Saturday, 26 April 2014

It's My Kind Of Interview - Lester The Fierce

Melbourne songstress Lester the Fierce (AKA Anita Lester) has recently released 'January' as the second single off her self titled EP. I was fortunate enough to see Lester the Fierce perform back in January here in Melbourne for the launch of the record. The show was an absolute knock out and really showcased the incredible talent and performance power that Anita Lester creates with her band.

The new single 'January' features a deliciously psychedelic film clip that emulates the world of a kaleidoscope as Anita’s face swirls in and out of the frame. It’s also worth checking out the video of Melbourne’s iconic Tram Sessions that features a live acoustic rendition played to Melbourne commuters. For the discerning music lover in this clip, Anita sits next to Melbourne’s electro pop darling, Scarlette Baccini from Dear Plastic (whom I’m also a huge fan of). Scarlette and a small chorus of others join in the song with beautiful harmonies “la da da da da la da da da da la dahhhhh….”

Today I am lucky enough to ask Lester the Fierce some questions first hand.

Interview by Lou Endicott

Thank you first off for taking time to answer some questions. And congratulations on your stellar EP!

Lester The Fierce: Thanks guys, loving your support.

Your new single 'January' is a poetically driven slow rock ballad with gorgeous imagery and heartfelt lyrics. Can you tell us a little bit about the creation of this beautiful song? What inspired this song to come into being? Where were you when you wrote it?

LTF: The song is the oldest on the EP. It originally was written as a little sonic poem intended for a duo. I wrote it about a one night love affair- it was a beautiful night shadowed by the dirtiness of the circumstance. I think loveless love is one of the hardest things a young privileged person will most probably experience.

I put it on the EP because I feel it shows a different side of the kind of music I write. I feel torn about it actually, because it’s not an obvious ‘single’, but maybe that’s not always the point!

I love the kaleidoscope clip that accompanies 'January'. How did this idea come about? Was it filmed mostly in a studio or on location? I imagine that it would have been a lot of fun to film! Can you share a little about the atmosphere that is created on a Lester The Fierce film clip set?

LTF: That clip had many twists and turns (get it?). It was originally meant to be a Sofia Coppola-esque picture that directly reflects the song. Super still and simple…it didn’t end up being shot in the way I had imagined and the stillness was lost. I then animated it into that kaleidoscope and used the footage we shot in the original edit (so there is a story underneath!). I like how the skin morphs and becomes kind of vulgar.

As a huge music lover (and a YouTube addict) I really enjoy watching the stripped back acoustic clips that are The Tram Sessions. How did this clip come about? What was the reaction from the lucky commuters on the tram after the song? Do you have a favourite tram session that you like watching?

LTF: It’s something I love doing. I love playing acoustically. It feels like coming home. Having said that, it also feels like being naked. Things like Tram Sessions and Balcony TV are privileges for up and comers. I feel very lucky to be included.

I don’t generally fall down the rabbit hole that is YouTube, but I have some favourites.

I think the Paul Kelly tram session is beautiful just for the joy of it all.
I really like the Matt Corby Balcony TV of Brother- I just love good voices…even if the songs aren’t always my favourite.

Having said that, I also love the not so special live captures.

Your music features beautiful soaring vocals that are equally at home in softer, intimate phrases as they are in big soaring belts. When did you first start to sing? Was it something you learnt or something always inherent? Was there a moment when you decided that this is what you wanted to do professionally?

LTF: I’ve always dabbled with singing, but didn’t really find my voice until I was about 18. I sang Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holliday for a final school recital thing and realised there was a difference between singing and SINGING. It’s a scary thing finding a big voice. It was definitely a massive hurdle for me. I didn’t even know how to belt until I recorded HOWL. I had a particularly hard experience during the recording of the EP and the fear of sound seemed insignificant in comparison.

You seem to cross a lot of genres with ease in your music. There are always unexpected and delightful moments in each song that I hang for for each time. Do you approach song writing the same for all of your songs or is each song a different process? How do you go about deciding which songs to release as singles and in what order?

LTF: To be honest, this EP was a little bit of an experiment. It’s the first time I’ve played with a band and worked with so many people. Some of it was constructive, a lot was confusing, but the sounds we made were special. I hear the confusion in the music but I also hear the threads.

The songs were a mixture of new and slightly less new. I had to put my album on hold, so only one of the songs from the album was used on the EP.

We approached this project as the introduction to LTF. Different sides and once we have planted the seeds we go from there.

I’m really looking forward to the next single.

Your sound is quite a versatile one – spanning from heroic rock n roll to softer introspective work and everything in between. What did you grow up listening to? Who were your musical heroes? And who are your musical muses now?

LTF: I loved Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell and Melanie. I never really listened to people and thought ‘I want to sing like you’, but I probably have subconsciously adapted those styles.

Now, I’m not so sure. I look for different things such as style and writing. I’m such a Lana Del Rey fan…or at least a fan of her image makers. I think they have done extraordinary things with her sound and branding.

I’ll never stop loving Thom Yorke, Nick Cave, Blues singers from the first half of the century. Good voices…really good voices get me off.

I am a huge fan of your EP and your previous single 'Howl'. Can you share a little about the process of recording this EP? Did the elements come together quite quickly or was it a long going process?

LTF: Thank you. It was an extremely quick process. I wrote 'Howl' the night before we had our first day in the studio. I had a huge amount of pressure on myself to get this done so to move on.
Almost all musicians I know and talk to are ready to move on before beginning.

The band you have assembled around truly make all your songs gel in a dynamic way. Having seen you live recently it was obvious that the ingredients of sound you all bring to the table result in some beautiful music alchemy. How did you find your band mates?

LTF: They are all beautiful friends who I met through my producer. The sad truth is though, that they are session musicians. Being a solo act is hard, because you generally can’t have a solid band until a certain level has been reached.

I can’t wait until I get there!

I think you’re right though, the lineup I’ve used for the last six months is particularly special…it’ll be sad when I need to move on!


Favourite post gig ritual:
LTF: Silence

Last song you listened to:
LTF: Jack Ladder - Giving Up The Giving Up.

An Australian musician you wish had more exposure:
LTF: Funnily enough, Jack Ladder and Georgia Fair. They have been categorised in a strange place in the industry, but are seriously fucking great.

Best place to song write:
LTF: Bedroom/ anywhere solitary.

Best dance music:
LTF: Love a bit of 80’s groove, Talking Heads, disco… Also, anything with a rock groove.

Music to soothe a broken heart:
LTF: All of the music.

Thank you so much for your time! Looking forward to seeing you play live again soon. x

LTF: Thanks x

A massive thanks again to Lester The Fierce for stopping by for a chat. To keep up to date with all things Lester The Fierce, head on over to her Facebook page! 

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