Saturday, 1 September 2012

It's My Kind of Interview - Laneway

Louise O'Reilly and Paul Hannan aka Laneway!

Currently sitting at #2 on our weekly Top 20 with the mesmerizing track 'Love Is A Devil' is Laneway. The Grant McLennan Memorial Fellowship winners have just released their new album Turn Your Love Up and are about to embark on an Australian tour that will showcase one of the country's greatest emerging acts.

Interviewed by Jo Michelmore

Q. Laneway. For those who don’t know, who are you and how did you become who you are?

We are Louise O’Reilly and Paul Hannan. We both play a guitar and we both sing. We met in Brisbane, started this in Melbourne. It was pretty fun so we kept on going. We’ve taken it to the hills a couple of years ago, and here we are now with a second album and a sound that mixes folk country and pop.

Q. Tell us about your latest album, ‘Turn Your Love Up’. How long has it been in the making and does it sound like you originally imagined? 

Paul: It took about six months to get the songs together and record. We started in a wooden house with high ceilings in the forest of Natural Bridge. Our friend Steve Fraser from Melbourne drove up with all his gear; even brought his family for a week so the kids could have a run around.

After that, the recording went through several other hands and studio’s and we ended up with the result. We had a lot of songs to pick from and I’m still wondering if we put the best songs on the record. But it is what it is and it’s pretty good, I hope.

The next time we record it’s going to be very simple….

Louise: I’m not convinced making records will get any simpler! More enjoyable, perhaps! I don’t think we set out with an idea of what we wanted on this album. We just wrote lots of songs and chose ones that we felt were standing out as being most ready for getting on the release.

Q. How does the creative process work for you? What do you love about recording an album and what do you find difficult?

Paul: We both write songs separately and together. Lou manages to finish off a few off and I might help her with hers…

Recording an album is difficult in the sense that you can never tell if it’s as good as you think it is or whether you can get what you hear in your head down on tape. You try, you stumble and you eventually have to accept what you’ve done to the world.

Louise: I think the nature of collaboration is a fine and delicate process. You respect each other’s creative voice and want to find space and expression for both people’s ideas. It can be tricky. But it can bear great results. It’s helpful having someone who knows what you are going for. Sometimes they help you get there – and sometimes they tell when you are not doing great wok – and that support and critique is really important.

Of course, we love the whole journey of making an album - with all it’s ups and downs…or we wouldn’t do it! 

Q. What has been your favourite moment in Laneway so far?

Paul: Winning the Grant McLennan Fellowship was a real thrill. We love the Go Betweens; one of the great Brizzy bands.

Louise: Yes, I guess in terms of ‘moments’ that one is fairly defining. Although there have been lots of small things along the way. Wonderful shows that might have felt so great to play. The Wheatsheaf last year was one of those for me.  Or like when Paul plugged the reed organ into the generator and played 4 random chords and I wrote a whole song in 30 seconds. Moments of shared inspiration might seem tiny, but they are what it is all about.

Q. Which artists have you been compared to and which ones do you agree and/or disagree with?

Paul: We’ve been compared to Angus and Julia Stone, in a reference way I suppose. You say folk and people say what like Angus and Jullia Stone? I would say no to that although they seem to write a good tune.

We get compared to She and Him and that’s just fine.
June and Jonny, George and Tammy.

We’ve got early Fleetwood Mac too, Cowboy Junkies, Jollie Holland, oh and David Lynch too! Adele from the Go Betweens told us we have a British sound which is interesting to me. It’s fine when people hear other things in what you do – if it’s unintended. That’s part of the folk tradition, I guess – learning and sharing through story and song.  

Q. Tell us about your biggest disagreement within the band? How did you resolve it, or alternatively, who won?

Louise: I’d say we have ongoing differences and at times that makes the band tricky…I’d also say when we have big disagreements no one feels like they’ve won…

Paul: We were offered that record contract a few years ago when we were in Melbourne – we disagreed on that.

Louise: The record contract we were strongly advised by a lawyer not to take it?

Paul: Yeah, I probably thought it would be good regardless... I think I was looking forward to the drinks and the blue smarties. But you didn’t Lou, and we didn’t take it…I think you were right.

Q. You’re about to embark on a tour of various cities, towns and venues throughout the country. Is there anywhere you are particularly looking forward to playing? What are your favourite and least favourite parts about live performance?

Paul: I love going back to Melbourne, to put the jacket back on again. The Drill Hall in Mullumbimby is a particular favourite. Playing live is great when it’s all going well, when it’s not going well you try to drink as much as possible.

Louise: Good tactic, Hannan! Though I do agree that performing can be a very tenuous thing…one second you are having the time of your life…the next you want to hide behind a curtain… There can be ups and downs within a set, between songs…when it’s up it’s just amazing. When it’s down…well, you just hope it gets back up! I’m just so excited about every show on this tour. There’s not a venue on the list that doesn’t present it’s own wonderful potential for a beautiful show in a fitting space for our tunes.

Q. If you could play anywhere in the world with any artists you could dream of, where would you play and who would you play with?

Paul: Woodstock with an Old Bob Dylan. He never played the original festival, I think he was living around the corner playing catch with his kids in the back yard.

Louise: Good answer. I thought for sure you would have said The Smiths.

Laneway, live at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Winning the Grant McLennan Fellowship Award is a great honour and you’re amongst some very talented artists who’ve previously won. Can you explain what this actually means and how does winning this alter your plans as a band?  How did you find out you’d won and how did you react?

Louise: It’s a great honour indeed. I got the news on the phone after not sleeping for days. I wept. It was just so overwhelming and there is a very anxious wait between the application that you work very hard on and the announcement. And we were just about to release the album the very next day – so we were probably in that funny window when the record is done and sitting in boxes in your house and you’re still so close to it and probably lacking some perspective on it…so getting that news was so encouraging. The Fellowship is an amazing program. We certainly couldn’t have got ourselves to Berlin next year without the support.

Paul: It means that you feel a bit more validated in what you are doing. These guys (Glenn, Sally, Adele and Robert) who we both really admire, told us that we’re alright – yippee! So we may as well keep on trucking.

When I found out I’d just walked in from work and Lou was on the phone talking. She got off the phone and told me that we had won.  We were amazed and went out to dinner. It’s not everyday that you win something like this.

Q. I’m the artist and you’re the blogger. What do you ask me?

Paul: Why are you an artist? Why don’t you get a real job?

Louise: Where are you when you’re not working?

Q. It’s 2016. Where are Laneway?

Louise: Touring Europe in the spring?

Paul: Eating sponge cake in Cuba- swimming, drinking and planning our 6th record!!


A huge thank you to Louise and Paul for taking the time to sit down and have a chat! Don't forget, their new album Turn Your Love Up, featuring the brilliant track 'Love Is A Devil,' is available now over at the Laneway Bandcamp page. You can also pick up a copy when you head to one of their album launch shows. For tour details, check out the Laneway Official Band Site! As a special addition to the interview, Jo's asked Paul and Louise to take control of It's My Kind of Scene/Spotify radio this weekend as our first guest programmers! Check out the full list of songs below and why the band picked them before listening to it right HERE


This Charming Man by The Smiths - The guitar intro just grabs you and what is Morrissey singing about?

The Ace Of Spades by MotorHead - Love the sentiment of the lyric; if he were to add a sprinkle of 
environmentalism it would be a philosophy for life.

Daniel by Bat For Lashes - We’ve been neglecting to get into latest releases. We read a lot about new artists and mean to get around to listening but life just rushes on. This is one we love.

Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds - You won’t get over it. A great Dylan cover.

Burnin’ For You by Blue Oyster Cult - Sounds like whatever west coast is meant to sound like.

Honky Tonk Woman by The Rolling Stones - 3 and ½ minutes don’t come any better

Bachelor Kisses by The Go Betweens – such graceful dealings with a simply complex matter.

Push by The Fingers Malone Ensemble - A favourite electronic song this year. Quite sublime.

Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan - Had to pick one!
The Race is On by George Jones – The great country singer.

Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure – Getting into The Cure as a young person was like stepping into a new world of sounds, thoughts and people. 

Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon – He is such an inspiring lyricists and melodist. Graceland was a huge album in the history of the world! 

Cripple Creek by The Band – Need we say more? 

Good Fortune by PJ Harvey – Her career is very inspiring and this record resonated so strongly.

Waterfall by The Stone Roses – Shall we dance and dance and dance?

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Into the Groove by Madonna

Golden Brown by The Stranglers – Jingle jangle wonder.

Unguarded Moment by The Church – There is something about the Australian sound that is so captured here.

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