“This is the deepest I’ve ever dug into myself…” - hmv.com talks to Lucy Rose
For her third album singer-songwriter Lucy Rose decided she had to change things drastically.
Out have gone her old record label, management and the skittery beats and electronics of her previous LP Work It Out. In have come a berth on Communion Records, home of Bear’s Den and Catfish and the Bottlemen, self-management and an embrace of the unknown.
For new album Something’s Changing, Rose headed to South America. She travelled across Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil, playing everywhere she could, from tiny cafes to government embassies, and has come back with an armful of stripped back folk songs and lots of cracking stories.
We spoke to her about starting fresh, that life-changing trip and why this is her most personal record to date...
How did making this album compare to making your previous LP Work It Out?
“It was a lot more relaxed and much more fun. Going into Work It Out I put a lot of pressure on myself, it had to be bigger and keep growing and I was worrying all the time. From this one, it’s not like I had lower expectations, I knew I had great songs and it’d be my best record yet, but I was less stressed. I was self-funding and self-releasing and the DIY ethic took away a lot of the external and internal pressure. I just wanted to make something magical.”
You did a big trip around South America during the writing of this album, did that have a big impact on how the songs came together?
“The trip did change things. I’ve been playing these songs a lot live, so by the time it actually came to record them I knew them really well. The trip gave me an awful lot of self-belief, I went into recording with a clearer head and a stronger image and ready for anything.”
You did the album with Tim Bidwell, how did he come into your thinking for a producer?
“I was just trying out loads of different people. Anyone who contacted me I’d book in a day and we’d try things out. Tim came through a friend who has directed some of my videos, he said you should try my mate Tim, so I jumped on a train and went to Brighton one morning. I didn’t know what to expect, but it really worked and we clicked really well in terms of how I wanted to make the record.”
You’ve got some great guests on the album, including Elena Tonra from Daughter and The Staves, how did those collaborations come about?
“They’re all friends who I’ve known for a long time. This record had a real 70’s vibe, a collaborative feel, just lots of people playing in a room. So when it came to doing backing vocals, I didn’t just want to have my voice layered over and over again, I wanted to have the texture of female voices. I sent them the songs and they all said yes. It was a big moment, it really validated the songwriting for this album.”
Did you have a lot of songs to choose from for this album?
“I had a lot of ideas initially. But I’d been playing a lot of the songs live so it was quite easy to choose because I had a real connection established already. The songs that didn’t make it didn’t fit the vibe of the record, it wasn’t that I didn’t like them, the songs had to fit, a few were on the edge of pop or indie and I’ve made this record that’s very true to who I am and I wanted everything to fit into this country, folk, soul world I’ve created.”
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is it united by a common theme?
“This is the deepest I’ve ever dug into myself. I’ve done a lot of self-discovery, I feel like the songs are powered by a lot more self-belief and are much more self-aware. There’s a lot about the trip in there too, I met a lot of amazing people and heard a lot of amazing stories, so that was all still in my mind. I couldn’t write an average love song after that.”
Can you trace songs back to individual places in South America?
“Absolutely. The last track on the album is called ‘I Can’t Change It All’ and that’s about this man I met in Paraguay and what he’d gone through and I kept thinking about how I could help him and I just realised that there was nothing I could really do. He just told me to write more songs, that’s how I’d help him, so that inspired that song. There’s a lot of self-discovery on the record, finding myself in new places, I can pin a lot of places on songs.”
When did you settle on the title? Was it always called Something’s Changing?
“Titles are always really hard for me. But there’s a big theme of change on the album, I was changing, how I wrote was changing, how I toured was changing, I’d made this completely different record, I’m managing myself now, so it was how I summed it all up.”
You’ve left Columbia Records and you’re now on Communion Records, has the transition been stressful at all?
“It’s not been stressful. Having gone around South America meeting all these people who’ve gone through so much it would have been ridiculous to get stressed over a change of label. It weirdly just all happened, working with Columbia wasn’t working anymore, it didn’t feel right and it was very kind of them to hear me out and let me go. I wasn’t looking for a label when I meet the guys at Communion, I went in to talk about my short film and told them about the songs and they wanted to be involved. Communion is a label I’d dreamed of being on so it was a total honour.”
And how’s managing yourself?
“It’s fine. I think people find it odd talking to me directly about the way I work, but I’m enjoying it.”
Finally, how are your touring plans coming along?
“I’m out in the UK this month and then it’s into festivals. I’ve got lots of Asian shows coming up, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, then back to Europe after that. It’s getting very busy…”