Law Holt

  • Law Holt
  • 2016-08-23

Law Holt is a long-time friend and collaborator of Young Fathers whose uncompromising vocal style beckons you in with sweet RnB tones that twist, turn and transform within the same breath. She explores the themes of loneliness, darkness and romance, describing her music as ‘Law themed’. We spoke to Law following the release of the video for ‘Love Drive Through’ taken from her debut album City on Soulpunk released Friday, August 26th.

The album tells my singular story of city life. It is romance and rejection. It is working hard and wondering why. It is the loneliness we feel being pressed on all sides by millions of others.

First up, tell us bit about yourself - what were you doing before your music career began?
I was brought up in a nowhere town. The kind of place no one seems to leave. It’s full of small-town philosophers who have never taken a risk. I went to university in a similar place, Beatles-city, and was working full time in various shitty jobs. I was always singing though. I sang Otis Redding love songs in my cover band and sent ideas by tape to producers on MySpace. I went underage to open mic nights. I went overage to open mic nights. Not that much has changed, always singing, always working a job. I just live somewhere else now.

What was the first style or genre of music you really got into? Was there a particular song or artist who inspired you?
I began with the standard stuff you’re expected to listen to as a teenager of colour. These were the MTV Base days. Dancehall and ragga had a big influence over lots of top 40 tracks. Then there was Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Slum Village. This was when Kanye was preppy. He had a song called ‘Spaceship’ about leaving your job to pursue music. I’m not sure how viable that is nowadays but the sentiment will sometimes return to keep me awake.

How do you create your music? Is there any kind of routine that helps?
I go into the studio with my manager and producer Tim London. He plays me a beat, I like it, I write to it. Then the vocals happen. I usually finish each session having met my side of the bargain. I always write in pencil too, no finality or dishonour. You can’t help having a regime, a set of superstitious rituals. The mind has to enter a groove before the music will.

Tell us about your new album, what was the inspiration?
The album tells my singular story of city life. It is romance and rejection. It is working hard and wondering why. It is the loneliness we feel being pressed on all sides by millions of others.

Which was the hardest song to get right and why?
If a song isn’t right straight away I abandon it. There’s no time to explore cul-de-sacs. Lyrically I took a little longer over the LP than I did over the EPs. Concise lyrics are surprisingly hard-won.

Can you pick out one song you are most proud of any why?
I’m proud of the whole album, which is a song in itself. Everyone has a song in them, these few are mine. Listen to the first track and don’t get up until it’s all over, then you can judge me.

If your music was a person, what would their personality be?
Well it’s me, isn’t it? Stubborn and scared all at once. Pushed around the city by an invisible hand.

What have you been listening to this year? Top 3 records of 2016?
I don’t think I’ve bought any new releases this year; I’ve been buying backwards instead. I found these Rev. James Cleveland records in Sounds of the Universe that I am still floored by:

Ditto Basil Kirchin’s Primitive London
Tracks 1, 3, 4 and 7 off Bend Sinister
Ry Cooder’s 1970-79 winning streak
Joe Higgs’ Life of Contradiction
Monk Live in Tokyo Vols. I and II
Anything with Burning Spear’s vocals on it…

If you had to pick one act to see live this year, who would it be?
Anyone who hasn’t seen Young Fathers yet needs to fix up. I wanted to see Kamasi Washington at the Proms but I was skint. But I would love to have seen him confound all those flag-waving Tory wankers.

If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
I’m not sure the results live up to the promise with collaborations. The two most ominous words in pop: Super Group.

How is the rest of the year shaping up for you? Where can we see you play?
I’ll be singing my stories of the city in as many other cities as I can. Information will be available on a need-to-know basis.

If you could pick any venue or festival to play, where would it be and which slot would you most enjoy?
I used to sing jazz at this weekly open mic night at a wine bar in Liverpool. One time when I was singing a man was talking loudly on his phone. The owner went over and told him to be quiet or get out. I’d like to play there again, fill out the place, and get some money in the till. After that, I want to sing in every country I can.

Watch the video for Law Holt’s new single Love Drive Through:

For more information about Law Holt, check out her website, Twitter, Facebook or Soundcloud.

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