Music interview: Lettie – ‘Escape’ David Baron

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We caught up with musician Lettie following the superb release ‘Escape’ with David Baron. Read the full interview now!

How did you and David Baron begin working together?

David Baron and I met on Myspace in 2005. I had written a song called ‘Red’, which David liked on the piano, based on Ted Hughes’s poem to Sylvia Plath in the birthday Letters. I adored David’s music, which he created mainly in advertising back then. He was very successful. There was a great piece of music he wrote for Target (a US superstore). It was interesting because of the instruments and very catchy.

Initially, I had been really interested in jingle writing. I have just found David’s second email to me after the first with his contact details on 15 July 2006, where he uploaded some tracks for me to write against ‘Dear Sophia…’ it goes!! I called myself Sophia Storm!

We eventually met, and I had the great honour of recording at David’s home and at the Edison Music Cooperation (hidden in the actual hotel itself, The Edison Hotel off Times Square), the most incredible experience of my life up till then.

Who influenced your latest release, ‘Escape’?

I like the idea of journeys and, in particular, a book called ‘Candide’ by Voltaire and Pilgrim’s Progress. I love all books to do with journeys, and then I felt there was something mysterious in the chorus – and it brought to mind Mark Oliver Everett from the Eel’s father, Hugh Everett III wrote a lot about the Fourth dimension. I feel sometimes we are living in simultaneous worlds, and I know it interests David with a Sci-Fi element too.

‘In the Baron household’, there is a cat called Andromeda and a dog called Sputnik. The instruments all have their own dimensions too. How Richard Moore’s violin got on the track, I just can’t remember, but it worked! I love Richard’s playing – he has played with Nigel Kennedy in Poland. He really let go.

Lettie, you’re a songwriter, and David is a producer; how does your creative process work?

David is also the songwriter. David really writes 75% of many of these songs because the instrumentals are his. There are a few tracks that start from me, and you can tell which ones these are because they nearly always begin on guitar based in my kitchen since I do not have a studio, but the more cinematic pieces are really from David.

I use Cubase when David sends me a track, and thanks to an incredible vintage microphone David has now given to me, I have the ability to do very high-quality vocals, which has made all the difference.

What draws you to the alternative-rock genre?

I am into all sorts of music, but yes, I suppose I am drawn to the edgy voices of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed time and time again. However, I think there is quite a classical element to this track, and I find myself listening to more classical music these days.

What’s your dream venue to play?

I think my dream is not so much the venue as a support for someone, and that would be Peter Murphy again! It was quite an experience doing that.

Other than music, what are you passionate about?

Film. I am a complete film addict – mainly old films (I love the 70s era), foreign films, noir, black and white, classics, and Westerns – I’ve watched a lot!

What changes would you like to see in the music business?

I would love to see record labels give artists a bit more time to develop. So many bands that I continue to listen to today were given time to create, such as Kate Bush for example.

I think David Geffen of Geffen Records is a good example – many of his artists were not immediate successes, and he had a long view and look at his stable of artists now! They are nearly all heritage acts – that’s what they call them – they are still performing and recording today to huge audiences! There seems to be a lot of pressure to have a hit immediately.

How do you feel about how the internet plays a role in today’s music business?

Hugely important for discovering music. I was kind of doing that in 2010 onwards at work because my job was mindless editing – so I would listen on YouTube all the time– I listened to all the new stuff coming out, but it’s more difficult for me these days because my boss does audio dictation (on ancient Philips cassette tapes!) which can be anything up to typing 10,000 words a day so I can’t do both anymore because I’ve got his voice in my ear a lot of the time!

What would it be if you could choose one thing for fans to take away from your music?

I am not sure what they could take away from our music. It’s a difficult question to answer! I suppose I am just grateful that anyone listens to it at all. It’s so hard to get heard these days!

What is your favourite song to play live?

‘Hang On’ is an old song that a photographer called Corrine Day (who has now passed away) picked out for Mike Figgis for an H & M advert. The reason I like to play this song is that during these 17 years of knowing David, we have both experienced deep personal loss. I think the song encompasses that need to hang on in there.

Have you started working on your next release – will there be further collaborations?

It’s taken five years to release this work! So I’m not really thinking about any other releases! I love collaborating with David Baron, and it is ironic that it all happened to me in its small way in America and not the UK. I am truly grateful for all that he has done for me because, ultimately, I would not have released anything without him.

FVMusicBlog October 2022

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