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LibaLibra interview: “We are very emotional writers”

“‘Candy Mountain’ is an unapologetic revenge song, a song about survivors clubbing together and defeating their abusers”

There aren’t many brilliant things we can take from the pandemic and its chain of lockdowns, but one thing that is a pure joy to watch is the music scene reactivating itself.

Records are being released and gigs are being played by bands of all type and level of fame. It is similar to watching a nature documentary about what happens when spring melts away a particularly harsh winter. The ice and snow are melting and behind it all we can see bright blooms starting to burst forth and enrich our lives.

One of these blooms is Sun 13 favourites LibraLibra, who first appeared on our radar via a recommendation from the very wonderful Doreen Allen. And experience has taught us that when Doreen picks up on something as being worthwhile, we would be well advised to listen.

When we last spoke to the band we were in the throes of lockdown and it was hard to see when how or even if we would start to come out of it, so it is a pleasure to speak to them again on the other side.

The reason for this is that LibraLibra have released a new song as a precursor to a new EP due out next year. They have also announced some live dates, including a show at Liverpool’s Futurama Festival taking place over the Easter weekend in 2022.

Ahead of tis burst of activity, we chatted with LibraLibra to find out what’s going on in their world.

S13: So, what’s new with LibraLibra?

LibraLibra: “We can finally gig again! Which is honestly the best feeling in the entire world for us, as playing live gives us a sense of purpose, it means everything to us. I personally expel a hell of a lot of demons on stage, so I genuinely felt like I was losing the plot and honestly felt like I’d lost a part of me, as I’m sure a lot of people did during the last two years.

“During the last two years we spent both lockdowns writing back and forth via zoom, sending each other tracks to work on individually, there was a lot of back and forth and our EP, ‘Modern Millennial’ was formed.

“We managed to get into Echo Zoo studios in Eastbourne to lay everything down in October 2020 just before we went into the 2nd lockdown. Joe is our drummer, programmer, synth man, tech and producer wizard. He engineered the entire recording and then mixed everything during the 2nd lockdown in his home studio set up. It was kind of like a saving grace for all four of us. A body of work to focus on and help us detach from reality.

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“We also got our hands on a camera and threw ourselves into learning how to edit videos – and decided to self direct our very first music video for the lead single of the EP, Candy Mountain.

“I think all four us went through our own personal break downs throughout the last 2 years, but we have been pillars of support for one another and when we were able to start rehearsing and gigging again end of August this year it felt like we started to get a piece of our souls back.

“Now it’s come time to get this body of work into the world, the EP itself is due for release in March 2022 and Candy Mountain the lead track is out officially on 17th November and before the EP drops keep an ear out for another single dropping beginning of February 2022!

“And its yet to be announced but we have a big tour currently being planned for 2022 so stay tuned!”

S13: Talk us through your new song

LibraLibra: “Candy Mountain stemmed out of a complete mental breakdown. I think in the height of 2020 I was on a treatment called Zoladex to see how my body coped with having my ovaries chemically shut down before I had them removed earlier this year.

“My PTSD reared its ugly head and with that anguish, pain and the full blown agony of not knowing where to put my rage, my anger and my heartbreak. I find it extremely hard to talk about my past to anyone, the shame, the guilt, the confusion that surrounds many events are too much.

“However I heal through our music, it may seem silly or very cliché but it’s my truth. I never set about choosing what I’m going to write up – the lyrics splurge out when I hear a melody, a beat, anything – it latches it on to and they pour out of me, form a theme and suddenly I’m like ‘ooo wow that’s what it’s saying!’

“Anyway long story short, Candy Mountain is very much that for me. It’s an unapologetic revenge song, a song about survivors clubbing together and defeating their abusers, hence the choral themes within. I feel as thought it’s a slap in the face to the world waking up and realising the sheer abuse young girls to women endure and saying enough is enough, it’s time to fight back.’

“And the video we made for it just pure colourful bold chaos & rage to emulate my chaotic, broken mind. And the blood, well it’s for all my endometriosis & PMDD family out there. The hell it creates is real, it’s rife and it needs to talked about, studied and understood a hell of a lot more.”

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S13: How do you go about writing your songs?

LibraLibra: “I think we are very emotional writers. And tend to lay everything bare in our music.

“Everything stems from one of us, where it’s a beat, a melody, a riff, just a phrase that comes to one of us. I personally hear lyrics and a whole song can pour out of me from just a snippet of the above.

“We are 100 percent collaborative and love to experiment, rework and develop songs together. It may be that Joe and myself initially start the track and Guy and Martell elaborate and take the song to a new and wonderful place. Or Guy and Joe geek out together and create loops for me to create a melody and vocals. Or Guy plays a beautiful piano line and It sets me off. We very much go with the moment, with what we are feeling at the time and develop from there!

“In lockdown there was a lot of back and forth sending each other stems/logic sessions etc. and building on that. Ideally we love to have group writing sessions so we can fully immerse ourselves in the moment and the feeling.”

S13: You describe your new songs as being equal parts Madonna and Bikini Kill how do you go about bringing these together?

LibraLibra: “Two HUGE influences. I would say both influences add an equal sense of energy & sentiment throughout the EP. I grew up with Madonna’s Ray of Light album, I remember dancing around my bedroom to every song getting lost in William Orbit’s sonic production of that album and Madonna’s emotional poignant pop at it’s finest.

“Then several years later it felt like I was reborn, I discovered Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, PJ Harvey. My eyes became wide open and I saw a whole new world, a way women could just be. It was awe inspiring and empowering.

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“I didn’t set about to, but I think naturally having these artists map my musical upbringing and coming of age, of course there is going to be little nuggets of influence within tracks. I love to be expel my rage in one track and then emotionally lament in another.

“And maybe that’s what we mean by that reference. But also everyone should listen and make up their own minds!”

S13: Which one would win in a fight?

LibraLibra: “I’m saying neither make war, but they make metaphorical love and collaborate on a killer track that I think we all need right now or that we didn’t know we needed.

“I mean Madonna and Bikini Kill, who wouldn’t listen to that masterpiece?!”

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