LAU - Simply 'Stunning' | An Interview
This lady is an absolute tour de force of musicianship having navigated the world performing & writing with such household names as Sam Sparro, Clean Bandit, Ricky Martin, Taio Cruz amongst others.
LAU has had huge success over the course of her career and notably as one half of the duo close to all our neon Synthwave hearts 'NINA'. With meteoric speed she has catapulted herself into a really successful solo career having launched two previous singles to much acclaim. Her brand of Electro-pop is as inviting as it is exciting with a determined message at the heart of its foundations.
As the Creative Director of Aztec Records she also has a hand in shaping the talent of the future and no better woman considering her career to date and her aspirations for the industry itself. I have so much admiration for LAU so it was an undoubted pleasure to interview her especially on the day of her single release..take a look..
Well firstly, congratulations on all your solo success so far, certainly what we’ve heard to date has been amazing, how do you feel it has gone?
Thank you! I’ve had great support from the Synthwave/Retrowave community so far, and my debut single ‘Stunning’ has been included in over 450 Spotify playlists now, which is incredible, considering it was only released 2 months ago. I’m very happy and glad I took the step to finally go solo after being in duos/bands for nearly two decades.
For those who maybe experiencing your music for the first time, tell us a little bit about your background, how you started out and your journey thus far.
I’ve been a session drummer for many years, playing for different pop stars, and slowly veered towards DJ/Production and now I mainly focus on songwriting and singing. After writing records for other artists, I’ve realised it was time to release my own songs. I’ve also set up a record label (Aztec Records) with my best friend Ariel in 2010, and we’ve been discovering, developing and releasing amazing artists for over 10 years.
Of course, many know you from your partnership with NINA, as you’re both now separately pursuing your own creative interests in music, has your process in laying a track down changed now that you’re writing for yourself in essence?
It’s a quicker process now and more personal, as I write/record all lyrics, lead vocals, harmonies and synths very quickly in my home studio. With NINA it was a different process as we would discuss and demo different ideas, and then we would start recording and trying several versions. Some songs would take us a long time and lots of back and forth with producers until we both were happy. And some songs never saw the light of day, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. It was a lot of work, but the end result was fantastic and I’m very proud of the two albums we did together (Sleepwalking and Synthian).
What comes first for you. Lyric or melody?
Melody, always. I hum along melody and rhythm with non-existent words, and then I go back and start adding the words to match that rhythm, and the whole song meaning comes to life in no time.
You’ve toured the world performing and writing for some of the biggest musical artists like Clean Bandit, Sam Sparro (Droid Bishop’s Brother for the fans), Ricky Martin, Taio Cruz etc… what has been the fondest memory you’d like to share of your entire career?
When I was touring with Sam Sparro as his drummer, I had a crowd of 55,000 people singing happy birthday to me when we played at the Good Vibes festival in Sydney, it was amazing. And with NINA, opening for Erasure in the U.S. was a dream come true, as I grew up with their music.
Who where your musical inspirations growing up?
I’ve always been the biggest Queen fan, but I also listened to Erasure, Roxette, Tina Turner, Tears for Fears, Madonna and many others. I think they all shape my music today in one way or another.
What is the one track you have written and/or performed that means the most to you? And why?
‘Automatic Call’, sang by NINA and myself. I wrote the lyrics anticipating a separation, but I wrote it about a year before it all actually happened. A sort of premonition perhaps. And I love ‘Born to Live’ too, which we wrote with NINA, Oscillian and Richard X, it’s a lovely message, so I got the song title tattooed under my arm.
What is a day off for LAU like? How do you relax?
I recently got into boxing, so I would do a boxing class at Greenwich Park, then grab a coffee in Blackheath and chill at home with my cats in the garden. At night I would grab a nice cold beer and dinner somewhere in East London with a few mates.
Is there any artist on the scene that you are currently enjoying or would like to collaborate with?
I’m loving Gryff’s work, such a nice guy and he sounds a bit like an Aussie Phil Collins! We already talked about doing a collaboration sometime soon, which I’m very excited about, and we are label partners now too :)
If you could share the stage with or support any one in the Synthwave industry who would it be? Why?
It would be nice to see James again (Droid Bishop), as we toured with Sam Sparro 12 years ago. We were nearly going to play a show together in San Francisco this year, but of course everything got cancelled due to the pandemic. Maybe it will happen one day.
If there was one thing you’d change about the music industry what would it be? Why?
Ageism. I think talent never really dies, if anything, it gets better! I don’t mind what age an artist is as long as their music moves me. But most major labels would probably disagree with me.
You have another great new single out today 21st August called ‘Recognise’ could you tell us a little more about that & what you’re currently working on. Are there plans for an album this year perhaps?
‘Recognise’ is a hopeful, upbeat song about meeting someone and falling in love again. It’s the 3rd single from my debut album, which I hope to release by the end of the year or early next year at the very latest and it was produced by Astrotones and mixed by Brian Skeel.
The album itself is already written, but I'm still finishing some mixing and production touches. I can’t wait for you all to finally hear it.
I have been lucky enough to see you numerous times in various event spaces throughout the world with NINA. I should imagine you’re anxious to get out there and start gigging your new tracks, have you got any plans to do a solo tour in 2021?
Absolutely! Can’t wait to finish my album and to finally start touring these songs. I’m very curious to see what people think of my songs in a live setting, I think it will be a great show, as most songs are high energy.
What do you enjoy must about being an Artist?
Getting lovely messages and words of encouragement from complete strangers, it’s a lovely feeling when people connect to your music and lyrics, it’s quite special. I also love using music as my own therapy, to say what I need to say and to get things off my chest. And nothing beats playing live and getting to meet fans face to face.
Your favourite film?
Back to the Future (of course!)
A message to your fans……
Thank you for believing in me and my music, I hope to see you at a live show very soon!
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