Laura Imbruglia brings her own brand of pop-rock matched with her clever lyrics ful of wit and humor. She has just released her latest single Why’d you have to kiss me so hard and is currently working on a new album. We caught up with Laura to ask her a few questions.
You’ll be releasing your album early next year, how will it compare to your previous work?
It’s yet to be written, so that is hard to say. I think every release has shown growth as an artist and songwriter, so as long as it feels like a step fwd, I don’t mind which direction I go in. I’m enjoying the electric guitar though, I’m thinking it’ll be fairly electric.
What will the album be called?
I don’t usually decide these things until the album is recorded, but I have tossed around the album title “Depression Glass Enthusiast”. Time will tell if it sticks. I learnt about Depression Glass about a year ago and find it fascinating. You could say I’m somewhat of an enthusiast.
Your last album has a “Mad Magazine” style booklet to it, will there be any interesting theme to your next album?
I’d like to continue down the clever art road I took with the last album. It was very thrilling to me to have such a unique and detailed art concept, and I still feel proud when I flick through the booklet. The only thing that could hinder my chances is money. Also, the fact that people don’t buy physical albums like they used to. It’s a bummer to put all that effort in and then realise that 90% of people don’t buy physical copies, let alone pay for music at all. I made that percentage up.
The album features members of Song, Talons, Jewel & The Falcon, was it hard to get everyone together for the album?
Well I actually only recorded 1 new song so far, so it wasn’t too hard to round up the boys for 2 days of recording. Sam and I flew up from Melbourne and I was in Sydney on tour with Adalita at the time anyway, so it was quite a time-efficient operation. I felt like I deserved a gold star for my time tabling efforts, but being an adult, I got nothing.
What made you pick “Why’d you have to kiss me so hard” as the first single?
It’s the only new song I had ready to record! I’m a very slow writer and not prolific at all. However, that said, I am extremely happy with the single and I think it will still be a stand-out, even after I have written the rest of the album. I think it’s a good 1st single. It represents a progression and a change in sound.
You’ve just had the launch of the single. how did that go?
We did launch shows in Sydney and Melbourne. They went really well. I was actually terrified no one would turn up to the Melbourne show, seeing as I’m new to the city but there was a decent sized crowd in the room and they seemed to genuinely dig the show. In Sydney, I experienced the 1st crowd sing-along in one of my songs which was weird and thrilling. I’m basically Freddie Mercury, I can retire now.
The single is the first record with your current band, is it hard to adjust to having a different line up?
Well I actually have 2 bands at the moment- 1 in Sydney and 1 in Melbourne. I recorded the single with my Sydney band, as they had been playing the song live with me for a while and had worked out parts that were sounding good with the song. Also, it made more sense to use them as the producer Liam Judson is based in Sydney. Although I hadn’t previously recorded with this particular line-up of the band, I have actually been playing live with them for yonks. Stiff (bass) has been in my band since about 2005 and Ben James (drums) started playing with us in 2007. Sam Cross (guitar) joined late last year. I chose to record my last album “The Lighter Side Of…” in Melbourne by myself with local musicians in 2009 as it was more financially and logistically viable. Also, the songs were particularly insular and personal and I felt like it should be more of a solo project for me (a lot of the songs don’t have a full band). So when the new single came around, it was time to involve the long-serving band mates again!
But yes, it is weird to have 2 bands. I feel like I’m cheating on one band when I play shows with the other. I’ll have to scale down at some point, it’s just hard to do.
You recently moved from Sydney to Melbourne, has the change had any impact on how you make your music?
The only real change is that I’ve met new people who play in my band down here (Dave Rose, Chris Baker, Tom Heathcote) and I guess that can subconsciously affect the way you approach music. They’re really talented guys and it’s always fun to make new friends, especially when they play good music too.
Your music has covered various styles, do you plan out how you want a song to sound or do you work it out as you go?
I work it out as I go. I don’t really have a concept before I start writing. I just fumble around on the guitar singing gibberish until I get a vocal melody i like and then I try to fancy up the guitar bit if I can be bothered. It sometimes works in a different order, like I might come up with a guitar part I like and work from there. The genre and how it will sound with the band doesn’t really enter my brain until the song is well on its way to being fully formed.
Your songs often quite witty, where do you usually get the inspiration for your lyrics?
I don’t know, I guess my internal conversations with myself. Sometimes a line will come to me and I’ll try and find a way to work it in somewhere. I find it much easier to write lyrics when I’m going through turmoil. Turmoil has been my main inspiration. Lately it’s a struggle. Let’s see- I just negotiated my way from full-time down to part time work and still got a raise. Oh and there are lovely broad beans growing in my garden next to the mint and rosemary. See, it’s very ordinary subject matter, isn’t it?
What was it like touring with the Eels?
It was great touring with The Eels. I actually got to tour with them twice- once in 2003 and then again last year. To be honest, the 2003 tour was a lot more fun for me. I was really young and just bamboozled by how cool the whole thing was. Also, they gave me heaps of attention cos I was the little kid backstage. These days I’m so jaded, I saw it with more jade-coloured glasses. Still very fun though, don’t get me wrong. Me and Stiff were practicing a song backstage in the dressing room with the door closed and when we finished, they all applauded and cheered from outside the room. Haha, it was great.
Where did the idea of the cartoon of you doing surgery come from?
My weird brain. I was just day dreaming one day and it popped into my head. I can justify it though! The album is heart break themed, you see. And as a writer, I deal with things that trouble me by putting everything out into song. The album is like a heart surgery of sorts. You put all your hurt into the songs and it makes you feel better. And one of the songs references an axlotl. So that’s why I’m doing heart surgery on an axlotl. Most of my album art involves in-jokes. If you get them, it’s a thrill but most people just feel confused. I’m ok with that.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Not really. I listen to the songs so much when they’re being mixed and mastered that I lose perspective. It takes me a while to get to the point where I can listen to them as if they were someone else’s songs. Sometimes when I do, I am pleasantly surprised.
What music do you listen to?
Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, The Carpenters, Gram Parsons, lots of old country…lately I’ve been checking out Randy Newman and spinning some Motown Compilations and Dungen’s “4” album…
Check out Laura’s website to find out more.