t be yourself. Just embrace difference, be different, be yourself and in your own way.
How important for you is to be firmly independent?
It’s hugely important and hugely challenging. I really believe in being yourself and doing as much as you can yourself… I describe myself as an artist. Inside my head at night, I have ideas of clothes I want to design (or they just sort of come at me in my head on a catwalk… things I have never seen before). Songs in my head (my happiness is to express them). Ideas for film stories… visuals to my music and other things too… I would love to be able to do and create all these things – bring them to life, straight from my heart. That’s how I’m working at the moment but it’s really hard sometimes and takes a long time by yourself. I’ve made film projects as a director in the past couple of years before I truly realised music was my calling, no matter what – and in that time, I have been able to afford a place in Shoreditch and my freedom… But since I immersed myself in music and sometimes won’t leave my house for days when I’m writing… It’s been difficult at times. That kinda independence requires resource. So, I’m all for it if you can support yourself but I do think for the first time ever I’m considering the prospect of a bigger entity getting involved… I’d love to reinvent the model slightly though. I will never be moulded into anyone else’s version of me! But I do respect there’s certain things experience can give and I would love the support in giving wings to my imagination… IF I could ‘collaborate’ on this front to make that happen, I would consider it. But always maintaining my freedom. Right now the struggle is worth it. It’s about balance. I’m learning a lot about that at the moment! I care too much not to do this right. So, think for yourself and be yourself no matter what.
What was the first album you purchased?
Michael Jackson – History was my first album but it was bought for me because I was too young to buy it for myself… It was a present from my Mum after I had a terrible first haircut and cried in the salon… I had long hair and it got short and as I have curly hair, it literally looked like I had gone from these golden wavy locks to some sort of electrocuted bob. I used to try and gel my hair straight… Anyway, I really loved listening to Michael Jackson in the car with my Mum and so she got that for me to cheer me up and it definitely did for years to come… I would listen to it in my bedroom with my friends. I remember being quite dramatic to Earth song in particular and doing the big outstretched hand movements, with a fan on in my bedroom and really caring about the words!
Which artists are you listening to right now?
I love Flume’s production… I just wrote something to an instrumental of his… LOVE! His stuff. I like going back in time at the moment… I’m finding inspiration from older stuff… Nirvana – all different genres really. I do really like Sia… I try not to over-saturate my ears with what’s popular at the moment. I like to find music in nooks of the world. I sang some Oasis last night because I’m having to think about my first BBC introducing cover and my brother wants me to cover one of their songs. I have a million ideas for that though.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Flume at the moment. I really feel that. I would also love to collaborate with someone like Tinie Tempah, Radiohead, John Mayer, Massive Attack, Frank Ocean. But where I’m at on this journey, Flume.
Which animal would best suit your personality?
My ex-boyfriend used to call me ‘Kayah’ – which I believe is sanscript for ‘Cheetah’. We had the conversation about what animal would the other be and that’s what he came up with. I guess, I can relate to it – I’m very quick and impulsive and guess have quite cat-like qualities; independent but like love too – plus I have quite orange-brown eyes and blonde-brown hair so I guess a wild cat is quite apt. I resonate a lot with animals. Personally, I quite like the idea of being a Lion… (but maybe a vegetarian lion… I don’t like the idea of eating other animals) or a snowy wolf. Animals that are family-orientated but quite brave and ferocious with an element of independence. That’s me.
Are you planning any live shows and what will they be like?
Yes, gearing up for live shows now with some wicked people involved. I have a live session with BBC introducing in March. A live showcase event with them in May and a couple of other cool gigs in between… Potentially gearing up for some festivals in summer. I’m encouraged to iron out any new performance creases by doing some random gigs first though! So you never know, you may find me at your local next month before I throw myself into the big wide-world performance experience.
By Fabrizio Belluschi ©FM