Eight hundred and thirty five miles away in Sweden, Kathryn Bodha caught up with Louise Lemon.
The opportunity to speak with upcoming female “death gospel” artist Louise Lemon had, as clichéd as it may seem, dream-like qualities. Picture the strumming of soft vocal chords masked in powerful gospel-like undertones of her music, conveyed through the medium of a simple telephone conversation. Remarkable to say the least. I’ll admit, maybe the experience was tinged slightly with the excitement and buzz which comes with the fact this was my first interview, coupled with the fact that I am a massive fan of her work. Needless to say, Louise’s honesty and ability to reflect openly on her music was undeniably moving.
I really like the way you blend chords to create a powerful tone. What made you decide to add the extra dimension of going live?
For this song, ‘Egyptian Darkness’, it’s a little bit different than my previous releases. It’s been a little bit more instrument figured, a little bit heavier. The song has an acoustic vibe. It’s very open and airy. It has this kind of intimacy. Adding a choir of two people makes it very intimate, which I wanted to enhance with the live aspect.
Do you find this has altered peoples’ perceptions of your work?
Yes and no. You always want to be in a forward motion, you want to have movement. I recorded this at the same time as the rest of the Purge except this one I took in a bit of a different direction. It’s not in a new way, I just wanted to make a different space I think. I just wanted to make a movement.
It’s amazing how your work collaborates so many different ideas to form this movement. Has your childhood been an influence?
Yes definitely. Actually I was just talking about this and how I grew up, how music was actually really present in my family. My father was a musician. We went to a lot of concerts and things so it was really prevalent. I started to make my own music and write real songs when I was really small. It’s a very natural thing. It’s not like we’re sitting around playing music, I would listen to a lot of music. I got a lot of history of music just naturally.
How do you go about creating your lyrics?
I think a lot. I like to analyse things. So, mostly I have a specific thing or emotion that has happened to me. Or maybe it’s super true, or maybe it’s just the feeling of it. I also try to really pin it down, nothing is too much. I try to be very specific, what it is I really want to say and narrow it down. Sometimes I might have a kind of thought about the sound I want to portray. If I want a violin or something. I try and make something that relates to me. When I listen to music, it becomes interesting if I listen to it if and feel very close to the person. I try to do that, to look into it.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nostalgic, maybe a little. I think it’s more about when you write about something that happened, then you own it. If you felt bad or sad about something, when you write about it, you own it and you get strong with it. It becomes something beautiful.”
Would you say you are quite nostalgic then in a sense?
I wouldn’t say I’m nostalgic, maybe a little. I think it’s more about when you write about something that happened, then you own it. If you felt bad or sad about something, when you write about it, you own it and you get strong with it. It becomes something beautiful. I wouldn’t say its looking back, like “oh I remember those times,” but you recreate it when you write a song about it.
Music writing for you is something more you build up over time then as opposed to a spontaneous act?
Yes, its kind of an ongoing process. I have a kind of feeling of what I want to do with my music. Like I have a record coming out, I’m just finishing right now. For this record, I wrote some songs in the process, but some of the songs I wrote on the basis of my life, my thoughts or my feelings, and then make something which makes sense in a bigger way as well. I think it’s an ongoing process, I find different things here and there. Then I put them together when I write.
One of my favourite songs you have written is called ‘Soap and Honey’. I wondered where the title of that song came from?
I wanted to portray a kind of a love song but also a fleeting in a way. It is very intimate. When you smell someone you think, “yeh ok it smells good”. But smell isn’t perfume, it’s a real scent. It’s real. It comes from nature. I get influenced by things big and small, like political movements where you are just thinking and speaking to people, almost like breathing. I think it is very interesting to use different parts, you listen to one song and you see a painting and you put it together yourself. What I really like to explore is what happens between people. What happens inside me, what happens to them. I think today we are supposed to be very extrovert, very social beings and think about our image a lot. But we don’t spend much time thinking about what we really want and what we value. I think maybe what we wanted yesterday is very different to what we want today. I think that is where my inspiration to write comes from, as well as making music and listening to sounds. It’s so fulfilling for the body.
Like it’s so easy to go by your life without thinking about what you choose, instead of choosing again. These kind of things you have to be aware about when society is the way it is and the current political situation. The same way you can be doing something political in a small place, it all starts with you. If you go inwards a lot then you can go outwards. You can affect something positive. If you write about something sad, you can really make someone who listens feel strong. You can feel good in something that might look bad from the outside.
Images: Mystic Sons PR