Lera Lynn discusses Resistor, her creative process, life in Nashville and her Bachelor in Anthropology.
|Photography by Eleonora C. Collini|
Most people will probably recognise Lera Lynn for playing the role of a melancholic barroom singer in the second season of HBO crime drama True Detective and for setting the tone for a number of scenes of that show with her original songs, but the Nashville-based musician has also made her name in the surf-noir music circuit, releasing three full-lengths and one EP in only five years.
For new album Resistor, which came out on her own label at the end of April, Lynn abandoned the languid country-tinged songs that populated her earlier material in favour of a darker, more textured sound. The new emphasis on percussion and the reverbed guitars create an atmosphere that recalls the American hinterland pictured in some David Lynch movies: neon lit motels, dark highways and ghosts on the highway.
I caught up with her to discuss her creative process, life in Nashville and her Bachelor in Anthropology.
How do you think your character on True Detective influenced the writing of Resistor?
I think it liberated me to explore some new places in my writing, as it revealed to me a whole audience that I didn't know existed.
Joshua Grande co-produced the new album as well as working with you on all but your first record. How did you meet?
I first met Josh on tour when I was opening for k.d. lang for a month in the US, and Josh was playing pedal steel and baritone guitar in her band and I was enamored with his musicality. Working together has been like second nature, as he’s got such a keen ear and understanding of my voice, both as a singer and songwriter. He's my favorite!
You and Joshua played nearly all instruments on Resistor. What instrument, including vocals, do you feel the most confident playing?
I love playing drums! I played a great deal of drums on the record. So fun! Voice is my strongest instrument though, no doubt.
This is your third full-length. How has your songwriting evolved over the years?
I'm becoming more comfortable exploring my own avenue. That's one of the most difficult things to do as an artist, find your voice and then conviction in that, but I feel ok with taking more risks lately.
You have defined your music “creepy and lovely”. Could you elaborate that?
There's a kind of Mullholland Drive meets Patsy Cline's twisted sister in the music. There's a delicateness to it at times, with an underlying strength and dark side.
How does your writing process affect your life? Do you shut down completely?
I have to write whenever inspiration strikes and since I'm on the road a good bit, I have to take advantage of those precious moments. Also I think shutting down is the exact opposite thing one should do when creating, because it is living that gives you all the ideas.
I love them all for different reasons. They're all challenging and fun and stressful in their own way. Different parts of the brain.
Is there a sense of community in the Nashville music scene you feel you belong in?
Very much so. That's why I wanted to live in Nashville. There's less of a competitive vibe and more a "scratch each others backs" vibe there than in most music scenes.
You have a Bachelor in Anthropology. What impact did that have on your songwriting?
One of the most basic and important things you learn when studying anthropology is to be aware of and try to lose your bias when learning about other people. That greatly widens your perspective, which is of course a crucial asset for songwriting.
If things hadn’t worked out for your music would you have pursued a career in anthropology?
Most likely, yes!
What record does remind you the most of your childhood?
Probably Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, or Blue by Joni Mitchell...
Resistor is out now via Resistor Music
Originally published on London In Stereo