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Ladyhawke: Flying Up the Charts

Ladyhawke – sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head in the remembrance of the 1985 fantasy film starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and…oooooh…Michelle Pfeiffer than you’re halfway there. Yes, it was an epic movie but now it’s an epic sound –thanks to New Zealand born Pip Brown, who is taking the world stage by storm with Ladyhawke, the name of not only her stage persona but her debut album too. And what a debut! Her sound is somewhere between driving ’80s anthems, dreamy soundscape instances and marvellous make-out tunes. Ladyhawke took time out to discuss touring, computer games and things that go Wii with OUTinPerth’s Scott-Patrick Mitchell.

How would you describe the overall sound of your debut album?

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It’s quite synths and guitar heavy. I quite often describe the album as a whole as being like a soundtrack. No one track is like the other. They all stand alone. It’s like each song could be from a different band.

You have an amazing sound on the album, but live you seem to have a certain ferocity and showcase yet another facet to your sound. How important is ‘live’ to Ladyhawke?

Live is quite important to me. It’s always a huge part of what I do and what I’m doing. I’ve put a lot of work into doing the live show. My tour manager is also my sound engineer and he’s really worked hard at getting the sound really good because at the moment I have to pay my band and I can’t quite afford to pay a fifth member at the moment otherwise I’d have a synth player.

How are you finding the touring schedule?

This is the most touring I’ve ever done in my entire life. I thought I’d done a lot because I’d toured with a dirty rock band and driven around in a van, going from place to place. But this? This is taking it to a whole new level, like being in a different place everyday. There was one day when I was in three different countries in 24 hours. I was in Spain in the morning, London in the afternoon and then LA in the evening. It did my head in. That was exhausting.

How are you coping with the buzz that’s starting to surround you and your work?

I get overwhelmed when I get back to London. When you’re touring you’re in this weird bubble of like just trying to exist on crap food and just being with the same people every day. A lot of the other stuff that happens I’m oblivious to until I come back to London. For me here the buzz about me is bigger than it is anywhere else in Europe. It blows my mind and does my head in and I never thought it’d become like this. It’s surprised me a lot.

What keeps you grounded?

I think it helps that I was pretty grounded to begin with. I never really get all that excited about anything. It takes a lot to make me excited. It kinda helps that I’m like that. If I wasn’t the way I was I wouldn’t have a head on my shoulders. My head would be in the clouds and I’d be floating away. I’d probably be getting wasted every night and being an idiot. Because I’m heaps older I think you see things and observe it for so long it makes you more just grounded as to what goes on.

So what would blow your mind?

If my album did really well, like… I got my album in the top 10 I think that would blow my mind. Like, I’d probably pass out. But that’s about it.

From your blogs and website it’s apparant you love arcade games. What’s your favourite?

When I was 10 or 11 I had a Sega Master System and that was like my first proper game console that I ever owned. My favourite game was Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap. It’s such a good game I still play it now. I’ve got so many favourite games though. I also like the classics like Galaga and Pac Man. I’ve always got time for Pac Man.

For someone who loves vintage video games, what do you think of the Nintendo Wii?

The good thing about the Wii is that you can go online and download old vintage Sega games and Nintendo games and play them on your Wii. It’s so cool. I think the Wii is so amazing.

What level are you up to on Guitar Hero?

I’ve completed easy. I’m finding medium to be quite hard. I always lose it whenever they throw in one of those orange notes.

What made you choose Ladyhawke for your name?

It just seemed to suit me right. I was going through lots of names and I thought of Ladyhawke and everything just fell into place. It felt so perfect and the whole story behind the movie just attracted me as well because I always thought Ladyhawke could be an alter ego for myself. Although I’m nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer – I wish.

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