Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lola Colt; Evolving and Exploring.

Photo by Ruth Nitkiewicz.

Described by as sounding like 'Sergio Leone meets the Velvet Underground covering Johnny Cash with Patti Smith and Siouxsie Sioux on vocals' six piece band Lola Colt formed in 2009. Their first album 'Away From The Water' was released in 2014 to enthusiastic reviews. Aligned by some with the neo-psychedelic scene it seemed a good idea to find out more about them. Matt and Gun kindly agreed to an interview.

Can you give us an overview of Lola Colt? Your first album, 'Away from the Water', was released in October 2014 wasn't it- how long had you been together beforehand? Had any of you collaborated previously?
MATT: We released Away From The Water on the 27th October 2014. Exactly five years earlier, during a particularly spiteful Tuesday night downpour I first met Gun in a pub in East London. We quickly discovered our freakishly similar taste in music, and sometime thereafter began writing together. The initial idea being to compose a film score for an imaginary movie. Our movie. That we may or may not subsequently attempt to make. It was a year or so later that we first discussed forming a band and playing music live. We met different people along the way and eventually became the six-piece you see/hear today. 
I think your name is taken from an old Western? Do you draw on a wide, eclectic range of art forms for inspiration and influences?
MATT: Our namesake is a somewhat obscure 60s spaghetti western staring a black female showgirl-turned-gunslinger. Film has always played a roll in driving us to create. Imagining scenes, projecting our own lives into some grander, more elaborate plot. It's about exploring ourselves and trying to conjure up a sound track for our own lives, as a way to try and make sense of it all. Any form of art or literature can work the same. Breath it in, filter it down through your own being, let it affect you, manipulate it to your own ends and then release it back out into the night, a new beast with new wings - your own warped response. Will it be good or evil? Impossible to know, just move on. 

Did the idea for Lola Colt's music gradually emerge or did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to create from the off?
MATT: We knew exactly in the beginning. Clear as the moon. Gun and I would sit up all night drinking wine, discussing what the creature should and shouldn't be. How it would smell, what it look like etc. We'd draw things and scribble frantically on paper while listening to our favourite records and endlessly critiquing them. We really were obsessive about it back then and I think that's why we're able to be so free when we're writing now, because we have this common grounding, like an understood language that we can always fall back on. The band that exists today writes quite differently, and the music has spiralled out of control into something we'd never have imagined in those early days. More people have a say in shaping it but it's always fine when you truly understand your roots.
Do you prefer the studio or playing live-which context suits your music best or do the different situations emphasise different aspects?
GUN: We like playing wild, collecting blue marks from tambouring, and we're quite ready for this again now that we've been tucked away for so long recording. After having toured the last album, we needed to regrow our limbs and be zen in our studio. There's a lot of energy that flows from the live experience into the studio and vice versa. 

Your music has been compared to a wide range of bands, and some people have associated you with the psych scene. How would you describe your sound?
MATT: People will always try to compare music with reference to something they already understand, but to us our sound is just the culmination of these particular six individual's unique experiences in life, channeled through the kind of sounds we feel represent them and brought together in ways we feel give them a new life. As for the Psych scene, it's an interesting development. It's something that has grown up with us as a band. Our association with it is born out of being part of something that we could define, rather than something that would define us. It's the only 'genre' broad enough to afford us total creative freedom. We're happy to sit in that circle if people need somewhere to find us. They're universally good people forging their own camp - kings and queens of the underground all.

Your second album is due out in 2016.  How did the creative process compare with the first album?
MATT: In some ways it was very similar, and others utterly different. Writing for us doesn't follow a predictable path anymore, it's evolving - or rather we are twisting it - constantly. Everything still goes through many iterations, versions, explorations - writing and rewriting to a point where an idea can be unrecognisable from the initial spark. That has remained the same. The main difference is that the new album is written very much in response to the first one. By which I mean, in a way we are now more influenced by ourselves - our past selves - than anyone/anything else. Because we're trying to push what we've done further than before. Build on it. Expand on some themes, destroy others. React to ourselves and try to be true to our own imaginings. It's a liberating feeling that's new to us
Does any one person write the lyrics, what sort of subjects have your songs covered? 
MATT: Gun writes all the lyrics, but is protective over their exact meanings. The language is always disguised, sometimes with a thin veil, sometimes with all her might, but they're all there, written on the record sleeve waiting for anyone brave enough to dive in.
I first came across you at Hackney Wonderland in 2014-what is it like playing festivals-where a lot of people may not be familiar with you-compared to your 'own' gigs? At Hackney Wonderland the venue seemed to fill up for you!
GUN: Hackney is a wonderland. Festivals are unpredictable; as a band you are less in control of what you get, the sounds blow with the wind and the audience you meet. We are not the easiest band to tumble into I think, as there is so much going on, but so far we have had nothing but good vibrations. And backstage you meet lots of other bands. They are usually nice to us.
What bands and other figures have influenced you as a band and individuals?
MATT: I don't know that I could single anyone out for this accolade, it's more of a constant stream of discovery. Anyone that's focused on creating rather than following. Anyone that's working tirelessly to see the world through their own eyes and vomit out chunks of beautiful, unique, honest to their own weird souls art. Those people. And Bill Murray.  

Andy von Pip (2013) 'Views From a Gun-Lola Colt Interview'

No comments:

Post a Comment