We’re at a weird point in the year. The weather’s starting to clear up and hints of coming spring are everywhere, yet it’s still freezing and pitch black every time we leave the office for the day. The winter warmers are getting out of date, and we’re still a way off from summer banger territory, what then, dear reader, are we supposed to listen to?
Enter LAOISE ( pronounced Leeshur, she knows), the singer billed as Ireland’s answer to BANKS, Nao and almost every other slightly left-field female singer you could care to name. In truth, LAOISE is not Ireland’s answer to anyone, but a new phenomenon in her own right. On her latest single, ‘Halfway’, premiering here on Notion, she weaves together elements of hip-hop, witch house and electronic music, tying them all together with sickly sweet pop hooks. The result feels like drowning in molasses, but in the best possible way. Give it a spin below and read our chat with the emerging songstress beneath that.
What’s the inspiration behind ‘Halfway?’
I wrote ‘Halfway’ about two years ago during a time when I wasn’t paying attention to my own needs and health, and I compromised my happiness for other people and their excessive expectations. Writing ‘Halfway’ was my way of pushing past this. It stands as a very important stage in my life and even though, in a way, I’m scared as fuck to release it, I’m so grateful that I can share it with people.
Why did you decide to take the track in such a brooding, ominous direction?
I worked with Seán Behan (A Place Called Kai Studios) on this track. It was the first song we worked on from the EP so we were pretty lost in terms of which direction we wanted to take my music. We spent about 2 months in a spare room in Seán’s house (now his studio) toying around with sounds and ideas before we settled on the sort of eerie, portentous vibe in ‘Halfway’, only for it to flip halfway through the song to a more absolvent feel. I guess this was to portray all the emotions felt when writing the song – doubt, grief, assurance.
There’s an interesting mix of genres in the track from witch house and eletcro-pop to some hip hop / RnB influence later on, how do you manage to tie those different elements together?
The trick is to shove everything together and hope it works. Ha, no, I think because I spent such a long time messing around with various sounds and noises it was hard not to blend a diverse range of genres. You can definitely tell that I was finding my feet in terms of establishing my own sound, which is why the track is very special to me; it takes you on the same journey I went on when writing and recording it.
Judging by the artwork, you like to play with people’s expectations, is this true?
I think I do like to play with people’s expectations. I like the idea of being surprised after a first impression – hence the girly pink versus the brooding music. I guess this juxtaposition emphasises the depth and dark themes of my music with the innocent, dainty artwork. I tried to tie this in with Halfway too; at a first glance it’s quite opaque, with abstract metaphors and similes. But when you analyse it, you might find there can be more substance to it than just that.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s not familiar with your work?
I use ‘electropop and sad stories’ to quickly describe my music to people who aren’t familiar with it. I find I can’t write about something that hasn’t really happened to me or something that I haven’t experienced first hand. So because of this, my songs follow pretty heavy themes. I love pop more than anything in the world because it’s so accessible. And even though sometimes my music takes inspiration from other genres like soul and folk, it’s more electropop than anything. Using an approachable genre to express darker matters is essentially electropop and sad stories, that’s why I describe my music that way.
You’ve been compared to everyone from BANKS to Nao, which artists working right now do you admire?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of soul and jazz, and as always pop – acts like Gabriel Garzón-Montano, SRNO, JONES and Kiah Victoria. My Discover Weekly has been tasty on Spotify the past few weeks where I’ve discovered most of these artists. Groovers.
What can early fans expect from you in the rest of 2017?
I’m releasing my debut EP within the next couple of months as well as playing gigs in Ireland and the U.K. that I can’t wait for. There’s a more fervent element to the music when it comes to the live show, so I’m eager to get out and introduce that side of my music to people.