Introducing: Law Holt
Hey Law, can you introduce yourself to the Music Fix readers?
I am Law Holt, a singer and writer of songs coming to you from a cheap establishment with complimentary wi-fi in North London.
And what can you tell us about your upcoming album, City?
The album was made in four days by two people. It is a front against both the Top 40 music made today and the ‘alternative’ stuff that is primed and packaged within an inch of its life. The album speaks of light and dark. It is full of voices which embolden these two opposites. And it is all tied together with a pretty pop ribbon from the tape machine.
Best track from it?
I think if an album is made properly then each track should be inextricable from the rest. Whilst Arthur Lee’s are clearly the superior songs, they would lose their power in the wider context of Forever Changes if Bryan MacLean’s were taken away. Recording it I always thought the best track was whichever one we had recorded that day. And City is about to be released so in many senses it no longer belongs to me. But if an album works as a piece then I suppose it’s the singles that draw you in but tracks 7, 8 and 9 that change your life.
You were close to breaking through a couple of years ago, how difficult has it been to almost start again?
As is life. I don’t expect any favours. I took some time out because I almost went blind so in that sense I feel fortunate. I live in the first world so my life is not difficult. You have taken the time to ask me questions making me luckier than most musicians who thanklessly plug away, unbeknown to the music industry. In answer to your question, I embraced that point of no return and decided to make something entirely new. Again. People operate with a kind of cultural amnesia. We have short attention-spans. We scroll blindly down never-ending feeds. The acts who were the next-big- thing when I started making music as LAW have since vanished and blown their advances. Next year’s batch are being given the finishing touches, that little micro-chip that makes them cite Arthur Russell and Frida Kahlo.
How do you approach songwriting?
I write quickly so I don’t have time to doubt myself. Tim my producer and manager plays the beat on loop and I write to it with a pencil in a cheap notebook. An hour later the song is there and I sing it. I am always singing to someone in a dark corner of the room. It’s that straightforward and you should come and see it. There’s no blood-letting or psychedelics. Just hard work.
You’ve collaborated with Young Fathers, how did that come about?
I met Young Fathers whilst I was working at a charity shop in Leith. From there we headed into the studio and we’ve since shared stages from Brixton to Soweto. We also share the same stubborn ideals about music. I heard that post-Brexit lots of neo-Nazi stickers have started appearing around where we met. Next time I play there I’ll sing even louder.
What are you bringing to the music world that’s different? How do you plan to stand out in a crowded market?
I have complete faith in my voice. I think we’ve lost an appreciation of it as a unique instrument. Billie Holiday had respect from and equanimity with the musicians playing on her records. People tend to regard female vocalists as hired-hands. Divas. Singers of other people’s songs. That’s not me.
I keep reading the phrase “death grips of pop”; what’s that all about?
Someone wrote that about me in a review of ‘Spit’ and we took it. Originality often gets lost, so we thought by attaching ourselves to something that already exists we could tap into a consciousness. Check everywhere, it’s a well-used trick. Journalists use it all the time when they describe an artist as “like so-and- so on acid” or a cross between “x, y and z.”
Social media is everywhere today, what’s your take on it? A blessing or curse for artists?
Artists should survive in the margins but I understand that to be successful we have to engage with people more directly. We sell personalities, we sell hairstyles. We sell so much before we can sell the music. I suppose we can only embrace it because it’s not going to go away.
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
Barbara Jones- Walk this World, and I’d be walking it in tears.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Q: When is your album out?
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
I stimulate myself in other ways.
As Law's already said her debut album is out on 26th August and will be available to download from all good online stores, and stream from the usual services.