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A Dirty Dozen with LAU – February 2021

| 3 February 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Balancing the yin and yang of the emotional heft of a relationship that has fallen apart can be extremely traumatic and uplifting. Hitting rock bottom and then triumphantly rising from its ashes is a common musical trope in music but never has it sound so exuberant as BELIEVER by Barcelona-based artist LAU (a.k.a. Laura Fares) which comes out on February 12, 2021 on Aztec Records. A prominent Retrowave / Synthpop artist in her own right having been a much sought after session drummer and songwriter (she penned a bulk of NINA’s best-selling albums Synthian and Sleepwalking), LAU has finally gone solo after a decade plus of composing and performing for other artists.” We get LAU to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo credit: Yanny Tokyo

1. Tell us a little about your new release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

My debut album Believer is finally coming out on February 12th (two days before my birthday), and I couldn’t be happier. This album took 9 months in the making and portrays all the emotions I went through after a difficult break up. From the initial emotions like disappointment, sadness and heartache, to hoping to fall in love again, and finally moving on and realizing life has taken me exactly where I was supposed to be. I would say pay attention to all the harmonies and vocal layers in there, and the responses from the backing vocals. There’s always a story being told by the two “sides” of me. It’s like having a conversation with myself and reflecting on things. There are a couple of hidden nuggets regarding my ex in the lyrics. It’s a very personal album, so that was unavoidable. But there are no hard feelings anymore, they were just very specific emotions that I had to get off my chest at the time and I had a strong need to write what I’ve been through.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I was always fascinated by the drums and when I was 17 years old, I saw a girl drummer in a rock band, playing in a small venue in Buenos Aires (she was amazing, but I can’t remember the name of the band) and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. So we started an all-girl band with my friends from high school, and I taught myself how to play the drums. After a couple of years I moved to the UK and decided that my music “hobby” was going to become my career, so I enrolled the London College of Music and completed a degree there. It was great, I learnt a lot about music in general, drumming and production. After graduating I started touring the world as a session drummer for different popstars, finally working as a musician. A few years later I became a DJ and producer and started writing songs.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

The Game by Queen (1980) is one of my favourite albums of all time. The lead melody and harmonies in “Play The Game” are phenomenal. Freddie has always been an inspiration to me. I used to busk in the London underground playing Queen songs, and that paid my way through university.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I gotta name more than five… definitely some of the greatest like Queen, Tears For Fears, Madonna, Phil Collins and some current stars like Robyn, Christine and the Queens, and HAIM.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Robyn. I’d love to do a track with her. I opened for her on her UK tour many years ago (when I was drumming for Spam Sparro) and I really admire her as a performer and as a writer. She’s also a lovely person to be around and very funny.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I make synthpop / retrowave music, influenced by the characteristic 80s sound, but with a modern twist. I’ve been compared to LP, Pat Benatar, HAIM and Madonna. Nothing to cringe about just yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Photo credit: Yanny Tokyo

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

When I met Deepak Chopra at a conference in London and he signed my book. Annie Lennox was sitting in the audience near me and I managed to speak to her too. I was double-starstruck.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part is meeting fans face to face at shows, and also reading their lovely messages. Some songs can really touch a person’s life or make a moment in their life a little better. That’s all that matters at the end of the day, and it makes it all worth it. If I could no longer be a musician (which I really doubt), I would probably be a beach tennis instructor (if I can improve my technique first!)

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

“What game did you use to play on the Commodore Amiga?” Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (released on 1989). “What do you sound like?”

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I’ve made many mistakes during my career, like most people, but one big one was not to believe in myself earlier, and to only launch my solo career now. I could have launched myself as a solo artist a decade ago instead of writing songs for other people. But the journey has taught me a lot that I needed to learn to be where I am today.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would have loved to be sitting in the studio when the “Bohemian Rhapsody” vocals were being recorded by Queen. It’s just a masterpiece of vocal production. Just to meet Freddie would have been incredible. I was lucky enough to meet Roger Taylor and Brian May briefly in the early 2000’s and to watch them perform in Wembley afterwards, but seeing Freddie live in action has always been an unfulfilled dream of mine.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

The thing I miss the most is touring around the world. Travelling, meeting fans and performing was always my dream come true. I can’t wait until I can start doing that again. For now, I’ll just keep recording songs in my studio and maybe I’ll prepare a streaming show instead. Let’s hope things go back to normal soon.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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