Ladyhawke’s sophomore album is out and she’s got some NZ shows booked in July (dates below) – so Cheese on Toast’s Andrew Tidball took the opportunity to catch up with Pip on the phone – it was the weekend of the Queens Jubilee – Pip was in London ‘enjoying’ the celebrations on TV alone in her flat with a tiny Union Jack.
I wondered how long she’d been working on the album, since I recalled meeting collaborator and producer Pascal Gabriel at The Wine Cellar when he had come to one of the Eavesdrop nights that I used to host with my friend Matthew Crawley – and that seemed ages ago.
“I toured the first record for two years and finished that in February 2010 I tried to start working on the new one straight away – but I was just too tired. ” she explains; Pascal had come over to NZ to begin work with her in March 2010; but she’d be so exhausted that she’d just end up falling asleep on the studio couch. Tow tracks were salvaged from those sessions – but the remainder of the album was made in the South of France and in London at Pascal Gabriel’s studios.
Now, Pascal has been around for yonks-years – in fact he was in S’Express with Mark Moore back in the late eighties with hits like their seminal Theme From S’Express which was based on Rose Royce’s “Is It Love You’re After” and follow up dance-floor hits Superfly Guy and the massive Hey Music Lover – 12″s that were rarely out of DJ bag way back then – so I was curious to know how Pip Brown, the girl from Masterton, who I remember going to see shred lead guitar in Two Lane Black Top at the Ambassador (the same night I saw the Mint Chicks for the first time, who were playing support) had got together with him (he produced her first album too)
It turns out that it was really just a story that Pip had done some demos of songs at her house in Sydne, where she was living at the time, and had them up on her MySpace (it was 2006, so that was a thing) – she was still, at the time with the same publishing company that Two Lane Blacktop were with – and one of the people there just thought it’d be interesting to send the demos to Pascal Gabriel – and it turned out he really liked them. So after some eMailing, in Feb 2007, Pip went over to London and met up with him – and “instantly clicked” although, in the studio “it takes me a while to get get comfortable with someone I don’t know” but once they got through that it was a musical partnership that was to endure.
“I always wanted to something different to keep it it interesting … after touring that first record for two years I knew I wasn’t go to do another like that again – that I was going to do something different.” explains “I was really tired and I had been through so much stuff in the previous couple of years – I just felt like I was in a darker head space – musically I still love pop music but I wanted to make it a bit tougher”
The album is called Anxiety and the opening line in the the title track makes reference to being medicated for her own anxiety and Asperger syndrome – obviously I wondered how comfortable Pip was talking publicly about this.
She admits that she’s a bit surprised by how seriously music press have taken it; she confides that she is an anxious person and always has been but that she didn’t really realize that it was going to be such a controversial topic – “I thought everyone gets anxiety – I mean, my anxiety can be super crippling – but there are times when I’m not anxious too.” Pip admits that initially calling the album Anxiety was a bit of a dark joke to her label and management who had been prodding her for a name “I’m gonna it Anxiety, so fucken leave me alone!” – “by the time album was finished I really did want to call it that; it just felt right.” I pondered the de-mystification of anxiety with Pip “People don’t take depression or anxiety as serious as they should – you’re made to feel crazy – and you shouldn’t be made to feel that way – everyone feels anxious or depressed (to varying degrees)”
Listen to the phone call here :
Ladyhawke’s sophomore album Anxiety is out now and she’s playing four NZ shows in July :
DUNEDIN – Union Hall (R18)
As part of OUSA Reorientation 2012
Wednesday, July 11th 2012
CHRISTCHURCH – The UCSA Events Centre (R18)
As part of Winterlude 2012
Thursday, July 12th 2012
WELLINGTON – San Francisco Bathhouse (R18)
Friday, July 13th 2012
AUCKLAND – The Studio (R18)
Saturday, July 14th 2012