Like a hazy dream you want to revisit, Lazenlow’s “w/a/v/e/s” is dark, playful, and beautiful. More than just an interestingly spelt title, waves also describes the pulsing crash of beats washing over you again and again, but also the way the subgenres of the songs change from track to track. Gillian Needham’s haunting vocals add to a dreamy vibe, while Mike Ryerse’s production creates at times a slightly sinister but more often chillingly exciting backdrop to the entire EP. Filled with catchy vocal hooks, the first track “<<dandelions>>” is like a dark nursery rhyme for adults. Track two is “mightylongtime,” a groovy jazzy number with the lyric “Seems like a mighty long time” repeated through out, but it’s when Gillian sings “Seems like a mighty long time that I’ve been pretending that I’m fine” that the song really seems to strike true. The next track “dust” features Nur-D and we are treated to all the characteristically great nerdy pop-culture references that often accompany his tracks, including nods from Diddy Kong Racing to Lois Lane. The back and forth between Gillian and Nur-D is much like that of a couple on the brink of a destruction, but this slow dance club jam is a lot more fun to listen to. Title track “w/a/v/e/s” is a true siren song, with such enticing vocals it’s hard not to be drawn in to this ‘90s feeling industrial track. My favorite track on the EP is the penultimate song “leave*her*alone*boy.” Like most of the songs on the EP it’s lyrically simple, but clever in it’s word play. The phrases “Leave her alone, boy” “That boy won’t leave you alone, girl” tell the tale of a creepy dude who won’t just take a hint. The final song “outofmymind” feels expansive and like slowly going insane, and realizing it, while also drifting through the vastness of space. I recommend checking out this EP and letting the “w/a/v/e/s” wash over you again and again on repeat.
Gillian Needham (vocalist, song writer)
Mike Ryerse (guitar, production, song writer)
Mo McNichols (drums)
Shon Troth (Lap Steel, Synths)
(Melodic Noise) How's your day going?
(Lazenlow – Mike) Good, just working.
(Lazenlow – Gillian) MY JOB IS INSANE. But, glass half full!
(MN) How did the band form?
(L – Mike) Gillian and I started dating about the same time we also started messing around with having Gillian on some of my beats.
(L – Gillian) Two sides to every story... I got drunk, started singing Kehlani's "I Need a Gansta", and Mike said "Let me take you to Cuban food and record a song, or just record. If you don't want to go on a date with me, we still have to make music though..."
(MN) What do you consider your genre?
(L – Mike/Gillian) Dream pop? Trip Hop?
(MN) Do you work with a label?
(L) A few songs released through the Artist Intelligence Agency, but not signed specifically to anything.
(MN) What’s the story behind the album name?
(L – Mike) The pretentious spelling of everything was something we had fairly early, just something to stick out a bit. And then w/a/v/e/s fit the vibe of the whole thing. It bounces styles a bit so it hits you like waves.
(MN) Lyrically what stands out on the album?
(L) "Visions blurry, even hindsight"
"In the night you're nocturnal, and you might not sleep at all"
"I should get out of my head, but I'm out of my mind"
(MN) What was the inspiration behind the album?
(L – Mike) Musically we pull from lots of different places, specifically for this batch of songs it was Billie Eilish, Gorillaz, Disclosure, Low, Nelly, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Portishead, etc.
(L – Gillian) We connect with British trip hop a lot. Before we knew each other, both of us have been heavily inspired by 90s and early 2000s bands from the UK, which is kind of where we find our center. I've always felt myself as a "dark" person, so the aesthetic of Billie Eilish is spot on, but we're a few years behind that 17-year-old phenomenon.
(MN) What do you hope people take away from the album?
(L – Mike) Some female empowerment and some songs that just sound really, really cool.
(L – Gillian) Honestly, I think the musicality and Mike's production of it all is so pronounced. Mike is truly one of the most talented producers of his time. He always finds a way to portray how we're feeling.
(MN) Is there something that connects the songs together?
(L – Mike) Time and place definitely, it really just reflects the two of us during this specific time.
(L – Gillian) I feel like all of the songs represents a small part of how we're feeling at the time of conceptions. Not everything is rainbows and unicorns, and this EP really reflects our growth in a few short chapters.
(MN) Are you locals or transplants?
(L – Mike) I'm from Minneapolis.
(L – Gillian) I grew up in southern Minnesota for the majority of my life. Super small town, 1,200(ish) people the last time I researched that. I have family down there still, but I've never felt more at home then when I've lived in the Twin Cities. Spent time between both Saint Paul and Minneapolis since I graduated college in 2014.
(MN) Who are some of your influences and Minnesota influences?
(L – Mike) As stated the Low album Double Negative was a big influence on this album.
(L – Gillian) Low's album has been an ENORMOUS impact on what we did for w/a/v/e/s. But countless other influences on a larger scale, like BANKS, Billie Eilish, and tons of others. Powerful vocals and subdued vocals are where it's at for me.
(MN) Who are some of your favorite current Twin Cities artists?
(L - Mike/Gillian)NUR-D, Elle PF, Beasthead, Poolboy, The Trappistines, Lady Midnight
(MN) Favorite venue to play & see shows in Twin Cities?
We are pretty new to the game, but Mortimer's is kind of our home base.
(L – Mike) The Armory is designed very well.
(L – Gillian) First Ave will ALWAYS be where I feel most comfortable. I have my favorite spot on stage left.
(MN) What can fans expect when they come to your show?
(L – Mike/Gillian) Be moved, dance, get angry, be sad depending on the song.
(MN) Do you have a favorite or crazy memory of playing a show?
(L – Mike/Gillian) The Battle of the Bands competition we did for GO963 was definitely a favorite memory of ours, we debuted the new lineup!
(MN) Who are your dream tourmates?
(L – Mike/Gillian) Radiohead, Massive Attack, Crumb, Phantogram
(MN) Other hobbies?
(L – Mike) I make music as a House DJ, as well.
(L – Gillian) I play Wizard's Unite about 10 hours a day.
(MN) What do you like about living in the Twin Cities?
(L – Mike/Gillian) The culture is very inviting to local indie people, I haven't met a band that wasn't cool.
(MN) Anything that sets the Twin Cities scene apart from places you have toured?
(L – Mike/Gillian) We are pretty open minded to different styles of music, the hip hop bleeds into the indie which bleeds into the electronic and so on.
(MN) Favorite places to grab food or drink in the Twin Cities?
(L – Mike) Young Joni, Stanley's (we live in Northeast).
(L – Gillian) Any where I can walk to, I guess? Definitely the Burger Dive at Tony Jaro's!
(MN) Day jobs?
(L – Mike) Marketing
(L – Gillian) Community Resource Specialist for mental health clients
(MN) What are the band's plans for the future?
(L – Mike/Gillian) We have another 12 - 15 demos stockpiled so to just keep getting better and tightening up our live experience!
Review and Interview by: Andrew Perrizo
Edited by: G Blu
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