- Thu, 2012-09-20 17:31
Earlier this year a friend sent me a link to Middle of The Bed by Lucy Rose. As soon as the track had finished we looked it up, spoke to Lucy's team and added it to our new music Post Playlist quicker than you could say "Lucy Rose is our new favourite guitar playing, songwriting, acoustic, folk-pop mistress of wonder."
Unsurprisingly, her music has had a similar effect on most who hear it, including Blur/Gorillaz main man Damon Albarn, who completely trumped our Post Playlist inclusion by inviting Lucy to join his now famed Africa Express tour. Such is life. We caught up with Lucy for a cup of tea and a lengthy music chingwag just before the release of her debut album Like I Used To. Just as lovely in person as you'd expect, hopefully this is the beginning of another long-lasting I Like Music interview companionship...
ILM: Hello Lucy! How are you? It's nearly time for your album release!
Lucy: Yeah. I'm kind of freaking out inside a bit. But I'm going with it. I'm trying to be relaxed and not worry otherwise it'll be a waste! So many girls have released albums this year and done so well, Lianne, Jessie Ware...I sort of feel like mine's never going to achieve the same things. I'm hoping that some people buy it and start sharing it and enjoying it.
ILM: I've already seen countless tweets from your fans about pre-ordering the record! I'm surprised you mention those other artists too, you shouldn't compare yourself.
Lucy: I know. I know. I'm not at all similar to them. It's just, you know, new artists...
ILM: Solo female artists?
Lucy: Yeah. It's so weird. They wouldn't do that with the boys! I think it's because we talk about our emotions more. We're all just put in one category. I don't know...
ILM: When did you realise you wanted to be a musician?
Lucy: Orchestra practice at school! Everyone would have lunch break and I would rush like an absolute geek to Wind Band and Orchestra and loved it! I liked sports but it was always win or lose, with grades someone always had a better grade than you. Music was the one time when everyone would get in a room and do something together.
ILM: What were your early musical obsessions?
Lucy: Ah! I had such bad taste in music at school. I didn't have muso parents. It seems like some people were listening to Neil Young when they were coming out the womb. What? It was totally Spice Girls! My mum was a big Rod Stewart fan, my Dad loved Phil Collins and I just listened to Radio 1.
ILM: Have you been obsessing over anything recently?
Lucy: Oh massively. I'm a really obsessive person! I'll just over do it. I've got it with falafel at the moment. I want to eat falafel all the time. I'm going to hate them in a week. I got obsessed with wasabi peas once too. They're a killer. I'm like it with so much stuff! I was obsessed with martinis for ages. Someone bought me some martini glasses for my 21st birthday. So I made martinis every single night when I came home. Then I got really sick. So I didn't drink them any more. Ever again. I ruin it for myself.
ILM: Hahaha! I meant recent musical obsessions....!
Lucy: Haha! Oh. TOTALLY! I totally get obsessed with the same song and listen to it over and over and over again. I was obsessed with that Sia song Breathe Me. I also got obsessed with that Counting Crows song from Cruel Intentions. You know, Colorblind? Before recording the album I went through a real Neil Young phase. Everything's got to sound like Neil Young! I did all this research about how his drums were miked up with two mics and I was like "I can ONLY have two mics on my drum kit. It's got to sound lo-fi." Middle of The Bed has a really lo-fi drum sound which I love. Then, as it's gone over the producer has been like PLEASE please let me just put a mic on the snare.
ILM: When it comes to songwriting, what do you find the most challenging?
Lucy: Getting my most inner thoughts out. I have to get stuck in my own head and not see anybody for at least, say, a day. I'll be sat around, reading, watching a film, playing around on the guitar and I'll sing something and be like "that's how I feel." I don't know how I feel a lot of the time until I've written a song. Writing a song becomes this subconcious thing, it's getting to that point which is difficult. Normally by the time I get there I'm pretty depressed. I haven't spoken to anyone for a day. I'm only eating falafel. AH!
ILM: Do you get frustrated trying to reach that point?
Lucy: Yeah. I hit those walls. This isn't working. I'm so frustrated. I don't know what I'm doing, I'm a terrible songwriter, I've lost it! I'm never going to write a good song! Although normally when you hit rock bottom...then something will happen. I can't ever write thinking about what other people will think. For something to be different and unique, why follow a trend? I'm excited about the new stuff I'm writing. It's really different.
ILM: Different in what way. Musically?
Lucy: Yeah. I wrote a bassline in my sleep the other night! Just before I went to sleep, like a daydream, I was thinking "if I was a bad ass bass player right now and I was on a stage, what would I play?" This bassline came to me in 3/4. Then the next day I was thinking about this really cool 4/4 drum beat. I taught it to the drummer and bass player during soundcheck. They didn't think it would work but we tried it and it was this FUCKING bad ass thing! Haha! I don't know if that will ever become anything....but...stuff like that. Sometimes I write songs with totally different parts musically and I put them together. That's the thing I love most about Lines. It goes into that really slow beat and then the chorus is a massive tempo change.
ILM: The album was recorded at your parents' house. How did you set everything up?
Lucy: Oh, I'm glad you asked! I was really rude in an interview the other day, she kept asking really fucking stupid questions. "It must be so great that you have a recording studio at home!" No. I don't. That's the whole fucking point! My parents have a regular house. Three bedrooms. A family room. A kitchen. The only thing that's not regualr is the weird basement. It's like a nuclear bomb shelter right under the family room. A lot of the house was built in the 1500's, there's a lot of beams and apparently they're really good for dissipating the sound. So the family room became our base. We moved all the sofas, put the computers on the window sill, set-up Pro Tools, Charlie borrowed a load of mics and stuff, we let our guitarist hoarder have all his guitars on a guitar rack! Haha! It was January, really cold and snowy outside, we had a log fire going the whole time, the two dogs. I can't even tell you how good it was.
ILM: So the record couldn't be a truer representation of you if it tried...
Lucy: Nope. I'm hoping to record the second one there.
ILM: Having recorded it in a totally unique setting, are there any funny quirks on it that only you can hear?
Lucy: Loads! Oh my God. All over it. I'm such a push over. Especially with the dogs. They were asleep by the fire and breathing really heavily. We were recording the guitar part for Night Bus and Charlie was like "we've got to move them. It's really quiet and we can hear them breathing." I was like "LEAVE the dogs!" So there's dog breath all over Night Bus. You will literally never hear it unless you know, every time I do it makes me smile.
ILM: What are your dogs called?
Lucy: Mollie and Minnie. They're ginger just like me. All my family are blonde. Not me! It's really unfair. They're like this Scandinavian family and I'm this black sheep ginger. My sisters are really, really blonde. My parents got ginger dogs to make me feel better. Honestly. That's what happened.
ILM: How have your family reacted to your recent success?
Lucy: They're SO ridiculous! They came to see me at Hop Farm. It was a really big crowd and they were at the front, hanging on to the barrier just crying! What the hell guys! Hold it together. I walked on stage and both my sisters were reeallly drunk, singing the words to everything, just crying throughout the set. Haha! Then one of them got really really drunk and lost everyone, so she just went on the ghost train five times in a row. Like £2.50 a go. On her own. FIVE TIMES in a row!
ILM: Have you been recognised yet?
Lucy: Being recognised is WEIRD. It doesn't happen a lot... I don't really wear make-up. Any day I can get away without wearing make-up I won't because I'm lazy! We were driving to Manchester and I was just like, fuck it, I'll put some on when we get to the gig. I must have looked like a total mess. We stopped at a service station and this girl came up to me and was like "Oh my God! Are you Lucy Rose?" I said yes and she was like "OH MY GOD! Wait a second! I'm going to get my friends!" It was like twenty girls on a school trip. I'm never normally like this, but I felt really self-concious...and er...[Lucy goes all quiet...]
ILM: You didn't hide?! AHAHahahaha!
Lucy: [Nods head.]
ILM: Hahahahahahahaha. Amazing.
Lucy: OH! Ahhhhh! I went and hid in the car! It's so bad.
ILM: It's not that bad! You're in no way obliged to stand and wait so people can come and look at you!
Lucy: Yeah. In any other situation I'd have waited. It can be weird but really it's so good. I love talking to people and there's literally nothing that makes me feel better than recieving letters! That's the BEST thing. I'd had a really mad day at Reading, the most overwhelming, surreal day. During the signing this really sweet little girl came up and handed me this letter, really shy. At the end of the day I got in my bunk and read her letter. It was just the sweetest thing about how she felt really upset and depressed at school, saying when I don't think I'm very pretty and I'm not thin, or clever, all these things, I put your music on and it makes me feel better... It's so sad that she feels like that, school can be so shit at that age, though it does get better! It was just one of those things. If I can make one person feel better...that feels like a massive achievement for me.
ILM: Where do fans send the letters?
Lucy: To my management normally.
ILM: OK. I'll put a link in the interview. Send Lucy Rose a letter!
Lucy: Oh yes! Please put a letter link in! I want them!
ILM: Have you recieved many love letters yet?
Lucy: No love letters. A lot of shouting at gigs. "MARRY ME! PLLLeeeeaase MARRY ME!" and I'm just thinking honestly, you wouldn't want to marry me. Trust me.
ILM: How do you think recognition / fame will effect your songwriting?
Lucy: I will not indulge in it at all. When I finish all this with the album and I get some downtime, I want to get a job in a bar or something. Just do something really normal. Get a waitressing job. I feel like it's at that point that you can write songs that people will relate to.
ILM: In London?
Lucy: Yeah. Honestly, I don't think people will care. No one would think anything of it. They'd just be having their dinner. "Here's your pizza." They wouldn't bat an eyelad. EYELAD?
ILM: Eyelad. Haha!
Lucy: Oh God! This doesn't normally happen to me. This is only happening to me this week! I can't say words anymore. [Puts on an Irish accent] No one would bat an eye lad!
ILM: Hahaha! Lastly....we've really run over...what's been inspiring you outside music? Books, films...?
Lucy: Oh, I'm a total bookworm! I've just started this. [Pulls The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger out of her coat pocket]. And To Kill A Mockingbird got me. And The Seige by Helen Dunmore. Then the follow up, The Betrayal is really good as well. And films, Harold and Maude! I have this whole obsession with old people and young people having friendships. They're at totally different stages of life, one is looking back so much and one is looking forward so much and they have a relationship that meets in the middle. I was watching Harold and Maude going "This is exactly what I'm on about!" and then...well, the ending. NO! NO! NO! Haha. Although that bit where she's singing at the piano, the Cat Stevens song. Pure gold!
ILM: Haha. Thank you Lucy!
Lucy: Hahah! This has been so fun!
ILM: Yes! We'll come and find you at one of your shows, see if we can catch up again :)