Hailing from Kildare, which you’ll find sort of in the east of Ireland’s middle, April Lawlor stood out as one of the most talented new artists to touch ground in the first few months of 2020. She debuted with The Impossible Task Of Feeling Complete, a hymn in digital watercolour, and then showed off her talent for glittering pop on follow-up New Conditions. Now with her debut EP finally here, another two songs have surfaced, led by new single What I’d Do For You.
For something that’s so easy to listen to, it takes a little bit of work to figure out what’s going on in an April song. There’s a little mutual DNA with bedroom pop beyond just the macbook making of it – it shares that sense of pretension-free intimacy, that easy charm that sets the song up like an old friend. But it’s much more creatively ambitious than that. On What I’d Do For You, the guitar chimes in spirals and sets the scene for the song’s hazy, syrupy atmosphere. That’s the sound world that lets her get the best out of her voice, a dreamy-eyed, effortless croon that’s one of her biggest strengths. But there’s also the lyrics, loaded with sincerity and perfectly walking the line between plainspoken and poetic that give What I’d Do For You the depth that gives this breezy, pretty dream-pop song its staying power. Check it, along with a Q’n’A with April, out below.
So what’s your background in music, and how did you start writing songs? It was through your father, who’s also a musician?
Yeah, I grew up listening to music all the time, my dad is a musician & he would teach me piano and guitar and stuff. I used to pretend I was Hannah Montana and I would do shows for my family, I was always just really into songwriting and performing as a kid. I started taking it seriously in the last 2 years after finding how easily I could make music from a laptop and getting inspiration from other DIY artists like Clairo, Still Woozy, The Marias.
And at what point and how would you say ‘April’ as a project in its current form got started?
I bought a macbook when I started art college & I ended up using it for making music rather than college work. Around March 2019 I did my first gig. I had been posting songs on Soundcloud that I was writing at home over YouTube beats and some things I had been making on GarageBand. Me and my friend and his brother started playing music together pretty casually and it ended up turning into a little band, it all felt so good and everything has come together so naturally.
Your lyrics sit up front and centre in your songs, and they’ve got a great way of painting the song’s emotions. Are they something you put a lot of effort into and see as the heart of your work? And who are some of the lyricists you draw inspiration from?
Lyrics are very important to me but I don’t overthink them, I usually just let ’em spill out and leave them as they are.
I do like to be kinda poetic with them and I’m quite a visual person so creating a painting of the song’s meaning is something I like doing. All of my songs are close to my heart and personal but I like keeping things vague, it kinda lets anyone connect and relate to it and make the lyrics their own. Lana Del Rey & Gus Dapperton are two artists whose lyrics I love.
You made the clips for Impossible and New Conditions yourself, is playing with video something you enjoy doing?
Yeah, I used to want to be a filmmaker, videos and visuals are sooooooo important. I want to start putting more effort and time into videos though and I can’t wait to make something in that realm that I’m really proud of, I’m a huge music video fan – I could spend hours watching them. Fellow Irish artist Kojaque has some insanely cool videos & Tyler, The Creator is like my favourite artist in the world, the whole visual world he has created is my fave ever.
Finally, the EP is now out, what can we expect next?
ANOTHER EP. And then more music forever ‘n ever amen. Nah but really I’m excited to make visuals, work with other artists & producers, try different things & experiment with sounds and styles. Also mostly excited to get back playing shows for people!
Every Monday we’re updating the 50-track-strong Listen AHEAD Playlist on Spotify, adding ten strong songs by sill relatively unknown artists at the beginning. This week’s new picks also include fresh songs from BLOXX, Alex Porat, Martin Baltser, Two People, Shaefri and Austrian-Icelandic two-piece Oehl which you can also discover a bit closer right here. Follow the playlist right here on Spotify and give these new talents a chance.