Lea Lea - Drum Of Death
We’re loving Drum of Death, what a huge sound, is that a sign of what the whole EP is like?
The dynamics vary but the whole EP is pretty energetic; in the studio I really wanted to create that vibe of watching a live band rock out on stage and allow those natural live performance elements (feedback, no overdubs) to stay in the recording. I think it really brought life to the EP as a whole.
How would you describe your sound and your philosophy/attitude?
The approach I apply to my music and life as a whole is do what makes you happy, you can’t allow fear to rule decisions. It might sound super simple but I think it’s a lot harder in practice. At first I wondered if changing sounds from my first album (Electronic) to this EP (Rock/Pop) was a bad idea - genre shifting can be considered risky. I decided to do what I wanted anyway as changing it up was what would make me happy, no regrets!
Your voice is really distinctive, has it always been like that or have you developed your style?
I think my voice is the product of a lot of Tequila drinking and late nights! My responsible side would also add that I’ve been inspired by an array of singers also; from Stevie Nicks to Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Robert Plant, Pavarotti, Otis Redding, Brody Dalle and so many more. I think the one thing they all have in common is a distinct voice and a ton of character - that’s definitely something I’ve been aiming for.
How do you write your songs, from first steps through to demo-ing?
There’s no real linear direction when I write songs; when I’m writing for others you have to consider other team members co-writing so in that instance there’s definitely not a specific way. I write a lot of my songs with song writer and business partner Kim Garrett and a lot of what we write about is based on our travels and stories, we usually head to a bar to lyrically formulate our song ideas. Generally speaking, writing for myself I’ll either have lyrics to begin with or a melody. From there I’ll organise the demo and put together a rough production; I’ll then enlist the team who’ll then transform my sketchy bass lines and drum beats into something more solid.
What music gear do you use and why?
Currently I’m studying sound engineering and using Pro Tools to record - I’ve always been interested in understanding the science behind sound. I’ve got a little home studio that includes a piano, bass guitar and percussion - my essentials and the skeleton for the song writing process.
My bass is a white vintage Jazz Squier Fender; I call him Barry White. I own an upright Boosey & Co vintage piano also.
How do you record your songs? Is it all done in a studio, or do you record some parts yourself?
I record demos at home but I record final edits in the studio. I recorded the EP over 3 days at the best studio in Leeds. It’s called Greenmount Studios and is run by the legends that are Lee and Jamie.
Mike Lesirge and Lea Lea
Tell us about recording the EP
For me the studio is a place where everyone should be able to express ideas freely - I think that’s where you can truly create something that’s awesome. It’s also important to have someone oversee the project as a whole - that person is my producer Jack Baker. He absolutely gets my vision and has the ability to decide what’s best for the song.
We’re always experimenting in the studio, from different recording techniques to adding a Ragga infused beat in Drum Of Death which is mainly considered a Rock song. I think experimenting with sound and genres is the most exciting part of the recording process; it can either go horribly wrong or give life to a whole new, weird sound. Either way it’s pretty fun!
Lea Lea and Jack Baker
One of the things that makes Drums of Death so exciting is the big mix of sounds, dance, pop, even punk. What are your musical influences?
I think my love of mix matching comes through very strong in “Drum Of Death”. Lyrically I wanted it to drive a powerful message home - we are all equal in death. I think in that regard the Punk feel comes through and it’s what I love about the Punk genre, it’s unapologetic about the message it’s delivering. I’m guilty of loving Pop too and grew up listening to a lot of it. With its catchy hooks and singalong approach it’s an element I definitely wanted for this EP. As a kid my parents played an array of different genres; I think my music is pretty much an ode to the soundtrack of my childhood.
What are your plans for 2016?
2016 has begun and it’s already hectic! Kim and I have launched our label, Gothic Luau and we’ll be releasing the EP through it which comes out 19th Feb. I’ll be performing the EP tracks live for the first time at my launch on the 17th Feb at Birthdays! Then I’m back on the road with Chk Chk Chk for their European tour, then in June my 2nd EP is released and the rest of the year I’ll be touring. I’m also hoping to make time to read, travel, party, study, do more for the greater good and write more this year also!
Recording with Lea Lea - Mike Lesirge, Jack Baker, Chris “Fatty” Hargreaves, Ewan Wallace