Tag Archives: Laurence Made Me Cry

Q+A: Josephine Sillars and Laurence Made Me Cry

In this industry it can be hard for many female folk singers to really make a name for themselves without just being branded as yet another singer-songwriter.

However, every so often there are a couple of standouts who by taking risks can really cause a stir – thankfully Josephine Sillars and Jo Whitby aka Laurence Made Me Cry fall under the latter catagory.

Having both spent time making music between Glasgow and the Highlands, the pair can be easily placed under the same bracket, however each offer their own unique twist on the genre making them ideal co-headliners.

Hi Jo and… Jo, how are you looking forward to your joint headline show? Can you give us a little insight into what you have in store for us?

Whitby: I am looking forward to it so much. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s Jo and Jo! I used to get called Josephine at school so I see it as destiny that myself and Jo should be putting on a show together. We haven’t discussed it yet but I think, as well as the music and poetry, there should be some improvised comedy and juggling.

Sillars: There will absolutely definitely be improvised comedy and juggling haha. But yes, I am excited about this night. I really love Jo’s music, and it’s actually pretty ridiculous that we’ve never been on the same bill. The night we’ve got planned is an ‘evening of lyrical enchantment and acoustic-y goodness’. For any fans of music with emphasise on words and storytelling, then this is definitely the night for you! Very excited about having Finn LeMarinel and Michelle Fisher on the bill as well. They are both excellent performers.

You’re playing at a venue that since opening just over a year ago has championed a huge amount of Scottish artists. What is your opinion on the Scottish scene at the moment and who are your favourite artists?

Whitby: I think the Scottish scene is like a beautiful cacophony. There are just so many fantastic artists coming out of the country from different musical backgrounds. It’s impressive and exciting.

Sillars: The Scottish music scene is complex to say the least. It’s brilliant in many aspects; in that it’s literally overflowing with talented artists and that there are countless opportunities for musicians available (everything from access to Creative Scotland funding and festival opportunities such as XpoNorth), however it’s not perfect. It’s important to remember that the music scene is extremely competitive, and sometimes, especially for younger musicians, it can be a really tricky thing to navigate. However, I doubt there is any music scene out there that is perfect, and for a small country, the Scottish scene is pretty inspiring to be a part of. I think at the moment my favourite artists are obviously the incredible Laurence Made Me Cry and Finn LeMarinel, and also probably Declan Welsh, Chrissy Barnacle and Emma Pollock.

Whitby: As far as favourite artists go, well, it would be rude not to mention the musical goddess that is Josephine Sillars, obviously. Finn Le Marinel is a legend. Damn, I like so many folks right now. Niteworks, The Ramsico Maki Maki Rocking Horse, HQFU, Breakfast Muff, Robbie Flanagan, Granny Green, Joyce Delaney and of course Kathryn Joseph, RM Hubbert, Rachel Sermanni, Emma Pollock, Jo Mango… so many more that I’ve missed out.

Being both originally from the Highlands how do you feel living away from the main belt has affected both your music and musical career?

Whitby: Ah, I wish I was originally from the Highlands. I grew up in Bristol, England but spent a considerable amount of time living in Wales before moving to Scotland. Of all the places I’ve lived so far I think Scotland has had the biggest impact musically. At the moment I split my time between the Highlands, mainly around Inverness, and Glasgow. Glasgow has a thriving music community; it’s so welcoming and vibrant. I love it. In Inverness I’ve experienced being part of the traditional folk scene, which has definitely rubbed off on me. I’ve never been so busy since becoming an adopted Scot so career-wise it’s been brilliant.

Sillars: I’m from the Highlands! I’m hardly ever back actually, I really love living in Glasgow. I definitely think living in the central belt has affected my musical career in that, a) I met my band here, and b) population wise, there are more musicians in Glasgow than there is in Inverness. Both cities have a wealth of talent, but Glasgow’s scene is just so much bigger which means in the years I’ve been here and I’ve been forced to up my game when necessary and push myself harder. It is always nice to play home gigs though.

Question for Sillars: The last time I saw you play was at The Glad Cafe supporting Declan Welsh where you mentioned you were trying to come up with a band name, have you had any ideas?

Sillars: Yes. We do have a band name, but it’s a secret for now. I’ve got a few things in the works regarding the band actually – and one of those ideas will be premiering at The Hug and Pint. I’m doing this show as a solo show, so I’ve been keeping quiet about it, but I’ve recently been working with my friend, local filmmaker, Fraser Coull to bring a big visual element to live shows. I’ll be testing driving these cryptic ideas on the 19th!

Question for Whitby: Really cliché question but as your moniker Laurence Made Me Cry is one of my current favourites could you tell us how you came up with it?

Whitby: It’s really daft. I was reading a newspaper article years ago about the TV show ‘Changing Rooms’. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen had designed this really awful room for one of the participants of the show, so bad it made the woman cry thus the headline ‘Laurence made me cry’. I just had to use it as a band name!

Your music is both quite personal as well as lyrical focused – where do you find your inspiration?

Whitby: I tend to be inspired by what’s happening in my life, I like to observe what’s going on around me. I’m also interested in mythology, folklore. I love a good story.

Sillars: I’m kind of the same, just by whatever is happening around me. I tend to use songwriting to channel how I feel about things in my life and the lives of the people around me, so most of the time they have a strong story telling element to them too.  

Is this joint headline show the beginning of something new? Can we expect a collaborate sometime in the near future?

Whitby: We’ve talked about doing a tour together and I think that’s still on the cards at some point in the future. A friend described Jo as being very sensible and focused, y’know, like when she’s got something to do she’s totally on it, so I think touring with her would be awesome. Maybe having stuff planned out is a Jo thing? I’d love to work on a musical collaboration with Jo too. That would be sweet.

Sillars: Aw that’s nice. I’m going to put ‘sensible and focused’ on my CV. But yeah, we have been chatting about doing a tour together for ages, so hopefully that will come about in the future! I am also up for a musical collaboration.

Lastly, what is your favourite animal and why?

Whitby: I’m really into herons at the moment. I get really excited when I see one. When I’m in Inverness I make sure I head out for a walk along the Ness Islands to see if my favourite heron is there. I’m not sure if it’s a he or a she but it always seems to show up when I’m feeling a bit down or in need of reassurance. Honestly, I feel like the heron is my spirit animal. In a new song I’ve written I mention one hand being on the land and one in the water – this is a reference to folklore regarding the heron, they are seen as being comfortable in places that are neither here nor there, they exist in the now. That’s, like, really profound. Hah!

Sillars: Dragons. Because they are cool.

You can catch Josephine Sillars and Laurence Made Me Cry co-headlining The Hug & Pint on 19th July.

XpoNorth Showcases, Inverness, 9/6/16

The showcases for day two start once again in the Ironworks and this time the free drinks are coupled with music; firstly The Pictish Trail and as Johnny Lynch enters the stage air boxing you know you’re in for a treat.

This is first time I’ve managed to witness Johnny Lynch playing in a non solo capacity, tonight he’s joined by Tuff Love’s Suse Bear on synth and bass duties and it adds a real lift in Lynch’s musician offerings.

Gone is the 30-second song hilarity, but the same mid song banter keeps things light hearted amidst the uplifting but full on dream-ridden tracks that are delivered.

There’s a new album on the horizon and you get the impression this could be something really special with a full band behind it.

By the time tonight’s special guest, Rachel Sermanni, is introduced the networking event has become just that, and it’s difficult to hear most of Sermanni’s delicate, hypnotic and dreamy laments.

Sermanni nonetheless is an impressive artist, and while this isn’t the perfect setting we know all too well what she’s capable of.

Forever is a band that we thought had gone, well forever, and despite being booked on a few festival lineups I was still unconvinced as their online presence was still nil, but turns out they’re back and with a rather new direction.

The now trio have switched up to an enjoyably glitchy electronic sound, which flows nicely, however one thing is a constant and it’s something I’m still on the fence with and that’s the vocal

Thing is though, it’s one thing that is going to win or lose Forever fans, there’s no doubting the twitchy accented delivery is unique, but as I said of them in their previous incarnation, there’s a real touch of Marmite about it; I can’t decide where I love it or hate it, guess I’m waiting for new recorded material then…

The biggest clash of the showcases comes next and I find myself in a mad dash, attempting to visit three venues in 30 minutes to hopefully catch 15-minute bursts of three artists.

The first of these acts is also my first visit to cocktail bar come temporary acoustic venue Scotch and Rye for beautifully intricacies of Chrissy Barnacle.

Sadly most of Barnacle’s delightfully intricate guitars, Joanna Newsome touching extravagances and generally hilarious mid song banter is lost in the cacophony of the noisy cocktail bar, which seems to have become the go to venue for those not interested in the live music on offer.

Over at the Market Bar is a different matter, as everyone is crammed in to the tiny space solely to hear the music as Mt. Doubt delivers a set that’s warm and captivating, while also managing to grasp the hugeness of The National’s live set and somehow squeeze it in a cosy living room; these guys seem to be doing everything right just now and this set only cements that notion further.

Sadly my mad dash mission fails slightly as when I arrive at Hootenanny’s The Youth and Young have nearly finished.

It’s a slower number that the band haves chosen to close their generally rambunctious set, however this short glimpse they manage to maintain that high octane energy that their set has become renowned for; these guys are one of the best folk rock acts in Scotland right now and their live show is one of the main aspects in that.

Following this I decide to give Scotch and Rye another go, sadly this proves a larger futile trip as Laurence Made Me Cry suffers the same fate Chrissy Barnacle and no doubt everyone else in this venue had before her.

I do manage to squeeze close enough to the front to hear a little bit of her set over the mire and what I get a hint of Jo Whitby’s hypnotising array of soothing electronics and smooth, enchanting vocals, well worth seeing at a venue where you don’t have to make a concerted effort to hear her.

Following this I was initially torn on whether to catch Breakfast Muff or not having seen them a couple of times in the past week, however a combination of the drink taking effect and just the fact that they are bloody brilliant makes up my mind and they don’t let down pulling out what might just be the set of the weekend.

The trio’s instruments swapping high-energy riot pop is a joy to behold, and new track, sporting the repeated line of “you’re not a feminist”, stands out as a future mainstay in a set that’s just bags of punk tinged fun.

Upstairs at Madhatters and Halfrican keep that same high-octane punk touching energy running as their reverby pop ticks all the right, riotous boxes for this time of the evening.

Halfrican is fun, addictive and make you want to fucking move; they’ve been promising bigger things for some time now, hopefully that elusive album will appear soon.

Popping downstairs for The Van T’s and I’m greeted by a mobbed venue, so there’s absolutely no chance of the seeing the four-piece surf rockers, but they are rightfully the reason why this place is so packed as they quash the venue’s questionable sound to irrelevance with their fuzzy guitar sound that oozes as much rock ‘n’ roll attitude as it does pop chops; we can’t recommend these guys highly enough.

Back over at the Ironworks I find myself bewildered that the bar staff have deemed tins not allowed and decant their cans of Red Stripe into a plastic cup. I. Only. Bought. It. So. I. Could. Have. A. Can… Raging.

Still, that coupled with a rather underwhelming set from reformed 90s Glasgow guitar pop act Astrid are soon forgotten amidst a night crammed with some brilliant acts and plenty of great people.

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Words: Iain Dawson

Laurence Made Me Cry – Titans’ Daughter [Stitch In Time]

Laurence Made Me Cry’s new EP, Titans’ Daughter, takes you on a journey to heartbreak, love and lust, through Glasgow bedrooms and Highland sanctuaries.

Opener, ‘By the Throat’ begins with the echo of sensual vocals before getting you hooked with a 90s inspired electronic beat and the familiar backing vocals of Chrissy Barnacle.

Lyrically Titans’ Daughter is simple and understated with every line cutting with a devastating effect.

“Distracted by the contours of your spine,” the first song is the perfect opener, recalling an intriguing moonlight encounter.

The lead track of the EP, ‘Melete’ has a more bitter and regretful tone (“practice makes perfect sense/put it all to together and start again”), while ‘Sirens’ is the first song to really show LMMC’s Celtic roots, with looped vocals blending with the heartfelt strains of a violin.

This is continued on ‘Mneme’, which is the only guitar driven piece on the release, taking you to a place where love was once new (“I still go back to the field where we met)”.

Titans’ Daughter is a release that packs a real emotional punch and with beautiful vocals and lush arrangements it is the perfect soundtrack to spring.

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Words: Peter Johnstone

Oh So Quiet, Blanco White, Laurence Made Me Cry at The Hug and Pint, 7/9/15

The recent opening of the new small venue-come-cool hipster hang out The Hug And Pint has been exciting to say the least, as it’s bringing through fresh new artists.

Tonight is no different, as this cosy affair on this particular Monday evening brings three very talented and interesting performers.

The mood is laid back, with the audience choosing to sit down on the floor for the duration performances – much like they’re sitting around a campfire and listening to stories.

First up front the fire is Laurence Made Me Cry who masterfully carves out stories through her intricate guitar playing and heartfelt lyricism.

A lone storyteller, her back-stories to her songs are fun and informative making it an all over warmer and more rounded experience.

She touches on the fact that she will soon be moving from Glasgow to Inverness, showing a hint of vulnerability that she is able to again translate beautifully into song.

There is a mixture of more delicate songs and an incorporation of synth beats from a laptop, adding another element entirely.

Next is another solo singer songwriter in the form of Blanco White, his vocals are smoothly coarse but he has mellow charm to go along with it.

He’s reminiscent of Damien Rice, but he plays with Spanish guitar and has roots more in the traditional.

During his set, he talks of how he was playing in the stairway earlier and he thinks the acoustics there are lovely, therefore he invites us all out for a song; there is a small crowd, but we all manage to position ourselves comfortably to hear him.

He treats us to an Argentinian song, and while I’m not sure what he’s singing about, I’m sure it’s beautiful.

Headliners Oh So Quiet, also hail from Argentina; this is a fact that might be overlooked on watching them perform, as they stray away from the traditional Latin American sound, perhaps reaching closer to sound achieved by a band from North America instead.

They are a perfect blend of folk, indie and 80s pop, however the funk elements that are incorporated could be a influence of their roots.

The sound overall is a dreamy melancholic one, but this is teamed with up-tempo rhythms that might make you miss the subject matter.

Halfway during the set, they decide to cover Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, much to the small crowds delight; frontwoman Malena Zavala dances around the stage when she is sans guitar and it’s certainly infectious.

At the end of their set, the audience are hungry for more, and the band seem humbled by this announcing that when people have asked for that at previous shows, they haven’t had anything prepared.

Tonight they do, and the encore consists of another Argentinian song, but it’s clear to see that they have a particular style of music nailed down to a tee.

Not only are they talented and enchanting, but they are able to be so in two different languages, a feat not achieved sometimes even in one.

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Words: Alisa Wylie