Recorded in a haunted cabin, Louise Lemón’s latest is another new take on the death-gospel genre.
Envisage a realm of the esoteric; a dark, indistinct landscape where music isn’t anchored to pop traditionalism but rather presented in a state of limitlessness, free to indulge in the unorthodox, and Louise Lemón will be brought to the forefront. With the desolate setting of a confined haunted cabin in the north of Sweden as the backdrop to the creation of intelligent gothic melancholia, death-gospel singer-songwriter Louise Lemón’s Purge LP blurs the distinction between the ethereal state of dreaming and the rawness of reality.
Focusing more on intelligent soundscapes than melody, Purge LP reanimates the EP predecessor, with Lemón’s almost supernatural echoes transcending listeners into a celestial state of tranquillity; an intimacy and vulnerability that is quick to dissipate as an expressive intensity becomes effectively overpowering.
Purge LP exudes endlessly shifting cosmic soundscapes and often distorted instrumentation mirroring that of Anna von Hausswolff and Chelsea Wolfe, whilst Lemón’s penchant for sonic tapestries made from soulful vocals allow her to slightly shake off those parallels to form a unique composition that feels wholly her own.
You’ve noted that you take interest in the different ways that people describe your music. How would you describe it?
I would describe it as passionate and personal. I draw a lot of musical references from 70s bands, but mainly I just try to write as personal and honest as possible and make something beautiful out of the darker things in life.
Your last EP, Irrepressible Spirit, was much more musically layered and instrument-heavy than Purge, which seems more stripped-back and melancholic. Was this an intentional progression?
Absolutely, a growth both musically and personally. I always try to evolve and explore new musical territory.
Do you feel your music has progressed a lot since that 2012 release?
Yes, of course, it has changed a lot. I lived a life these years that’s moulded me – life is a process. And I’ve also played with the same musicians since then, we’ve all evolved and they have a lot to do with the sound on the record.
You recorded Purge in a cabin near a lake – a very scenic and desolate setting. Is this why the release sounds so intimate and atmospheric? Did your surroundings influence your writing?
It didn’t affect the writing but for sure the way we chose to record it and our artistic choices were affected by this very intimate way of recording.
Do you have a particular writing method?
I usually start writing the lyrics and music at the same time. I often find a phrase that I feel explains the song as a whole, I keep on singing that part and then it grows from there.
Did you have any specific musical influences at the time of writing and recording the tracks?
Very eclectic influences, I listened to James Leg, The Band and Erykah Badu a lot.
The music video to ‘Egyptian Darkness’ exudes natural landscapes and a sort of visual spirituality. What was the process like behind the creation of this video?
We filmed the video in Death Valley. It was a spectacular trip, no cellphone reception and out-of-this-world scenery made for an unforgettable shoot with an environment that really spoke the same feelings as the song.
You’ve noted that you listened to a mixture of heavy and pop music growing up, who did you listen to in particular?
I listened to Led Zepplin, Alice In Chains… and Nirvana were my childhood heroes. But, I also listened to The Beatles and a lot of pop music growing up.
They’re two very contrasting genres, do you feel like you’ve combined these sounds to create your own unique one?
All the musicians I am working with, my producer and my own different musical references make this kind of unique. The musicians I play with have very different backgrounds and they aren’t afraid to explore either the ethereal beautiful light or the noise and heavier parts. This I think creates a unique mix.
You’ve mentioned that you’re already working on new material with Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Boris), what can we expect from a second album?
For the next album the songs are focused, and I’ve drawn inspirations from bands like Fleetwood Mac. It is still very personal songs and the lyrics and the sound are gonna be fantastic, we recorded in a vintage studio in Denmark and it was just wonderful.
Purge LP is out now on Icons Creating Evil Art, purchase here.
Words: Paige Mathis