Caturday with Låpsley

Guy Bolongaro & Hannah TW
Sofi Chetrar

From a young age, Låpsley captivated the audience with her electronic soul tunes she found to be “the antidote to the intensity of academia”, she says. Playing at Glastonbury when she was only 17 years old, she was a rebel at heart who would sneak out of the house to explore the music world. A decade later, Låpsley recently released a new album called “Cautionary Tales of Youth”, which carries a valuable message to her fans.

Sofi Chetrar: When you were 15 you would sneak out of your house at night and take a train to Liverpool to attend gigs. Was music your great escape?
Låpsley: Electronic music and the culture that surrounds it was a whole world away from my coastal town just north of the city. I remember the feeling when I first sneaked into a rave, the lights, the bodies, the heat, the intensity. It was a far cry away from my sporty nerdy school life. It took some time for me to understand that I could transform the music skills from various instrument lessons and use it to make the kind of music I’d dance to in a sweaty warehouse in the docks. I think it serves as both an escape and something that confronts you with yourself.

SC: Did you always want to become a musician?
L: I had my sights set on medicine for years in High School, dabbled with the idea of being a barrister and went to chambers in London for work experience, but ultimately in Sixth Form focused on wanting to study Geography at Uni with the hopes of doing Glaciology or something within that field. I was a creative person with no idea of how I could incorporate my creativity into a “career”. There was always this fear of the instability and uncertainty that comes with doing something within the arts. I think my parents were scared to suggest something that had risk. Music was always the antidote to the intensity of academia. It went from something I did to relax at the end of the day to a necessity for my mental health and happiness. Ultimately I took the risk boldly on my own accord and trusted that it was the right thing for me no matter what problems I may face. I was also so lucky to be presented with so many opportunities off the bat in the early days of releasing music. 

SC: You accomplished so much within the music industry at such young age. Did you have a person who guided you throughout, or you felt you could always ask for advice?
L: I had a great relationship, especially in those early days, with my first manager Hamish. There was trust and friendship between us, and we navigated those first few years together.

SC: What or who is your biggest inspiration?
L: My mum, she’s a badass. She’s a lawyer and a feminist, albeit sometimes an old fashioned stubborn one, but definitely a fighter for the underdog and battling the patriarchy. We have an interesting and often bumpy relationship, but the thread of love and deep respect for each other and what we bring to the table creates a great team. I am incredibly lucky to have someone like that in my life and in my team.

SC: What did it feel like to perform at Glastonbury when you were only 17? Did you feel the pressure of performing at such a large-scale event?
L: It was about a week after my last A level exam. I had zero idea of what I was walking into. I should have felt more pressure… I definitely didn’t rehearse enough, but I did the best I could with the lack of live experience. Friends from orchestra volunteered to create a band.

SC:What does songwriting process look like for you?
L: It’s obviously different for everyone, but I’ve been told that mine is especially odd. I work quite intensely and quickly and usually have the bulk of the song written within the hour. If it’s not coming though, I don’t push it. Writing for myself is definitely a form of therapy, and I’m not always in the right frame of mind to do it. I also write for other people, that’s more of a collaborative experience. I often work to a brief or with an artist to achieve their goals. I still work quickly, but it’s more of a challenge than a therapeutic practice or release.

SC: You recently had a show in London, did you enjoy it?
L: YES! I loved being back on stage and meeting the fans. It was the perfect post covid reunion, and I was so excited to play the unreleased songs especially from this new album and seeing everyones reactions. I feel like I can be my true nutty self on stage. It brings out the side of me I most enjoy. Vulnerable and fearless at the same time.

SC: Talking about London life, I see you enrolled at Goldsmiths University to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics. What was this experience like, did you enjoy course?
L: Absolutely loved the course, it was definitely the right thing for me to have studied. There’s a lot of issues within Universities at the moment regarding pay and management, therefore it was difficult to feel supported by the tutors with so many seminars being cancelled. Alas it was very important they striked for a serious change. I wish I was able to continue, but as the world opened up last year I decided to put all my energy into this new album and leave. I would still like to have a foot in politics in the future; I don’t think this is the end! The process of going to Uni also showed me how important studying for myself was, and I continue to read and debate in my own time.

SC: You must be very excited about your new album, ‘Cautionary Tales Of Youth’, announced for release on January 20th. What is the message of this album?
L: I’m so excited. It is my favourite album yet, and I can’t wait to see what people think. It’s definitely a lot more of a positive record. It documents a relationship from the start to the end and talks about the darkness and light in equal measure. It touches on mental health, attachment issues, self esteem, insecurities, the music industry, sex and urban landscapes to name a few. Ffrom London to Johannesburg and back. I joke about saying I’ve learned everything in my 20s the hard way, so that you don’t have to haha. I guess that’s why its a cautionary tale. Don’t do what I’ve done, but at at the same time look at the growth and healing through the process.

SC: With the new album release, can your fans expect more touring and concert dates from you?
L: For sure. It’s my favourite part! I have a UK Tour in March and a European tour in April. There will also be some festivals in the summer, so stay connected through my socials (mainly insta) and sign up to the mail out.

Click to check out Låpsley’s playlist!