Artist Interviews

Q&A: Ladyhawke

By | Published on Wednesday 21 March 2012


Pip Brown first became known as one half of Teenager, with Nick Littlemore of Pnau and Empire Of The Sun fame, before leaving to work on her solo project Ladyhawke. She released her eponymous debut album under that name through Modular in 2008, seeing it go to number sixteen in the UK charts.

This week she released ‘Black, White & Blue’, the first single from her second album, ‘Anxiety’, which is due for release on 28 May. A notable departure from ‘Ladyhawke’, ‘Anxiety’ features a much more guitar-centric sound, though it keeps the strong pop songwriting of her earlier work.

As she prepares for the release of the new album, CMU Editor Andy Malt caught up with Ladyhawke to find out more. But before you read that, check out this album sampler video, which gets its premier here on CMU.

AM: When did you begin working on ‘Anxiety’?
LH: I started working on the album around mid-year 2010, then finished around mid-year 2011.

AM: The album is more guitar-heavy than your debut? How did this sound develop? Was it always your intention to move in that direction?
LH: It really just felt like a natural progression for me. I was excited to experiment with different sounds and had no intention of repeating myself, so the sound sort of evolved, and ended up still poppy, but a lot darker and definitely more guitar heavy.

AM: You worked with just one producer, Pascal Gabriel, on this album, rather than several as you did on your debut. Did this help to focus the overall sound of the record? Why did you decide to work in this way this time around?
LH: This was something I really wanted to do. Pascal and I have known each other for quite a few years now and we get along really well. He really gets me as a songwriter, and having just the two of us the whole time was really important to me because I was able to shape the album exactly the way I wanted, there was no moving around from place to place and having to deal with different human dynamics.

AM: Was the recording process on this album particularly different to the first?
LH: Yeah it was, quite a bit. There was a lot more of me experimenting with instruments and different sounds, and the fact that it was just Pascal and I in the studio meant that the whole environment was a lot more chilled. I felt more free and more confident to express myself how I wanted to.

AM: A lot of the lyrics on this album seem very personal. Are they more so this time around, and did that influence (or was it influenced by) the more abrasive sound?
LH: Yeah definitely, it wasn’t a conscious decision for it to be more personal, it was just the space I was in at the time. It really did come out in the sound and the lyrics though, and ended up being quite a cathartic process for me.

AM: The artwork for ‘Anxiety’ is again created by Sarah Larnach. It’s a really striking image. How closely do you were with her on your artwork?
LH: Sarah and I have been friends for years, so when it comes to working out ideas for all the artwork we do work very closely on it. The artwork is hugely important to me, and Sarah is such a versatile artist, she always manages to interpret my rantings and babblings into something very cool and unique!

AM: Are you looking forward to touring again?
LH: Yeah I really am, it’s been a while since I’ve done a UK tour so I’m really looking forward to getting out there again and playing new material!

AM: Do your songs take on new forms when you play them with a full band?
LH: Yeah they do actually, they end up sounding a lot bigger and heavier than on both records. But I love that aspect of live performance, people come to see a live gig and to soak up the whole experience, if it sounds exactly like a carbon copy of the recording you sort of feel like you’re missing out on a unique live experience.

AM: What other artists are you listening to at the moment?
LH: You should check out a guy called Willy Moon, he’s quite new but has a really cool vibe, I’m quite excited about his new album, it won’t be out for a while though I don’t think, but he’s one to check out!