New Zealand pop sensation Ladyhawke is today releasing her third album and it comes with a whole heap of newfound positivity.
Also known as Pip Brown, the singer/songwriter who was one of the pioneers of the indie synth pop era, spoke to us from her home in LA, where she has been inspired to write the new album.
“I’ve been here for three years. It wasn’t music that brought me here, but the music side has been good since I’ve been here; I moved here for lifestyle. I was living in the UK for many years and before that, I lived in Australia for quite a few years,” she says.
“After living in the UK for so long, I wanted to be closer to home, but I wasn’t quite ready to move back yet. LA is exactly halfway between London and Auckland and I’ve always loved LA; I love the weather. I thought the lifestyle would be really good. Living in London can get a bit much with the grey skies and the rain. There’s only so much you can take.”
With four years between albums, Pip wanted to write some music, but felt she wasn’t in the right place to do that, so she made some positive changes.
“I toured the second album through all of 2012, and when I finished with that, I decided to move to LA I came here around January/February 2013 – I can’t remember exactly when. It took me a little while to land on my feet here. I didn’t really know anyone and I was still working it all out,” she says.
“I’d been coming here for years, but I never lived here, so it took me a little while to get my head around that. Then I decided I may as well start working on some music so I spent a year, on and off, demoing songs and working with people. That’s when I realised I had to get rid of all of those sings. They were too dark. So I had to work on my happiness because I was feeling like crap all the time. I needed to get healthy, stop drinking and look after myself. After I’d done that, I was ready to make the new record and that’s what happened.”
The result is Wild Things; a compilation of upbeat, positive songs that are foot-tappingly contagious.
“It really happened organically,” Pip says of the positive vibe of the record. “The producer, Tommy English, and I collaborated on it. I met him through a friend. It was such a timely meeting because we weren’t being set up to write together. I just met him through a friend and the friend wanted me to record some vocals on her album. So I went to her studio to record them and he was really nice to me and said he really liked my singing voice,” she says.
“Whenever he complimented me, it made me want to do a better vocal performance. It had quite an interesting effect on me. I really liked it. It made me feel good about doing it. I hadn’t had that in a long time so I asked him if he wanted to do my record and that’s how it all happened. It was a really fun process. And making such dramatic changes in your life, it just all came out of me. I couldn’t really hide it. I wasn’t feeling angry, depressed or dark. I was really feeling good. I felt healthy and happy. I felt like I’d really got the joy back, of what I was doing.”
Getting the joy back was also a result of Pip quitting drinking, which isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
“It’s up there with one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Not just being in the music industry, where drinking is a thing everyone does, it’s also being a Kiwi or an Aussie or a Brit. It’s part of our culture. We’re a huge drinking culture,” she says.
“Part of our social culture is to have a beer; have a pint. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s so engrained in the culture, that when I stopped drinking, all my friends were still drinking and I realised how much we all drink. I was lucky though. My friends were really amazing. They’ve always really supported me. It’s only the people who don’t know me who say, ‘Oh come on. One drink won’t hurt you.’”
Evidence of the fun and vibrancy her new lifestyle has allowed, is the clip for ‘A Love Song’, which you can view here:
“We were asking people to pitch for the video and these guys weren’t asked to pitch, but I’d found them online and I really liked what they did. They were these indie, up and coming directors. All their videos were really brightly coloured and quirky and they made me laugh. I really wanted them to do my video. They pitched us an idea and they would have gone way weirder if I’d let them!” Pip laughs.
“It started out really crazy, obscure and weird and then it became what you know it as now. They got a guy in Birmingham who has a VHS collection of about 30.000 VHS tapes. Every major film from the 80s and 90s you can think of, he has on VHS. He loaned his entire collection so we could deck out that fake video store. It was really fun. It was a really fun experience to make it.”
Although Ladyhawke has announced a tour, she is not coming to Adelaide, but she hopes to come here soon.
“This tour is also missing Scotland. It’s a funny tour this one. Because all the tickets are being sold before the album comes out, they’re calling it a mini-tour, even though there are shit loads of dates on there. I can’t really afford to go everywhere as well!” she laughs.
“People have been a little bit negative online about it, but it’s hard to explain to everyone I’m not Beyoncé and I really can’t afford to tour everywhere. I hope next time I’ll be able to go to all of the places around Australia I normally go to.”
You heard the lady: the tour is dependent on album sales, so get out there and buy Wild Things. It’s available from today.
By Libby Parker