“I feel like at the base of it all I’m just a fuckin’ rock singer…”
While on tour through Europe, musician LP spoke with us from Germany about their most recent album, Heart to Mouth, as well as those elusive moments away from it all, then in the thick of it all and what’s next. Plus, what better timing than pride month to release an official video animated by a fan for the song, Shaken. The song echoes some of the agonizing emotions surrounding lost love.
Before delving into the candid interview I had with LP below, take a look at their new video, Shaken…
I often wonder about an artist’s surroundings as they go through interviews and random conversations with strangers on the phone. For example, I haven’t been to Europe yet so I’m imagining all kinds of cool (but cliche, I’m sure) scenarios in my head of where LP is hanging out between shows and what the weather’s like in Germany.
Of course I ask because it just seems that everything they do is so powerful. Whether writing for other artists like, oh, you know Cher and Rihanna and Christina Aguilera, to then focusing on their own words and presenting them in such a powerful way, I honestly just want to understand how it all happens. Even if it’s just having a few minutes of conversation over a wireless network. As a music journalist, for me, this is a whole other dimension of rock and roll.
As quickly as I’m connected over the phone with LP I ask about location and weather and they tell me that in the area they’re connecting from it’s rainy and in the 50s, a little cooler than they expected. It’s the same in Chicago at the time. And boom. Were best friends (in my head).
ST: You’re on tour with this new album, Heart to Mouth, but I’ve read in some interviews that you’ve already been working on new songs. You have almost half a dozen songs! I would like to know the process you go through after such a hectic tour. Do you rest after your tour? Do you go straight into the studio? What’s that like?
LP: I like to continue working and you know I have to stay in Europe now because at the end of the tour I have a private gig in Cypress and it’s after, like four days after this tour stops. But there’s not enough time to go home or go on vacation somewhere and just chill. So I thought, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go to a nice place and start recording.’
Being on tour and playing shows and everything is just very inspiring, sometimes. And I feel inspired and I haven’t in a long time, you know? You know, I think being a writer, only, is, to me, a much harder thing. Because there’s no… there’s not a lot of glory, really, except when you get the cut, or whatever, and you know that that’s how the song starts spreading. Beyond that you’re like constantly, constantly writing. Really there’s no reward in a way, as far as I experienced. But when you’re writing and then performing, the performance is the reward. And admittedly you get to see the fruits of your labor so it’s an inspiring time.
I haven’t really had to write that much so I feel kind of ready. And that’s a really nice feeling, you know. And I try to honor that because I know, I really know the feeling of being pushed to write when you’re just like, ugh, I don’t have a thought in my fucking head.
Do you ever, with not having a thought in your head, well, do you deal with writer’s block at all or do you have bouts of “I can’t, I just can’t?”
I don’t really believe in writer’s block, I have to say. I refuse to believe in it, I mean, I know it’s something but I kinda feel like, again, it’s from being a writer only. There is no time for writer’s block. The people who hire you for a big session don’t wanna hear that from a writer.
LP goes on to explain that in that situation it’s okay for an artist to walk into a studio and be nonchalant about their time and not wanting to work or even having the desire to work. For writers, they explain, you get a “fuck you, come up with something.” So I kinda have that drilled into my head.
Have you ever gone back to edit something based on the audience’s reaction or the reaction of those around you?
Hmm. No, not really. I mean I will think to myself while I’m writing, ‘Oh the audience will like that,’ sometimes. I think with this album, and with the set from the last tour to this, and doing big shows, I felt like I wanted big, lively songs. You know, it’s difficult to do a shit ton of ballad-y or chill, mid-tempo songs when you’re playing for thousands of people. It feels a little bit slow. So, I think I let it rip to more rockers.
Despite the style that’s attributed to you, maybe it’s correct, pop and rock, I don’t know but I feel that you’re so rock and roll in your pop.
Me too! Thank you for saying that. I appreciate that. I feel like at the base of it all I’m just a fuckin’ rock singer, you know what I mean? For real.
For the song Girls Go Wild, LP, from the East Coast, went to the desert with a producer and band mates. Once they were out there, in Joshua Tree, LP began to reminisce about the women they’d met in their life. They thought about having traveled to California after a woman and all the repercussions that came from that decision. LP later learned about another woman who’d done the same, and perhaps so many others, and how all of them shared the experience of heading to California wanting to change their lives.
LP thought about the ups and downs of that experience and that’s how the song began. They said, “I was having those long, dark nights wondering WTF happened. But, I never regret coming out to California because California in itself is a muse for me.”
In 2001, their first album Heart-Shaped Scar, marked a great debut for the singer as soon thereafter they were signed to a record label where a single off their sophomore album, Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol, was featured on a television series. They later began to write songs for other artists, eventually relocating to the west coast.
The EP Into the Wild: Live at EastWest Studios (2012) was LP’s first major label release and that was followed up with several EP and album releases in between.
Off LP’s latest creation titled Heart to Mouth (2018), there was an almost instantaneous draw to LP’s song, When I’m Over You. The intro is a tease. It’s a funky and provocative start to the way it ultimately precipitates with passion and fury into a rally cry if ever I heard one. Before they explode into the powerful chorus, they reflect, “Cuz I can see the shape shift / And I feel the weight lift.” And then the power of that heartfelt chorus explodes in your soul and begs you to repeat, your fist pounding over your heart… “Someday someday / Some way some way, When I’m over you,” they bellow magnificently.
In its entirety, Heart to Mouth, is a gutsy whirlwind of angst and joy, of suffering and relief, of crumbling like sand in the wind to then rise again like Drogon over King’s Landing.
It’s also when you realize you’re healing despite the pain.
LP has been confirmed to play Auditorio Blackberry in Mexico City in October, this after Mexican fans petitioned for a performance. Both shows sold out in just a few minutes.