Law Holt is more than a mere genre. Law is passion. Law is music. Music is the Law. It’s her way, always – no boundaries, no preconceptions.
Law aka Lauren Holt has had a talent for singing since she was 16 but didn’t turn her hand to songwriting until 2013. Her first attempt, co-written with Young Fathers’ production team was Hustle, a first-take singing performance that led on to a hugely productive recording spree at the Soulpunk studio in Leith, Edinburgh. Other tracks benefitted from Lauren’s other-worldly auto-harp and occasional stabs of raw guitar, all with the distinctive dirty, wonky sound of her producers.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Law about influences, the new project, and more.
Full Q&A, links, and the video for Love Drive Through can be found below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
I wasn’t attracted to it because it never existed before. I invented it. However, I do have complete faith in my voice and the many voices I can inhabit. Tom Waits sounds like ten different people on all of his records and something very similar happens on City. Sometimes I’m that dejected girl on the night bus. Sometimes I’m arguing on the street corner. Sometimes I’m the confident musician giving a press interview….
How long have you been creating and sharing your music with the public?
I’ve been writing and performing as LAW/Law Holt for three years now. Before that I sang at any jazz night that would have me, hoping someone liked my voice enough to buy me a beer. But back then I couldn’t have possibly seen any of this music coming. I thought I’d be doing ‘God Bless the Child’ forever. Then I met Tim London and Young Fathers…
Who or what influences your playing and/or writing? Also, what motivates you to keep going?
The beats that Tim London makes are something for me to live up to and conquer. But my writing is influenced by everything that I listen to and my experiences living life as I choose to live it. The art is the easy part. The requisite balancing act can be difficult. Earning a living is odd enough without having to deal with the whims of some intern working in a record company office. But musically I am obsessed by those brief, nebulous moments that transcend things like genre or style. Imperfect but generous Jamaican harmonies; Ry Cooder’s slippery country-soul chords; Thelonious Monk lurking between keys and notes; The Raincoats stumbling through a tune. I wanted to make music full of those glorious and gloriously human imperfections. That sleek, over-produced stuff is inextricable from the fashionable technology used to make it. Update, upgrade, dispose. I’m strictly analogue.
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
I just want progression. A different voice which explores a different theme. Never settle. I’m recording new tracks now and they’ll be totally different from the numbers you’re just getting to hear. I want you to sit and wonder how it could possibly be the same person who made those records and EPs just a few months before.
What was the last song you listened to?
‘Life of Contradiction’ by Joe Higgs. He’s the guy who tutored the Wailers before they went huge. He had them singing harmonies to duppies in Kingston cemeteries. It turns out he made a better record than any of the Wailers ever would (with the exception of Bunny’s Blackheart Man). I’ve been inhaling Higgs’ LP for weeks now and there’s no let-up in sight.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
CDs forever. Vinyl sometimes. MP3s never.
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
I only play CDs or vinyl. Listening to music is a ritualistic experience. Clicking a button on a playlist Spotify has scheduled for you is a passive and uninspiring experience. Having everything at your fingertips eliminates the joy of coincidental discovery. If I walk into someone’s house and there are no books on the shelves or records in the racks then I’ll want to walk right out again.
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what are one or two of the biggest challenges you face when trying to attract listeners to your music?
People see forging new ground as a risk. It would be better for my career if I chose to do a watered-down version of something someone else is already doing. Mainstream music is made for the background; we all have so many windows and tabs open at once. Muzak used to be in the shopping malls. Now it’s on our laptops whilst we’re browsing Ebay.
Do you gig, tour or perform? Do you ever live stream? Where can music lovers see you live?
I’m always singing in public, and it’s always special. And you should come and talk to me afterwards. Sometimes I do it with backing singers and beats. Sometimes I’ll do it right in the middle of the crowd with a cassette and a ghetto blaster. Sometimes I’m performing with my brothers Young Fathers. The public should demand much more of live acts because no one seems to be putting on a show anymore; it’s all flat lager and expensive guitars.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more of your music?
I’m on Twitter (@lawholt) moving quickly like everybody else, talking about music. I’m on Facebook and Instagram just enough to forget what I look like. But the real thing is on the record.
Any last thoughts? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
2016 has left me lost for words, I’m sorry.