Making Bedroom Music: LUCIA interview
We chat to rising star LUCIA on a winter's day in Glasgow to find out what inspires her music and what we can expect from her in 2017
"Music like Blondie, Phil Spector, Richard Hell, Patti Smith, things like that. Best Coast as well – all their songs are so catchy, but all their lyrics are so simple. You can write a great song without it having to be really complicated.” Lucia Fontaine, aka LUCIA, speaks with an endearing frankness when it comes to her influences, an attitude which typifies her approach to her recordings. With her husky vocals filtered through a haze of lo-fi garage noise, Fontaine exudes cool-girl attitude in spades.
After first picking up a guitar in her mid-teens, the Glasgow-based artist went on to busk on the likes of Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street before coming to the attention of a rather high-profile act: “I was recording with Gordy Goudie, who plays in Echo and The Bunnymen, when I was about 16." she explains. "I had a guitar teacher when I was younger – I say 'guitar teacher' but really he was like a mentor to me. He knew Gordy, and he thought that my songs were really good so he was like, ‘I’m going to get you in to record these songs!’
“[My style was] more ‘singer-songwriter’ when I was younger,” she continues, “and I wasn’t really sure what kind of persona or genre I was going to go for, but I always, always liked the idea of playing an electric guitar in a rock band! That’s more me, but I just wasn’t sure how to get there at the time.”
Since then, the 20-year-old has well and truly found her sound. She made her T in the Park debut last year, and has already notched up some impressive support slots for further well-known groups including Maxïmo Park and (somewhat incongruously, she agrees with a laugh) The Bay City Rollers, plus local bands Honeyblood and The Van T’s.
Now, speaking excitedly about her newly released EP Best Boy, she explains: “It’s four tracks and I’ve been releasing them as singles throughout the year. The first one I released was Lose My Mind – that one is a lot of people’s favourite. I think it’s one of the ones that sticks in people’s heads because it was the first one that I released as Lucia Fontaine.”
The songs were recorded “as demos,” she continues, “and then over the time period of last year when I was mixing them they were all bedroom recordings. It was Hamish, who plays in my band, who actually produced them all, along with my friend Connor, who owns a record label called Dead Beet Records. I also filmed two videos, one of them was for Lose My Mind and one of them for Best Boy, and they were kind of DIY videos as well.”
Of this collaborative ethos, she enthuses “Glasgow right now has a really big music scene. It’s actually really amazing how there’s no competition at all. We all record each other's music, help each other with music videos… It saves you a lot of money when you’re at this stage, just trying to get to that point where [you] can eventually make a living out of what [you] love doing!”
Discussing the video for When I Think Of You, a track that she describes as “all imagery and quite dreamy, like you’re thinking about someone… I wanted it to be as if you’re in a kind of dream,” she reveals. “And so I bought all these roof hangings of flowers, and I got pink satin bed covers and material, and I put them all over my bedroom, and hung all these flowers from my bedroom wall.”
Was she tempted to keep her bedroom set up like that? “I did for a while, but the bed covers were too slippy. They were so uncomfortable!” she laughs.
For now, keep your eyes peeled for LUCIA – she has a 7" (to be distributed through monthly vinyl subscription company Flying Vinyl) due soon and her EP launch party is just around the corner: “I’m having [the record] released on 10" vinyl, so I’m hoping to have the launch in March. I’ve got a really cool idea for where I’m going to have it, so hopefully that turns out alright and they have the availability to have me. I really like all the bars in Glasgow, but I think the idea I’ve got up my sleeve is a bit different.”
Summing up the LUCIA mindset with her trademark candor, she muses, “You have to just do what you want to do, and not care about what anyone else is telling you to do. That’s the way it’s going to turn out best – because then you’re going to be different, and people are going to be interested in it.”