Talking to Jamie Lawson about life on the road with Ed Sheeran

 

With an incomparable support slot on Ed Sheeran’s current 46-date tour, Jamie Lawson is conquering arenas around the country with emotional new single ‘Fall into Me’. We sat down with Jamie for an interview before he hit the stage.

 

FAULT: You’re in the middle of a tour with Ed Sheeran, how’s it going?

JL: Yeah, at St James’ Park tonight – it’s crazy.

 

Did you ever think you’d be playing at such large stadiums?

JL: Not really no, it was never on my bucket list really. We’ve got Hampton Park, St. James’ Park and Wembley next week. Then the Principality Stadium the week after.

 

You’ve played Manchester and Glasgow already, how were they?

JL: Yeah they went well, crazy. Everything’s been great; was nice to play in Ireland but it’s great to be back in the UK which meant I got to go home for a few days which has been great. 

 

Give us an insight into a tour day with Ed, what happens?

JL: There’s a lot of sitting around waiting for things to happen. I’ll take you through the day; we have a soundcheck on the first day of the run so we leave for the venue at around 11am, and go straight to the catering and have some food, because the food is amazing. Then we go and soundcheck, we run through all the songs and today we tried out a new song which is cool. Now we’ve got a few hours to kill before we go on. We’re on about half 6, before Anne-Marie. We’ll stick around and have some food and watch Anne-Marie and then watch Ed. Then we’ll try and get out before everyone else leaves because it’s just mayhem when 50,000 people all try to leave the stadium at the same time.

 

Do you get to sit down all 3 of you, to chat about how the show was?

JL: Yeah kind of, we do. I made a huge faux pas in Glasgow by mentioning London in the night so that was amazing, I don’t know how I did it; I’d already mentioned Glasgow about 50 times and then for some reason London came out. We talked about that and they were both incredibly shocked by [laughs]. But yeah we have drinks and all the crews get together and have a chat about how life is on this sort of thing.

 

On social media you’ve posted that you’ve been working on writing new songs, can you tell us more?

JL: Yeah I have, yeah. So the last few days we’ve been in Glasgow and been in a house where we set up in the living room. We’ve been rehearsing new songs and kind of recording them in a very basic manner, just to demo them and see what they sound like. One of those songs we’re sound-checking today with, it’s really nice to hear how it sounds in a big, big venue to see if the sound works in that sort of environment. Some of the songs don’t but this one did. That’s what we’re doing really, trying to use the down time the best we can. It will be more likely that I write a few more songs in August to October and then record in November and December time, with hopefully a new record out by next April, something like that. Fingers crossed that I write the right songs, thats always important. [Laughs]

 

You released your latest album last year on Ed’s label, how has the reception been?

JL: Pretty well in terms of people liking it, it’s definitely my best record to date. I know Ed liked it a lot so I think it was pretty good. Saw that since the tour started it’s gone back into the iTunes chart which is nice and so has the ‘Jamie Lawson’ record. That’s pretty cool. We’re reaching new people everyday because of the arena.

 

Has your new single ‘Fall Into Me’ been received well on tour being on the setlist every night?

JL: Yeah it has, it’s the one we open with actually. It does the job to make sure people get up and get ready to start clapping along and that they’re in for a night to remember, you know. It’s the song that kicks the whole evening off so it needs to be a big song to do that and it seems to do the job well.

 

How do you prepare to go on stage?

JL: It feels very different to one of my own shows. Even though we only play for half an hour I need to get ready a lot earlier so I actually start 2 hours before; singing and warming up in the dressing room and getting into the mindset of what I’m going to do. You kind of have to build yourself up to such a level where you’re at the end of your show already before you even start. So it’s really weird and it wipes you out even though it’s only a short time. I don’t know how Ed does it to be honest, he plays for an hour and a half, so he must be absolutely exhausted.

 

Going back to your roots, is there a dream venue you’d like to play?

JL: Well I originally did Shepherds Bush Empire in London and that was definitely one of my dreams coming through. That was one of the venues I always wanted to play so that was great fun, I loved it. It was a great tour in March, really enjoyable. We played a few lovely venues in here and in Europe as well. But now that I’ve done that, I’ve got my eyes set on the Royal Albert Hall next. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to that level but that would be cool, in such an iconic place, you know? If we ever get there that would be a dream come true.

 

Any fears on going out to a crowd of over 40,000 people?

JL: No, not bothered about that really; it’s surprisingly easy. [laughs] It probably shouldn’t be but it really is. It’s more about loving it rather than knowing it, it really is about the enjoyment of it and feeling very at home on the stage. It’s always been that way for me for whatever size that stage has been, I’ve always felt comfortable. I don’t know if thats a rare thing or not but if you know the book by Tracey Thorn, ‘Naked at the Albert Hall’; talking about how frightening it is but it’s always been the opposite for me. I’ve always found it very easy.

 

What is your FAULT?

JL: Probably a thousand, I wouldn’t know when to stop counting. The biggest thing in my career that has set me back is what they would call ‘networking’. Speaking to other people and meeting the right people, that sort of stuff. I’ve never been any good at that so I don’t know if that’s a fault. Talking about yourself positively all the time is a little arrogant but some people are very good at it, but I never have been. The album was out in Ireland 5 years previously before Ed put it out. But I never met the right people and I guess you just wait until someone good comes along and for me it happened to be the biggest pop star on the planet, so that was lucky. [Laughs]

 

 

You can catch Jamie Lawson and his band as the tour rumbles onto Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on the 21st June for 4 nights before heading to Amsterdam Arena on the 28th June for 2 final nights. New single ‘Fall into Me’, taken from his latest album Happy Accidents (Gingerbread Man Records / Atlantic Records UK) is out soon.

Interview by: Stuart Williams

FAULT in conversation with Warpaint’s Theresa ‘TT’ Wayman

Words: Jennifer Parkes

 

Have you heard of TT? The moniker may not be too familiar right now, but you’re almost certain to know of Theresa Wayman, founding member of iconic indie rock band Warpaint, and otherwise known as TT.

 

While the group’s psychedelic dream pop has enticed and entranced fans for the past 14 years, last month saw Wayman release her own offering, LoveLaws, under her two-lettered alter-ego. But this is no band break-up – Warpaint shows no signs of slowing down, with several tour dates in the diary for 2018. FAULT caught up with Wayman in between shows to talk more about her debut solo offering, the challenges facing women in the music industry, and dream festival line-ups…

 

So, you’ve just released a solo album, which is pretty exciting! What made you decide to do that alongside Warpaint?

I just needed to be expressing more than I can do in Warpaint; it’s been 14 years being in a collaborative process, and I wanted to experience being on my own and having more control.

 

Did you approach this album differently at all to how you approach creating an album as a band? What were the challenges in that?

I didn’t have to do it in any specific timeframe, so I was able to indulge myself and question things more. It was scary to do that at times, and I worried I would never make it to the end – sometimes it seemed like I could keep questioning forever, but I figured it out!

 

You examine love and relationships in a number of ways across different tracks, but I’m also intrigued by the album’s title ‘LoveLaws’ – how did that come to be?

I thought of that title as a good concept to build an album from. I was feeling ruled by love and romance, and also seeing love as being a fundamental of life in so many ways. It seemed important to write about it.

 

Who would you say your influences have been, both in your own music and as a band? 

First and foremost, my music is always influenced by my emotions and mood. I tend to go into starting a song feeling blind, like I have no idea what will come out of me until I see it on the page. But then I start to hone it and let influences in, like Al Green, Sade or Trip Hop like Portishead and Massive Attack. Also current artists like King Krule, Rihanna and Adele, and that song ‘Get Free’ by Major Lazer.

 

How do you feel Warpaint’s sound has developed over the last 14 years?

I think Warpaint has gone in many directions over the years; we’re becoming more concise with our arrangements and clearer in what we’re saying. We used to jam a lot and write together in a room, but we did less of that on this last album – I think we’re into the idea of going back to that again, just because that old way now seems like something new and different.

 

 

It’s impressive that, as an all-female four-piece, Warpaint has stood the test of time in a notoriously misogynistic industry – how have you dealt with challenges that you’ve faced over the years in this respect? 

I think there’s more freedom in the indie-rock world for a girl band to exist, and not feel as much pressure and expectation to be something appealing to men. I think that’s a lot more common in the pop world.

 

I’ve generally felt very welcomed by our male peers, although there are times I’ve felt excluded from “the boys club”, like I can’t be a part of some technical conversation or ask questions. But I think the guys that act like that are the most insecure, and ultimately want to exclude women just because they just don’t know how to talk to them or don’t feel attractive to them.

 

Are there any new artists that you’re into at the moment you think we should keep an ear out for?

Kali Uchis, who I’m sure you’ve already heard of! And Dick Stusso – he’s from Oakland, he’s a really great singer/guitar player/overall musician, and he’s self-produced.

 

You guys have a few tour dates  over summer, including playing at All Points East Festival – are there any bands you happened to catch while you were there, or at other festivals?

Yes! War On Drugs at All Points East, and I saw Bjork and Fever Ray at Primavera – they were absolutely incredible!

 

If you were to host a festival, anywhere in time and space, what would your dream location and line-up be? 

Probably on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. It would be Bjork from the Homogenic tour, so that she’s playing songs from debut and post too, with Portishead, Nirvana, Al Green, Kendrick Lamar, Fever Ray, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Bob Dylan playing all my favourite songs from over the years (I would get to choose)… the list could really go on and on!

 

Lastly, something we ask all of our guests, what is your FAULT?

I can be really stubborn and not let things go, and I always need to be right. I’m working on it!

 

LoveLaws is available to buy now – visit ttlovelaws.com for more info.

 

David LaChapelle solo exhibition in Holland

Good news for modern man: the future is bright. If you need any convincing to pop over to the pretty city of Groningen in Holland, the David LaChapelle solo exhibition should sway you in the right direction. Not the most obvious place to showcase the photographer’s raunchy images (after all, he has a history photographing Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga), but this latest anthology returns to his artistic roots, and complement Groningen’s old town juxtaposed with modern buildings, which nestle on the canal in the north of the Netherlands.

David LaChapelle The Rape of Africa

Known for producing experimental fashion editorials, commercials and music videos for high profile clients, LaChapelle has worked with every big name in the industry, and is one of the most respected and in demand photographers around the world; So it is interesting to find that the Gronginger Museum, already owns one of his controversial, hyper stylised works, and is the place he chose for his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.

To the broad minded Dutch nation- naked bodies, interracial relationships and liberal religious views are widely acceptable, and a show that comments on sexuality, birth, death and nature in an idyllic, utopian world would appear to be the perfect partnership. Taking over the modernistic Museum (which was redesigned by Philippe Starck and Alessandro Mendini) adds a unique, modern focus to the university town. Situated in a central location on the canal, and directly opposite the ancient architecture of the train station it offers a juxtaposition of eras, but this is something that works so well in Holland.

A bit of a rebel himself, LaChapelle ran away to New York aged 15, and worked as a busboy in Studio 54. Immersing himself in glamorous New York disco scene, he got to know the “It” crowd and partied with the movers and shakers of the eighties pop art scene including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is also where he was introduced to Andy Warhol and his infamous “Factory”. Already photographing people, LaChapelle soon gained recognition for his uniquely raw images. Snapped up by Warhol, he became the photographer for ‘Interview’ magazine and exhibited alongside other 80s pioneers Doug Aitken and Karen Kilimnik.

His style emphasising lewd, larger than life subjects became him trademark, and he embraced the flamboyant characters of the nineties and noughties. Celebrities, high fashion magazines and advertising clients were queuing up to get immersed in La Chapelle’s irreverent gaze- where anti-perfection was approved and surrealism encouraged.  However, the celebrity bubble seems to have peaked for LaChapelle, as his more recent work is a much more personal representation of transfiguration, regaining paradise, and the notion of life after death.

David LaChapelle The Rape of Africa

Breaking boundaries, La Chapelle uses fine art as a basis for his work and is the first to admit he explores the darker side of reality. Often using props, he is the master of creating make believe worlds where anything is possible. The hyper-real landscapes blend urban and suburban environments to create a make believe setting which is also super real and accessible. This form of art is contrary to what other commercial photographers were presenting, and opened up a niche market for emotions.

In fact, after shooting every celebrity (and their dog) in 2006, he stepped away from commercial work, retreating to an isolated former nudist colony in Maui, Hawaii to focus on fine-art photography and farming. Whether this break was a rejection of the fast moving lifestyle where celebrity photography comes with its own celebrity or it was a time to reflect as he openly talks about his friends who died of AIDS, his consequential work has a more personal influence.

David-LaChapelle-The-House-at-the-End-of-the-World-2005

‘Good News for Modern Man’ is filled with sins and redemption is a deeply personal insight into LaChapelle’s life. With over 70 pieces, the narrative is as jerky as it is unanticipated, yet it seems to flow. Clearly inspired by fine artists Edward Hopper, William Blake and the Old Masters, LaChapelle has a knack of combining the two disciplines -fusing photography with art; Resulting in large scale representations of joy, lust, and paradise which are symbolic and timeless.

Mostly, these works reject the material world and are deeply spiritual or religious, with obvious reference to the greats. In particular, you can recognise Michelangelo’s ‘Renaissance’ in ‘The Deluge’ series. An immersive piece of art which engulfs the viewer in the ginormous seven metres wide span. On closer inspection you can see the sitters are big names from celebritydom, with Kanye West as Jesus, Lil’ Kim as the Virgin Mary and Naomi Campbell as Venus, which might be highly irreverent for some.

Part of LaChapelle’s work is tongue in cheek. Courting exploitation, he chooses religion to express popularity; Nothing is sacred or forbidden and his modern day representation of religious icons brings a new dimension to opinions of life after death and questions the metaphysical side of life.

With a clear shift in focus from commercial commissions, this exhibition displays LaChapelle’s personal and intuitive concepts. Split into categories. ‘New World’ shares his personal search for Eden using thinly disguised biblical references which have the background of his sanctuary in Hawaii. However these pieces are seen more as art than photography as the two disciplines are fused to produce hyper-surreal images which burst into thousands of colours in front of you.

Lachapelle-blancanieves

The exhibition will no doubt question the viewer’s spiritual beliefs, and LaChapelle even questions himself on how long modern art actually lasts. It is a must-see for anyone with an inquisitive nature as the show is not just about the artworks, but is an important slice of history which makes a profound commentary on the contemporary world.

The exhibition LaChapelle: Good News For Modern Man can be seen from 21 April to 28 October 2018.

Head to Groningen for the exhibition and stay the weekend. This up and coming city is well worth a visit and only two hours from Amsterdam, you can have the perfect weekend away!

Jesus is my homeboy

FACTBOX

Gronginger Museum

*Hotel*

A pretty, listed 4star hotel,  dating back to the 15th century.

NH Groningen Hotel de Ville

Oude Boteringestraat 43-45, 9712 GD Groningen

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*Canal Trip*

The perfect way to see the city without walking across the cobbles.

Rondvaartbedrijf Kool

Stationsweg 1012, 9726 AZ Groningen

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*Restaurant*

Delicious, healthy modern cuisine. Open late, but must book.

Brasserie  Midi

Folkingestraat 42, Groningen

The Fashion Revolution: Why We Love Inspiration from the Past

People often say that fashion is revolutionary. With every passing decade we grow closer to repeating the successes (and failures – shell suits!?) of the past. Embracing what was great about the fashions of a past decade – what they represented culturally and socially – is key in showing how we have developed and can bring in previous motifs to the modern day. Let’s take a look at fashions from the 1960s right through to earlier in the 21st century to see which looks are enduring and why it’s important to keep links with the past.

Source: @rickbrownell via Twitter

Back to the Sixties

The 1960s were one of the first decades that made waves with fashion. While the standardized nature of the post-war years gave us some interesting touches such as the beehive hairdo and the dotted pencil skirt, it was the 1960s that allowed fashion to begin to speak for itself. Using fashion as a way to showcase culture was a huge part of the love revolution that took over the decade of the Beatles and Woodstock. The 1960s introduced mini skirts, leopard print, and knee-high boots. While the first two have remained popular since their inception, knee-high boots are making a true comeback. The 1960s also gave us the empire waist, a dress that used the defined waistline that sat higher on the frame to produce a unique and statuesque silhouette. The empire waist is suited for special occasions, so can often be seen as the feature on bridesmaids dresses and prom dresses. Though not everything from the 1960s could make a comeback – babydoll dresses, entire outfits made of the same color, and the color of the mods, lime green, have thankfully stayed in their decade.

Source: @70s_fashion via Twitter

Disco Fever

The 1970s gave us disco music and the entire culture and lifestyle that came with it – including metallics, sequins, and neon inspired clothing. One key trend from the 1970s that has made a recurrence is the flared trouser look. Harper’s Bazaar showcases many celebrities who embrace the look in 2018 and the loose fitting nature of the clothing could provide the perfect breezy relief for summer. In the 1970s people were taking more and more chances with what they wore – and in an age of freedom such as 2018, the same thing is happening with some 1970s motifs. Bohemian chic has made a comeback thanks to the hipsters and those appreciating the bohemian subculture. The outfits may be updated, but the understated, flowing, casual nature is retained. The punk rock styles of the ’70s have also remained timeless, with leather jackets staying in fashion thanks to their constant use by high fashion celebrities. The durable material allows the wearer to blend seamlessly into both casual and more formal settings and the style has only appreciated in value since its inception. Thankfully, the 1970s trend of safari attire and faux military khaki have left us with the last days of disco.

It’s Not Just Fashions – Hobbies Are Making a Comeback

But it’s not just fashions of the past that are making a comeback. Once a way in which to make do and mend, knitting has found a resurgence – with a high number of men taking up the therapeutic hobby. Bingo has seen a rise too. With the ability to play bingo online with no deposits, millennials are flocking to play the game of the baby boomers. Baking has seen a renaissance as well – with the success of the Great British Bake Off, more and more people are turning to traditional crafts that stood for values of reducing waste and centering the family around the dinner table. While our fashions are returning to the past through inspirational looks, our pastimes are as well, bringing modern touches – playing games online and reading receipts from iPads – to the classic nature of the hobby.

Straight Out of the Eighties

The 1980s took the fashion steps made in the 1960s and 1970s and ran with them. Dozens of fashions from the 1980s have remained popular – from t-shirts with bands on them to logo t-shirts to leggings with them. Shoulder pads and crimped hair are yet to make a reoccurrence, as are batwing sleeves. The 1980s personified the trend of dressing to exercise, and while we don’t wear sweatbands are our wrists and foreheads, wearing tracksuits and jogging bottoms with vests is an enduring fashion.

Source: @90s via Twitter

Not So Long Ago

We assume when people are talking about past fashions that they’re talking about the distant past and since the 1980s we have gained a collective fashion conscience to move forwards. But the 1990s, looking back – and being almost thirty years ago – had their share of outlandish fashions. Let’s start with curtained fringes, which have make a comeback, especially with models. Faded jeans and oversized t-shirts have also seen a rise in fashion stores such as ASOS, and colored jumpers and sweatshirts have circulated back into fashion. Looking back at bands from the 1990s, such as the Spice Girls, and blockbusters such as Clueless show us what fashion was back then. We didn’t notice the garish and striking nature of it at the time, but have since developed more of an eye for what looks good.

Basically Yesterday

Fashions from the 2000s are also coming back – and ones we didn’t even realize had left circulation until we saw photographic documentation of what we used to look like fifteen years ago. The age of social media means that we are more conscious of how we look and what we wear, so creating unique fashions seems more contrived that the way they naturally trickled through society. Wearing trends such as Beyonce’s Blue Ivy ranges and men wearing white jeans are some trends that cropped up and instantly faded in recent years. Topknots were also the rage just a few years ago, yet are seldom sported now, receiving raised eyebrows instead. Looking forward, it could be that in five to ten years’ time, topknots will be the rage again, sported by celebrities and civilians alike, with no memory of the way they boomed and faded only yesterday. Fashion is revolutionary and just as we repeat and take influence from the past, we are creating fashions that will feed into fashion revolutions of the future.

So, as we can see, the fashions of the past 50 years can be called upon in modern times to help accent certain features or infuse a look with the culture and attitudes that helped its invention. Bringing back fashions from the past not only helps introduce them to a new audience but reminds us of how far we have come and how we should constantly be looking back in order to cultivate a better future.

Galvin Green from Function 18: must-have gear for golf fantatics

Galvin Green from Function 18

Golfers among us will recognise the name Galvin Green as one of the highest quality. Their garments, while understated, boast the technical design and consideration that is more typically seen in top of the range ski wear. The materials used are what strikes you first, with that stretchable fabric that ensures a tailored fit, while breathable enough that you don’t incubate. As with ski wear, golf clothing ought to be attractive, but needs to be comfortable and highly flexible; Galvin Green does exactly that. The tops are windproof and resilient to the elements and all the attributes lead to that prevalent word whenever this brand is mentioned: quality.

Galvin Green Dex Insula Golf Pullover

The Galvin Green Dex Insula Golf Pullover might — as its name implies — be marketed toward golfers, but in many ways that undersells it. The Dex Insula is premium sportswear no matter what metric you choose to employ to measure it by; fit, fabric, design… it’s superb. I haven’t yet tested its insulating properties to any extremes, but it has not fallen short so far in our tumultuous British Spring. Finally, and there’s no macho way to express this: it’s really soft. You can pretend that soft isn’t appealing all you like: no one’s buying it.

Another key component of golf clothing is, of course, sartorial sensibility. OK, the Galvin Green Dex Insula Golf Pullover isn’t exactly Ian Poulter grade gear but it is extremely stylish nonetheless. The lightweight yet durable polyester and elastane blend makes it flexible enough to adjust to your body movement while also having the added benefit of being neatly fitted for all those triumphal struts towards the green. That applies equally – if not more so – for the otherwise shame filled trudges into the rough as you prepare to try and swing your way through various bracken /parking lot mopeds /woodland creatures /other…

In summary: the Dex Insula has all the components required to be considered great sportswear: style, comfort, flexibility and durability. It’s true that there may be cheaper brands out there. But, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for and if you’re in the market for golf wear that ticks all the boxes and that will stand the test of time as it contorts to your swing, Galvin Green – available from Function 18 – should definitely be your first port of call.

Words: Robert Baggs

Images: courtesy of Galvin Green + Function 18

Galvin Green Dex Insula Golf Pullover

Daphne Guinness Launches Second Album at London’s BFI IMAX

Album cover on BFI IMAX screen

Last night saw the launch of British fashion muse and musician Daphne Guinness ’ second album as Daphne and The Golden Chords, It’s a Riotat the BFI IMAX. As what can only be described as an extravagant homage, the heiress to Guinness – yes, the Irish stout – was the main focus of the night from the start to finish, complete with glass sculptures of the singer at the entrance and projections of her mirage covering the walls as drinks were served. As an air of nepotism swept the room, the event was bustling with friends and confidants of Daphne. From old rockers in leather jackets to big names in the fashion industry, the crowd was an eclectic mix of all ages, some of which wouldn’t have looked out of place 50 years ago.

Once ushered into the cinema for the screening with bags of popcorn, glasses of prosecco and merchandise, FAULT was treated to a sensory eye bath. With the help of Tony Visconti, the American record producer who helped the likes of Bowie and T. Rex, Daphne’s music – set to visuals created by artist Nick Knight – made an instant impact, leaving the audience mesmerised.

Over a collection of arty clips and kaleidoscopic visuals of the singer herself, the music poured out poppy, Lauper-esque hooks with ethereal lyrics taking influence from Marc Bolan and Bowie – Visconti definitely left his mark on the album. The self-proclaimed autobiographical record visits her recent near-death experience and her life as it has progressed in last few years. Using her classical training, penchant for poetry and love of Wagner (thanks to hours chatting with Bowie in the studio), Daphne has created her own unique style of glam rock – think a lot of spoken word and catchy repetition.

The unashamedly self-assured Daphne was soon interviewed on stage by music journalist Will Hodgkinson, who’s written for the likes of The Guardian and Vogue. However, as the Q&A progressed, her coquettish facade transformed into a timid, more vulnerable persona, speaking about her fears and anxieties both in her personal life and musical career, before mentioning her new relationship with her bandmates who are, of course, also big names in the music industry, including keyboard player Terry Miles.

The singer’s 80s-inspired sound and alias is a perfect partnership and, in Daphne’s own words, completes her world. Tour? She doesn’t know. But, if she does, make sure you bring your glitter platforms and leave the Guinness Toucan Tees at home.

Words: Flora Neighbour

Flora Neighbour with Daphne Guinness

Flora Neighbour with Daphne Guinness

 

Flora Neighbour with KC and Jordon Wi-Fi from Last Night in Paris

Flora Neighbour with KC and Jordon Wi-Fi from Last Night in Paris

 

Flora Neighbour with Daphne and The Golden Chord keyboard player Terry Miles

Flora Neighbour with Daphne and The Golden Chord keyboard player Terry Miles

 

Flora Neighbour with music journalist Will Hodgkinson

Flora Neighbour with music journalist Will Hodgkinson

Get to know Liza Anne with FAULT

The Beast from the East is in full swing when we meet with Liza Anne in East London, just days before she heads back to the States to embark on a Spring tour, including a stop in her hometown of Nashville: ‘I haven’t played there in like three years, so that will be fun’.

 

The buzz surrounding Liza Anne and her music is growing within the US and beyond, and it isn’t hard to see why; her deep and genuine lyrics, brought to life with haunting authenticity by her outstanding vocals, resonate with people on a level that is perhaps unexpected, given the vibrant pop energy of her latest album, Fine But Dying. Speaking with as much passion about her music as she does about dairy-free cheese, Liza is refreshingly open as we talk about everything from her family and future, to her own relationship with mental health, and a surprising admission to being something of a Hilary Duff fangirl…

 

So, you were performing at Kings Cross last night, how are you enjoying things in London?

I love it! I lived in Clapham Junction for six months one summer, and I’ve been here so many times it’s as if I was at home. All the clothes and record shops I like to go to are near here, so it’s a great place to be. And there’s so much good food too!

 

Last night was so fun, although I was worried because I woke up and couldn’t speak a word, so all day I just watched Princess Diaries and drank ginger tea! I did an interview with Radio X too, which was amazing – they played four songs from the new record, two of which are actually my favourites.

 

There were some great reactions on social media following that, about how your songs spoke to people’s own struggles with anxiety and mental health. Do you find people relate to your music in that way quite often?

I think that people are just waiting for someone to give them permission, in a way, which was the same for me for so long; I was just waiting for someone to give me a space to be fully myself or to feel whatever emotion I was feeling, so it’s interesting how people react when you create that space for them to exist in. More often than not people are just beyond kind and generous about how much the songs have helped them, which is really sweet to hear.

 

What’s been your journey through music, to get to where you are now?

 

When I try and think of what I wanted to be when I was a kid, I can’t remember anything except the moment that I wanted to start doing this. I started writing poetry when I was 8 years old, and started putting my poems to music when I was about 14. I think Taylor Swift was pretty big then, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I could totally do this!’

 

Interesting! So, was Taylor the sort of music you were into back then?

I definitely did not listen to a lot of Taylor Swift! I didn’t really listen to much country music, even though I grew up where that was very dominant. I listened to a lot of The Cranberries and Joni Mitchell, but I grew up in a really religious household, so I wasn’t allowed to listen to much ‘secular’ music.

 

My first concert was Hilary Duff – August 11th2004! I genuinely, to this day, am obsessed with her. She’s incredible! My aunt, who’s kind of my muse, gave me a mix tape when I was about 13, which had Joni Mitchell and The Cranberries on it, and I was like ‘Oh my God, I could sound like this!’

 

That’s really interesting about your aunt, what is it about her that makes her your muse?

 

She’s a visual artist, and she’s just one of the most raw, real and kind human beings I have ever met. I think she just looks at life in this very specific way, which gave me permission to look at life as I needed it to be and as I wanted it to be. As well as her giving me records when I was a kid, her husband was the one who loaned me a guitar for the summer when I went to camp, and I learned how to play it there.

 

Are there any artists that you’re into at the moment you think we should keep an ear out for?

 

So many! I mean St Vincent isn’t exactly up and coming but, my gosh, I cannot get over her! It is just the most refreshing thing to see a woman do something so unapologetically. There’s so much intent behind what she creates. As far as new things I’m loving, there’s this one girl, Caroline Rose, who is unbelievable. I came across her on Spotify last week and I have listened to her record maybe 10 times since then. She’s incredible – her lyrics, her voice, everything about her.

 

It’s not that I only listen to female artists, because there are a lot of male artists that I really do enjoy, but I think it’s so important, as a woman, to support other women who are carving out a space for themselves. I think I naturally gravitate towards those sorts of acts.

 

Your songs address some rather dark and melancholy emotions, but still manage to be very ‘pop’ in style – how do you go about balancing that sound with the subject matter?

 

I think you have to sometimes trick people in a way; like, people might avoid [the music] if it felt heavy, but if you lure people in with a poppier sound, they accidentally end up finding more of themselves.

 

I think I realised early on that what I wanted to do was appeal to the person who, perhaps, wouldn’t necessarily enjoy or choose a sad song, but they’re the ones who are usually suppressing those emotions the most. I wanted to give even the most unlikely person a door to more of their emotions. That’s not to say that I haven’t written a slew of sad songs too!

 

How do you think your sound has progressed over the years?

 

I think from playing live shows, I started to want to feel louder, to have more of a full, cinematic sort of show; I was just by myself with an electric guitar, so there was only a certain level I could really reach. I started listening to St Vincent when I was already quite far into writing this album, as well as Lady Lamb, Broadcast and The Cranberries – and all of those things that I was naturally pulling from before felt like they finally had a place in the art I was creating. So more than just being something I enjoyed, I realised I could channel those things in my own music.

 

Your new album, Fine But Dying, is out this month, which is pretty exciting! How have you found writing this latest record?

 

It’s crazy, I wrote the first song on this record three and a half years ago! It’s always therapeutic. I think that writing, or art in general, has the ability to save whoever is experiencing it, as much as they let it. I went into this record wanting to be on different terms with my panic disorder than I had been before; I wanted to have a healthy relationship with it, and I wanted to have a healthier relationship with myself and with my partner. I think the intention behind making the record was for it to be a cathartic experience.

 

And what sort vibe do you want people to get from it, is there something in particular you’re wanting to communicate?

 

Like with any of my music, I just want people to have this space to completely be themselves, to feel their emotions and feel free and validated. I want to create a portal for people to explore themselves, just like I want the shows to feel like this wave of emotion – with high energy moments and real introspective moments. I just want it to feel natural and alive.

 

What’s next for you? Is there anything on your bucket list you want to tick off soon?

I don’t know, play Jools Holland probably! I just want to keep outdoing every last thing I did. I don’t like setting crazy goals, I feel like it removes you from the present moment in a way. It’s like, thinking ahead to the biggest thing that I might do when I’m in my thirties sort of takes away from the fact that I’m 24 now, and I get to record and tour this record that I wrote, you know? I think I just want to try to be as present as I can over this whole journey.

 

And lastly, Liza, what is your FAULT?

 

Oh no, so many things! I guess with the job that I have, you can get a little bit self-reliant and self-centred in a way. I mean, I don’t feel like I’m an egotistical person but sometimes I’m just like, damn, Liza, you should really consider people outside of yourself. Absolutely that.

 

Fine But Dying is available to buy now. For more information visit www.lizaannemusic.com

Words: Jennifer Parkes

Isaac Gracie live @ The Deaf Institute Manchester

Isaac Gracie live @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 31/01/18

Isaac Grace shot by Aurelie Lagoutte

Photography: Aurelie Lagoutte

 

In the cosy, papered walls of Manchester’s Deaf Institute, a mixed crowd has gathered to see up-and-coming Londoner Isaac Gracie live. Couples and groups of friends of all ages have trudged through the rainy evening to see the early twenty-something who has found himself all over the airwaves. If you think you haven’t heard of him, think again. Listen to one of his hauntingly beautiful songs ‘The Death of You and I’ or ‘Terrified’ and you will probably know the words.

The intimate venue was a perfect setting for the cool and understated artist. In a tight floral shirt with more buttons undone than fastened, a wooden crucifix necklace on the bare skin that is revealed, black skinny jeans and shoulder length locks, Gracie cuts a celestial silhouette. Poking fun at his own outfit, voice and general demeanour throughout the night, Gracie’s bashfulness and self depreciation falls away as soon as he begins to sing. Chatting idly between songs, he disarms the audience with his chilled attitude before building momentum with each tune and leaving them agape.

Isaac Gracie shot by Aurelie Lagoutte

One for fans of James Bay and Hozier, Isaac Gracie pulls off a dramatic performance with all the confidence of a seasoned artist. Impressive, as he is yet to release his debut album. Not keeping the hits until his encore, Gracie performs the roaring ‘Death of You and I’ early in the set and nails the juxtaposing raucous chorus and mellow verses. Standout songs are the chilling ‘Reverie’ and sad sing-a-long ‘Terrified.’ If this show is anything to go by, Gracie’s upcoming album (set to be released in spring) and UK tour aren’t to be missed.

Words: Alex Bee