New Zealand synth-pop performer Ladyhawke graced the stage of U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C. this weekend, along with New York synth duo Psychic Twin. With a modest start of maybe ten people, the room later filled with die-hard fans singing along.
Ladyhawke’s stated goal of making radio-friendly hits has been met for the third time with Wild Things, her latest release since Anxiety in 2011. In the past five years, her writing has grown more intimate and a little darker. One is bound to take a few punches in that time, and we as fans get to listen and relate. We sat down before the show to chat a little bit about the new record and her journey thus far.
You’ve really changed since the first album. You’ve gotten more intimate.
Ladyhawke: This is my third record now. I think on my first album I was a bit more naive – quite excitable and it was more an influence on my sleep. By the time it came to my second record, I was tired and exhausted, jaded and depressed, you know all those things. My songwriting got a bit darker, and by my third record I completely changed once again and become more confident in the studio and more relaxed as a songwriter, and just more confident in myself as a person.
It seems you jumped quickly into the business– from playing early on to immediately getting a deal.
L: I wouldn’t say it happened immediately because I’ve been playing music for a long time. I was in a band in Australia for a few years called Teenager with Nick Littlemore from Empire of the Sun, and while I was doing that I started doing Ladyhawke just on my own, doing demo and song. It just sort of grew from there. I had a MySpace page and put up demos there. That was around 2006. I had a publishing deal I signed with a previous band and they were really excited about the music I was making, so I ended up going to London and doing loads of writing sessions. The first record sort of went under the radar when “Dusk ’till Dawn” came out. It wasn’t until “My Delirium” that it really took off, but I toured the album a year before it was released in Europe and the UK.
The video for “My Delirium” was so cool. It was very representative of the time, how music was changing and how videos were being filmed. Did you have a big hand in it?
L: Yeah I was really stoked with that one. I was an intense video to make. All the animation was done by my friend Sarah Larnach and she does all my album and single artwork. She did my first and second album covers. I’ve always kept the same team.
I hear that a lot from bands. They tend not to bring in outsiders unless they absolutely have to. They tend to stick to the same core group.
L: Yeah, I love having the same people, the same crew. And they know you inside and out as well! I don’t need to worry about.. if I don’t feel good I don’t need to fake happiness. You know, when you don’t know someone very well you have to put on a face.
I was listening to “Gone Gone Gone” recently. Did you write it well before Anxiety?
L: Everything on that record I wrote all in the same go. I worked in the south of France with this guy called Pascal Gabriel and we were quite isolated so once I was there, I was there. We just wrote and recorded straight through. I think that was the last one I wrote for the album, and it ended being the last track as well.
Grab Ladyhawke’s new album, Wild Things, out now via Polyvinyl.