In Conversation: Laura Mvula's Technicolour Ascension

In Conversation: Laura Mvula's Technicolour Ascension

“Recording ‘Pink Noise’ was a rollercoaster ride. I loved it and I hated it all at once...”

Returning five years after the release of ‘The Dreaming Room,’ Laura Mvula details the ascending journey she’s on with ‘Pink Noise’. Noted for her authentic and technicoloured work, Laura’s music has grown from strength-to-strength amongst each project, sculpting just how much she has to offer.

Experimenting with contemporary dance moves, and soulful ballads, today sees the official release of her third studio album, ‘Pink Noise.’ From sombre offering, ‘Safe Passage,’ to up-tempo, ‘Got Me,’ Laura embraces a new face of freedom across this album.

‘Pink Noise’ defines a variety of transitions for the artist: from five years of semi-silence, to signing to a new record label, to the year-long isolation of lockdown, ‘Pink Noise’ reflects a new chapter for the musician.

Here’s what Laura had to say…

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The four singles you've released thus far have all been quite reflective, is this a common theme throughout 'Pink Noise'?

Yeah, I definitely wanted ‘Pink Noise’ to be an album that made you feel good, made me feel good. For me it starts from the first song ‘Safe Passage’ the need to feel safe, the need for security, especially in the time of uncertainty. I needed to create a safe space and for me and that space was ‘Pink Noise’.

When did you begin curating 'Pink Noise'?

I started work on ‘Pink Noise’ at the end of 2019... and I started messing around with synthesisers and when I got the confidence, I made my own little home studio and started to experiment with 80s sounds like gated reverbs and big snare drums, and I knew that those were going to be the ingredients for the whole album.

How was the recording process?

Recording ‘Pink Noise’ was a rollercoaster ride. I loved it and I hated it all at once.

There were times where it would flow really effortlessly and we had these amazing, special moments, and then there were times when it felt like it wasn’t clear what direction I was going in, but I had the most fun this time recording and playing synth bass parts, because that was a new thing for me. But I really love it and I’m really proud of what I was able to achieve considering we couldn’t just have a load of musicians there in the studio with us.

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Would you say ‘Pink Noise’ has a connection to how you have felt across the last 14 months?

Yeah. ‘Pink Noise’ is about needing to get out and needing to move. We’ve been restricted for so long and it’s not clear when things are going to change. So, for me, I listen to the album quite a lot and it just gives me a renewed sense of hope. I’m so relieved that gigs are going to be coming back and that I will be able to share the music in the flesh, which for me, is kind of what it is all about.

So yeah, ‘Pink Noise’ was definitely written to be shared in person and that is where my head is at the moment.

What track(s) on the album are you most looking forward to playing live?

I’m most looking forward to playing ‘Remedy’ live. ‘Magical’ because ‘Magical’ is so much fun. ‘What Matters’ I would love to do live with Simon.

'Safe Passage,' is one of our favourite tracks on the album; in this song you sing, "find a way to safe passage" - where would you consider to be a safe passage yourself?

In the spectrum of colour where ‘Pink Noise’ touches all those shades of pink, that’s where I find peace. So, I feel like this nostalgic sound that brings to mind the most treasured memories that I have is what I wanted to achieve with this album, so I think that I definitely reside there, that’s where I find my peace.

What influences came to mind in the process of curating this album?

I thought a lot about Earth, Wind and Fire. I was thinking a lot about them from quite early in the process because I think their music, even still to this day, is the music that most excites me when I think about live performances. Of course, Michael Jackson was kind of front and center for a lot of his music, not just for the sound, but for the aesthetic, particularly the 80s era of Michael and The Jacksons and Janet Jackson.

I think [Janet Jackson's] 'Rhythm Nation' definitely informed ‘Remedy’ and even a bit of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Sting, even like seasonings of Kanye West and I love my Rihanna. I think you can find something of a lot of things in this record.

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Can you tell us a bit about the album title?

‘Pink Noise’ is similar to White Noise, the frequencies are different, but White Noise, you can fall asleep to it. I didn’t realise that Pink Noise can be achieved, and I discovered it by accident. I was actually trying to research some other geeky things about reverbs, and I saw this tutorial on YouTube, a guy was presenting it and was talking about ‘Pink Noise,’ and I immediately knew that was the name of the record.

But maybe also partially because I had been messing around with pink in the title, maybe because I’d been obsessed with pink in this time for quite a while, maybe because of the pink skies in California, where I made a lot of the record and a lot of the drives back to the Air BNB from the studio.

I would remember the sunsets and the pink hues and the feeling that would give me, and listening to the music as I travelled back, I knew that pink was going to be in the title.

Lastly, how have you found the response to be to the tracks you've released thus far?

Extraordinary. People seem to really need this music now. We all need to recharge and refresh and that’s definitely going to come into a lot of joyous music. A lot of artists are making music that needs to feel good.

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'Pink Noise' is out now.

Words: Laviea Thomas

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