LP Talks About Love Lines and Ukuleles: Interview

LP is Laura Pergolizzi and they’ve had quite the career, working with everyone from Cracker to Rihanna. The new LP album, Love Lines, is out now and we think its worth your attention.

The 13th Floor’s Marty Duda spoke to LP about writing and recording Love Lines and how the ukulele brought them back to making music for themself.

Click here to listen to the interview with LP:

Or, read a transcription here:

LP: Hey, what’s up, man?

MD: Oh, not too much. What’s happening with you?

LP: Not much, man. Just chilling. Yeah, I think I got a day off today.

MD:  No, you don’t.  You have to talk to me.

LP: Oh, yeah. I do have a commitment. It’s talking to Marty. Marty Duda. All the Duda-day! Oh, no. Yeah. I start a little four-day run tomorrow starting in Washington, New York, Philly…something else.

MD:  And how is it out there in the big wide world doing shows again?

LP:  It’s great. Yeah, I mean, I was back at it pretty quick. I was out in Europe in the fall of 2021.

LPMD: Nice one.

LP: There was hardly anybody out there. I don’t know how that happened, but yeah, it was just like, crickets, you know, we did it. And then, yeah, I was out a lot last year. It’s been great. This is my second US tour since the pandemic.

MD: Has it changed over the course of the few years?

LP It has a bit, I’ll be honest, yeah. I mean, not crazy. I just feel like, well, first of all, everyone’s out in force, you know what I mean? Every band is touring, where I feel like before the pandemic, it was like people rotated it and waited, you know? And it’s a feeding frenzy.

MD: Now it’s every man for himself.

LP: Yeah, I feel very lucky to have, you know, filled up shows every night. It’s been, you know, been a full half year. This is good. Yep, yep. You know, thankfully.

MD: The new tunes are going down well, are they?

LP: Yeah. That’s really nice. I love playing with the people. It’s a really good response.

MD: So talking about Love Lines, which apparently is your seventh album, although I’ve seen it listed as your sixth as well, but you can’t trust anybody these days…

LP: Yeah. Um.

MD: I see that parts of it were recorded in different places, part in Grand Cayman Islands, Palm Springs. I was wondering if it made a difference to you where you were when you were actually laying down these tracks, or writing your songs even.

LP: Oh, sure. That’s why I like to go places, because it’s like there’s other element to what’s going to happen, like, ‘What the heck is going to happen?’ So I knew I wanted to go to a nice place. I really like the water, you know,  and you know, open space, like I have like a visible horizon. I learned from leaving New York City that I was…that’s not my favourite place to create. And I was a little too cut, like a little too vertical, a little too claustrophobic for with me. I’ve realized that I found myself much more creative in open spaces. So I try to honour that nd being in Cayman was so cool. I was right on the beach and just very relaxed in a way, but motivated. You know? And yeah, it felt good. And then Palm Springs, Palm Springs is just hard to explain always. It’s just there’s something about the air out there that really, really gets me going.

MD:  Well speaking of wide open spaces and water, have you ever been to New Zealand? Because we have quite a few of both of those things?.

LP: No, I need to. I went to Australia this past year for the first time.

MD: Oh yeah, close.

LP: Yeah, I had shows there in 2020, like Byron Blues Festival, and a bunch of other shows of my own that I had to redo, like pick up before. And so I got out there finally last year, and I didn’t get over to New Zealand, but I’m dying to go out there. And yes, it was… I can only imagine if it’s anything compared to Australia, I’m sure your next thing is going to be like it’s way better than Australia, which I respect, so I’m sure it’s amazing.

MD: Well the relationship between Australia and New Zealand is similar to the relationship between the US and Canada, with New Zealand being on the Canadian side of things. So there’s always a gentle competition and jibes against each other, but really we’re all in the same boat.

LP: Yeah yeah I think Canada is incredible so I mean I just actually just got out of there. I  just did a couple of shows.

MD: That’s right I thought you showed Toronto right?

LP: Yeah I showed Toronto in Quebec and Le Mans and Leval was great. Last night was incredible.

LPMD: I think your producer, your main producer on the record, is a guy named Matthew Pauling is that correct?

LP: Yeah.

MD: Tell me why what does he bring to the table? Why him?

LP: Oh, well, what happened was is that this whole thing, all, you know, Matthew Pauling, Andrew Martin, my guitar player, now in the band as well. But you know, and Ashton Irwin, an Australian cat. And he, we were just friends all from like, I kind of like we were in this like same little crew in the pandemic. We met new common people we knew and I just I just had struck up a friendship with them and then we all knew we were musicians obviously and then we did a song one time and suddenly we were like, ‘whoa, let’s keep doing that’. And then we, I think that our first song was called Hold The Light and then we did a song called One Like You and then we started a song, me and Matt and Andrew just started a song called Dayglow. And then I was like, you know what, I’m gonna take us to some studio or some house somewhere and I’m gonna start a LP record.

And I did. Yeah, and it was like, we just like kind of hit it off musically and friend wise, and I just felt chemistry with us. And then Matt, Matt had produced something, I think he had really singularly produced a whole thing with someone like wasn’t where I was at quite yet, but I just, his talent was obvious from the beginning. And yeah, I was like, I’d really love you to be at the helm. He just took it and ran. And I was so happy he did that.

MD:  What kind of… did you have much discussion with him about what kind of sounds and feels and things you wanted?

LP: Yeah, we just were like… it was inherent in the writing, you know, and where we were. It was just like the things that he was bringing to the table as far as the sounds was just like, right what I wanted. I was just like yeah, let’s go with that kind of palette. I’m one of those people, I’m not like a micro manager of sorts. I kind of try to make decisions of what I see in my intuition and then let that person flow. And obviously if I don’t like something, I step in. But I like to when you’re liking what someone’s doing sometimes it’s best to just like allow them to keep going in that With that place, you know what they’re feeling and you get the best out of them and I loved what I was hearing.

MD:  Now you mentioned One Like You which is a track that I was interested in talking about.  I’m an old guy, so everything sounds old to me, you know touches on that stuff.  For me it was very kind of Phil Spector/Ronettes feel to it.

LP: I think we put that into our subconscious. We wrote that the night that Ronnie Spector died.

MD: Oh, really?

LP: And we were talking about her for a bit. But how many people have tried to rip off that kind of thing? But when we finished it, we were like, ‘Oh wow, we really kind of got a bit of an ode to that whole vibe’, which was pretty cool. But yeah, we were going for that. I’m always hoping for that. I always want to you know, do something in that River Deep Mountain High kind of vibe, you know. But, you know, there’s a thing with being inspired by as opposed to emulating, you know, and so you have to watch yourself, I think. And I think I’m an experienced enough songwriter at this point that I know to not do that and I know if it’s falling into that, if it’s like pandering to a song that exists. You’ve got to skirt that line. It’s not the easiest thing to do sometimes, but I just put it out of my mind as far as trying to sound like that. I kind of already know that it’s never going to really sound like that for the most part unless you really need to.

MD: Yeah, unless some old guy sells a line and says it.

LP: Yeah, no, I mean, it’s not a ripoff, it’s just a testament to that. We managed to do it.

MD: And of course, your voice is your own. You’re not Ronnie Spector or Darlene Love or any of those people or Tina Turner. So with that in mind, some of those vocal performances that are on this record are, for lack of a better word, epic. So what is happening there? When you’re in the studio and you’re laying down this vocal track, do you have somebody in your ear talking to you? Are you alone? Who’s making decisions?

LP: No, I got, you know, me and Matt, uh, me and Matt, you know, I, you know, I, uh, he knows, you know, I like, I’ll comp, um, in the beginning, like with, with them and then sometimes more. And then, and then there’s some guys that just take to it like a fish to water and just like know how to comp and they’re like, all right, here’s the comp that I like or whatever, or its barely a comp because it’s like a one take thing, or like you keep most of the take and just put little dips in. But like, I think that that’s how I know someone that I’m really kind of on the same page with and like have chemistry with is that they’re kind of an extension of myself. They know what I want and how I should sound. So we…Yeah, it’s like me and him, like, you know, banging it out when the song’s fully written. And yeah, I love that part. And a lot of times it’s like, it’s a day of vocal, because that’s when the excitement is really popping. You know, it’s a thrill to sing a song, you know, you loved  writing and it feels like really good. Like, it’s like you can hear it in your vocal sometimes. And yeah, it’s a challenge. Like, I think I’m just you know, last week or so, feeling like I think I got…I locked in these new, this new fucking like absolute behemoth that is this set of songs. I seem to make every record part of them next to, you know, it’s just like, oh man, I did it again! I made my life so hard! Yeah!

MD: Possibly the most epic vocal performance, though I  may be wrong in your opinion, is Blow, which has a beautiful piano kind of thing working up to it. What can you tell me about that one?

LP: Well, you know, that one is funny because that one seems like the hardest thing. I think that one like you might be one of the hardest ones to sing. As far as like the voices that are needed and like the, you know,  maybe that and Dayglow because there’s just like, the notes are long and held.

But Blow is the last song that went for the record. And it wasn’t, I wouldn’t call it an afterthought, but it was just like, I think we were like, oh, I think we got it, you know? And then it was just like, there’s a couple songs on there, Dayglow and Blow are two of the songs that just me and Matt and Andrew did together because Ashton left or something. And so Blow was at the end, and we were in the house in Palm Springs, and we were just like, it was my ode to like being a single, you know? I had kind of like been seeing someone, been seeing a few different people and I was like, you know what? I’m just going to go out into the world, single this time. Wow, crazy. And just let the cold winds blow. And so, yeah.  I don’t know, that’s like a perfect example of me and Matt late at night, me just like wailing at the end, like at three o’clock in the morning style, you know? And yeah, it just felt really good. to let that go.

MD: Is it difficult to recreate those vocal performances live?

LP: No

MD: Do you have to take care of your voice when you’re on the road?

LP:  Oh, I do, yeah, I absolutely do. You know, no one’s more amazed than me half the time that I’m able to do it like three or four nights in a row. And sometimes it’s getting better, most of the time getting better each night. Yeah, I can’t drink…I’ll have one here and there, but I’m drinking shit tons of water, just beyond. And I’m a very trained singer. I had a bit of a… the first three days of the tour, I was like acclimating to like…Like I said, this behemoth of a set, like just belting for like 90 minutes straight. And I think that fourth day that we had a day off and I was like, oof. And I was having a little trouble with my sound. It’s always hard to get the in-ear thing and have a new guy, so we’re just acclimating. Yeah, so we just had to get that all moving. And I say my voice didn’t feel great that day off. And then I remember I woke up the next day and I was like, okay, I have my work cut out for me and I just, I know how to have all these exercises and all these scales and everything. And I just did my emergency warmup, which takes, it’s a deal over hours and the course of a day. And my voice is better than ever that night. So I was just like, oh, relief. It’s nice to have technique and training to back you up. So I’m happy about that and I don’t know how I would do it otherwise I’d be pretty screwed.

MD:  It seems like you have a team together that does your visualizations, your videos and stuff because they’re fairly striking and…

LP: Oh thanks. Yeah, that’s my friend, Juan Salazar. And we were friends before, like we’ve been friends for years. They were a friend of mine who’s a producer and my friend Ollie and him went to school together, film school, and we always wanted to work together and we were like about to in the pandemic years. And then I know my manager and him were always talking about like doing something and then we finally got to work together on One Like You and it just really took off and he’s so amazing and so epically visual and he’s like cinematic. So then we did that, we did Dayglow.

I really like working with him. Yeah, but I always like, you know, I like, I like it with every album, I like videos that are, that feel like little movies, you know? I think when fans really enjoy them and, and you know, I think the LGBT community enjoys it cause I always like kind of, you know, I’m always being some crazy action hero or something like that.

MD: The video for Long Goodbye, was that all done in just one long take?

LP: Yeah, that was actually my friend and assistant, Delia, just took that on her iPhone. We needed to put it out for a single release. And Juan was supposed to do this one, too. And there just wasn’t enough time. And so I was like, you know what? I’m just going to do this in my house and it was easy and quick and it was done in like an hour and a half.

MD: So how many takes did you have to do? It looks like it was somewhat choreographed because certain things had to happen..

LP: Yeah I did three. I did three but I’m not a uh yeah I’m like I’ve done those one take things before I did it for Golden too but that was directed by Stephen Schofield who’s amazing and he did my One Last Time video and stuff. So he wanted to do the one take video and I remember doing that, I think I did that eight times. But it was a little bit more involved. But this one was just me and I remember, I think I used the second take. But I did it three times and even like there’s this part that where the, I did, oh no, I think we used the third take, I’m sorry. We did it three times. Because the second take, I messed something up.  And but I did this really fun thing and I didn’t do it on purpose. I spun around, I put my hat on and I spun around and it flew off my head and landed right on the…yeah. And that was not on purpose the first time I did it. But I couldn’t keep that take because I totally messed something else up. I forgot what. And then when I did on the third time, I like watched the video a couple of times to see how I did it. And then I managed to do it in that take. So yeah, so it was like the choreography. I didn’t have a choreography. I just wanted to like start in the, you know, on my couch, go through, make a drink, sing the rest of the song and then make it out to the pool. I just felt like that was a good trajectory. And funny enough, it’s harder, harder than it seems, you know, when you’re trying to hit every mark, you know, without it really being thought about.

MD: Now, I have to ask you about, there’s a line, I think in Love Lines, that you mentioned Moonage Daydream, which I’m a huge Bowie fan, so I’m assuming that’s a little nod to him.

LP: Yeah, it’s a little, yeah. So, yeah, you know, I mean, that was such a dreamy song, you know. I remember, like, we were like, it was one of the songs that, like, I just did, like, a vocal take, had the verses and…and then of course, and then like from the outro after that, you know, from the like the whole “la la la” it almost like it reminded me of Snow Patrol at the end, like they kind of like that, just like the vamp on that. And I remember we listened back to it and it was just like the whole thing was one take. We didn’t, like I didn’t change anything and yeah, it was really, that song felt really good and you know. I thought that would be a great title.

MD: Yep, yep, absolutely. And you do play a little ukulele on this thing as well.

LP: Yeah, there’s probably a bunch of ukuleles on it. It’s a, you know, like that instrument, that instrument is the instrument, like it’s just like got me back to being an artist again. You know, I bought that instrument just as a writer when I was in this, like two years ago, 2009 to 2011, I was writing for the people. And not in any kind of sad or tragic way, but I was just like, yeah, this is gonna be what I do. I’m not gonna, you know, I already had like four record deals.  And I wasn’t thinking, yeah, I’m gonna keep going. So I bought, I always wanted a ukulele, I bought one. It was like a little conversation piece that I used to take to like the craziest session. I think the first one I ever took it to was like the Rihanna session where I got the cut with her. Not to be confused with (Cheers), I didn’t write that song in ukulele. It was with the runners. There was a track that I wrote. But yeah, I would bring it and it was just like this funny kind of conversation piece that I would bring to a session that I would use like kind of to write lyrics with later. I’d be like, yeah, It was just fun. And then from that, I started like just messing around with it, making all these whistle melodies for my girlfriend at the time. And then suddenly it turned into writing songs for myself. And then suddenly, you know, then I had a song called Into the Wild, and then that song got put in a commercial. And suddenly I had to deal with Warner Brothers as an artist again, and I was off and running. And I haven’t stopped yet. So I kind of attribute my comeback, coming back to like and beginning, really beginning my actual artist career, I think after that stint, to the ukulele. So yeah, that instrument gets on everything. That guy’s in the family picture forever.

MD: How many ukuleles do you own, just one or do you have several?

LP: No, I have several. I’m with Martin, I was the ambassador for Martin. And they make custom ones for me. And the black one that I play now on stage is my custom and it’s my favourite. That’s my go-to.

MD: Very cool. Well, hopefully we’ll see you playing your custom ukulele down in the these parts.

LP: I can’t wait, I know. I was just doing another interview for Breakfast with Candice, this indie radio thing and she was like, ‘come here!’. You know, I was just like, I was telling you I was just in Australia for the first time last year. Yeah, I’m really dying to go back and to go to the New Zealand as well.

MD: Alright, let’s make it happen.

LP: Yeah, man, thank you so much.

MD: My pleasure, thank you for telling me all about this stuff.

LP: Oh yeah, thanks for the great questions.

MD: Alright, have fun on the road.

LP: Thanks a lot. Alright, thanks. Bye bye.

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