Liverpool’s She Drew the Gun are set for big things this year, having won the prestigious Glastonbury festival ‘Emerging Talent’ award. We had a chat with Louisa from the band.
Growing up on a musical diet of John Lennon, the Beatles and Britpop, She Drew the Gun’s Louisa Roach hails from Liverpool where she creates gritty, personal songs brought to life by her band made up of Sian Monaghan, James Skelly and Jenni Kickhefer. The band released their debut LP on 22 April: Memories of the Future.
“It’s great to finally have something out that you’ve been working on for quite a while. When I started, it was just a few songs that I sang on my guitar and it’s grown into a full album with so much more.” Louisa explains.
“I think that all it takes is one idea to catch your imagination.”
The album, recorded at Liverpool’s infamous Parr Street studios (home to musical greats who have recorded seminal albums in its watchful wings including Belly’s 1993 album Star) is currently on rotation on BBC 6 Music, and is not afraid to delve into the darker sides of life. Louisa, who began her career as a solo artist, playing acoustically at local open mics, was invited to play on a BBC Introducing show which would lead her to meeting The Coral’s James Skelly who would ultimately influence the dimension of Louisa’s songs and the path they would take:
“I played James the tunes acoustically at his house and he was really into it. From that moment on, I was just buzzing about the songs. Then to go into the studio and build them up into something more and see the potential being realised.” Louisa explains.
Louisa takes her inspirations for songwriting from both lived experience and external stimuli which can come in various guises:
“I am inspired by films, books and music. I’m inspired by an interesting turn of phrase that makes you think outside of the box. I think that all it takes is one idea to catch your imagination. A lot of the time it’s good to get that initial spark from something in the outside world that you find. It’s kind of like a puzzle that you are solving.” Louisa says.11 year old Louisa discovered the Beatles – The White Album via her Dad, and from that point on, she was hooked. Specifically, Working Class Hero was the song that caught her undivided attention, upon hearing it at the end of the 1992 film, The Leaving of Liverpool. That was a defining moment for Louisa’s journey which would lead her to pursue her music:
“When I was 11, my Dad introduced me to The White Album – it was completely different from anything my mates were listening to. I was very inspired by that. I’ve been a Beatles fan since then. I love the journey that the Beatles went on, from where they started to where they ended.” Louisa recalls.
As well as the revered Beatles and the perhaps inevitable affinity to have developed between Liverpool born Louisa and the legacy left behind by the band, Louisa was heavily influenced by the sounds of Britpop as she explains:
“I was a massive fan of Britpop. That’s when I was just really discovering music. I think nineties music was absolutely amazing. I think it was a cracking decade for music.”
These days, Louisa takes musical inspiration from varying influences – including musicians and novelists:
“I’ve been listening to Prince quite a lot. I admire his vocal palette. He can do so much with his vocals. The expression in his vocals are amazing.” Louisa says.
“For me, you have to live through a few things to be able to go somewhere lyrically.”
The band have developed a unique sound, quite unlike anything you might have heard. Though reminiscent of some early era PJ Harvey, recent Laura Marling and with the lyrical density of Courtney Barnett, the sound is completely their own.
“It doesn’t do you any harm to work on your own stuff for a while, without having a mentor. You don’t necessarily need a mentor straight away, but you do need a bit of feedback, whether it’s from an audience at an open mic, or putting stuff out on the internet. It’s always a two way thing to see where you’re going. Everyone does need a point in the right direction.” Louisa says.
Preferring to keep things fresh and emotionally honest when in the studio, the band chose to record with as minimal takes as possible, so as to create as authentic a sound as possible. Production wise, Louisa admires Tame Impala for their sound but has no solid plans as to how she sees the band’s sound evolving over the future months and years.
“For me, you have to live through a few things to be able to go somewhere lyrically. You have to connect with the way you felt about something.” She says.
The song Poems actually began as a poem, and Louisa has taken inspiration from the novels of Kurt Vonnegut – particularly in one song:
“The idea for Since You Were Not Mine came out of one of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. In one of his books he talked about the moon and the sun refusing to shine. I liked that. The idea of celestial bodies having their own choice in the matter – whether they shine or rise.” Louisa says.
With artwork created by Louisa herself, it’s clear that this is a work of much personal investment.
She Drew the Gun: www.shedrewthegun.com