Ahead of their upcoming EP Hi-Fidelity, the west London artist tells Dazed about their approach to music, and the ‘queer rock and roll show’ they’ve got in the works
Last week was a blur for Lava La Rue. Not only did they announce their upcoming headline show, and drop a single featuring their best friend, they also announced the start of “a new Lava season” in the form of their upcoming EP Hi-Fidelity. The 24-year-old west London artist says this new record is mostly about romance and “cheeky, queer, fleeting” relationships. “[It’s] a play on infidelity too,” they add.
Coming up with the name for Hi-Fidelity was like fate. The titular single was written in early 2020, around the time that the Hulu TV remake of the 2000 film High Fidelity, starring Zoe Kravitz, dropped at the start of the pandemic. “I took that as a sign because I feel like Lenny Kravitz, her dad, was a source of inspiration for some of the creative on the project too,” says Lava. With a mix of pandemic enforced self-reflection, Lava started to consider their relationships, both friendships and romances. In other words, Lava says, they “grew up”.
This project serves as a means of measuring how far they’ve come since they debuted in 2018. “I never describe myself as a lo-fi artist but a lot of publications describe my music as lo-fi. I think that was just because it was really made with little resources,” they say. “This project is the first time that I've been able to make songs and let them come out like I imagined them in my head. It’s a shift.”
Although making songs in your bedroom – as Lava does – isn’t all bad. It’s just like developing your own sense of style, they say. “Realistically, maybe I’d be looking like Rihanna at the Met Gala but you create with what you’ve got. You know when someone says ‘I love what you’re wearing and you’re like, ‘Yeah, this is all from a charity shop’,” they say. “It’s the same as when I started making music with a really temperamental microphone that I had to put a sock over and there was sound leaking from the road outside. That gave it its own vibe. Sometimes having little resources forces you to get creative and make something unique.”
When Lava debuted four years ago, their sound was mostly centred around rap. Hi-Fidelity acts as a bridge to this: there are some remnants from the nostalgic, hip-hop inspired era like on “Don’t Trip” as well as the more indie, psychedelic Lava they are today on “Don’t (Come Back)”. “There’s almost an A-side and a B-side, you can hear that transition,” they say. “I think like the stuff that I will be making, moving forward from that will sound a bit more hi-fi, but it's nice to have other songs on there.”
In fact, Lava is leaning into making music with performing them live in the forefront of their mind. “It used to be very made-in-bedrooms-to-listen-to-in-your-bedroom. Whereas now a lot of the music I’m making is made almost like the moment I come offstage and like I do think ‘oh my god, it’d be so cool if I have something that I can really like, get someone to riff that,’ and so that that has informed the music a little bit more.”
The timing couldn’t be more perfect considering the summer full of festivals they have coming up to focus on. Along with their second time performing at Glastonbury, what Lava is most excited for is their headline show at London’s gay superclub Heaven in September. “It’s going to be really amazing tying it into more of a queer rock and roll show and having like some incredible guitarists on stage soloing those big moments from the new project and a live drummer and turning it into something equally queer,” they say. “In a Prince way, that’s the plan.”
Lava La Rue’s new EP Hi-Fidelity is out on July 29, 2022