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Sunday 05 March 2017

Laura Marling Interview: Musician Puts Sexuality & Gender Under The Spotlight On New Album

Laura Marling's forthcoming album Semper Femina was largely written out on the road, following the release of her acclaimed album, Short Movie. 

Its loose lyrical thread strings together her keen, freshly observed take on womanhood,and what Laura describes as a particularly "masculine time in her life".

Semper Femina is Laura's sixth studio album in a little over nine years. It is a record that similarly addresses questions of how society views sexuality and gender but without seeking to provide definitive answers. 

Laura says: "The title comes from a Virgil poem, and the full quote from the poem is  "Varium et mutabile semper femina", which I might be pronouncing wrong but the translation is: "fickle and changeable, always a woman", so it's better off as just "always a woman".

She adds: We're somewhat accustomed to seeing women through men's eyes, and naturally that was my inclination to try and take some power over that, but very quickly realised that the powerful thing to do was to look at women through a woman's eyes. 

"It was a little stumble at the beginning of the record, a self conscious stumble - but yes that's where that came from." 

With regards to her lyric themes Laura says::

" I used to read a lot of fiction and I don't any more, but I read a lot poetry. So Gothic Romantic literature used to play quite a big part in my vocabulary of emotional experience. 

"Now that I have my own emotional experiences, many of them, I like drawing on them and delving into poetry more, as well as literary fictional/fantasy. 

"My favourite poet is Rainer Maria Rilke - who was a bit of a hopeless romantic. He's the reason that I got to writing this record in someways because I was researching his life for writing the libretto for an opera. 

"He was dressed as a girl until he was 8, which had quite a profound effect on his relationship to women and made him somewhat of an obsessive woman-fancier. 

"It was his misguided perception of femininity that led me to try and investigate more about that."


Watch Laura"s directorial debut for Soothing

It retains an openness to express and portray her own 'voyage' of self-discovery, but also to develop and learn as artist, performer, and as an individual over the course of her career.

Laura said"I don't need to pretend it's a man to justify the intimacy, or the way I"m looking and feeling about women. 

"It's me looking specifically at women and feeling great empathy towards them, and by proxy, towards myself". 

The announcement of Semper Femina follows the success of Laura"s recent Podcast series, Reversal of the Muse

As an exploration of femininity in creativity, the collaborative project opened up an important conversation around whether the lack of feminine presence in the studio environment would ultimately make any difference at all to the creative outcome. 

With no ulterior motives, nor any pre-conceived expectations, ROTM was as much about the conversation created than expecting a conclusive answer. Guests included Haim, Karen Elson, Vanessa Parr, Dolly Parton, Shura, and Emmylou Harris.

Laura enjoyed the process of putting together the podcasts:

"I too enjoyed it. For my own self interest I"d like to continue having that conversation with as many people as I can. 

"I want to go in next time with less of an agenda, because what I realised form having those conversations is that they were so much more complex and more biological than I realised. 

"I'm interested to investigate other industries as well particularly visual art and film an television because I think the imbalance there needs to be rectify in whatever way it can be rectified so we can have a more balanced understanding of the world, because these are the mediums by which we understand the world around us now." 

It was back in October 2015, that Marling announced a short Tour de Ville through the US, where she would be previewing material from the aforementioned forthcoming Semper Femina.

This was a similar technique she'd used before to debut work in progress:

"I had done the three albums and toured them back-to-back. I decided to do a tour alone, a U-shape of the States, just me and a guitar. 

"I was deciding when and where to go. No Holiday Inns on the side of the freeway in Idaho. I picked up friends on the way, then a boy, and we ended up moving to LA together. I had absolutely nothing, and it felt amazing; a completely fresh start."

Laura Marling plays Brighton Dome Concert Hall on 16th March 2017. CLICK HERE for more details.

by: Mike Cobley




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Kate Tempest by Eddie Otchere

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