Photo by Jay Mawson
LoneLady’s third album is an exciting turning point. For starters, this is the first album she made outside of Manchester. Unlike the beginnings Nervous and follow-up Countryside which were variously made in his home studio or around abandoned factories and mills in the north of England, Old things was made in the basement of Somerset House in London.
Recipient of a residency in the place she describes as “both a nightclub and an art installation,” LoneLady, alias Julie Campbell, was able, for the very first time, to put all her equipment in one place and play her music as loud as she wanted, without fear of annoying the neighbors. âAs much as I enjoyed staying in various crumbling mill spaces around Manchester, it just gets a bit tiring to keep hanging around your studio,â she laughs. âThis bunker studio in the basement gave me the space to stretch out and turn up the volume. It energized the album so much.
Old things sees Campbell channeling the ’80s pop music that lit her imagination as a child. “I had to watch Top of the pop or something like that and I remember starting to ask for tapes for Christmas at one point, âCampbell remembers from his youth. âI remember very well the chic little cassette cases I had for Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson records and ended up going the pop route for many years. It just reminds me of happy, carefree times, all the things that I love.
Indeed, Old things is more pop and much more upbeat in style than any of his previous works – both in instrumentation and lyric delivery. âThere is a lot of fun in this record,â adds Campbell. “I’ve always liked trying to make things catchy and playful, but I really went with the sound and the more direct pop lyrics as well.”
Campbell says she enjoyed the chance to look back on the making of this album, especially at a time in her teenage years when you could spend more time with records and not be overwhelmed by the amount of music on hand. . âWe have access to millions of songs instantly now, but I find it overwhelming and horrible,â says Campbell. âI don’t feel like I missed anything because I didn’t have that growing up. There is such a thing that too much a lot of music I think. Even in my twenties, I would buy a CD and it would support me for months.
Now she plans to set up her own permanent studio so that she can release records more frequently and also her upcoming live concerts this fall – although the lingering uncertainty about the restrictions is proving frustrating. “It’s appalling, the lack of government support when you consider the income the music industry brings in and the joy it brings in people’s lives, how many people have missed going to concerts,” she says. âIt can be really hard to take at times and I often bury my head in the studio just because I can’t take it. I have to get away from it. Right now I’m doing my best to do shows in Europe here, and I really hope they can all move forward.
Here, Campbell takes us through thirteen of his favorite records, many of which inspired his latest album. From teenage pop favorites Neneh Cherry and Janet Jackson to more recent discoveries of Cybotron and Micron, it’s an eclectic mix of ’80s pop, electro and funk …
LoneLady’s new album Old things is out now. To start reading his Baker’s Dozen, click on his photo below.