Laura Elizabeth’s Hughes’ new EP ‘We, Myself and I’ is perhaps the ultimate lockdown release. Blocked from her social life and her beloved job as a librarian, the Hughes describes the album as “confronting myself,” and “dealing with the choral voice of my own thoughts”.
The focus of the new release, as a result, is keeping things simple, without two many studio-leaning bells and whistles, while Hughes’ navigated the surreal world we all find ourselves in.
I caught up with her ahead of the March 5 release…
First of all congrats on the EP. I’d imagine it comes from a different place to your music before this. Tell me about the background to ‘Days’ in particular…
Thank you! Days was a weird oul look at the restlessness of repetition and limbo that has been lockdown for me, and a lot of people I’ve had conversations with have felt the same.. I was bored, I was wanting some change away from the Groundhog Day feel of everything.
What kind of challenges did you face on the technical side working in isolation?
What kind of challenges didn’t I face on the technical side haha, I had a lot of learning to do. A lot of Youtube troubleshooting, voice notes with pro-friends. I guess the biggest side step of any larger challenges regards recording was to simplify what I was working with, and to play to my strengths which I was failing to see for a good chunk of last year! I was getting caught up in trying to do too much, or create bells and whistles that in the end just didn’t work, and didn’t make sense in the realms of the project.
Can you tell me a bit about the writing process?
They all start with things that I was having trouble verbalising. Pen to journal and ramble writing is my first port of call in the process. Before they get turned into lyrics, there are word clouds and stream of consciousness writing. I knew I wanted the songs to sit into each other, they all revolve around the same chords and flow, while sitting with different emotions… all in orbit around a sonic landscape and the loneliness and uncertainty that was 2020.
Have the streams for ‘Pandemonium’ been something that’s felt important to you, career wise? It seems to have got significant attention.
A little bit yeah, it was nice to see her reaching new audiences, and new people, and new ears (and to still be doing so). It also hammered home with me that sometimes you need to strip things back to the bone and allow the song to do it’s thing without embellishment.
How did you find the ‘Ireland Performs’ experience?
It was great, I got some lovely post-gig connection with people which was really lovely.
How personal are your songs – do you tend to write from experience, or more from your thoughts and influences?
Absolutely life experience, I think there’s a general mix of external influence and internal thought process. My thoughts are built from my experience, so it would be hard to separate them. Everything in life influences how I write… what I read, what I watch, the people I interact with, the things that are going on in the world – this does tend to be my reaction to said events or experiences rather than the things themselves.
Have you found writing helps you to process how you’re doing, and where you are in life?
One hundred percent, I find it a lot easier to put pen to paper on my thoughts in processing life. I am a lover of words but I find it very difficult to verbalise a lot of things, so writing life helps me something awful.
What kind of musical connections have kept you going over recent months
Honestly, just getting this EP created, and a few new upcoming projects but honestly there wasn’t an awful lot musically that kept me going. I had to reach for alternate means of creation to keep me a little bit sane over the past while haha.
Has the lockdown had a big impact on you as an artist, and do you think it will continue to have that impact?
Yep, big time. The realisation that the connection I make through music is through performing on stage with a room of people. The online gigs, the increasingly more prominent social media content pressure, just doesn’t hit in the same way with me. I’ve found that loss quite difficult.
How do you view playing live now – is it something you still think about when you write?
It’s all I think about haha, I can’t wait to get out gigging again. It’s going to be weird, but it’s going to be glorious.
What are your hopes for the future?
A return to gratitude for simple things in life.
‘We Myself and I’ is out on March 5.