London’s Lyla Foy may gravitate towards the soft-spoken, but Foy uses that quality well to her advantage in writing music that is delicate, intricate and full of interesting dynamics, not normally present in much current music, brimmed with its full-out sonic sweeps. There’s much to say for subtlety and Foy’s otherworldly pop tunes warrant much replay and time (which one can do with her latest, Mirrors the Sky, out now on Sub Pop Records). Foy took a bit of her time before her US tour to talk to WMSE about getting comfortable and acting naturally (and being influenced by nature, itself).
What was your role in your former musical projects when you decided to gravitate towards writing your own music?
I was playing bass in a three piece band, and backing a dude singer on guitar/Omnichord.
Your singing style is very subtle and relaxed – have you always sung in that style and is that your vocal comfort zone?
I haven’t always sung in exactly that style, I’ve experimented a bit, but the sound on Mirrors is where I naturally gravitate. I have a soft voice and it took me a while to be OK with that.
What is the main instrumental (re: gear) backbone of your songs? And what’s your favorite piece of gear/instrument?
On record, the backbone is always the bass guitar. That’s what I write my lyrics and melodies to as guitar chords can be distracting an imply too much melody, so bass makes for a good blank slate and more interesting stuff writes itself. In this band, I’ve played keyboards, bass and guitar live and I’m finding now I want to be on guitar ’cause I can be most expressive with that instrument and create the most dynamic on stage.
Pitchfork mentioned that you took to the countryside to record your album and literally recorded it outside – what was the idea behind this setup?
I just wanted to be free from the distractions of the city. I didn’t actually record right outside, but for much of the time I was in a barn style studio with huge windows and wildlife going crazy outside. So animal noises (birdsong and the odd goat) slipped through the mic. One time a beautiful bird flew straight into the window and got knocked out really badly.
What are you most excited for, for your upcoming tour dates in the States and in Europe?
Yeah, the shows are going to be a lot of fun. I love to travel and I look forward to all the different vibes in Europe and the US!
Lyla Foy opens for Wake Owl at the Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday, April 18th for an 8pm, all-ages show. Tune into WMSE on Friday at 3:30pm CST to listen to a live, in-studio session with Foy before the show at Turner.