Plinkernd, tragisch, leicht und trotzdem manchmal sehr trist, verwunschen und ruff und mit viel zu viel Soul. Leila ist im Grunde so etwas wie das Londoner Pendant zu Super Collider. Groß. Immer wieder. Im Musikbusiness hat sie einen festen Platz. Sie tou
Text: Andreas Reihse aus De:Bug 40

BRAVE, NEW & WORLD
Im Gespräch mit Leila

De:Bug: Ich habe dein neues Album gerade erst heute morgen erhalten…

Leila: Oh…

De:bug: Aber ich habe es bis eben dreimal nonstop durchgehört!

Leila: …bless you, oh my god!

De:Bug: Nein, war gar nicht schlimm. Aber es hat mich schon in eine seltsame Stimmung versetzt. Die Musik ist ein bisschen wie im Märchen, und das wird dann leicht etwas gespenstisch…

Leila: Gespenstisch!? – Das Seltsame ist: Wird man älter, dann fühlt sich alles, was dich deine Gefühle erleben lassen, gespenstisch an. Weil wir soweit entfernt sein sollen von den Gefühlen. Wir betrachten alles sehr objekthaft und sophisticated. Wenn man als Kind eine Spieluhr hört, findet man das hübsch. Wird man älter, ist das plötzlich gespenstisch. Wir sind ganz schön kaputt. Wir projizieren soviel auf die Dinge.

Auf die Dinge. Leila, Musik, Tapete. Und Leilas Musik, die sicher nicht als Tapete funktioniert. Es geht eher um das Abschaben der Tapete. Gucken, was dahinter ist. Alte Tapete. Und dahinter noch ältere Tapete. Kindlicher Entdeckungsdrang. Schließlich überlagern sich abgekratzte Stellen, Muster verschmelzen. Die Zeiten vermischen sich. Malerei? – Wer kann, entdeckt eine ganz neue, andere Welt. Gespenstisch nicht als etwas Bedrohliches, sondern eher vielleicht wie in Lewis Carrolls ‘Alice im Wunderland’.

Leila: Für mich ist das die Aufgabe von Musik. Es ist das, worum es mir beim Musikmachen geht. Ich habe diese – reale – Welt hier um mich herum sowieso schon. Ich will eine neue schaffen. Der gleiche Grund, warum meine Musik nicht klingt wie die Musik von Ich-weiß-nicht-wem. Ich würde nie einfach irgend jemanden kopieren. Aus Respekt. Und weil es für mich keinen Sinn machen würde: Wenn es meine Musik schon gäbe, würde ich der viel lieber zuhören, als sie nachzuspielen.

Das Angenehme an Leilas neuem Album “Courtesy of Choice” ist, dass die persönlichen Momente nie zum geheimen Tagebuch verkommen, sondern immer dem Hörer einen Zugang und einen Ausgang offen lassen.

Leila: Gestern wurde ich gefragt: Wo sollen die Leute denn Klassik hören!? Ich antwortete: Na, in der Fernsehwerbung natürlich! – Es ist doch egal, WO man es hört! Wer beispielsweise Pop zelebriert und nur Pop hört, weiß nicht, wo Pop herkommt und was ein Stück, wenn es außergewöhnlich ist, zu diesem Besonderen macht. Bei meinem ersten Album auf Rephlex, auf dem sich intensive instrumentelle Stücke mit ‘beinahe Popsongs’ abwechselten, bekam ich Tipps wie: Mach ein Album mit Instrumentals und danach eine Single mit Gesang. Verstehe ich nicht. Die Chance, die Herausforderung ist doch, beides nebeneinander zu haben. Zuhörer für beides zu begeistern.

Nicht Gesang ist langweilig, sondern die Sänger

Leila: Viele Bekannte von mir fingen an, rein elektronisch Musik zu machen, weil sie Gesang so langweilig fanden. Aber Gesang ist überhaupt nicht langweilig. Wie Gesang zur Zeit eingesetzt wird, ist langweilig. Hör’ dir aktuelle Popproduktionen an. Oder Rock, aber Rock ist ja so tot, wie man nur tot sein kann, sogar toter noch als Jazz. Oder diese ganzen Jungs, die behaupten sie klängen wie die Beatles, die nicht mal einen Hauch von den Beatles haben, nicht einen Hauch der Produktion, des Umfeldes, des Gefühls. Sie denken, es gehe nur um Akkorde, Melodie, Lyrics. Dabei wird das Wesentliche vergessen. Erstaunlich, wo WIR heute stehen, und wo die POPMUSIK steht. Das einzig Bemerkenswerte derzeit ist R&B. Und das absolut Erstaunliche, dass Leute aus den unterschiedlichsten musikalischen Lagern anfangen, R&B zu lieben. Das ist es, was gute Popmusik ausmacht: It makes you change your mind!

De:bug: Irgendwann hattest du beschlossen, es selber zu versuchen…

Leila: Anfangs sicher nicht mit der Idee, jemals davon zu leben. Ich habe nie in irgendwelchen Bands gespielt oder so was. Die meiste Zeit meiner musikalischen Ausbildung hieß für mich zuhören. Ich liebe einfach Musik. Also der Punkt, an dem ich anfing, war…ich hatte Klavierunterricht. Aber ich dachte nie, dass es mein Instrument wäre. Um all das spielen zu können, was ich hörte, hätte ich fünf Hände gebraucht. Für die zweite Tour mit Björk kaufte ich mir den kleinen Yamaha Sequencer QY20. Wicked. Ich erinnere mich, mir eröffnete sich eine neue Welt. Es machte plötzlich Sinn. Ich schrieb Basslines, Strings, Beats, alles. Diese kleine Box triggerte mich. Ich begann – für mich – meine eigene Musik zu schreiben. Also investierte ich das Geld von der Tour in ein eigenes Studio.

De:bug: Du benutzt den QY als Sketchbook?

Leila: Also, ich kaufte mir gleich drei. Du kannst deine Tracks zwar im Computer speichern, aber ich mag, wie sie sind, diese kleinen Boxen… Ich habe sicher zwei bis dreihundert Tracks in denen abgespeichert. Ich habe ja keine klassische Ausbildung. Das heißt, ich kann mich nicht mit irgendwelchen Skills rausreden, mal schnell einen Rachmaninoff spielen oder so. Ich kann nichts kaschieren. Ich kann nur pur meine Idee der Welt anbieten. Und ich liebe die Technologie dafür, dass sie mir einfach die Möglichkeit bietet, das alles zu realisieren. Meine gespenstischen Instrumente.

Instrumentalmusik, die nicht Techno et al. ist, heißt ja gleich mal Filmmusik, Soundtrack. Das Filmische. Bilder, die entstehen. Leilas Musik ist anders, prosaisch. Fühlt sich wie Literatur an, erzählerisch, schwärmerisch. Wie eine gute Kurzgeschichte. Dreizehn kleine Novellen. Zärtlich, aber nie zerbrechlich. Und immer bereit für eine überraschende Konfrontation. Und Leila macht natürlich keine reine Instrumentalmusik, obwohl Gesang, Sprache oder Worte eher wie eine zusätzliche Klangfarbe wirken denn als Textbotschaft.

Leila: Also ich finde es gut, wenn man sich die Lyrics etwas erarbeiten muss. Ich glaube, Musik und Lyrics profitieren davon, wenn sie verschmelzen, gemeinsam etwas Neues kreieren. Okay, manchmal leiden die Lyrics schon, aber würde ich sie lauter machen, wäre die Balance, der Impact ruiniert. Also – na gut – ich habe ein bisschen ein schlechtes Gewissen, aber dieses Mal liegen der Platte die Liedtexte bei.

De:bug: Du schreibst die Lyrics also nicht.

Leila: Nein, das machen schon die Sänger. Naja. Also, diese etwas seltsameren Sachen von Luca, die habe ich einfach auseinandergeschnitten und neu zusammengesetzt. Und er kam an und motzt: Was ist das denn!? (Lacht.) Aber eigentlich mische ich mich da nicht ein. Ein paar Sachen auf meinen Alben finde ich schon etwas cheesy, gleichzeitig mag ich es aber auch.

De:Bug: ‘I’ll do the most to win her love’ finde ich toll. Es trieft schon, aber er singt trotzdem nicht ‘I’ll do everything’.

Leila: Ja, der Text ist sehr, sehr süß. Sehr toll. ‘I’ll fly to the sun with icaruses wings…’, das ist cute! Dieses Spiel mit Bildern, mit Metaphern. Ich mochte z.B. in den Achtzigern kaum Indie-Musik, denn da gab es keine Magie. Weder in der Musik noch im Text. Ich mag es, wenn alles ein bisschen magisch ist. Was du mit Märchen meintest. Das ist es, was Kunst und Musik so außergewöhnlich, so überraschend macht: Es kann magisch sein, wenn es will. Anders eben. Und das nicht zu versuchen, finde ich nicht nur langweilig, sondern traurig.

About The Author

Elektronische Lebensaspekte.


Text: Mercedes Bunz aus De:Bug 12

Leila on Melodicore About “Like Weather” and the music industrie on the phone Mercedes Bunz mrs.bunz@de-bug.de London, World Capital of Music. This is the place where a lot of popmusic is conceptuated and planned. Here campanes and strategies for the press are designed: Oasis battles with Blur, Goldie falls in love with Naomi Campbell, House suddenly turns to Speed Garage und who is the Spice Girl of the week: nothing which escapes the eye of the press and isn’t part of a sell out. Then, suddenly. A wierd 12″ hits the charts, kind of. An album full with music of different genres becomes maximum attention. Press, more press and pages and pages in the NME. Not a new style, though. Just a record of Leila. Leila lives in a small House, in the North (?) of London. You can’t say, that she has been out of music business in her live. She toured with Björk and she composed for Plaid. She is friends with 808 State. But for her first album, she withdrew herself in this small house, where she lives with her family, she got some signing from her sister and from friends and went with the outcome to Rephlex. Quite a good context for a record like ‘Like Weather’, because ‘wierd’ means with Leila ‘excellent’ and ‘noise’ is her favorite word to which she strips down all elements of music. Leila finds Genres as suspect as ethnical identities, and with these she has enough experiences since she came 18 years ago with her parents from the Iran to Great Britain. Strange enough, that anyway most people agree with her record, because even in the musical field of Rephlex, electronic music, she has not a real lobby: too much singing on it. Well: how can you storm the musical business? Just don’t care about it. DEBUG: I was pretty surprised when i recognized that you did your record in like a bedroom studio or something because it doesn’t sound lowfi, it sounds rather very professional. Leila: Mmh, well. I would have known people who would have helped me finish it somewhere else. But I thought I need to finish it at home, like: Well, I am at home and i will shoot around with my impressions. The thing is, that irrelevant of what you have got, if you have got a big imagination and you invest it in your art, someone with a pencil and a paper will do hundred times better than someone with all the colours in the world or the biggest camera. I mean it is wierd, though, because in our lives the way we are conditioned is to always want more. Whatever you have got you think of what you want and you haven’t got. And with my album for the first time in my life I just literally looked at my studio and thought this is what I have got. And it is enough. And it was enough. Just because I changed the perspective in my mind. I thought, i wanna do it here, I wanna get it fixed- I even mastered it in my bedroom you see, I even did that then. I think it really is just because, I had let go this big hole of modern sickness of desire and wanting. And I said well, this is what i have got and I will work with it. And I did. I mean if you came into my studio, you would laugh, I mean I laugh, when I look at it. But then I raise above the intellectual side of it and thought, right. What i haven’t got on equipment i will make up with a shere attitude and emotional investment. DEBUG: What of your equipment do you like most? LEILA: There is certain pieces of equipment I like but the other thing is, I – I am not an electronic genius or anything. I use compiüters to make music, I don’t use computers, because I love computers. Do you see what i mean? So for me the relevant equipment is, well, are some little things and I love my decks. And I love my sampler, my emu sampler. But the point is I treat the technology like individual persons. I treat them like human beings, I don’t see them as electronic things. DEBUG: So you produce your music at home, you are working together with your sister. Is this kind of keeping it all in family business a way to avoid the music business? LEILA: A little bit. But it is also because I am just learning how to use all my equipment. And the pressure of being somwhere else would have been too much. If you have a big studio, every day you have and you didn’t do anything, that is 3 000 pounds gone. And for me that is not why I do music. It is all very creative… well sometimes I work in the day, other times I just sleep all day and work all night. On Headphones. And I need to know that I can get out of bed and just go to work. That is what I want, especially at that point. When I go into my studio it is like if you are a kid and go into a toyshop and someone goes: what the fuck do you want? And you almost get so excited that you can’t sleep? Every time you wake up you go like: Oh I can make more wierd noises! Honestly, it is so exciting. And the fact that there wasn’t that question because I signed my record to rephlex after it was finished so you have the freedom. If you imagine, most people by the time they make the sound for the record got five other people who would have listened to it and say yes and no. I didn’t have any of that. So I was a lot more free to just explore. DEBUG: I thought it was like people were wanting you, because you already have a name in music business playing with Björk and Plaid. LEILA: No. What happened is, I knew Richard. He came on one of the Björk Tours to DJ as a guest. So I knew him as a friend. But when it comes to my music I am to insecure about my music to sell it to people. You know, you have to go to a record company and try to sell it. And I didn’t wanna do that because I am just to, you know, they would have said to me: “oh you did it vey well, now let’s make it all sound like propper music. Like get someone professional.” It would have just broken my heart. While at Rephlex they liked it as it was. And I needed that really, because I am insecure enough anyway. It is a lot easier if you hand it out to someone that you know and trust without all the hazzle of a huge industry. Also I needed to know that if my record did well it was for the right reasons. Not because I had a billion pounds waisted, making it more lively. I mean all the press we had, had been reviews and interviews. I haven’t done any paid press or billboard or stuff like that. So all the interest has been because people have come to us, because they liked my record. And that is how it needs to be, otherwise i would freak out, really. Could you imagine how embarrasing it would be if you spend million pounds and people still didn’t like you? It would be so sad! I am to shy to have that happen really. I would be too embarrassed. DEBUG: And it fits very well with Rephlex, anyway. Where did you like to love all that noise? LEILA: I don’t know. When I was younger, I have been very lucky, because my life kind of changed in ways where it’s always been very good for my music. You know I played the piano when I was younger. Then i liked a bit of pop music like Prince. But only the wierdest stuff. Kind of the wierd album tracks, Controverse, Dirty Mind and 1999. Not the kind of great big singles or anything. More the crazy little one electronic tunes. Then I suddenly became obsessed with Jazz and then I went to do my degree and there it was the dancemusic. I hated dance music until Breakbeat or Hardcore happended. It was so much more interesting than House Music. And then I left my university to went all over the world with Björk. So luckily I have been introduced to all kinds of different forms of noise. The reason I keep saying I love noise is: there comes the point where you strip music down to where there are noise you like and noise you don’t. When I compose, when I am writing, there is no genre I like more than other. I am just trying to make music in the broader sense of the word. For me the whole of breakbeat gave a whole new way of life to dancemusic. It put some soul back in the music and some movement rather than just go doom, doom doom. This is a bit boring for me really. DEBUG: Also breakbeat was more concentrating on different noise again, putting them into tracks and stuff. LEILA: For sure. Definitly If you listen to some old hardcore it still sounds much more innovativg than a lot of jungle now. The instant of it is so much more raw and alive than kind of jungle becoming more and more controlled and contained. Hardcore just felt crazy, just felt like the most crazy music. You have a dirty happy core and than the most rough bass line and a wierd sample. I mean definitely, Shut Up and Dance and all that stuff was the first electronic music that I got into. DEBUG: But you also have a lot of experiences with music business. What were you doing with Plaid again? LEILA: There is a track on their album where I plaid the piano and sort of composed the music for it. Just one of the shorter tracks on the album. It was strange working with them, also with Graham Massey from 808 State. They are some of the best in the world, but working with them made me realise that I needed to have my studio in my flat. I didn’t wanted to be one of these people who just sit there going: “oh can you make that kind of … well … a bit more yellow… with a bit of a … chocolate flavour?” I wanted to be able to do it myself. But, yeah, I did work with them and they are amazing to work with. Every noise that they make is so amazing. While with me it is the overall noise. You know if you listen to any track of my album, noise for noise they sound shit. It is the mixing I do that makes them sound better. But I am very lazy of transforming. I can’t be bothered with kind of stuff noises. I just take what I know and mix it till it sounds better and wierd. Than I go: yeah, definitely, sounds good and that’s the way I want it. That is very different from Plaid. They are technologically so good and amazing in what they do. While I am not that educated in electronics. You know, I don’t want anyone to think, that I am an amazing programmer, cause I am not and I am not gonna lie. I compose and I know enough to make the noise I wanna make but I am definitely not a very good programer yet. YET. THAT’S HOW THE MUSIC INDUSTRY REALLY WORKS When I made the record, I ignored all of that. If you get yourself messed in that shit, your are just making shit music which all shit people like. For me, the important thing was to make my music without it at all and without all people being part of it. Because it is just… They are part of an industry … and if I would have taken my album to a major record company, personal they would have said to me: Well done, but there is to much variety on one album. We will do an instrumental album. Then we do a pop album. And secondly they would have said to me: The pop stuff, can we get a propper producer to make it sound really propper. That is their mentality, do you see what I mean. Their mentality is… it is just shit. The one beauty of working with Björk was, there are so many people around her that kiss her arse maybe and she is just completly above all that because she has such a creative energy. When you see that business around her you just realize: they are clueless. They are so boring, they don’t know anything about fucking music. And I just kind of came home and did all my work at home. When I was younger I would be that kind of person, if I was playing the piano and you came into my room I would take my hands off, because I was so shy. I am to insecure, when it comes to my music, so I couldn’t deal with those people. DEBUG: But isn’t that strange that a lot of people and a lot of press who deal normally with major music do like your record? LEILA: Yeah, that is a little bit frightening, really. You know, there is a lot of politics in the bristish music industry so I think even for the journalist it is nice to have something that wouldn’t be pushed down that road. And it is the other way around. They go: Great! Rather than people going: Yeah: we will give you an exclusive and show you the video first. There was none of that. And I wanted to give them the impression as well of what it can be like. You know what NME did to me was shoking. Even though my album is on Rephlex a lot of Underground people were very kind of naughty about my record. Cause it had singing on it. DEBUG: Why do you think that the electronic underground does not like singing?’I mean that is a very common place. LEILA: I don’t know if they don’t like singing or the fact that I am a girl. It is wierd, because a lot of the man, the old man, writers for electronic magazines, they just hate it. It is like, you know, they wish to stay in the old Roman days when they used to have bars and younger boys and all this, I think they are just afraid of me because I am a girl. I had to meet a lot of the older men in like yeah, electronic music. They behave like suppressed homosexuals. They like little boys and electronics. Not girls like me. There is a strange element in there. They are all suppressed homosexuals. They go like: Look there! Stay out of this! Leave us one place where there are no women. DEBUG: Did you call your album Like Weather because it did got so different genres on it? No. Again Graham Massey came to my house once and we were playing my music, and he just went: fuck it, your music like the mood is so extrem it is almost like the weather. So that was one reason. And the other thing was, if you look at it, I mean, the weather is a huge part of nature. For me every day we can like learn to respect and like the random of the weather is the beginning of us getting back in touch having respect before more than just ourselves, you know. We just refuse to acknowledge, that there is huge external fact anymore. We try to hide behind airconditioning. When I was going to release my record I was really confused about what to call it. ‘Cause I didn’t wanna use my own name, but then when you use another name you have to justify that as well. So whatever you do it becomes bigger than it is. But I am happy with it. I tell you why I am happy with it, because every day I wake up and the weather is strange I think to myself there couldn’t have been anything better that I could have called my album. Really, you know, the weather is such an important thing in the news with all that El Ninjo. In this country you have snow in April, but then you also have lazy sunshine in fucking february. So everyday I wake up and the weather is wierd I am like: YES. I win. I am quite glad I called it that.

About The Author

Elektronische Lebensaspekte.