Lapsley Interview: We Talk 'Long Way Home' With The British Singer

On March 1, 2016

Interview by Haley Potiker


Låpsley wants you to know that she wrote her own album. And on Long Way Home, the 19-year-old singer-songwriter, born Holly Lapsley Fletcher, succeeds in executing a vision all her own. The 12-song LP reveals a young, raw artist using her songs to work through personal turmoil. “I think this album is very truthful,” she tells me. “It’s about the way I feel about a relationship, but also with my approach to production--I've had a few people involved in the album, but not a lot. I wanted to keep it my own thing. Honesty is the main thing I was going for with this album.”

She goes on to stress: “Everything from the artwork to the videos is very much my own and I'm not controlled by the label or anything. I'm proud of the independence of it.” You get the sense that she has been accused otherwise her fair share of times. She cites Grimes as an influence, “Not musically, but as a person. I feel like she's coming from a similar place.”

Though she grew up playing music, Låpsley didn’t find her groove until she downloaded GarageBand. “I played piano, drums and then guitar. But I didn't really enjoy it, I didn't really have the discipline for the instruments,” she says. Though she says her practicing was “purely academic”, she also credits her early training with getting her onto her current musical path. “I realized I kind of needed some way--I was getting crushed in highschool, and things--I was a creative person that wasn't being creative. So I started writing, and 2 years ago I started producing on GarageBand in my bedroom, and now we're here.”

Much of the lyrical content of The Long Way Home centers on a formative relationship. Låpsley explains, “It's about a relationship with someone who had a mental health issue. And so I use a lot of visual metaphors to try to explain something which isn't usually explained.” She goes on, “It's about my battle not just with that person but with this third thing, and he had OCD so it was very… it wasn't like someone cheated. So you know, it's quite unique in that sense.”

We discuss her label home, XL Recordings, which boasts an all-star roster which includes Adele, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Vampire Weekend, and more. (XL Recordings’ parent company, Beggars Group, also owns or partially owns 4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade Records, and Young Turks.) Låpsley is awed by her labelmates. “I know the XX pretty well, they're pretty cool, they're really true to their music, they're not fazed by any of the press and any of the bullshit. I really like that,” she says. “And I really want to meet Jack White, he's so cool. That would be like, the dream.  If he came to the Christmas party or something.”

When it comes to future collaborators, though, Låpsley would rather work outside her niche. “I'd probably like to work with someone who's in a completely different field, like a jazz musician, or someone who works more in like film music,” she says. “I think, for the collaboration, I want to aim to learn something from them, rather than just create something which they did in the bounds of my own comfort. Something that would teach me.”

On The Long Way Home, Låpsley says, “I do a collaboration on two songs with Paul O'Duffy. He's an amazing writer who works with film music, so it’s quite unique. On ‘Silverlake’ and ‘Tell Me The Truth’, so those songs stand out. It sounds quite different.”

The future looks bright for Låpsley. She’s touring her record in Europe and the UK this spring, before heading to North America where she will be playing Coachella and SXSW, among other dates. “I've got loads of festivals, which is so cool,” she says. “I'm playing Osheaga in Canada, which has a really cool lineup, and I'm really excited. It's obviously my first album so I think the tour will hit me hard.”

Låpsley tells me she’s written “two albums worth of songs,” and she doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “I'm going to work with an engineer this summer, and like train to be an engineer,” she tells me, because she wants to have as much control as possible in the studio. “I also want to focus on visuals, so I'm directing the next video [for ‘Love is Blind’]. I just want to improve.” Her next album will see a young songwriter continuing to strive to master other elements of creating. “I want to become an established writer,” she says. “Writing is what I want to do primarily above being an artist or being a producer, even.”

The Long Way Home is out March 4th. Vinyl Me Please’s exclusive package features a 150 gram white vinyl, 12" x 24" fold out poster with a note from Låpsley, and 12" x 12" original art print from Miami-based artist Jose Mertz.

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