She Makes War… with Mookychick. Interview!
From the vaults: interview with Laura Kidd following the She Makes War tour in Spring 2015
Laura Kidd, She Makes War creatrix and coiner of gloom pop, talks to Mookychick about music, community, the personal and political. She’s supported Siouxsie Sioux at Meltdown, played bass with Tricky, and her third album, Direction of Travel, was successfully crowdfunded via PledgeMusic. Kidd is multi-talented and doing great…
You’ve called your music style ‘Gloom Pop’ and said on your first album that you “can’t write happy songs”. Where does your love of the minor chord hark from?
I was exposed to Dolly Parton as a child and I distinctly remember watching a live concert of hers on TV – I was transfixed. She writes such evocative songs with a constant melancholy undercurrent, I love them. I also blame The Beatles’ White Album.
You’ve been involved in music for years! What got you started?
I was obsessed with music so early in life that I’m sure it must be genetic. My great grandmother on my Irish side was a pianist, playing live to silent movies – I have her to thank, I reckon. I also have to thank my first teacher, June Banks, for seeing the potential in me and drawing it out by teaching me how to read music, sing and play the recorder alongside reading books in infant school.
You’ve played collaboratively before. What are the perks and downers of the solo music life?
The perks include always being available for rehearsals and gigs, not having to keep anyone else happy or fed and being in charge all the time.
The downsides: having to do all the work myself.
Photo: Laura Ward
You previously successfully crowdfunded your third album and keep in touch regularly with your fans. Is having a strong relationship with your audience important to you?
It’s extremely important to me. It feels natural though – I was using Twitter for three years before my first album came out and I was just hanging out chatting to people, so it’s still about being interested in other people rather than trying to sell them things. I love that I can keep in contact with people who come to my shows so easily, it makes the whole thing a lot more meaningful because I genuinely am interested in them as fellow humans.
The songs seem a mix of personal and political. How do you go about writing?
I come up with a lot of guitar riffs, chord progressions, vocal melodies and lyrical snippets that I record on my phone and save in a folder of doom marked “riffs for a rainy day”. I listen to these obsessively for some time then pick the ones that stand out the most to me and work them up in to proper songs. That’s the way I’ve done things so far, but I want to shake things up a bit now that Direction Of Travel is almost finished and keep writing regularly instead of letting it all build up too much. I want to get better at finishing things in the moment.
You’ve been promoting your own gigs for a while…
I started putting on my own shows when I lived in London because it seemed impossible to get on a bill that made sense, in a venue where the audience would feel welcome and the bands would be treated fairly. I had such a great response to my Breakfast With Apollo community and collaboration nights there that when I moved to Bristol I continued them. It was a good way to get to know my new city’s venues and build an audience here while going back regularly to visit my existing fans in London. It’s quite a lot of work, yes, but over time it’s got a lot easier. On my UK tour in March/April I’m self-promoting 9 of the gigs, which means hiring the venues, booking all the support bands and trying to get people to come along and watch.
Your work ethic seems relentless. How do you unwind?
I love Netflix, going to the cinema and taking long walks with my little dog. I recently started going out for Sunday lunches in Bristol too, that’s a lovely treat.
Your third album is called ‘Direction of Travel’. Which way are you headed?