Every so often a gleaming gem appears in the Clash inbox - today, Galway newcomer LAOISE is that point of bright light.
Still incredibly young - barely out of her teens - the songwriter has built a style that could only be her own. Mature, controlled, and laced with potential, her sound fuses digital pop with a sense of the organic.
Growing up in a musical home, LAOISE was always encouraged to be musical, but took time to settle on her own voice.
Working with Seán Behan, the pair set about constructing new material, that helped to express a turbulent time in the singer's life.
New cut 'YOU' breaks her silence, and it's the point where the world finally catches up with her. In short, it's sublime - a wonderfully measured introduction that glides effortlessly into its own space.
Check it out below, then catch a Q&A with LAOISE after the jump.
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You grew up around music, were you always drawn to creativity and performance? Was this encouraged, or was the outlet simply there?
Yes, there was always music in my house, be it CDs or someone playing an instrument, so I was always drawn to creativity from a young age. My parents were always encouraging when it came to creativity and performance as long as it came from me first for example I remember seeing a violin on the tv for the first time when I was about four or five and I was infatuated, within the next week or so I was in my first violin class.
I used to always sing as a child but it was when I was older that I began teaching myself how to write songs on the guitar and piano, and that’s when music was more of an outlet for me rather than just a performance.
Initially you played guitar, but what drew you to electronic sounds? What does it express that acoustic instruments can’t, for instance?
I usually write with guitar and piano, so I guess at heart these songs are acoustic songs. The reason I was drawn to electronic sounds is because of their versatility and their ability to emphasise and evoke certain emotions I feel can be lost in an acoustic surrounding. Writing with electronic sounds has helped me develop a style I’m comfortable with now, and has helped me to develop as an artist, without feeling like I’m stuck in one style or genre. Plus, they sound fucking cool.
Your lyrics are quite personal, what role does songwriting have in your life? Is it cathartic, therapeutic?
I began writing when I was about fourteen, and I always found it cathartic then (teenage hormones, you know yourself) but it wasn’t until I started writing about my anxiety and insecurities that I realised how therapeutic it could be. I could write a song and come away feeling relieved and that’s why I couldn’t go without doing it.
The new EP ‘Halfway’ emerged from a period of recovery, how does it feel to look back on those events? Does the material now occupy a different role in your life?
I first wrote the title track ‘Halfway’ before I had written any other songs on the EP. I wrote it when I felt I was at a halfway point towards recovery after battling anxiety and some health issues. Panic attacks and self-image issues were persistently disrupting my day-to-day life. It was when I finally acknowledged how draining it was and how unhappy I was that I felt the need to signify this ‘halfway’ period.
The material was produced by Seán Behan, how important was he to the sound/direction of the EP?
Seán was very important to the sound and direction of the EP. We started working on the production of the songs together with no concise vision of what we wanted to make of them. We spent months in a spare room in his parent’s house being super fussy about every little detail in each song (lots of tea was consumed).
This process was extremely tiring and we felt really lost a lot of the time because it was essentially the first thing we ever recorded together, not to mention the fact that it was electronic music and completely new territory for us. So I guess having the both of us walking into the situation blind is what developed the overall sound of the EP, one that we’re both crazy proud of seeing as we did it all on one laptop, with one microphone and with no idea how it was going to turn out.
‘YOU’ is a striking introduction – can you tell us a little about how you wrote that track?
I wrote ‘YOU’ to sort of challenge myself. The idea was to write a song restricted to only three chords to see how far I could take it and I ended up loving its vocal melody and its lyrical content. Its progression and structure changed a lot during its production with Seán, and it became the most suitable as an introduction to my new music and what it contains. It’s also really fun to dance to (especially while wearing pink).
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'YOU' will be released on November 18th, with Laoise set to release her 'Halfway' EP in January.