Say Lou Lou talk new album Immortelle and getting inspired by James Bond...
Say Lou Lou consist of twin sisters Miranda Anna and Elektra June Kilbey-Jansson and arrived with a bang in 2015 with their acclaimed debut album Lucid Dreaming.
A sophisticated LP of elegant dream pop and fulsome electronics, it drew rave reviews and comparisons with M83, Goldfrapp and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Now they're back with a follow-up. It's titled Immortelle and it's out now on shelves in hmv stores across the UK.
We spoke to the pair about making Immortelle and how 007 proved to be a particular inspiration...
When did you start working on the songs that would become Immortelle?
"It was around the time Donald Trump got elected, so late 2016."
Did you have a goal at the start of writing of how you wanted to move on from Lucid Dreaming?
"Definitely. More than anything, we wanted to change the process and condense the people and places involved to only using one producer and be in the same studio throughout the entire process. We wanted to the making of the album to feel sacred and cohesive, to us, the music becomes a reflection of the process. And we wanted to own it."
Has the way you’ve written songs changed over the years? Or has it stayed largely the same?
"Every process is different depending on the day, the starting point, the mood. But we’ve definitely developed and figured out what works and what doesn’t. We realised through this process that we do well with separation from each other during certain stages in the writing process, we’ve each written parts of the songs alone, and recorded parts of it alone, too. It’s been freeing for us to get space, and it makes us more excited to come together again, too."
You’ve said the album was inspired by film noir and old James Bond scores, can you talk us through what caught your eyes and ears?
Yes! The general starting point was the moody, evocative, raw world close to Portishead and the trip-hop era, but obviously, it went in a bunch of different directions from there on. Some of the biggest Portishead hooks are film score samples, most famously the Lalo Schifrin strings in 'Sour Times'."
"We wanted to expand the soundscape and production more by not using samples and instead of letting the film scores inspire how we wrote and recorded our own arrangements. During the beginning of the process, we tried to get in the mood by imagining ourselves as two femme fatale secret agents on an undercover mission in Eastern Europe…"
You did the album with Trent Mazur and Dash Le Francis, why did you decide on them? What did they give you as producers?
"It was a twist of fate that put us in the same room together with Trent at the end of 2016 and it was, despite knowing anything about each other’s musical backgrounds or track records, an instant musical connection that made us feel like we had to stop everything else and make the album with him."
"Dash originally came on as an engineer, but quickly turned out to be an amazing co-writer and vocal producer."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"Lyrically, it travels through a bunch of different settings, moods and POVs- kind of like we got to play different characters for each song - some songs are more personal, self-lived, some macro, some micro perspectives - the theme is in the delivery and essence more than how we wrote the lyrics."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"That would be 'All Love To Me'. We were fiddling with it until the eleventh hour- we changed the key and re-recorded most of the vocals and instruments more than once. To begin with, we had an idea about the strings carrying most of the track, like an 'Eleanor Rigby' type thing, but realised as time went on that it leaned more into the world of disco. So there was a lot of backtracking."
And which came together most quickly?
"Suprisingly, 'Limbo'. Its identity naturally unfolded quickly, like turning on a tap!"
When did you settle on Immortelle for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"Before we had written more than one song, the album was named Seven. Mostly, for superstitious reasons, and an idea about playing off the Seven Deadly Sins. But as we were writing Golden Child we found Immortelle, fell in love with the word, with the meaning and the idea!"
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"It’s going to be an interesting challenge to condense the album into a smaller setting, but we are excited to see where it takes us. We are playing two US shows, one West Coast and one East Coast, in late November to kick off the Immortelle live show!"