Laura Marling is a young songbird ripe for the picking. She released her fifth studio album Short Movie just this week. In spit of her busy year ahead, the renowned singer-songwriter took a break with us for a quick chat during her stay in Austin for SXSW. We got a little taste of her new approaches to music, her new location, and her faith in the Law of Attraction. Read on to see what she has to say about it all.
mxdwn: We sat down with you a few years ago circa A Creature I Didn’t Know. How have things been going for you in the past few years? How have you been?
LM: Good. I’ve been living in LA.
mxdwn: What was it like moving to LA? How was the transition?
LM: It was weird.
mxdwn: How so?
LM: It was just so different from London, obviously. That’s a stupid thing to say. But it’s trippy. I’m still kind of figuring it out, and that was two and a half years ago.
mxdwn: Do you feel that the move has affected your perspective on making music?
LM: Yeah, definitely. It changed my perspective on the world and obviously what I write about.
mxdwn: Previously, you had gotten inspiration from listening to a certain range of years of music like Once I Was an Eagle was ’69-72. You said you listened to music from that era. How has your approach to music changed this time around?
LM: Well, it’s still the same era, but I was listening to more funk and soul, not that can hear that on the record, clearly. But that and a lot of like, I don’t know… You do end up listening to a lot of “driving music” and “desert driving music.”
mxdwn: Has touring affected the process for you at all?
LM: Yeah, I write better on tour; and I wasn’t on tour when I was writing this record. So, I write better under constricting circumstances, of which I have not been.
mxdwn: What else inspires you?
LM: Everything. Good conversations are inspiring. I don’t know. Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia-ing.
mxdwn: You’re a Wikipedian?
LM: I’m a Wikipedian!
mxdwn: Do you edit the articles?
LM: No! No!
mxdwn: Have you Googled yourself?
mxdwn: Yes. What did you like that you found?
LM: (giggles) That’s such a dangerous game. I don’t think I’ll ever be doing it again.
mxdwn: Was it more dangerous to look at the pictures or what was written?
LM: Well, I don’t do any of my online content. So, occasionally, I’ll Google myself to see what my tour dates are, and then I look and I’ve got like a Twitter that’s saying stuff. That’s not me… Yeah, and Facebook, obviously, but I’m kind of alien to all that stuff, though.
mxdwn: Who’s in charge?
LM: I think it’s my sister, which is fine. She’s great.
mxdwn: Well, at least it’s an extension of you, right?
LM: Yes. It’s my bloodline.
mxdwn: We are excited for the release of the new album. What can we expect to hear from it?
LM: A little bit of LA, for sure. Otherwise, pretty much the same.
mxdwn: Do you feel that it differs from its predecessors?
LM: In content, yeah, it will still be.
mxdwn: It’s been said that you’re bringing more confidence to the table this time around. How do you feel about that?
LM: Yeah, that might be right. Well, I’m more.. I’m less apologetic. I think living in LA knocked this out of me – not being apologetic.
mxdwn: How have you come to find a voice and a point of view being a female artist in a male-dominated industry?
LM: I think I have really good luck and I was surrounded by enough protectors early on. But it is difficult. It’s not not difficult. And as I get older and I start looking at that stuff that’s so uncomfortable to look at like, “what’s really the deal between men and women?” It’s a big shit show in this industry. I sort of don’t know where to begin with it.
mxdwn: I think it’s important to acknowledge that you are very wise for your age and yes, you do work in a male-dominated industry; but let’s be real here – you’re about to release your fifth album, you’ve been nominated for several Best Female Artist awards and even won a couple. How do you feel about that level of success?
LM: I don’t know. It’s nice. It doesn’t feel like success, but it’s nice.
mxdwn: Do you feel that you’ll achieve that at some point?
LM: Yeah, definitely. I think you have moments of success where you feel like you’ve succeeded in executing something of your own – when you’ve done something that’s satisfying. I think satisfaction is success. Success gives light to meaningless stuff.
mxdwn: Let’s wrap it up. Where do you see yourself in five years?
LM: I don’t know, but I have a strong feeling I’m going to be in South America. I don’t know where that instinct comes from, but I keep thinking about it.
mxdwn: Living or traveling?
mxdwn: Have you been to South America?
LM: Only briefly on tour… You know a day or two. I’m putting it out there – Law of Attraction.
Laura Marling photos by Raymond Flotat