Laura Marling is a formidable talent. Over the past ten years the musician has dipped her toe into a range of projects whilst still remaining elusive and intriguing. She has produced her own album, created a series of podcasts, acted in her first short film, and has turned to directing in support of her new single Soothing. In Laura’s decision to add a further string to her creative bow, we had a chat about what sparked her interest in cinema.
Back in 2013, Laura released a short film When Brave Bird Saved to accompany her fourth album, Once I Was An Eagle. The short was soundtracked by the first four tracks from the album and was directed by film duo, Fred & Nick. Fred, Laura explains had a large influence on her film taste, “I’ve always been a fan of film, always a bit of a film nerd. But Fred was the person who introduced me to a lot of very obscure films and film makers that I had never seen before. It’s like with music, it takes someone to make you a really good mixtape to open you up to something new.”
On asking Laura what influenced her directorial debut she cites Swedish director Roy Anderson as a cinematic impact, “Because I don’t know a lot about cameras and how they work I was taking influence from how he composes his shots. They are often like pictures, a certain percentage of the shot is taken up in the foreground. This was a conscious decision made reality by Chloë Thompson, who was the director of photography.” Laura additionally commented on being a “huge Aronofsky fan, which is very à la mode now but I like weird symbolism, I like his weird story telling.” However the musician has an extensive, honest taste, “My favourite, favourite film is Rebecca, the Hitchcock version but I also like Brief Encounters, I love all that shit, I’m a complete sap really.”
In describing the process of directing Soothing Laura is consistently modest: “By no means does having a broad taste in cinema qualify me as a director.” However a factor of directing that appealed most to the solo musician was combined working. “It’s the most collaborative experience I’ve ever had. It’s really quite incredible, what starts as a story board or one conversation about design, turns into reality at the hands of lots of different people working together.”
The concept of Soothing was sparked from a series of dreams Laura had while recording, “I was having a lot of vivid dreams, the process of digging up the unconscious side of the brain has lots of juicy nuggets in it. I’m really interested in analysis, so that probably contributed to it like a self-perpetuating thing.” When Laura would wake up from one of these dreams, she would write them down, eventually becoming the visuals for the film. “Everything, every bit of imagery and texture, the coloured fabric and the vines crawling through the window, has a symbolic significance within the film. The initial ideas were mine but they were handed over to this incredible choreographer Ally Green. I gave her what I wanted and she made it her own, whilst making it work for the film. The whole film is a product of many people’s talent.”
Laura’s new album, Semper Femina will be released via her own record label More Alarming Records on 10th March, 2017.
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