MANY musicians would protest when faced with the…
proposition of recording a music video on Christmas Day. Luckily, Dead Lavender’s V. and Oliver were in L.A. and not big fans of the festive day. All that sunshine and quietness boded well for a visual documentation of their single, Seasons Change. It is a lush and adventurous track that suggests so many different scenes and visualisations. It is the physicality and dreaminess of the song that will reflect differently in each listener. I ask them about the shoot in L.A. and whether new singles will follow. They talk about their music and whether the fact they are largely anonymous (in terms of photos online) helps – how important it is for the music to speak for itself. The London-based duo discusses the reaction their music has been getting and some of the new artists we should be aware of.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Oliver: Hello! Great, thanks. We heard our song on the radio a few times which was pretty cool.
For those new to your music, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are Dead Lavender: a new London-based Synth-Pop duo. We write and produce our own stuff. We like synths a lot.
Seasons Change is your new single. What can you reveal about the origins of the song?
The song actually came about pretty quickly. We sort of had a beat going in the studio and then the opening “oh na na” just came out of my mouth!
From there onwards, it was smooth sailing and the lyrics didn’t actually get altered from the original writing session.
Its cover art is quite striking – depicting dead lavender hanging from two guns. Who came up with that concept and what does it symbolise to you?
V: We took the shot whilst in L.A. over Christmas and were both instantly like, “that’s the one!”
Oliver: Funnily enough, we took the picture unsuspectingly in a friend’s house; it’s a china vase shaped like two guns.
V: It was with the help of artist Sarah Reuter that we took the image into another dimension… literally! She’s a photographer who embellishes her work with needlework.
Really cool stuff.
The video for Seasons Change was shot in L.A. using V.C.R. filters and 1990s’ colour-grading. What was it like using those older technologies for the video? Was it a fun shoot?
Oliver: It was a lot of fun to experiment with. I feel like, nowadays, everybody is craving that high-definition, over-polished look.
It’s amazing what cameras can do these days. The extreme clarity of modern video tends to kill the atmosphere a bit for me.
That’s not to say we are planning on doing every video in this style but it’s certainly a refreshing risk to take.
…and, yes, I consider releasing a standard-definition video a risk in 2017… Haha.
You shot the video last Christmas Day. Was it a bit odd filming a music video whilst others were unwrapping gifts?
V: I think I’m right in speaking for both of us when I say that we’re not huge fans of Christmas. To us, it was just another day of great L.A. light and an ideal opportunity to get our work done – whilst everyone else was huddled around their Christmas trees!
There is a sense of anonymity and mystery to you guys – very few images online. Is that intended to create mystery or let the music speak for itself?
It’s really important to us to allow our music to speak for itself as it makes its entrance. We want people to be picking it up for all the right reasons.
We’re not sure whether this will be a forever thing but for now, it’s definitely the right thing for us. I certainly find that I can write more freely knowing that no one knows it’s my work: I wouldn’t like for that to change anytime soon.
What has the reaction been like to your music so far? Has it been quite positive for the most part?
V: We’re both blown away by the success of this first release. You can never tell how these things are going to go down. So far, so good!
How did you guys meet in the first place and what was it that forged that musical bond?
We’ve been friends for over a decade: in the spirit of anonymity, that’s all you’re gonna get! We’ve been mucking about making music together for almost as long – more seriously in the last couple of years – working on various creative projects.
Seasons Change mixes House, chilled-Electronica and Dance. What kind of music did you two grow up listening to?
Our musical backgrounds could not be more different! I’m a Led. Zep., (The) Rolling Stones: anything-with-a-filthy-Blues-riff-kinda-girl. Oliver tends to be more drawn to Electronic and Hip-Hop. We did both, however, spend a lot of time listening to Martha Wainwright during our teenage years.
We both love Lemonade!
Can we expect any more music from Dead Lavender in the coming months? Any tour dates?
We’ve been working hard to get the next track ready for release.
We’ve plenty more where that came from.
London is where you are based. How important is the city in regards your musical inspiration and creativity?
Oliver: Being in a city is so inspiring – especially a fast-paced one like London.
There’s something almost electric about the air in London (and we both feed off that).
Which albums have meant the most to you as a musician?
V: It’s impossible for me to pin down single albums – especially since the music we make is so different to the music that I listen to. I do, however, credit a varied musical background for helping me be open-minded to new sounds.
In your view, who are the new artists you recommend we connect with?
Ider are really cool. I used to see them touring pubs when I was at uni. and fell in love with them then. So happy to see them making it big in the city!
Oliver: EZA: Such a great sound.
Have you any advice for new songwriters emerging at the moment?
Don’t be too precious with it; think less; just let it happen.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each select a song and I’ll play it here (not one of your own as I’ll do that).
Oliver: I’m going to go with Metal Boy by Charity
V: Emotions and Math – Margaret Glaspy
Thanks so much for having us!
Oliver: Thank you!
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