Laura Doggett

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We interviewed Laura Doggett ahead of her Exeter show.
Rob Scott has a chat with Laura Doggett about fashion, small-town life, and the release of her debut album.

Firstly, congratulations on the new video for Old Faces, it looks fantastic. What were the concepts and ideas behind it?
The video is loosely based on a play, Happy Days by Samuel Beckett, where a woman is sinking in the sand from the pressures of the world around her. It was made by a fashion director, so we had to keep it quite fashion-y and quite modern, but basically we flipped it on its head and I’m raising through this mountain, from all my past troubles. It kind of looks like I’m being born from an egg…  [Laughs]

When I’ve seen videos of you performing you always look incredibly stylish and well-dressed. Do you feel that image and style is important to your music?
Absolutely. Because we’ve done quite high style shows like Jools Holland and Andrew Marr we’re kind of targeting quite an odd audience, and especially with Broadchurch, it’s important that we keep the image up that I’m 21 etc. and the easiest way to do that is through style. I really like vintage clothes as well, and I love big dresses and being really theatrical. That’s always been what I wanted to do. Today, I’ve just got a green and purple cape to wear tonight for the show.

Do you get given all these dresses by the fashion designers?
Yeah, pretty much. I build up a relationship with the ones I love and I just follow them. I get pieces just for the performances and then I give them back. It’s kind of good that way because I couldn’t really wear them twice because I get photographed – so it works out really well.

Like you, I grew up in Salisbury, so I understand that “small town” mentality that you sing about in Old Faces. Do you think living in big cities like London is something more suited to your creative life and profession?
That’s good that you understand. Absolutely. I’d say none of this would have happened if I didn’t make the move to London. Even moving out of Salisbury to Bath was a really big difference. Just more freedom and more people. I was really free in Bath, whereas in Salisbury somehow, I don’t know, just somehow I found it really oppressive. My managers are often like “Be careful, you don’t want to offend anyone” but I’m like “No really, I think a lot of people feel that way”. Moving to London was really crucial for my music career. You can be playing a normal gig here, and you never know who’s in the audience, but there’s always someone. That’s been the main thing – I’ve just met the right people really naturally.

What’s life like on a day to day basis for you at the moment? Are you mainly writing or recording or interviewing, etc.?
We’ve gone back to writing because we want something kind of upbeat for my live shows. But right now, today and tomorrow, I’ve got the support slot for Years & Years which is amazing, I can’t wait. And then we’ve got an interview after the show, and then I’ve got a fitting for my music video being filmed next week, and then a photo shoot of my flat, and then the video shoot. Really busy.

Do you ever feel like you have people from the label hanging over you, telling you in what direction you should go? Or do they give you the space to do it your way?
I feel like I have a lot of freedom. They won’t make you do anything unless you say yes. And I write what I want to write. At the moment I really want to write an upbeat song and the label and my management want me to write an upbeat song too. I feel like we need it and it’s quite a hole in my album at the moment because I’ve got a lot of emotional, big songs. So I’m writing that at the moment and it can get quite exhausting. I’m playing it to people and they’re like “We don’t feel that” and it can be really demoralising sometimes, but when you get it right it’s worth it. Sometimes you kind of have to ignore it; you can’t process what everybody says.

I imagine it can be quite helpful to get creative advice from people in the industry.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely not something to be completely ignored. It doesn’t come naturally to me to write about love, and it doesn’t come naturally to me to write upbeat songs, so it can be helpful. It’s quite a big challenge. At first I hated it. I thought it was easy to write a good pop song, but it’s really hard.

According to Amazon, your debut album will be released this September. Are there any details or hints you can give us on what it might be like? Are the songs more minimalist like Phoenix, or bigger ballad songs like Old Faces?
Yeah, I’m just judging the release date on what Amazon says really [Laughs]. It’s going to be filled with bigger ones, definitely. There are some quirks on there too though. There’s a song that was produced by Sohn, like Phoenix was, but it’s nothing like Phoenix. There are two ballads like Old Faces, and there are some that are more experimental. I’m excited. Very.

Is there a title yet?
There is! But we haven’t released it yet, and we’re not allowed to tell people… I’m sorry, I’m not allowed.

Where do you see yourself in a year’s time? Where would you like to be?
In a year’s time I’d love to be having my first sell-out shows, selling out venues of a decent size, maybe a 1000 capacity venue, that’d be really nice. Small proper headline tours with people singing along. It’s going to be a long road, but I think it will all happen really quickly. But that’s good – we’re all paced for the long run.

Have you ever played in Exeter before?
I’ve never even been to Exeter before. I’m really excited to go. I’ve heard that the music scene is quite small and when we had the competition to pick the supports, not many people from Exeter applied which sucks. But I’m excited for it.

Cavern is a really cool venue. Years ago, Exeter’s music scene used to be a bit bigger and Coldplay, Muse, and Radiohead all played there before they got big. Someone told me that Jonny Greenwood wrote the lyrics to Creep in a toilet cubicle there.
[Squeals] That’s so fucking cool! I bet he was so fucked… Maybe I’ll go in the toilet and whack out my next song.

Laura Doggett is playing Exeter Cavern on Wednesday 18th March. Read all about it.