We catch-up with Lara Smiles ahead of her performance at Balcony Festival this weekend, Saturday May 9th – kicking-off at 1pm
Thanks for playing our stage at Balcony festival this weekend, raising money for the Trussell Trust.. Can you tell us more about the charity?
Trussell Trust is an amazing charity. Their mission is to end hunger and poverty in the UK.
You released the track earlier this year, ‘And It Hurts,’ – tell us more about the track? The Pearl Harts are featured in the video, how did that come about?
I wrote the song a couple of years ago now, the idea came from a couple I knew who were going through a difficult break-up so I decided to write a song about it. The song is about being in an unhappy relationship, going through the process of denying it’s not working and beginning to accept it – And It Hurts.
I’ve known The Pearl Harts for a long time, we’re best mates, we’ve played in a band together, The Berrettas and that’s how we met, I thought they’d suit the track because it’s got a punk, rock’n’roll vibe to it, I was really excited to have them featured on it!
How are you surviving lockdown? Any survival tips?
I’m good, thanks for asking. I’m having good days and bad days like everyone else it seems. I try and keep to a routine and keep busy which helps me get through the tougher days.
How has everything changed? Have plans been altered due to Covid-19?
Everything has changed for me, I had the whole year planned-out with tours and festival gigs so it’s really sad that they are delayed until the end of this year and next for now. We were really looking forward to playing at the Alt. Escape again – however delayed until 2021 now.
Listening to the album, All For You, there are some great songs. Where do you derive your inspiration – what kind of themes are running through your work?
Thanks, I’m glad you like the songs. I get my inspiration from lots of life experiences, and sometimes I like to make up stories and poems and turn them into a song. Also some of my songs are philosophical, I like asking deep questions about life, like in ‘Dictate Peace’ about life’s contradictions and making peace with ourselves to translate to a wider society. ‘Change The World,‘ especially looks at global warning. I wouldn’t say I had any themes in particular running through the album as I try and write about different subjects but if you listen carefully with some of my lyrics they can be ambiguous, sometimes political as well.
In your music there is a real mix of electronics and guitar? How did this come about, were there different stages that brought you to this moment?
I’ve always been into electronic music from The Eurythmics to Prodigy. I used to go to raves as a teenager and at the same time I went to rock and pop concerts – so I think that’s where the idea for combining the two genres came from. Also being inspired by the likes of Muse and LCD Soundsystem probably had an influence on me too. I think I then thought ‘why should I be pigeon-holed, why not mix both genres’. I’ve always enjoyed mixing genres, I get bored with one obvious style of music sometimes so I try and go a bit unpredictable as much as I can to make it more interesting for myself and the listeners.
Who are your strongest influences, musically and otherwise?
I have so many! But artists that spring to mind are Karen ‘O’, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Paul Mcartney, LCD Soundsystem and Muse.
What are the essential ingredients to creating the perfect sound?
I think it starts with writing a good song and then the sound should be easy to figure-out. Right now a little distortion and delay on the guitar, is my main obsession at the moment.
What else do you have coming-up next?
I’ve got a new video coming out soon, it’s a song from the next aIbum, called Oh How, it’s a nice chilled song.
I’m currently writing my second album and recording demos for it at the moment. I’m excited to be featuring Ian Matthews – Kasabian’s drummer.
I’m also writing some songs with a great band called The Egg and I have just started a new dance project with my friend who sings and DJ’s so I’ve got lots to work on at the moment.
I’ve also been Tie-Dying my Lara Smiles T-shirts so if you want one let me know!
What are you looking forward to the most post-lockdown?
Hugging my friends and family and going for a pint at my local pub.
Who else do you recommend from this weekend’s Balcony Festival?
I’ve had a look at the other bands, they all sound cool! I love the sound of Nadia Sheikh and Keel Her. We played with Hurtling a few months ago and they were great too!
Catch Lara Smiles at Balcony Festival, this Saturday @ 1-5pm