In her latest music video, the club queen gets ritualistic in the mountains before losing herself completely to dance
With her fresh, forward-facing approach to sound, Dazed 100 alumnus Lafawndah is the cream of New York’s new wave of underground producers – and her latest single “Ally” proves why. With its eclectic vocal shapes layered over heavy percussion, the track builds into an epic crescendo, as if she’s chanting her way into sonic oblivion. Ditching the electronic for the organic, the song’s musical landscape embraces the swirling, hypnotic sounds of panpipes, creating a track that seems to embody the feeling of true freedom.
The accompanying video, premiered in full below, opens with the singer performing a series of rituals in the mountains as if she’s preparing for battle. A journey unfolds over the following four minutes, ending with a beautifully chaotic dance scene which the singer describes as a “vulnerable moment” – a fitting climax to the song’s uninhibited, freefalling style and attitude. We caught up with the star to talk inspiration behind the clip, as well as the song’s message and her plans for the future.
What were the concepts and inspirations behind the new video?
Lafawndah: The video is a journey. It goes from prepping, grooming; it includes very simple rites of passage gestures and unfolds to the dance scene which, to me, is a very vulnerable moment. I guess I wanted to find a way to talk about love that felt comfortable. How do I put into imagery a song about the first few hours of a crush? It had to look epic but solitary in a way. It had to look beautiful and delicate but also strong, like a fight that you’d have with yourself.
What’s the lyrical message behind “Ally”?
Lafawndah: The potential of an alliance in what starts as a crush. Love as an alliance.
Why did you decide to work with such an organic soundscape?
Lafawndah: I think I’d have to ask a professional mind reader. I use the sounds that I use because they inspire me and they tell me a story a story I feel like supporting with vocals. But why these sounds specifically? I don’t know.
You've lived all over the world – to what extent do the places you've visited inspire your work?
Lafawndah: All the extents. I feel like I’m a sponge, I absorb literally everything; from the smallest details to the biggest, it all goes back into the music and visuals in one way or another.
There’s a lot of dance and movement in this video – what were the ideas behind that?
Lafawndah: I have no dance background really. Anyone who makes music should be able to move to their own music, don’t you think? It’s an extension of the music, that’s all. You hear me sing, you hear my instrumental and you get to see how it makes me feel, the body language that goes with it.
You were on last year’s Dazed 100. How do you feel you’ve changed in the past year? Musically and personally?
Lafawndah: I feel like everything just extended in all the directions; my nails, my hair, my voice, my skills, my powers, my knowledge, my impatience, it’s all extended.
What does 2016 look like for Lafawndah?
Lafawndah: She’s going to be on one!
Lafawndah's new EP Tan is out now on Warp Records