Band Crush: Låpsley

radiant electro-pop from across the pond

by Sarah Rowland

The minimalistic electro-pop of Holly Lapsley Fletcher is radiant. Driven by her ability to combine elements of industrial techno with her earlier years of writing folk music, Låpsley’s tracks are heartfelt and pure. With an early education in piano, classical guitar, and oboe, the 18-year-old later transitioned into the world of electronic music by simply playing around with Garage Band. Her debut EP, Monday, showcases her mastery of production and her maturity in songwriting. Since that release, she’s been absolutely blowing people away with her moody synth-pop tracks. Over the past few months, the Liverpool native has become one of the hottest up-and-coming UK artists around, but Låpsley says she’s just getting started. 

When did you first want to become a musician? How did you first start writing songs? 

I started learning piano when I was about five, and then I learned classical guitar, oboe, and drums. Music was part of my childhood. Then I started writing songs on the guitar and the piano at about age 12. I’d just write acoustic, folksy stuff. Later on in my teenage years, the music I was listening to was more of what I like now. It was industrial-techno and electronic stuff. Around age 17, I somehow started writing again and it became a mix between the hard, electronic stuff and the folksy stuff that I used to write. Together, those things kind of made up the chilled-out electro music that I write now. 

People are praising your production skills, as well. What’s behind the process for you? Do you feel that producing your own music gives you more control? 

I had the naivety that all artists produced their own stuff. So last year when I was 17, I just started using Garage Band. I really wanted to make the kind of music that I was listening to, so that was the technology I knew of. To me, Garage Band was like taking the first steps of being able to do it. Now I know that you can pay people to produce! I prefer doing it all myself, though. You have complete creative control over what you end up with. 

How did you come up with the name Låpsley? 

It’s actually my middle name. It’s Scottish in origin, but I added the letter å from the Scandinavian alphabet. I just assumed that I look sort of Swedish or whatever, so it sort of fits! But really, when you have a sheet full of lots of words and there’s one word that has a letter with an accent on it, you completely see just that word. The accent helps it to stand out among the rest. 

There aren’t many female figures in the genre of electro-pop and techno. Are there any other female bands in your genre that you’re fond of? 

I really like Little Dragon; I’m a big fan. Yeah, it’s true that there really aren’t a lot of girls. There are some starting to do this kind of stuff now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like them just because they’re girls. I try to judge music from a non-gender basis. But I do really really like Little Dragon. I like her tone of voice and all the stuff that she’s doing. I’d say she’s probably the leading lady right now. Well, and Björk of course, in terms of experimental electronic. She’s the absolute original in terms of the realm of girl power. 

Do you have any dream collaborations, or people who you’d love to work with? 

Oh yeah. I really like this band called Young Fathers. They’re a Scottish future hip-hop-ish kind of band. I’ve been listening to every, single album that they’ve done, and it’s all just really interesting stuff. The things they talk about are very forward, as well—British politics and stuff like that. The production is so cool but also minimal. Yeah, I’d absolutely love to work with them. 

Tell us about your Understudy EP. Where did the lyrics and stories come from on that album? What was inspiration behind those tracks? 

All of those songs were written within that same year. I write a song—like a full song—in one day. I do this especially if I’ve got a proper, raw emotion. You know, at my age…well, I was going to say there are always boys coming and going! That sounds really, really bad! It’s just that at my age, shit happens. A lot of shit happened last year with a guy, and it was all to do with that feeling of being in the backseat. It was that feeling of being the understudy, you know, the second person in line. The album is really about that idea of never being the actual person he wanted to be with but always being the backup. So yeah, I had a lot to write about at that time. Basically, it was really my way of getting over all of the shit. I definitely write in the moment, so I suppose this next album that’s going to come out is all about stuff that’s happened in the last six months. 

What’s the music scene like in London at the moment?

I actually just moved here last summer. There isn’t really a London music scene, because everyone’s coming and going. There’s definitely a scene in the North, which is where I’m from. The London scene is very much just about people coming from the North and from other places to make connections. Most of my friends will come here and then move off to Prague or Berlin for the music in those places. To be honest, I think London is one of the worst places to go and see a gig! It’s often an awful crowd for some reason. But in terms of connections and meeting up with people, it’s definitely a passing point in a similar way to New York and Los Angeles. You’re always meeting up with people and making contacts. 

What kind of music scene is represented in the North? 

I think it’s a bit of a mix. The music that I listened to there is really very different than the music that I play. There’s still a very underground scene in Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool that’s very true and great for real music lovers. It’s super-indie and it happens in lots of warehouses. Rather than people going because they feel they should listen to that kind of music, they go because they’re completely true fans. I think this kind of scene is lacking a bit in London, because people are often trying too hard. 

Tell us about National Geographic. We heard that you want to work there some day?  

Yeah, it’s something that I’ve always been very interested in. I was meant to do a physical geography degree before I decided to decline my university offer and come here to do music. It’s still a great passion of mine, though. I sometimes will go off on trips every now and again to volcanoes or to the mountains to just see some natural landscapes. 

What will you be up to this summer, and when can we expect a new album release? 

Actually, I’ve nearly finished the album now! I’ve got loads of festivals this summer and basically will be finishing off the mixes and rearranging some bits for a little while. Hopefully, it will be coming out just after Christmas. I guess it really depends how organized I am and how well I can get my shit together! But it’s coming soon. There will definitely be some singles released throughout the year, as well. It’s exciting.