Laura Jones surprised us with her latest EP on Visionquest, which was tougher than her previous releases to say the least. Of course, in the booth she often drops sets that have more of a techno-influence but production-wise this seemed to be a move in a slightly different direction to what we’ve been used to so far. With news that she’s working on launching her own label, plus lots more to talk about with 2015 already proving to be super busy, we caught up with Laura to get the lowdown on all her news…
First off, how is everything going at the moment?
Everything is great thank you. It’s head down time in the studio which I’m loving as I’ve recently bought some new gear that I’m learning to use.
Ah nice one, what new equipment have you picked up?
A Prophet 12 polyphonic synthesizer and a Doepfer Dark Time sequencer and I’m about to invest in some new external FX and a proper analogue mixing desk.
Any piece of gear you’re particularly enjoying working with so far?
It’s all great to be honest. I’ve always written my own hooks and relied very minimally on samples but I’m loving using the sequencer to write hooks with. It’s really hands-on and I don’t need to use my eyes so much – just twisting knobs and flicking switches until it sounds right. It’s been ace discovering what the Prophet has to offer too, it’s pretty endless.
Tell me a bit about last summer, as I know you moved over to Ibiza for a while…
Yeah, Gavin (my boyfriend) and I moved over there for the season. We’ve got some friends who’ve been living out there a few years now so it felt like a return home in a weird way. We’d been living together in Leeds for five years and Ibiza felt like a very natural choice and change of scenery. The last time I did a season was 2005 so a lot has changed since then! I was working for Café Mambo and going out raving each and every week to Circo Loco and Cocoon whereas this time round, I was playing for Circo Loco for the third season and playing debut sets on the terrace. It’s bizarre to think also that the friends I made in 2005 through going to DC10 each week – like Jamie (Jones), Richy Ahmed, Russ Yallop or Matt Tolfrey – are now some of the biggest DJs in the scene.
You and Gav played at DC10 together, how was that?
We did! We didn’t play a back to back set but Gavin played his debut in the main room and I followed on the terrace. We had lots of friends there too so it was one of the highlights of the season for us.
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How did being in Ibiza in 2014 compare with the summers you spent there before becoming an artist?
Well, we went to DC10 every week so some things never change!
Will you be going back this summer?
Definitely. For how long is a question mark but we’ll be there in some way.
Any cool spots, club-wise or not, that you discovered or you can recommend?
My favourite beach is Agua Blancas in the North. Our favourite restaurant was Tago Mago, an amazing restaurant on a tiny island that can only be accessed by speed boat. As far as clubs, all the usuals like DC10, Space or Amnesia are still delivering. Underground has always been a favourite of ours as it’s a little off the beaten track. Amazingly I’d never been to Atlantis until last year. We went with a film crew just as the light was starting to fade and were so mesmerised by the setting that by the time we needed to climb back up it had gone dark and made for a very hairy yet hilarious ascent.
Is there anywhere else you’d like to live in Europe or the rest of the world?
I’d really love to move to the States for a little while, just for three to six months maybe. The only issue is deciding on where… I’m voting NYC and my boyfriend is voting LA as he wants to live by the ocean.
What’s the plan now you’re back in Leeds then?
It’s been pretty non-stop since we got back so we still have stuff in boxes! There is a lot of development going on in Leeds at the moment so it’s almost like living in a different city. For the minute though it’s studio hibernation time during the week so we’re focusing on our own projects but there’ll obviously be time for a bit of fun in between.
We’re almost in February already, what have been up to so far in 2015?
I’ve been in Mexico playing for Damian Lazarus at Day Zero. I made a return to Ecuador the following weekend for a show in Quito and at Lost Beach club in Montanita for the first time. I was in Istanbul, Dubai, Belgium and UK the other weeks. I celebrated my birthday and I’ve been working hard in the studio also. Not the most relaxed start to the year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s good to be busy and in-demand though eh? How did you celebrate your birthday??
I had an early celebration with some friends in Tulum then my actual birthday was spent playing in Ecuador. I ended up having a birthday that was about three weeks long though as I celebrated with some friends in Leeds when I got back, too.
Tell us more about Day Zero, that must have been quite an experience…
It was an idyllic setting, in a quarry with a crystal turquoise blue lake that Damian renamed ‘Moon Valley’. It was great to see him debuting his new live four-piece project, which was as epic as anticipated. The mix of artists was great from Mathew Jonson to Harvey and it was great to meet some new faces like Citizenn, so the banter was top notch backstage, too.
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And how about South America in general? What’s your general experience of that part of the world? Anywhere you’ve enjoyed visiting, in terms of performing? And also tourist-wise?…
I love all of South America. I speak Spanish fluently, so that always helps. On the last visit I returned to Ecuador to play for Lost Beach and another place in Quito. Ecuador is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Although I also love Brazil, which has made me really want to learn Portuguese too. Warung is probably my favourite club. It’s like a Balinese hut reimagined as a super club on the beach but I also love D-Edge in Sao Paolo. It always feels like being in a sci-fi film playing there when the lights are going crazy.
Did you start out this year with any firm plans or targets? If so, what are you aiming to achieve?
My main priority is to get as much music made for my label but at the same time lay down the groundwork for an original album, which I’d like to put out some time next year. I plan to start putting some more time and effort in to charity, seeking out ways to help others with eye disorders as well as enrol for next year’s London marathon. It’s a life-long ambition to do a marathon so I think it’s about time.
Your label?! Great, what’s the score with that?…
It’s going to be for my own production to begin with and I’ll be selecting some of my favourite producers to remix the tracks. It’s great releasing music with other labels, but I really want to add my touch to the whole process of making a release from the artwork and design to the release strategy.
Your latest EP with Visionquest focused on a tougher sound than people might expect from you, what was the inspiration behind that?
It might be surprising for anyone that only knows me by my production, but if you’ve heard me play out you’ll know that I’ve always played dark and tough. My tastes and sound are quite broad so hopefully this EP gives people a bit more perspective on what I’m about as an artist.
Wicked, and what’s next release-wise?
I’ve been concentrating all my efforts on my forthcoming label for the last few months but I’m also going to be working on some music for other labels as well to mix it up but its too early to talk about anything just yet.
We noticed that one of your friends is running the London Marathon in aid of Fight For Sight, which is obviously a cause that is very close to your heart – would you mind telling us a bit about the charity?
Yes! The amazing Lucy Taylor! She’ll be the third friend to run the London marathon for Fight For Sight after my best friend, Gill Dalton started the trend a few years back. I’m very touched and honoured that they’ve all taken the time out of their busy schedules to dedicate their energy to such a worthwhile cause that is indeed very close to my heart. The charity helps fund research in not only the eye disease that I have, Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, but many other eye diseases that affect thousands of people around the world.
And how can people find out more about the organisation and Lucy’s fundraising efforts?
People can find out more about the charity here: www.fightforsight.org.uk
And if anyone feels like digging deep, you can find Lucy’s fundraising page here: www.justgiving.com/Lucylucy32
No contribution is too big or small so if you’d like to contribute then huge thanks in advance. You will be making a huge difference.