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Lola Perrin: Rave Music for Butterflies

By Published: June 19, 2007

AAJ: He did that to the music. Is that always how you work? With East End, you wrote to the film.

LP: That's the first time I've done that since I wrote for TV and I really enjoyed every minute of it. I did it in about two hours. Because I loved that film for years. Finally they said that they had to take Michael Nyman's music off that for copyright reasons; they couldn't afford to pay the publisher. And they asked if they could use my music, so I said that I'd better write it. I was looking forward to doing it so much. Then the day came that I'd put aside to do it, and it just came out. That's going to be my hit, that track. It's rekindled my interest in writing to picture and I'm now trying to get into film music because at last I think I have the ability to write well to picture.

AAJ: You call your music "rave music for butterflies, to avoid it being labeled. How do you think you sit with jazz? Is everything you do through-composed?

LP: Yes.

AAJ: You don't play from sheet music.

LP: It is sort of classical music, really. But it doesn't sound like it. It is classical jazz.

AAJ: It appeals to classical people who like jazz and jazz people who like classical... and beyond that. In a performance, is it always the same? Or are you working within a framework?

LP: It depends on the piece. "Perpetual Motion is always the same. The new piece "Magma, at last I feel I've written something I can be adventurous with, and I'm confident with. That's me developing as an artist. I could probably try it with "Perpetual Motion but I don't. And "The Wind Is Older Than The World has parts that are improvised. I think someone like my brother would say that it's not jazz... My brother says it's like Schumann, that I'm writing the way Schumann wrote.

AAJ: I'm struck by the extent to which you talk about visual stuff. But you've also said that you are trying to create an emotional state as well, which is not really visual, is it?

LP: With me, it's always a visual thing that will trigger it. This summer, I have set myself a task, to not work visually. Mahesh came along and was going to make a film to my music and we decided what music. Then I wrote the piece, and then he made the film, now I'm going to have to change the music according to the film, which he is now sort of abandoning... It is really quite a nice project. "Magma is not about anything visual at all.

AAJ: Did that come out of an emotional state?

LP: That started off about the really amazing intense pleasures of lust but it changed into the sort of lust that you're undeserving of it that you want that person to fall ill. When the piece started, it was supposed to be a tribute to lust, but the sort of lust that is very disappointing. It turned into boiling, that lust is boiling. In Belgium, I told the audience about this and there wasn't a sound. So when I played in London, I didn't tell them about it.

Lola AAJ: Future plans? What do the next couple of years hold?

LP: I'm about to write a new piano suite. I'm just getting into a nice state of depression that I need to be in..

AAJ: Is that always the case? Do you need to be depressed to write?

LP: No, no, no, no, no. I'm only joking. It is a great pleasure to write music but I've deliberately put myself on the spot here, because I have to set myself a challenge as I don't have anyone saying that to me. There is no-one—other than Boosey & Hawkes—saying that to me. No-one will ever ask me to do anything. So I found the artist Carsten Höller [the man who did the slides at Tate Modern] and I know I can write according to this artist, I'm very inspired by this artist's work. And that'll be a nice challenge for me. And I'm also writing a piece for two pianos, close to jazz, although I may not be a jazz musician. The other part will be played by my brother.

AAJ: That leads on to the question of how is it to be Roland's younger sister?

LP: Great. We don't compete. We've always been completely separate musically. We've worked together for the first time recently and we both like that. Luckily, even though our music is very different, we can play to the same audience. And it's really nice working with him. We're so mutually supportive. We both love each other's work. His friends love my work and my friends love his work. I don't know why it works; it must just be because we're related. We have decided that we're going to develop it.

Selected Discography

Lola Perrin, Fragile Light (World Quarter Music, 2006)

Lola Perrin, Perpetual Motion (Blue Planet, 2004)

Photo Credits
Top Photo: Glen Burrows
Center Photo: Courtesy of Lola Perrin's MySpace Page
Bottom Photo: Ilpo Musto

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