INTERVIEW: LAURAN HIBBERD | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Rebecca Need-Menear

It almost feels like a bit of a tedious cliché to precede an interview piece with a ‘rising star’ such as slacker-pop artist Lauran Hibberd without a brief preamble about the seismic blow that the ongoing pandemic has dealt to the music industry at large. However, in Lauran’s case, it’s hard to avoid. Here we have a quintessential example of an artist being thrown a profound challenge: you’ve reached the point in your career in which people are starting to pay attention, and you’ve put in enough shifts to know that this wave of momentum is not an easy one to ride, and then the industry that this momentum depends on is forced to effectively grind to a halt. How do you overcome a hurdle as colossal as that?

For Lauran, the initial frustrations of lockdown-imposed life gave way to an epiphany: “After the initial blow [of lockdown restrictions] I became obsessed with how many songs I could write, because I’d never previously had so much time to invest in writing and experimenting. It influenced my mind to dart to a lot of strange places, and I had more time to ‘perfect’ every lyric and song structure, which was an amazing exercise for me. I learned so much just by not stopping, until I ended up with a Soundcloud playlist FULL of demos.” In the absence of being able to develop these ideas in a live setting, Lauran hit upon an ingenious solution: “[In order to] to ‘road test’ my ideas I mailed out demos to my mailing list for 24-hour periods to gauge reactions. It turned out to be a really cool experiment!”

I’d never previously had so much time to invest in writing and experimenting

From this avalanche of creativity, the foundations of Goober (her second EP) were formed. Released in July, the six-track release is an astonishing testament to her powers as a songwriter, tackling everything from the shuddering thought of someone still having old nudes of you, through to hazy dreams of dying in the seventies; it’s a kaleidoscopic statement of intent that is both thought-provokingly introspective and delightfully maximalist. The widescreen production from Suzy Shinn (whose previous credits include Weezer and Dua Lipa) allows the songs to soar to their utmost potential. Although restrictions meant they were never in the same room as they developed the EP, she found this to be of little hindrance: “She rocks and I love her! The recording experience was wicked, because she wasn’t afraid to tear whole songs apart and fill them with even more energy. Recording remotely definitely made for an experience, but [the ability to have] midnight FaceTimes in which we could bounce ideas back and forth was really cool and it gives you more time to sit with the parts as opposed to making snap decisions.”

So, with another killer EP in the bag and the live music industry returning to some semblance of ‘normality’, what’s next? “I am fully throwing all my beans and planning a debut full length album now and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it! I’m hoping all of those restless days locked in my bedroom, writing songs like a crazy woman, will pay off. I have a really distinct vision in my head, and so many ideas. It’s a very exciting time, and I can’t wait to get started. So yeah, watch out!”

Lauran Hibberd plays Twisterella festival in Middlesbrough on Saturday 9th October. Her Goober EP is out now

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