Interview: Lonelady

Lonelady is a former fine art student, who first realised she actually prefers playing music and started playing in various bands and then realised she actually prefers playing alone. The result? Lonelady! She gets signed to a very good label, Warp and produces in some weeks with Guy Fixen, who has worked as a producer and engineer with bands like the Breeders, Wire, My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies, her deput full-length “Nerve Up”. We met up with her and took an interview for Curt Magazine.

LS: On your myspace page you site among your influences Madonna, Salt N Pepa, Nico, the Fall and Joy Division. How did you manage to combine these completely different influences?

LL: My music listening habits are quite random; I think to only limit your listening to one 'genre' is sort of missing the point. There are influences that inform my music but the real goal is to sound like yourself, whatever that may be.

LS: You describe your sound as Aggression, space and that which agogs…What do you mean by that?

LL: I am drawn to energetic, propulsive music; I like guitar playing that is choppy; funky, agressive. I am interested in brutal textures. Keith Levene's deconstructed guitar on Pil's Metal Box, for example is a very violent fracturing of 'rock 'n' roll' guitar; I like this. The newer songs on Nerve Up are emptier: I am interested in a process of paring down, economical arrangements. I admire Martin Hannet's ability to create atmospheres, spaces, both claustrophobic and expansive. Spaces can also refer to psychological landscapes.

That which agogs; – sometimes I want music to transport me away from the Ordinary.

LS: You grew up in a bad neighbourhood in Manchester. How did this affect you? How did you start making music?

LL: I grew up in Audenshaw, a few miles east of the city; not an especially rough place. I then moved to a block of council flats just outside the centre of the city.In the ten years living there I have seen some of the
worst aspects of human behaviour; alcoholism, prostitution, heroin addicts etc…but these things are present in wealthy suburbs too. Also in this tower block there were, and still are many people involved in creative activity; musicians, writers, one flat doubles as an art gallery.

Sinc

e completing a fine art degree in Manchester I had been involved in various creative activities, including writing songs, but around 2005 I bought a 4 track recorder, and that's when things started to coalesce and LoneLady started to exist.

LS: You chose to set up your studio in an empty creepy building that use to be a factory. What was the reason for this selection?

LL: I didn't want to record in an ordinary recording studio. I preferred to be in a space that connected me to a certain atmosphere, that had geographical meaning for me. I explored many old spaces and buildings until I found one on the outskirts of the city centre..These forgotten buildings seemed to me more honest somehow than the shiny trendiness of redeveloped Manchester.

LS: Your lyrics are very poetic. What was their influence?

LL: I think there is a restlessness throughout the album; I like music that is propulsive, energetic, awake. Both music and lyrics are, of course, open to interpretation. For me, I was interested in creating a more abstract use of language to convey images and atmospheres. Early REM songs in particular are lyrically fragmented, allusive and layered with different possible meanings; I like this.

LS: Your album is a mixture out of different kinds of music. All tracks are special. Which one is your favourite?

LL: I can't pick a 'favourite'. The album contains songs from a span of time: some are a few years old, others more recent; it reflects a journey, development. Inevitably you tend to be more interested by newer songs; in your mind you are always 10 steps ahead of recorded material.

LS: Your co-producer was Guy Fixsen. How did you come to this collaboration and how was it working with him?

LL: Jason White (Too Pure, 4AD, ALM management) suggested Guy. I wasn't aware of him till that point.
For this record I needed to work with someone who was prepared to work in an unconventional setting, ie not a 'proper studio' , and also not impose his vision too much on the record, but help to create mine. Guy and I exchanged a lot of pre-production emails before hand, and I had compiled many notes regarding how I wanted things to sound. However you have to be prepared to accept that there will be unseen challenges during the recording. I learnt a lot from this process, and from Guy.

LS: What are your future plans?

A European tour and writing new material.

Lonelady – Immaterial

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