LAW HOLT: une voix bouscule la pop 



Lauren Holt de son vrai nom est une artiste de Leicester basée à Édimbourg depuis 2010, un des points chauds du moment sur le plan musical. On peut y croiser les Young Fathers (avec beaucoup de chance car ils ont la bougeotte, comme leur musique) ou encore Hudson Mohawke, producteur de sons pour Drake ou Keny West entre autres stars internationales. Aujourd’hui, cette ville voit se confirmer un nouveau talent, Law Holt, qui a publié le 27 août dernier son premier album, City, chez le label anglais soulPunk. L’album, qui s’inscrit dans une veine post-punk, a été réalisé sous la houlette du producteur anglais Timothy London qui a accompagné les YF jusqu’au Mercury Prize en 2014. Ils forment d’ailleurs avec elle une petite famille qui l’a souvent mise à contribution lors de concerts et autres tournées. Ce qui lui a permis de faire ses armes sur scène.

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Credit Hidden Door Arts

Law une artiste comme on en fait peu. Elle détonne par son talent et sa manière d’aborder son art dans un rejet de l’industrie musicale. Elle est avant tout une voix, un grain, un vibrato d’une qualité rare. À la première écoute, l’emprise est directe et irresistible. Son kif, c’est de bidouiller des harmonies électros mais elle ne s’y cantonne pas forcément. Dernier exemple en date, sa collaboration avec rien moins que Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan) au festival écossais Restless Natives en mai 2016. Versatile, inclassable et insaisissable, la jeune britannique rejette le mainstream pour mieux explorer ses possibilités vocales. De plus, la chanteuse qui ne s’attarde pas sur le passé a fait table-rase de la plupart de ses travaux precedents sur le Net, dont le percutant EP « Haters and Gangsters » (avec un splendide single éponyme). Comme après une rupture, elle est passée à autre chose. 

Le personnage planté, City, son premier album, aborde les méandres de solitude et de la relation amoureuse dans un environnement citadin oppressant, avec ses ruptures, ses incompréhensions ou encore sa froideur. En dépit de la douleur et du malaise (exprimés par les instrus électros), la solitude n’est pas forcément négative. On peut également y trouver de la joie et du plaisir à se retrouver isolé par moment. Law Holt, au travers d’une spontanéité brute exprime à merveille toutes ces émotions grâce à la finesse de ses cordes vocales, son meilleur allié. C’est avec engouement donc que le premier LP de Law Holt nous arrive enfin dans les folders, streamers et les bacs (coup de coeur pour Down Boy). Une publication retardée par l’agression d’un déséquilibré sur l’artiste. De quoi apprécier encore plus son talent qui nous rappelle l’importance de l’éphémère. 

Trève de palabres ! Vous en apprendrez bien plus dans l’échange entre l’artiste et Monde De Poche ici-bas. Je remercie au passage Law Holt d’avoir fait confiance à Monde De Poche. Bonne lecture-écoute ! 

MDP: How would you define your music as much as possible?

The record is an effort at documenting my experiences of the past 18 months. In that sense I have moved beyond City. I am already working on new material which is completely different. As it must be. I’m a different person now and I’d be disappointed if what I created wasn’t taking giant leaps. But from my early EPs to City to now, this is all my own music and it is all I really know how to do.

At the heart of the album is that intractable contradiction of living in a big city. We are completely alone whilst being pressed on all sides by millions and millions of people. This is why the LP covers so many different sounds and why I sing in so many different voices. It’s what we do to survive, socially.

MDP: Loneliness seems to be the centre of your album, City. What does it mean to you?

At the heart of the album is that intractable contradiction of living in a big city. We are completely alone whilst being pressed on all sides by millions and millions of people. This is why the LP covers so many different sounds and why I sing in so many different voices. It’s what we do to survive, socially. We pretend to be the person everyone else wants or expects us to be. It’s a cycle of performance and guilt. We inflate ourselves in public and deflate in private. But at the heart of City is the story of a relationship, the hope that we can cut through all that bullshit by forging an unspoken bond with just one person amongst the many.

MDP: What evolved or changed compared to your previous works? Why did you remove most of it by the way?

Some things have changed, some things haven’t. I still work fast. I still believe in my voice. But now I believe it is better and stronger. I am more determined now, more wary of a music industry populated by people who don’t actually like music. Logistically I am further away from my production and management team now so that brings its challenges. It means I have to work even faster and be more committed to my own ideas. Yes the EPs have mostly disappeared in their online form. It was a superstitious thing. A necessary part of reinvention. Killing off an older version of myself.

MDP: How did you end up collaborating with Ghostface Killah and how was the experience?

I was asked to support Ghostface and it was good to share that stage and feel the bass and watch the hands go up. It can be tricky playing to hip hop audiences in towns that aren’t so multicultural. People can be puritanical about that kind of music. They can’t see past Illmatic. But this was a good one. When you play live you have to believe you can out perform anyone. Otherwise you are cheating yourself and your audience. I don’t go to gigs these days…

Things like Apple Music and Spotify might benefit Frank Ocean or Taylor Swift but the rest of us make a pittance from record sales. Like society at large, the gap between those at the top and the bottom keeps growing. And we’re making all the interesting stuff down here.

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Credit Hidden Door Arts

MDP: I see a bunch of talented ladies showing up with real quality music whatever the genre. Does the internet help women to gain visibility and recognition? How do you feel as such in the industry?

The internet helps everybody in the business to gain visibility regardless of gender. It is just maintaining the momentum which can be difficult. Our lives are overflowing with information. We scroll endlessly down eternal feeds and I wonder how much anyone is really taking in. The internet has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, I am able to connect with people all over the world. On the other, music is now seen as a commodity which isn’t worth paying for. Things like Apple Music and Spotify might benefit Frank Ocean or Taylor Swift but the rest of us make a pittance from record sales. Like society at large, the gap between those at the top and the bottom keeps growing. And we’re making all the interesting stuff down here.

I obsess over those brief but beautiful moments on a record that you will miss if you aren’t listening carefully.

MDP: Inspirations? Favourite artists?

In terms of what influences my own music it is hard to say. I obsess over those brief but beautiful moments on a record that you will miss if you aren’t listening carefully. Like Thelonious Monk grunting over his solo recordings. Trish Keenan’s vocals on every Broadcast LP; she somehow manages to sound cool, assertive, vulnerable and impassive all at once. The flute groove on Love’s ‘She Comes in Colors.’ That warble in Burning Spear’s delivery. All the layers and styles on a Cymande record that shouldn’t work but do. Those swirling organ stabs on ‘Y Mas Gan.’ The pay off at the end of ‘Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis’ which never fails to flaw me. Ry Cooder’s line about whiskey which is also about life: « It’s a slow consumption killing you by degrees. » And then there are these Rev. James Cleveland LPs which I just discovered…