We speak with Law Holt about how she got started making music, her influences and her forthcoming debut album 'City'.
Tell us when you started making music.
I've been writing and singing since I was 16. I'd find decent producers on Myspace, ask them for beats, record over them and then send the cassette back in a jiffy bag first-class. That was all a trial run though. It was about making inventive pop music and that of course started with "Hustle" about three years ago in the Soulpunk basement.
It's hard to fit your sound into any one genre, possibly pop. What are your thoughts on modern day pop music?
The mainstream stuff stinks of spunk, nepotism and performing-arts schools. Everyone seems absurdly comfortable with themselves. But we're at an end of days culmination aren't we? Bands who split up 5 years ago are reuniting and people are getting sued for stealing ideas. There are some people, Young Fathers & Callum Easter, who are doing really inventive stuff that defies genre. It's the music people will eventually catch up to. But to delve here means to take a real interest in music and its murky underworld and most people would rather let Spotify make their playlists for them.
What have been your biggest musical (and non musical) influences on your sound?
A jazz pianist in Liverpool called Dave Fishel heard my voice and said I had 'more inside of me than most people.' He versed me in Billie Holiday and Esther Philips. We'd go out playing jazz songs and I'd pin a Claire's Accessories synthetic lily into my natty fro. We made a killing playing mediocre weddings. In terms of my turntable, listening to James Cleveland just a month back and hearing that grit that carries all good gospel music. And then there's Lee Perry's assertion that he can feel the spirit working in his music when the right vibrations are all in place. He believes in his piss and he believes in his shit. And so do I.
You took a break for a while because of an attack on a bus in Leith, what provoked the attack and how did you bounce back?
I wasn't on a break. I still had to hold down a day job. I was recording at night. I walked, talked, eat and slept in wayfarers for three months after my operation. A psychologist who was on the bus at the time said my attacker showed signs of a paranoid schizophrenic. She saw the devil in me. If she was right, hopefully this she devil made her way into my music because 'Devil woman' by Charles Mingus is one of the most beautiful ways to spend ten minutes.
The world seems to be going mad right now, do you feel music and art can still bring people together, if so, how?
It's getting harder and harder to believe that a love of music can counteract the influence of rats like Farage and Boris Johnson. But it can solidify a good person's belief in diversity and consciousness. Multiculturalism is the only thing that makes living in this shit hole worthwhile. I've spent the last few weeks listening to "Di Great Insohreckshan" by Linton Kwesi Johnson. I encourage you to do the same.
Tell us more about your debut album 'City'.
City is an urban love affair. It's saying "my sick heart is part of an epidemic." We recorded and wrote the album in four days, two of them in the Edinburgh Soulpunk basement, where the dust had barely settled after Young Fathers ran riot in there recording their last album. We laid down the other half in a rehearsal room off the Holloway road. The guy working there moved the metal band next door so we could get enough quiet.
'Spit' was recently released from the album, it's quite out there in terms of alt-pop - what is the track about?
Spit is walking in on yourself when you've been staring at your iphone so long that you notice you missed the sun going down. Spitting is underrated. I haven't got time for anybody who stares on the tube. Kiss your teeth at them, spit, this is my culture and you're lucky I brought it here. Spit on a stranger.
Finally, what are your plans after the album?
I've got some more pop songs in the bank and I'll release them soon. I'll also be playing everywhere I can. The Soho sisters and I will be out singing in harmony and bathed in blood red light.
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