'Cups' (The Kitchen Version)
We first got a cheeky taste of Lulu and The Lampshades with ‘Feet To The Sky’, a delicate, honest and organic blast of harmonic folk that tested our foot tapping and hand clapping reflexes non-stop. Yet their debut EP, Cold Water, finds its footing in darkened, matured territory, heavy with meaning, from its shadowy cover art, its minor-key arrangements, to the band’s recent disturbing and warped video to ‘Demons’. Luisa Gerstein, the ukulele pin up, founding member and lead songwriter gave us a peek into the four-piece’s thinking behind the band’s debut EP.
1) COLD WATER
Luisa Gerstein (vocals, ukulele, percussion): A bit like ‘Feet to the Sky’ it was written over the course of a bike-ride, this time from London to Florence. Each camping spot was given a name, and Black River/Cold Water was a particularly beautiful spot we pitched upon one evening. The water was extra cold and dark by way of a thicket of branches arching over the river. It was perfect for lying on your back and floating down-stream and the song is about feeling strong in being alone. It features Heloise’s Adungu, a Ugandan Harp she picked up and smuggled back into the country, and I think it sounds a bit like Reggaeton, oops.
Luisa: I learnt the cup rhythm at a percussion class when I was little, and the chorus is taken from an old folk song by The Carter Family [‘You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone’], though when I learnt it, it was much more a song chanted by lots of people as opposed to the orderly tempo of the original, and in that way, sounded more like gospel. It feels more at home in that context too, not so much a song to be performed but one best experienced if sung en masse, so it’s nice when people sing along at shows.
Luisa: I think ‘Demons’ is our favourite from the EP. Me and Dan wrote the main structure of it last winter, and it probably best depicts the transitions we’re making as a band - developing a sound that is the sum of all its parts where we meet and reign each other in someplace in the middle. I like the dissonance of Jemma’s guitar part and Heloise’s violin, they sound suitably deranged for a song that is about feeling willingly engulfed and eroded by something. It was fun to incorporate other sounds into the recording too - having the tape player and birdsong. We’d like to do more of that with future recording, collecting sounds and patch-working them together, and recordings where you get a sense of the room as well.
4) MOCCASIN MILE
Luisa: The name is taken from an old protest song about following the footsteps and continuing the struggle of ancestors…but I took it to be about making the same mistakes others have made, so that it kind of reads as a word of warning and comfort from fools gone by. The spiraling bit at the end is always fun to play; Jemma says it sounds like Prog.