On the 12th of February I sat down with Lavrence to discuss then-upcoming single “My Space”, as well as other music stuff.
It was a pleasant conversation.
Ez: Hello Lawrence!
Lavrence: Hey. It’s Lavrence.
Ez: Lavrence. So it is Lavrence.
Ez: Okay. Alright. ‘Cause I was gonna ask if it was some sort of reference to the Latin V, or…
Lavrence: Well my middle name’s Laurence, and that was taken. Then I did the ‘v’ to work around that. Then I started liking Lavrence ’cause it’s more visual.
Ez: Okay. That makes sense.
So Lavrence; you make music.
Ez: What kind of music do you make?
Lavrence: I make kind of eighties-via-2008 throwback alt. pop songs, I’d say.
Ez: And how long have you been doing this for?
Lavrence: Making music?
Well I grew up… early on I was getting singing, dancing and acting training as a kid. Writing songs started happening around nineteen.
Ez: So you’ve been making music for a while then?
Lavrence: Years and years and years.
Ez: Years and years and years.
Ez: Okay. And you make throwback music.
Lavrence: I wouldn’t even call it throwback music. It’s just very nuanced. I’ve put everything I like into my sound.
Ez: So would you say then that there’s a heavy point of reference for your music?
Lavrence: I’d go more for vibe for the music that I’m putting out at the moment. It’s very much inspired by when I first started going out and exploring Sydney nightlife around 2008.
So that’s why people kind of think my music is eighties… or it has eighties references, but it’s really because there was an eighties revival in 2008. That’s what people are really hearing.
But I also love the more queer-leaning artists that came out of the eighties as well, like Bowie and Prince. I think that was important for people like me to exist semi-comfortably in this time.
Ez: So that’s what you’re heavily influenced by. At least at the moment.
Ez: I’ve found that there’s two songs that you have out thus far, so please correct me if I’m wrong.
I can’t remember what the first one is called.
Ez: And then you’ve got “My Space”.
Ez: Not “Myspace”.
Lavrence: “My ‘space’ Space”.
Ez: But this is not the first music you’ve made.
Lavrence: No. I had different evolutions over the years.
Ez: So the music that you’re making now; Would you say it’s lighter than what you made in the past?
Lavrence: Definitely. I think when I first started making music I was not in the best place mentally, and obviously music’s very cathartic and that’s what I was doing at the time. Then there was a time where I did a lot of self work, actually wanted to deal with the shit instead of brushing it under the carpet.
So I was having more fun.
Ez: Now, “My Space”; That hasn’t officially been released yet?
Lavrence: It comes out on Valentine’s day.
Ez: Okay. Um, is this leading up to anything?
Lavrence: Do you know what? I’m just having fun releasing cute singles that I like.
Ez: So you’re not aiming for an EP or album release at some point?
Lavrence: For some reason the idea of an EP bores me at the moment. I can’t explain why. I just want to keep making music, having fun and releasing songs that I love. At the moment.
Who knows what’s gonna happen?
Ez: So would it be fair to say then that your modus operandi is to just make focus tracks, essentially?
Lavrence: Yeah. Focus tracks. Stuff I can kind of live in. Every few months or whenever I release.
It’s just fun.
Ez: And is this leading up to gigs then?
Lavrence: I’m already performing a bit at the moment.
Ez: So how… well then obviously you have more than two songs.
Lavrence: Yep. I’ve got a bunch.
I work with producer DJ Bobby Gray and we’re always making music, playing around and dancing in hired out spaces.
Ez: So how then does your music translate live?
Lavrence: What do you mean?
Ez: In a live setting versus the recorded.
Lavrence: It’s quite similar. Every show that we do, we kind of tailor it to that show. We do like a specific mix and we throw in different instrumentals and things depending on where I’m playing.
So we kind use every show as an opportunity to create a little production.
Ez: So the songs; do they then kind of get a different life then, because it’s not so much… well with recording it’s a snapshot, right?
Ez: And the way that it ends up coming out is the way it’s captured, whereas with the live setting, you have ways to move things around and as you said, tailor it a bit.
Lavrence: Well the songs themselves stay quite similar, but I work a lot with choreography and things like that so that definitely changes the vibe of the song.
Movement always changes a song ’cause your picking up accents in the music with your body and that brings out certain elements that you wouldn’t necessarily always hear from just listening to the track with your earphones, you know.
Ez: Would that then be fair to say that your music is body music, or?
Lavrence: Um… no, I think at first it can sound quite like shallow, but I think when you understand my perspective, I think you can read into it a bit more. But you can get what you want out of it.
Ez: Okay. So it’s multi-faceted then.
Lavrence: Yep. And I don’t mind which facet you choose (laughter).
Ez: (Laughter) So then, in regards to creating your music in general:
What is your creative process? Do you work [it] out from just fiddling around or do you sit down and knock things out?
Lavrence: So Bobby and I… whatever space that we find ourselves in, he’ll start throwing things together. I’ll have a pen and paper, or my phone, start kind of humming along to what he’s throwing together.
We’ve already established a palette that we both love. That’s kind of what brought us together ’cause sonically we get off on the same stuff.
So he’ll kind of like put in the Lavrence sounds that he knows I love and I’ll be dancing around, humming and sometimes getting the melodies formed. They can be hum tracks and we kind of separate. I’ll solidify the lyrics and when we get back together we just demo it.
And then we choose the ones we love. Finish those.
Ez: Then, so, it is kind of a jamming-type thing?
Lavrence: Yeah! Yeah, kind of. We definitely have a lot of fun making the music.
We make music that inspires me to dance. When we go together we want to make something that we both love.
So yeah. If it’s fun, I usually ride on it.
Ez: So you said that you’re essentially inspired by music that was inspired by the eighties when the throwback stuff started to set in.
In order for music to grow, do you think it’s fair that a lot of it should just look back all the time, or do you think it should be one foot in both directions, or?
Lavrence: I think that every artist’s so different.
There’s artists out there [that] do anything. There’s artists that revolutionise sound. There’s artists that drive political messages. There’s artists that reinterpret sounds. We’re not short of artists that do all the things, you know? So I think that we’ve got all of that covered.
We’ll always be pushing forward. Even me as a queer pop singer. My confidence and how sure of myself can be seen as [pushing forward] because of having no shame seems to be confusing for a lot of people.
Ez: Why do you think that is?
Lavrence: I don’t know.
Well I think everyone has a lot of shame.
Actually a lot of my music’s about not having shame.
Ez: Fair enough, fair enough.
In that case, let me ask you, because at least in the early nineties, a lot of big hits in the queer scene – songs like “It’s Raining Men”, “I will survive” and whatnot – Do you think [that] despite their cheesy nature, [they became anthems] because they were songs that kind of had no shame and were more life-affirming?
Lavrence: Yeah. I think what makes a queer anthem so powerful is that somehow that queer artist has managed to break free of what is a lot of systematic oppression and they’ve somehow managed to remove that shame placed on them since birth and still managed to smile and have a good time.
That’s what makes a great queer anthem. I don’t even think it’s the beat or the music itself. It’s just they’ve somehow managed to love themselves in that moment enough to be confident and sing and perform in that way.
Ez: Now bringing it back to your music, “Shine” has a film clip?
Lavrence: Yeah, a lyric video.
Ez: Was it shot in Centennial Parklands?
Lavrence: We kind of drive around Sydney. Bit of the inner west. Centennial Park which I love. I’m obsessed with Centennial Park. Did a lot of meditation there for the year that Bobby and I were making a lot of music. It brings me good feelings.
Ez: Tell us about the film clip, and what were you setting out to do.
Lavrence: There wasn’t a huge intent behind it really. I just wanted to look cute and dance and wear cute outfits, and that’s it really.
Ez: So just to have fun.
Lavrence: Have fun. Yeah.
Ez: So seeing as you’ve been exploring the club scene for a while, obviously you’d have a fairly large perspective on that and how your music fits into that. In what kind of niche do you think your music fills in the club scene?
Lavrence: Well I mainly perform in queer spaces which I love and I love performing for my community so much, so I guess if you want to call that a niche, you can call it a niche. I [don’t] think it’s gonna be a niche forever.
But yeah. For now, if you wanna call it that, then I guess that’s my niche.
Ez: Well then, now that I think about it, it’s kind of weird because Sydney has a very strong queer community in Australia. But most often it’s thought about in the city it’s mostly Oxford Street and parts of Darlinghurst as well as far as I’m aware.
Lavrence: Yeah. There’s a slight disparity between what some people think is the gay scene and queer scene. Just in terms of a certain level of conservatism, but I love both.
Ez: I didn’t actually realise that.
So even though it’s a fairly large and diverse community, is there a reason why it appears so concentrated to such small areas? Is it maybe just ’cause it’s not really often talked about enough thing?
Lavrence: I think it’s because we have to create the safe spaces for ourselves, so when they’re created it’s quite obvious.
It still can be quite scary, being queer and in public, so we bound together and form places where we celebrate each other.
Ez: Fair enough. That makes sense.
So, each song that you craft… is there still a commonality between them sound-wise?
Lavrence: Yeah. The songs that I’m putting out at the moment were created almost in a chapter… a chunk of my life, and in that chunk I found a lot of happiness. I’m putting out now what made me happy then.
But we’re always making music.
Ez: And over time do you think that sound will evolve and change?
Lavrence: I hope so. I love evolution and change. Especially when it’s natural.
Ez: In regards to lyrics, how do you approach lyrics? Do you sit down and slowly work them out?
Lavrence: No. I don’t think about it. Whatever comes to mind I write down.
Ez: So you based on stream-of-consciousness.
Lavrence: Yeah. Definitely.
Ez: And from there, if if fits the music, do you [work on it] more?
Lavrence: Generally it just comes. I write it down. A lot of the time it comes with a melody that I like. Every now and then I’ll change a word if I think it could be better. Do you know what I mean? I’ll change a few words here and there, but generally I like to just almost watch myself write instead of try too hard.
Ez: Well, I’ve got no questions left to ask, so is there anything else you want to add?
Lavrence: So, “My Space” is a song that could be considered cheesy. That’s intentional. Basically, I think a lot of our generation sees love and vulnerability as cheesy, but I think that comes form a lot of fear. I think it’s so easy to kind of put up these walls and act despondent. We can be somewhat of a despondent generation. Quite apathetic.
“My Space” started more of an aggressive, fuck you song, and then I got so over myself [feeding] that energy and I was like “No, you know really is corny? Pretending you don’t have emotions”. So I was like “I’m gonna just be like a human being and say I have emotions and I want connection”.
At first the old me would’ve thought that was cheesy but the new me thinks the cheesiest thing is pretending that you’re numb all the time. That just to me is so corny.
Ez: Well, thank you very much for your time.
Lavrence: Thank you.
Ez: The single comes out on the 14th, which I unfortunately doubt I will have this out in time for.
Lavrence: That’s okay.
Ez: But we’ll definitely have it for posterity.
Lavrence: Spread the love anyway!
Ez: No worries, will do. But thank you for your time.
Lavrence: Thank you.
Both “Shine” and “My Space” are out now.