Kyla La Grange emerges from around a corner outside Joiners in Southampton’s slightly unnerving inner city. As we head inside from the autumnal evening, La Grange leads me up a staircase in to the rather basic dressing room and we sit down on mismatching furniture to begin. It’s been a couple of months since La Grange last toured and since then she has released her debut album Ashes so the reception to her performance this evening is expected to be considerably different.
Hi Kyla La Grange, is it Kyla La Grange, or… *French accent* Kyla La Grange?
It’s up to you. It’s originally a French name so they would say *French accent* La Grange, but I just say it in an English accent because I’m from Watford.
I see. Is it exhausting being on tour?
Uh yeah, we haven’t had too long a tour but I was worrying that my voice was starting to go, the other night, so I thought yesterday I would just rest as much as possible.
And how’s the tour gone so far, apart from almost losing your voice?
Well I think the voice is okay actually, which is a relief. But yeah it’s been brilliant. It’s the same places that we were at 7 or 8 months ago, except this time there’s just been much more people there, which is always a really lovely feeling. So yeah, it’s been a really nice tour.
I guess that’s because you released your album, Ashes, in July. Are you pleased with how that’s been received?
Yeah. I don’t really like to read reviews or anything but all the fans, and all the feedback on-line was brilliant so I’m really happy.
…And the album is quite dark in it’s mood. Are there certain places that you go to get inspiration for your writing?
I don’t go there, they just happen, and when they happen I always feel like writing songs. So I don’t really ever plan to write a song, it’s just that whenever I do feel like that, I want to write.
You have a degree in Philosophy, does that help your music in it’s lyrical side?
No, I wouldn’t say they’re really related because Philosophy is a very analytical way of thinking, it’s very logical and precise, whereas writing songs is about getting melodramatic and emotional about stuff. If I was writing songs about Philosophy I’d probably bore everyone to death.
This week the new video for your single ‘Been Better’ was unveiled, was that fun to film?
Yeah it was my favourite video we’ve ever done! I do all my videos with my friends Liz and Debbie, who direct and edit them, and we’ve all learnt together what works and what doesn’t work, and what we all like and don’t like. It’s a real nice feeling when it all comes together, and it felt like it all came together on that shoot.
Whereabouts was it filmed? It looks a bit like a country house?
It was this crazy house, and it was actually in the middle of London, in Chelsea. There’s this woman who owns it, she has just, everything she has ever owned in her life, she’s kept, and she’s owned a lot of stuff, she’s put everything on the walls, on the floor, on the ceiling. It’s just full of objects and it’s amazing.
That sounds quite surreal! Have you had any crazy or surreal moments whilst you’ve been on tour before?
Um, I’ve had some surreal moments with drunk fans! I’ve had two that have involved boobs; one in Scotland when a girl bought merch off us, then lost the merch, and then tried to get on a rickshaw to drive home, and then fell out of the rickshaw. That was quite entertaining. I can’t really think of anything surreal but you do have slightly odd moments every now and again.
Do you enjoy touring or do you prefer the recording side of music?
Neither really, I just enjoy writing. Recording is just like, what you have to do, well, from my perspective it’s what I have to do in order to be able to write more songs. If I had my way, I’d be able to just sit in my room and write songs all day, and not do anything else, but obviously you can’t do that.
What have you been listening to whilst you’ve been on the road?
Nothing actually, we don’t really listen to music as much when we’re on the road. We watch films in the van. I think when you’re playing music and every night you’re watching loads of music, you don’t really want to listen to that much music
So does film and TV inspire you?
I’m terrible, I don’t really watch films much and I’ve only recently started, because my manager told me off and said, how can I like art but not films! So in the last year, I’d say, I’ve started watching films, but I still really don’t know who male actors are. I kind of now can recognise Robert De Niro I think, but a lot of them I just don’t know who they are. So no, I’m quite crap at that.
Since you’ve graduated, did you fall into getting a record contract or was it something you had to really work at to achieve?
Yeah I definitely had to slog it out, it probably would have been quite different if I’d fallen into it. When I graduated it was 2007, and I have only just released my first album, so that’s 5 years. I started out doing all of the acoustic, open mic nights, everything you can imagine, I played at. I just kept writing and sending my music to people, and tried to meet people who had similar tastes to me, and who like the same bands I like. It was a step by step, very slow process, and very frustrating a lot of the time. I would advise anyone who’s thinking about it to NOT do it!
Really?! Now that you’ve got this far you wouldn’t recommend it to anyone?
Now I’ve got this far… It’s amazing…it’s not. Well no, it is, it’s fine, it’s wonderful *laughs*.
Ashes was released this year, is it too early to think about your next album?
No, I’m very much thinking about it all the time. I just had a chance, a bit of time to sit down and listen to all the bits of songs I’ve been writing over the last year or so, started to finish some of them off, and think about which ones I already want to record, so I’m going to do the first few recordings in about a week or two I think.
Okay, thanks very much for speaking to us Kyla La Grange.
Thank you very much!