Working in music PR, it’s often my total privilege to see which up-and-coming bands might be beginning to make waves at the very beginning of their career. LibraLibra are one such band, their name cropping up again and again on music blogs and reviewing platforms all over the place. I even reviewed their debut EP, Hail Mary (which you can read here: https://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/202008/reviews/music-reviews/ep-review-libralibra-hail-mary) and I loved it!
So it is my absolute pleasure to be able to present this interview – we discuss how they write their absolutely bonkers pop music, what they’ve been up to back in the studio, and how they’re coping with the lack of live music.
How have you been finding the response to your debut EP?
Beth (vocals): It’s been such a nice experience really, it’s so great putting something out for people to listen to!
Joe (drums/synth/production): We finished recording it maybe just over a year before, and we were writing those songs a year before that, so it’s been ages coming.
Guy (bass/synth): ‘Rock Band’ was a laptop demo before I even joined the band, so yeah it’s been a long time coming.
How did you guys meet and start making music?
B: Me and Joe are a couple, but it was a while before we started making music together. One day we just decided to see if we could write a song, and it just ended up sounding exactly like the sort of music I had always wanted to listen to. And we all kind of know each other from Brighton.
J: Yeah, me and Martell [Daniel, guitar] used to play in a band together called Wild Cat Strike in Brighton and when we needed a guitarist, I thought – well, he’s really good!
B: And I know Daniel from uni! And we started out doing, like, bedroom demos – but now, it’s like we’re all a family.
J: And the songs only get finished if we’re all in a room together now which is really cool.
So it must be nice that you’re now able to meet up and do that?!
J: We didn’t even have this week in the studio booked! We just thought, we don’t know what’s going to happen next so just get together as soon as possible and just record as much as we can, as soon as we can.
Have you tried to write on your own or does it need to be a collaborative effort?
B: Usually a song will come from a bass lick, or a riff or a vocal line, and we’ll send it to each other and the song will build from there.
G: A lot of them as well, will come from an entire vocal which Beth will already have, or sometimes the three of us will try to make a noise together which will excite Beth and she’ll give us the go-ahead and then –
Daniel (guitar): LET’S GO, LET’S GO! That’s the song.
You have quite a unique sound. Any inspirations?
D: We just want everything to sound like a party. We had loads of sounds which were perfect for a sweaty party vibe, but then we were also really into our softer melody stuff – so we just thought, why not do all of it?
B: We never approach a song with a plan of how it’s going to turn out. We’ll start writing and do whatever feels right in the moment. It sounds cheesy but it just works for us!
J: we just wanted to make pop music but make it sound… a bit weird. We’re a band who make pop music but outside of all the main rules of pop.
What are you working on at the moment?
J: We don’t really have a plan for these songs yet – they’ve just been lying around as demos for a while and we just wanted to get as much recorded as possible in case everything goes under again!
B: we’ve been working on four or five songs this week, and we also had a weekend in August to work on some stuff, but we don’t know what we’re doing with them yet! I think early next year we might be dropping a single or two, but not sure yet…
Will your momentum from the EP help you?
B: Yeah we’re off, we just wanna keep going!
J: Even if the music industry ended tomorrow –
D: – and there was only one amp left –
J: – we’d still be playing!
B: I know they told us to retrain, but we’re not going to retrain!
G: More important than whether other people like our music or not, we play and we write for ourselves first and foremost!
J: It is quite nice that other people like it, though.
B: Yeah! That’s the cherry on the cake…
You’ve done some work with CLT DRP? Another great band with a unique sound from Brighton!
J: Yeah, I produced their album!
B: Brighton is a home for that sort of community. I feel like everyone who moved there went not necessarily with a feeling of home and community from before, but there’s this sense that you can be whoever you wanna be there. It’s such a close-knit, loving community. I think that’s why you get so many amazing bands coming from there, and such amazing musicians. People have a lot to say and are very supportive of one another. And what I really love as well is that there are so many strong women coming from Brighton, and so many projects with amazing women doing amazing things. It’s so inspiring.
What themes tend to come out? What do you want people to take from the EP?
B: I’ll start out hearing a sound – it could be the beginnings of a melody or just a sound or a phrase that I like. And then the lyrics will follow subconsciously. I’ll just write everything out without thinking about it. There’s a lot of stuff that I feel that I can’t talk about in normal situations but I’ll look back at the writing and think like “okay I know where that’s come from”. I find it so therapeutic, it’s such a good way of dealing with things that come from the past.
I want people to take away whatever they want from the songs. I never really think about it too much, but I love it when I hear other peoples’ songs and I can find something to relate in there. I’m hoping people can maybe lose themselves in our songs as well, or find hope in it or scream to it or anything which will help them. There can be a lot of darkness in there as well so I hope that doesn’t put too many people off! But it’s honest. Cathartic.
What is the band’s relationship to playing live? Such a loaded question at the moment…
G: A big thing that brings us all together, outside of writing the music, is that we all… need it. We’re all a bit mental, so it’s catharsis. That’s how we connect with people, it’s how we get our emotions out, it’s how we process how disappointed we are with the state of this country.
D: It’s like half the reason I do music. Being in the studio is brilliant, but you don’t get that connection with people hearing your music. It comes down to being physically close to people, dancing to your music. The only thing that makes it better is that it’s not just us missing out. We’re all plugging away trying to make it work, we just haven’t figured out how to make it work yet.
B: I feel like half a person right now! At a show, you get all your anger and frustration and rage out on the stage and without that, you get all this pent up emotion. So I always feel a bit on edge at the moment. I always feel so nervous just before we go on, I want the ground to swallow me up… But afterwards, I just feel like that’s why I’m here – to play music.
Any live streams planned?
B: We’re actually playing a real life show on the 24th October at Brighton Dome! It’s part of the Live is Alive event and it’s going to be streamed as well. CLT DRP are playing too! It’s socially distanced, so it’s going to be a weird experience. We have 10 minutes to get onstage, play for 20 twenty minutes and then leave the stage.
J: We have SO MUCH equipment as well. Ten minute set up for us is a nightmare! As if a drum kit wasn’t enough, I also have to set up my laptop and a synthesiser, and then Guy also has to set up samplers and a bass.
D: I’m trying to minimise. I have one pedal which does everything.
B: I have my microphone, and I help! I’m a roadie!
Finally, if you could pick anyone to headline Download, who would you pick?
D: Jenny Beth? Would St Vincent work?
J: Some really camp disco!
D: Chelsea Wolfe? I dig Chelsea Wolfe!
G: Or just… Arca.
D: That would be insane. As a headline act. The most savage live show I’ve ever seen. Or Baroness! Skunk Anansie! There are so many!
B: Aw, I’m really angry now.
SO ARE WE. If you want to help the cause, sign our petition here: https://www.change.org/p/get-a-woman-to-headline-download-festival
You can follow LibraLibra on Instagram @libralibramusic and us @dlgrl2022