Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:00:13
Laurel’s Holy Water EP [iTunes link is quite the musical blessing. It’s dynamic, diverse, and deep. Laurel’s undeniable voice carries evocative and emotional lyrics through a warm and, often, wild soundscape. It makes for quite the rapturous body of work...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Laurel talks Holy Water and so much more.
Your songs are catchy, but they’re also very immersive. You can really feel that on headphones.
I’m glad you’re listening to it on headphones! It makes me cry when I think of people listening to music out of a laptop speaker. I think of the amount of speakers everybody mixes on in studios, and then everyone is listening to the final product on their laptop [Laughs].
Did you approach the EP with one clear and defined vision or vibe in mind?
Yeah, I did! I actually really wanted to make an EP called Holy Water before I’d even written any of the songs. It was something I thought of doing quite a few months ago. I made a folder on my computer and named it “Holy Water.” I had this picture, which is the front cover of the EP. I’d taken that in Canada when I was back there last August. That black-and-white picture with its dirty, film vibe made me think, “I really want to write something called Holy Water.” It started happening. I wrote “Memorials” first. Then, I wrote “Holy Water.” I wrote “Come Together” [feat. Sivu]. I wrote “I Forget.” It all flowed into one.
So, you had the picture first?
Usually the picture comes after [Laughs]. It sort of inspired me and gave me a vibe and a feeling, which is awesome. It was a very grainy film camera. I had this idea of Holy Water, but I had no idea of what it meant. That happened with “Bluebird” and “Fire Breather.” Concepts and titles will come into my head, and then I make songs out of them.
What’s the song “Holy Water” about?
It’s actually about the music industry and my career. It’s up and down. One minute, you’re doing so well. The next minute, you’re not doing so well. That’s where I was inspired in the song. It’s a fantasy world of all these promises everyone makes to you and tells you you’re going to be famous and this and that. You realize actually, in a really sad way, that you’re on your own with it. You just have to run with it and do it yourself. That’s where it all started. I was feeling down about music, and I thought, “What can I do?” I decided to write a song about it, and it felt amazing.
What does the metaphor of Holy Water mean to you?
It’s the pureness. Sometimes, you’re really lucky and things happen to you naturally. Everything seems to go really well. You’re in the holy water. You don’t know how you got there, but you are. Then, you’re not. You look around you and think, “This isn’t holy water. This is just a muddy river. My eyes were seeing the wrong thing. I thought I was in holy water, but I’m not.” My mind’s a bit mad [Laughs].
Where did “I Forget” come from?
We finished the EP. It was going to be three tracks. We uploaded it on to iTunes, and I wrote “I Forget.” I was like, “Take it down. I want this song on it.” It just works with those songs. It works now. I wrote it when I went to go visit my family, which is where I think I write my best songs. That’s my favorite song on the EP. The whole song is me improvising. It all just came out at once. It’s about a relationship, your ups and downs, and how you’re in different places at different times. You leave each other, but you come back to each other. You’re not going to breakup.
There’s a wistful energy to it.
Thank you! Since it’s stream-of-consciousness, it’s my mind and my thoughts. That’s what I got out of it. It’s very truthful and honest.
What influences you outside of music?
I watch a lot of films. That’s why the music is quite cinematic. I read a lot of poetry, which is where I get some of my inspiration from. Apart from music, poetry is a big thing for me. There are loads of amazing bookshops in London. You just wander in. That’s what happens. I’ll get books and read them on the tube and before I go to bed.
If the EP were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
It’d be something quite dark. Candy is my favorite film. Maybe that? I always wanted to write a soundtrack to a film. Hopefully, one day I’ll get to do that. Candy has got Heath Ledger. It’s a fucking crazy love story. That’s why I love it. These two people start off all nice together. Then, they start taking drugs, and they dive into this craziness. They go a bit mad. It’s about how they got each other like they’re the only two souls in the world.
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