Tuesday, 7 October 2008

13 Questions with Lail Arad

I first heard Lail Arad play at the IKTOMS Wired Festival 2008 and was really impressed with her ability to engage and thoroughly entertain an audience. Lail's songs are like little stories with funny twists and a clever use of imagery and accents. If you're at a Lail show, expect to be surrounded by happy faces eagerly anticipating the next verse of her song.

Lail Arad has been building up a steady following over the last two years and justifiably so. She has played at the Stella McCartney's Christmas Party kicking off her set with her song 'Hit Single' which begins 'I wish I was a fashion victim, but I just don't care enough'. This London lass has also found herself on stage at Devendra Banhart's gig at The Forum last November (apparently he invites a member of the audience to share a song at every show). Lail performed her song 'Winter' which Banhart declared was 'the best song of the entire tour'.

Lail with Devendra Banhart Performing 'Winter'

I'm not keen on comparing artists to each other because they are all unique (except Oasis and other cover bands) but if I HAD to give you a ball park idea of her style, she's been compared to Martha Wainwright, Camille, Kimya Dawson with a little 'chocolate on a cappuccino type sprinkle' of Mel Blanc.

Here are some links to her fabulous songs:
Who Am I: LastFM Link
Last Fm Link

I was lucky enough to catch up with the lady herself and asked her 13 Questions.

When did you begin writing songs?
some completely off-the-wall compositions while i was at school! but properly in my year out and then through university.. though my style has changed so much now i can barely recognise myself in those songs!

What instruments do you play?
i studied piano, i'm making friends with the guitar (i play a strange yamaha travel guitar, its just a frame and strings, looks better than it sounds), kazoos, tambourines and shakers tend to feature in my shows...

What inspires you to write?
other people's amazing songs. the stories that happen in this very funny world.

How would you describe your music?
very song-focused. lyrics and melodies. i'm bad with this question.

Is your family musical?
i got sung to sleep every night when i was little. there was always a lot of the music in the house - a lot of what i still listen to is what i was brought up on. but my parents are not musicians. my cousins and my sister are fantastic singers. we all sounds completely different!

Where is your most favorite place in the world?
a magic island the location of which i cannot reveal. if you find it you are lucky.

What was the last song you listened to? i've been listening to the new herman dune album on repeat since i got it. its just wonderful.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during a performance?
There is a part during one song called 'Je Suis Une Touriste' where i proposition a man in the audience in french. the reactions are always hilarious, some almost climb on stage, some shake their heads and run away!

Is there one venue in particular you would love to play?
I love union chapel in islington. I've seen some of my favourites play there... Jonathan Richman, Loudon Wainwright, Adam Green.. its such a beautiful venue.

What do you do to relax?
what does relax mean?

What are your plans over the next year?
I'm signing to a new label in Paris called Notify Music so I hope the album will be recorded and maybe even released during the year! Maybe it will also mean my french will improve? I also have some really exciting shows coming up, I'm going to play in New York for the first time soon! So there I can work on my american accent.. lots to do..

If you could have 3 musicians over to your place, who would they be?
Jimi Hendrix. Mick Jagger circa 1965. Brandon Boyd from Incubus. I'm going by looks only.

If I asked you one more question what would it be and what would be the answer? "Would you like some freshly made pancakes with banana, raspberries and maple syrup right now?"
"Yes please"

Lail is a busy lady, here are her upcoming tour dates:

Tuesday 21st October - Headlining the Electro Acoustic Club @ The Slaughtered Lamb - Doors 8pm
34-35 Great Sutton St London EC1V
Tickets are £5 from here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/37451

This is my BiG London GiG of the month, wonderful venue, full show, new songs..
I'm on just before 10pm but an old friend of mine is opening the night so get there early if you can!

Thursday 30th October - Book Slam @ Neighbourhood - Doors 7pm
12 Acklam Road London W10.
Tickets are £6 from here: http://www.bookslam.com

"Book Slam has attracted a wide range of storytellers.. novelists including Irvine Welsh, Nick Hornby, Monica Ali, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Safran-Foer, David Eggars, Will Self.. spoken word artists such as Simon Armitage, Lemn Sissay, Polar Bear and Floetry.. musical talent like Adele, Ty, Kate Nash, Soweto Kinch and Tawiah..."

Saturday 25th October - CMJ Showcase @ Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY - Doors 8pm

My first ever show in New York! CMJ Music Marathon is a huge festival/conference taking place all over the city. All the hip new yorkers say pete's candy store is their favourite venue. Its a free show in a small place and all the acts are great so get there early. Please tell any friends you have over in that apple of a city...

Wednesday 19th November - Showcase @ Le Comedy Club, Bonne Nouvelle, Paris - Doors 11pm
Je Suis Une Touriste again and I will be doing a big show(case) in this gorgeous venue. Entry is by invitation only so let me know if you're going to be in town! (i hear there's a great little exhibition opening at the pompidu that week......)

Tuesday 7th October - Poejazzi @ Volupté - Doors 7pm
9 Norwich Street London EC4A
Tickets are £10 from here: http://www.volupte-lounge.com/cabaret.php
This is a spoken word/music event with consistently great line-ups which was voted No.1 Timeout Critics' Choice last year and takes place in a beautiful cabaret club. Its tonight!

When she makes it big, remember who told you about her!

As my way of saying thanks, Lail, this video is for you:

Herman Dune: 'My Home Is Nowhere without you'

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