Local Music: Garrett Laurie

Garrett Laurie is a Belfast based musician who has recently released the new EP ‘Crying on Cue’. Garrett spoke to The Jumble Magazine all about taking inspiration from religious choir music from childhood, 90s horror movies, self indulgence in lock down and cult movies like ‘Heathers’: 

I have always sang, and been involved with music and performing, but I began writing and making my own music as a teen. I took to uploading rough covers and demos online as I found the direction I wanted to take my music. I released my first EP project ‘Crying on Cue’  in July this year. The project is a Hollywood film inspired demo EP of old poems I set to music starting in mid-2018.  

How would you describe your musical style? 

I generally describe my music as genre-less for the most part because most of my inspiration comes from fashion and film.

“If I had to give a visual descriptor of my music I would probably summarise it as ‘Sidney Prescott and Laura Palmer at a seance somewhere on the West Coast’ (not kidding.) “

What inspires you most to make music?

I tend to be inspired by older, female folk, rock and RnB artists…something in the way they reflect on beauty and ageing and navigating personal struggles in a male dominated industry has always struck me. I often write from a genderless perspective in my songs, so I think these women are a kind of subconscious voice I return to when I write from points of view that aren’t my own.

I grew up a choir boy/ theatre kid, which is something I felt for a while as a young adult no longer served me. When I began writing prolifically a few years back I started to realise the influence that religious music and those theatrical environments I came of age in had on me. I was surprised how melding these sounds from my childhood felt seamless, like they’d always just been. Thriller and horror films from the 90s are a big inspiration for my music too. The nostalgia I feel after watching movies like ‘Fear’ or ‘The Craft’ is the kind of warmth I try to bring to my own music…I’ve always felt very odd and misunderstood when it comes to my approach to music, and I think the main roots of my inspiration may really just be my awareness of feeling like the odd one out. Owning that has given me access to any area of music I feel connected to.

What is your favourite piece of music you have made so far?

Hmm… probably a song I have been playing around with for almost a year now, it’s called ‘Dying To Tell You’. Kind of like most songs off ‘Crying on Cue’, it kind of felt like it wrote itself, in minutes. Those songs are usually the most exciting because they leave no space for self doubt at all really. So yea, I would say at the moment at least, that one is my favourite… also because it is the first song I knew for certain would be on my next EP.

What should readers start with to get into your music?

I think out of the tracks I have released so far, ‘All to Myself’ speaks for the character of most of my music. Not sonically necessarily, but for its mood and perspective. The selfishness of the title was my way of making fun of myself and how self-centred the contents of the song actually are. The melody and production on it though says that it takes itself quite seriously, so I think my own amusement at that dichotomy may be my reason to think of it as an interesting one to start with. 

Obviously the music scene is very different this year to how it used to be, but do you have any big plans coming up? 

I do… kind of… I’m currently re-planning a joint headline show in Belfast which was postponed due to Covid-19. For the same reason, there is no set date yet but yea, I will be playing material from my latest EP, ‘Crying on Cue’ which I only just released this July. I will play some new songs from my upcoming EP and some of my own takes of my favourites from other artists. 

How have you found that the lock down has affected your work and the local music scene as a whole? 

‘Crying on Cue’ was scheduled for release in late April, following the release of my first single from the project, ‘Have Fun.’ When lock down came around these plans were halted as well as the show I had scheduled for April 29th to debut it. Given the social restriction of that time, I used the social media and dating app theme of my lead single ‘Have Fun’, to use Photo Booth photos as the promotional material for the release. The nature of ‘Crying on Cue’ is focused on ego, isolation and self-indulgence in these things, and so the music video I made for the single at the beginning of lock down took a self-made and found footage direction, which luckily worked perfectly for the project. 

The concept for my next EP, ’Barbies with Betty Finn’ came around this time also, as I watched ‘Heathers’ one night and I heard Heather Chandler fire out this line. Heather in a rage tells Veronica ‘You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn.’ My idea for the EP was to use the sentiment of this insult to summarise the project’s main theme of  reflection on childhood isolation and social exile, beneath nostalgic visuals as a kind of comment on the temptation to romanticise our problems and put a stylistic spin on them, kind of like these 80s and 90s American movies like ‘Heathers’ do. The self-awareness at the heart of that film is the centrepiece of ‘Barbies with Betty Finn’

Stream ‘Crying on Cue’ now on Spotify and Bandcamp and follow Garrett Laurie on Instagram and Facebook for updates on gigs and the release of ‘Barbies with Betty Finn’.‘All to Myself’ is also featured on The Jumble Magazine Local Music Playlist, which you can check out here.

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