Interview: Lux Lyall

London-born acclaimed singer, songwriter and poet Lux Lyall has released her brand new single ‘Draw Blood’, described by Wonderland Magazine as “brimming with haunting melodies and seductive harmonies”. It is the latest song to be taken from her forthcoming second album ‘Runaway Bride’ out next year via Smoking Mermaid Records. ‘Draw Blood’ presents a shudderingly accurate reality for women facing abuse in relationships. “Is it still love ’til he draws blood? Is that when you’ve finally had enough?”, sings Lux in these brutally honest musings. Lux was on-hand to answer some questions fired at her via the old interweb, check in with Lux below…

The new single ‘Draw Blood’ is out now, what was the gestation period of the song like? How long had you had it bubbling under before recording it?

It was actually around for about a year before we recorded it.

The song has a fantastic, breezy, warm vibe, but the lyrics deal with the horrendous (and sadly still all-too-prevalent) reality of domestic abuse that women face on a daily basis; was it quite difficult getting the lyrics down, also, was the juxtaposition of light music and dark lyrics planned or did it happen organically?

I don’t want to speak on it too much because I can’t really. It was incredibly hard getting those words down and then recording them.

It’s about both being hurt by a partner, in all the ways they can hurt you, but also being driven to hurt yourself because you feel like you can’t escape it any other way.

The juxtaposition was an accident really, the verses are a very different mood. You get into these cyclical, toxic situations and somehow that becomes your normality. In the verses, I was talking about a relationship which was tumultuous because of the fighting, but in the physical sense, it was only me hurting myself. And that became routine.

The chorus came when I was with a friend and I had been having these crazy meltdowns for days while we were together, and I finally told her about an assault that happened in an old relationship. I hadn’t talked about it before but it was eating me up inside.

I’m still processing a lot of the shit grown men who had no business talking to me as a young teenager did, and seemingly got away with, only because I was so painfully insecure and unwell. And they all knew that very, very well.

The single cover art is stunning; who created it?

My fiancé and I actually. We were inspired by the painting “Loves Shadow” by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys. He is a huge fan of Pre-Raphaelite art and I loved the meaning in the piece. The teasers were also inspired by the myth of Persephone and Hades.

The guitar sound throughout ‘Draw Blood’ is simply gorgeous, who plays guitar on the track?

Drew Richards & David Ryder Prangley

‘Draw Blood’ is lifted from your forthcoming album ‘Runaway Bride’; what can you tell us about the album, when can we expect it? Both tracks released from it so far; ‘Draw Blood’ and the lead-single ‘Bonesaw’ are quite different from each other, are they indicative of what the remainder of the album sounds like?

The album is pretty varied, I find it really hard to stick to one ‘style’ of songwriting, mostly when I’m writing a collection of things its more the subject matter that’s the most cohesive part of it, and each story or song or poem or whatever comes with its own feel musically, some of them make sense together and some don’t.

‘Bonesaw’ is the only song on there that really sounds apart from the others in a big way. The album is about the period of my life before I left the country for nine months, then about the nine months following that. ‘Bonesaw’ is kind of the bridge between those two spaces of time so exists in its own world.

The video for ‘Bonesaw’ is stunning and shows that you can create an impact visually without having a massive budget, it looked like you had fun creating the video! Who had the job of pouring pills over you at the end, it looks like a few hit the target!

Firstly, thank you! The video was actually directed by my friend Jodie Deakin and besides the scenes where the pills are being poured on me, it was all shot on Jodie’s phone. We met over Instagram, I saw some of her work and she heard some of my music and we decided to get in touch and make something together. I sent her the song and together we came up with this concept.

We had never met before but she came over to my place and stayed for two nights, my amazing friend Suzanne Holland who produced my videos for ‘Mad With The Moon’ and ‘Baby Is A Vamp’ came over on the first day and essentially the three of us got really drunk and I had fake blood poured all over me. It went into my eyes accidentally, which looked cool but when we read the back of the bottle of that shit it said “ABSOLUTELY DO NOT APPLY NEAR EYES”

It was a witchy weekend. On the second day, Jodie and I walked around butcher shops asking for leftover organs that would work for a shoot, and weirdly no one had any in stock (you have to specially order in brains? I- have so many questions…). I made all those cakes that I had to shove into my mouth and I did not make them based on taste. Jodie and I sat around making a giant mess and by the end of it we both curled up to watch horror movies and eat pizza and chain smoke. We had never met before but we kinda formed a bond for life after that weekend.

The shots where the pills were being poured over my head were because I didn’t have quite enough footage, so my fiancé got up on a ladder and chucked all the boxes from various prescriptions I had at my face and then poured those pills over me. We didn’t mean to get them in my mouth, but it was funny so it stayed. I edited the video myself because I am some kind of masochist, I don’t know.

In what areas do you feel that you have developed since your debut album ‘Vamp’ in 2020? For instance, do you see growth in your songwriting?

In a few for sure! I was stuck abroad for some of the lockdown away from my producer Drew and songwriting partner David so I had to pick up my guitar again after a million years and try and string together some basic chords to get ideas across. I’m not a great guitarist, like I’m actually pretty terrible, but, when I was way too young I had older boyfriends tell me I was terrible, and that I should stick to writing lyrics (which is hilarious when I think of it now because their bands really, REALLY sucked.)

I think that shit got into my head and stayed there for years so I was basically forced to get out of that mindset and write a bunch of the songs on this next album (and some for a third album) on the guitar since my writing partners were in a different country on a totally different time zone.

After sending them over to Drew he was super encouraging about it and has been since so I’ve been playing more and getting ideas down that way more.

I also learned I write better away from London. I write better in hotels, cars, airports, motels. Just, away.

What are your earliest musical memories? And can you remember the lightbulb moment where you said “I want to do that”…

Probably watching music videos on MTV over pancakes before having to go to school and before my dad woke up and told me to stop watching garbage on MTV. Some of those bands were amazing and some of them not really but I thought the idea of making music, in general, was fascinating.

On your covers E.P released last year you covered ‘Murder, Murder’ by the incredible Barrie-James, In some distant parallel universe he is the biggest star in music and a household name…what makes a great cover version? And is there any song out there that is so sacred that it should not be covered at all?

He absolutely should be a fucking household name, he’s brilliant! He’s great in a way I feel like is so rare now. And also one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. We tried to cover it the way I heard that song, like some strange lullaby/ murder ballad from the 1930s. I feel like it sounds like a folk classic that wasn’t even written it just came to be.

I guess creating your own version of whatever you’re covering, though sometimes it’s nice to just sing ‘Wild Thing’ on stage at a li’l bar because you’re drunk, the audience is drunk, and everyone knows how it fuckin goes anyway.

I don’t know about a song never being covered ever at all, there are a lot of great artists out there that make cover songs unique. I don’t know. Once I went to a Nirvana club night and watched a bunch of bands cover them, and it wasn’t terrible. Just weird for me because I grew up with them. So I went home and listened to the records to clear my head of it. Before anyone gives me shit, the version of ‘In The Pines/True Love’ that I’m releasing on my future album was inspired by the Connie Francis version. I love Connie Francis.

Is there such a thing as a 10/10 album, if so, what would be a great 10/10 album, or as an artist, is it a case of everything can be improved on?

Perfect album? Deftones, both Diamond Eyes and White Pony.

In terms of a similar audience, who would be the ideal act for you to open for? And, who would be the ideal act to open for you?

I would love to open for Ethel Cain, I think I DM’d her the other night after taking a touch too much of some anti-anxiety medication to tell her I love her… I would love to open for Lana Del Rey (shocker). I would love to open for Alexandra Savior.

As far as someone to open for me…I strongly feel like I have so many friends who make great music around me, but I’d pretty much only feel like I should open for them. If I had to pick I’d say Snuff Bunny, because she’s just getting started. She’s based in Florida and we have an unhealthy relationship where I definitely think I’m her mom. It’s a long story…her song ‘Televangelist’ makes me wish I was still fun.

Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ has just come on the radio, what would be your ‘Perfect Day’?

My perfect days have always been riding horses all day with my sister Thelma.

A close second to those are the days spent with my fiancé exploring L.A, or on long drives in his hometown in Kansas listening to music together and drinking coffee.

What would be your favourite album of 2022?

Preacher’s Daughter – Ethel Cain

Lastly, what does 2023 hold for you?

Blistered hands, sunburns, and saddle sores.

Laughing till I cry with my sister in her truck.

A new pair of white cowboy boots.

A cocktail of meds that fucking works.

A wedding. (who’d’ve thunk huh?)

I wanna get the second record out and the third one finished.

I started writing a set of new poems while traveling around America this summer, I’d like to go back so I can finish them.

Thank you for your time, and best wishes with the single!

Thank you!

I want to share this link here for anyone that’s struggling: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

 

Connect with Lux Lyall, here.

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