02 October 2016

Jute Fashion Magazine interview (2016)

A blaze of neon lights bejeweled by a spectrum of saturated hues from sold out world tours in Great Britain, Mexico, Indonesia and Singapore. Electrifying the electro pop scene since 1999, Ladytron has also produced remixes for Goldfrapp, Christina Aguilera and Nine Inch Nails. Modeled on the paradigm of British design group, Hypgnosis and inspired by the poignant sounds of Kate Bush and Serge Gainsbourg. Ladytron has reached critical acclaim with five baroque n'roll studio albums. Gravity the Seducer peaked at 72 from UK Albums chart and 112 on the Billboard 200.

Harmonizing on the wings of the horizon stretching to the temples of landmark architecture. A rotating Perlan glass dome and geothermal Blue Lagoon spa originating from Iceland - the dreamscape for Ladytron's vocalist, Helen Marnie's first solo album. A bespoke enchantment with commitment to analog synth legends, Solina String Synthesizer and Korg MS-10 - the transformative portal from Celtic charm of Glasgow based and celebrated songstress, Helen Marnie.

Tell me about your first meeting to develop your second album? What factors determined your artistic decisions as you were preparing songs the for new album in contrast to the dreamy arctic escapist fantasy of Crystal World? What tools and instruments did you experiment with during production of your second solo album?

Crystal World was a great success. It exceeded my expectations in terms of its reception. I was nervous about putting my own record out there, having had the cocoon of Ladytron. But eventually, post release, it gave me a lot more confidence. I thought 'I can actually do this'. So, soon I was writing again with the prospect of making another record. Having made Glasgow my home (4 years ago today, exactly) I was eager to meet people I could work and collaborate with. lain from Chvrches put me in touch with producer Jonny Scott, and after my initial email going into his spam folder, we eventually met and began making music together. He understood what I wanted to do. Album two will not be like Crystal World. Even before I started writing I knew the direction I wanted to go in. Crystal World took a lot out of me emotionally. There have been gigs I've done when I'd have to hold back tears mid song. So, while this new record has its moments of emotion, I think it deals with them in a very different way. Oh, and it's finished. Between Jonny and myself we managed to harvest quite a stash of vintage synths. The Juno 106 features heavily, along with newer instruments such as the Moog Sub Phatty. I think the record is a war between digital and analogue.

Crystal World debuted as your first solo album in partnership with Pledge Music since Ladytron. A Limited Edition 7" Vinyl, Screen Print Poster and a 1998 Mini Cooper were included in the music campaign. How has this music campaign shaped your future music endeavors? How would you characterize your relationship with fans of music campaign?

The music industry is ever changing so I think everyone is just trying to work out how to make things happen and get their music our there. It is no easy feat. Pledge was a success but it was not easy. Pretty much everyone who bought Crystal World was cool. They were in it for the music. The all loved what I'd done with Ladytron so were really interested to see where I went next and they wanted to be a part of that. I appreciate their loyalty and I hope I gave them back enough.

A Nordic island where fire and ice co-exist; characterized by massive glaciers; geothermal power and roaring volcanoes. Tell me about the role Iceland had in the development stage of your first solo album, Crystal World? What challenges did you encounter from your transition of electro band to soloist?

I absolutely love Iceland, and Reykjavik was an amazing place to record, however, much as I would like to say that it was a huge inspiration to me, the real inspiration was Scotland. The country I was born to, and the country I would be moving back to in 2012 after being away for 12 years. I was working with a producer in Iceland who had his studio there, and so that's where everything was recorded.

All the demo-ing had been done previous to that, so no new songs were actually written there. One of the things that got to me was that I did get some flack from people who thought my record was 'too' Ladytron, or not Ladytron 'enough'. There was also what seemed like criticism for working with my bandmate as producer. It was almost as if people thought that because I was working with another Ladytron member that it was all their work, not mine. But, as is often the case, more credit is given to male musicians than female artists. Like, there must be a man behind the music. I have no problem collaborating with people and giving credit where it's due.

A global phenomenon, Gravity the Seducer album toured the UK, Mexico and Singapore as seventy two on UK Albums Chart. How would you describe the collaborative process in the studio for Gravity the Seducer? Do you have special anecdotes from your extensive worldwide tours?

What goes on tour stays on tour. Ladytron have toured so hard and extensively there's just too much information to compute. Gravity the Seducer was recorded in a house studio in Sussex with lots of cats roaming the grounds, horses, and a ping pong table in the live room. When I wasn't singing I'd mainly just talk to animals for sanity. Recording can be a very intense experience. We normally write remotely, then possibly pass on for collaboration. The music really comes into its own in the studio though. Over the last couple of years, the only gigs I've done are Marnie solo gigs, and I have to say they have been the most fun ever! Chile & Peru were pretty wild, as was the boat from Sweden to Finland. It felt like I was a kid again, touring for the first time. It's a good feeling.

The band's fusion of glistening electro and melodic drama have had them described as cinematic according to an interview for ArtRocker. Collaborating with notable directors like Chino Moya and Neil Krug. How much creative freedom do you have in establishing the visual style of the music videos for solo albums and Ladytron? Did you also contribute to the artwork and packaging for solo albums and Ladytron?

Ladytron has always had a lot of creative control and we have lead the way with our own album art and videos. I think it's much easier for bands now to just do their own thing. There are no big advances, people are making the most with what they've got. Getting friends involved rather than going through labels. For Crystal World I knew where I wanted to shoot the cover and press shots. There is a disused swimming pool in Glasgow called Govanhill Baths. It's an amazing place. They are desperately trying to raise funds to refurb the pool and building, and I was living in Govanhill at the time, so I knew where I wanted to spend my small budget. My friend, Lisa Devine, who is a brilliant photographer came on board and the outcome was pretty great.

What are your forthcoming projects and what is next for Ladytron?

My main focus right now is getting my 2nd album out. It's finished now, but it will take time to be released. I'll get a single out first. I feel like I've had it under wraps for so long I'm literally bursting to get some music out. I've got some things tied in around the release, but nothing I can go into detail about yet. Ladytron will regroup again next year, with the intention of releasing new music.