Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Seven questions... with Jo Whitby aka 'Laurence Made Me Cry'

For all that I love atmospheric ambient soundscapes and cinematic crescendo-core post-rock ... I have a soft spot for intelligent and witty acoustic folk music.

I'm not sure how I came across the music of Jo Whitby aka 'Laurence Made Me Cry' ... but her 2011 release - "The Rain Song EP" - is an utter pleasure ... it is the most delightful lo-fi joy!

I recently became acquainted with her through the recommendation of our mutual friend Basil ... who suggested I check out her Christmas single: "You Can't Have Christmas, It's Mine" ... which is wonderfully and intelligently lyrical and really deserves to be a success.

After chatting ... I suggested Jo complete my wee blog interview ... this is what she had to say:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jo Whitby and I live in Cardiff, Wales. I’m a musician and artist performing under the name ‘Laurence Made Me Cry’. I’m also an illustrator (I Know Jojo) and I sometimes update a webzine called Cat On The Wall too.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’ve just finished a Christmas song called ‘You Can’t Have Christmas, It’s Mine’ which I’ve released as a digital single. Quite unexpected, I hadn’t planned on writing a Christmas song but after hearing a few friends have a go I thought I’d give it a shot too. It’s quite a daft track about the plight of the Christmas baby and how joint gifts are rubbish.
My debut album has just come back from mixing but there’s still a bit of work to do. It’s taking a little longer than planned but I know it’s in good hands. I’m just impatient to have the album finished! Then it needs to be mastered of course. I’m in that lull after making a record where everything has gone quiet and I feel like there’s something missing in my life. It will pick up once the album is nearly ready to be released. Still a few months to go.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.
There are so many artists who have inspired me over the years. I usually opt for Kate Bush but I think this time I’ll go for Trent Reznor. I’m actually a huge fan of dark, noisy music which doesn’t tend to show in my own work. Perhaps that’s a side project in the making. I love how uncompromising Reznor is. He’s happy to let everyone know how he’s feeling and I enjoy his passion for trying out new music technology. Don’t mess with Mr Reznor.

- Name place that has inspired you.
I love seeing the world whilst in motion so I guess a place that has inspired me recently is actually the carriage of a train. Looking out a train window on a journey to a town in the Welsh valleys inspired me to write a track on my new album called ‘Between Destinations’ which is a collaboration with the ace musician Pulco. There were some really amazing clouds above the landscape, so close you could almost reach out and touch them. I was looking in awe and wondering why nobody else on the train seemed to notice. The world is amazing sometimes!

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
I’m not sure there is a specific “thing” that has inspired me. I tend to draw inspiration from the world around me or events that are happening in my life. Do instruments count as “things”? I’ve had a lot of fun with a soprano ukulele that I actually bought for my best friend but she never played. New instruments always inspire me.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Ever since I could express myself there has been a passion for making music and art. I don’t know where it comes from but I do know that if my life didn’t have music in it I’d be very very miserable. Being creative is what makes life beautiful to me and I can’t live without it. The overwhelming need to have creativity in my life is what drives me.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
These are tough questions! I’ve never really thought about values in my music. I suppose one of my values could be honesty. I like my songs to mean something most of the time although sometimes it’s good to have a laugh and not take yourself too seriously. Another value might be simplicity too.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Community is important to me be it the music community or the community I live in. I get so much inspiration from the place where I live and the people I share that space with - positive and negative. The music community in Cardiff is great and very supportive. I’m very happy to be part of it.

7) What is next for what you do?
Next year will see the release of my album and I’ll hopefully be heading off on tour to promote it. I’d love to play across Europe. That’s one of my dreams.



Thanks Jo! I've embedded the bandcamp player for her Christmas single ... have a listen and if you like it ... buy it. 10p from each download goes to charity.

Please also check out "the Rain Song EP" ... I highly recommend it!

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