No doubt those of you with a radio, access to The Hype Machine or simply a pair of ears will be au fait with* Ladyhawke*’s recent single, ‘Paris Is Burning’_. A blissful ode to a lost weekend in the French capital, it’s a dark but FM-friendly electro-tinged summertime smash. DiS caught up with Ladyhawke, aka London-based New Zealander Pip Brown, who also lived in Sydney for a while, to DiScover her thoughts on her career to date.
Video: Ladyhawke, ‘Paris Is Burning’
On signing to Modular Records…
A lot of my friends are in bands that are signed to Modular, and so a lot of the people who were around the Modular bosses were talking about me and made them aware of me. Then some demos fell into their hands and they loved them. Being friends with people like Van She, The Presets and Midnight Juggernaughts is great because you are surrounded by amazing music and they are such friendly people, too. It’s good having a major label deal as well (with Island), as it gives me a bigger push.
On moving from Sydney to London…
I moved to London In December because the other half of my label is based here and my manager is a Londoner. He asked me to move here and I had not even been to Europe at the time, but I just thought:_ “Why not?”_ I had no friends here but through touring all over you meet so many people and I have a lot of friends who are in bands over here now. One of the first bunch of people I got to know was The Teenagers, basically because they got in touch with me and we started hanging out, playing video games. You can tell they play a lot more video games than me.
On ‘Paris Is Burning’ and her forthcoming debut album…
The first time I ever went to Paris it was for a long weekend, exactly a year ago actually, and my friend took me. She had all these bottles of French champagne and I’d never had proper champagne before; I’d just had cheap, crappy sparkling wine. We just spent the whole weekend just watching bands and sitting in cafes, running down cobbled streets. It was really great and made a lasting impression on me, so when I got back to London I went straight to the studio and wrote ‘Paris Is Burning’ that morning. The album is all written and recorded now and is out on September 22, I think. Each song on the album really stands alone – it’s more like a soundtrack or a compilation in that sense, I guess. It’s come from all different places and each song comes from a different experience I’ve had. The way I write is very spontaneous: I’ll just sit down and write a song from scratch right there on the spot. If people have only heard ‘Back Of The Van’ or ‘Paris...’ then they’ll probably be quite surprised by the other material.
On remixes of her material…
I enjoy dance music, but it’s never really been my thing – I don’t know much about it. I’ve always been a rock and indie sorta person, so I am learning about dance music all the time. I think any kind of pop song lends itself well to being remixed as a dance track, as any progression of chords sounds better and catchier than something that drones on one chord for fifteen minutes. I’ve been really lucky have remixes by some great people – Cut Copy, Peaches, Van She – so I feel really privileged.
*On touring… *
We’ve toured Britain lots and been around Europe, to Russia, Germany, France, Norway and the States. As a band playing live has been a real education for us. I’m basically just a studio person and I’ve been in other bands (such as garage rockers Two Lane Blacktop) where I was just the guitarist, so Ladyhawke was just a side project for me. It wasn’t until things started to snowball for me that I realised I had to start playing live and get a band together. Between myself and my tour manager we managed to get a band together, and they learnt the tracks from listening to CDs. So at first it was very raw and the live show wasn’t the greatest. We’ve done over 50 shows since then though, and it’s improved so much. We’ve got UK and US headline tours around the time of the album release, and around the same time we have a European tour with Black Kids which coincides nicely.
On being a front woman…
I’ve never been that good at putting myself out there and being the person everyone stares at, so it took me a while to get the confidence to go out there and sing out loud. I love high energy shows – I’m really influenced by people like Chrissy Hynde, Stevie Nicks, and people like Peaches. I actually enjoy Fleetwood Mac a lot, especially live. They have this whole aura about them. Sometimes my self consciousness holds me back a little bit, but when I was younger I idolised Iggy Pop and David Bowie. I loved how flamboyant Bowie was on stage. I wish I could be as confident as they were, or someone like Goldfrapp or Peaches who are really crazy and outrageous. I aspire to be like that.
Video: Ladyhawke, ‘Back Of The Van’
‘Paris Is Burning’ is out now, and Ladyhawke’s debut album will indeed be released in September via Modular. Find Pip’s music online at MySpace and catch her live as follows:
30 London Koko
5 Isle of Wight Bestival
30 UK headline tour starts – details TBC