Celebrating Kylesa’s new release of songs From the Vaults Vol. 1, here is an interview with Laura Pleasants from La Ligne À Harde’s own vault! Taken from On the Wagon, a photography book by François Carl Duguay about Kylesa’s 2011 Canadian winter tour, the interview revolves around life, art and Laura’s creative process. Enjoy!
January 24th, 2011.
After Kylesa’s crushing set, I sit down with Laura in the Il Motore’s little back room that acts as a dressing room…
F. Carl : What are your conceptions on art ?
Laura : I think to be true to yourself and creating something of your own that’s within you maybe drawn with inspiration but not emulating anyone. Something that is truly yours, and unique and creative is more exceptional than any sort of technique. That is more important than technique or skill. Something that is yours and something that expresses yourself. Some of my favourite art might not be the most illustrative or pretty, but it’s a unique, expressive art. That is my favourite.
F. Carl : You like raw art ?
Laura : Raw and polished but something that is unique. I see artists all the time copying other artists. You know if you have a little bit of schooling, you can copy someone, with no big deal. I mean, if you have knowledge or a vocabulary of art, you know when someone is ripping someone off. I think if it’s unique and it’s your own vision, that’s the most important. Bottom line if it’s a catharsis, to me that’s the best kind of art.
F. Carl : What do you consider art ?
Laura : That’s a very subjective term. It is such a subjective term, any thing you create is art, any thing you create. Whether it’s a sandwich or a painting or music.
F. Carl : It’s the intention.
Laura : It’s the intention and process, process is really important.
F. Carl : Where do you draw the line between art and music ?
Laura : I think there is a very blurry line ; one or the other comes first. There’s a whole like seeing music and hearing colors, to me they’re one and the same. When I play music, when I write music, its very visual. When I am creating art, I’m generally listening to music of some nature. It’s all about a flow and it’s different for every one. The line between art and music is very blurred and you can combine both. I think art is music and music is an art. You’re just working with different mediums.
F. Carl : Do you get a high from what you create ?
Laura : Absolutely. If I didn’t have music or art in my life, I would be lost. It’s better than any drugs ; it’s better than sex ! When I’m at my peak of creativity, it’s the best feeling ever. I feel whole. If I didn’t have music or art in my life, I would be a lost soul. I would be without a purpose. I don’t know if that’s necessarily good but that’s true.
F. Carl : When do you know that the work is done ?
Laura : It just tells you. Visually it is different then music. Sometimes you just know, you get to a point and you don’t want to fuck with it anymore, because you know it’s good. It is easier for me, visually to stop than it is sonically, to stop. You just know, intuition is a huge component to all of this. As far as stopping and knowing when your work’s done, you just know.
F. Carl : Please tell me about your creative process.
Laura : I probably would have more a creative process with music than I do with visual art. I’m more practiced in music as in the past few years. I haven’t done as much visual arts as I’d like to but I’ve been quite busy doing the other.
F. Carl : We can focus on the music.
Laura : There’s definitely a creative process but it’s not always one way, there’s many ways. I have, maybe, a handful of processes. First and foremost, I have to be in a comfortable situation at home. Being in my room, you know ? With a little practice amp and my guitar, I just need to be relaxed and if I’m relaxed, I just start playing. I have my little recorder on and I’ll just start recording ideas. Generally, it just stems from that. It stems from an idea that comes out of nowhere. But from that idea can stem many other ideas. My memory isn’t super great so I try to record as many ideas as I can because it’s in these little moments of subconscious reasoning that my best ideas come from. When I’m not really paying attention. I try to record, I try to document them and take note of it and something generally grows from them.
F. Carl : Where do you get your creativity from ?
Laura : Well, I do know, for an example, when we were recording our last record, I was talking to my dad on the phone. I was like : «you know Dad, I’m spending these months in savannah, I’m in this creative zone that I’m putting my self in to write and not think about other life stuff». And he was like : «I’m becoming a businessman it is hard for me to fathom not, it must be a very interesting and specific way to look at your life on a daily basis». He kind of put it into light, when I have to be in a creative zone, I have to really focus on being relaxed and not worry about all the every day life worries.
Laura : When I am being creative, I try to dive into it thoroughly and not be stressed out about normal shit, like money or love or your fucking heat bill or whatever. I really just try to relax and get into that zone, and it’s a different zone than being everyday or tour zone. Now we’re touring and it’s a different mentality, completely than being in the creative mindset, because that’s a very special and vulnerable mindset to be in. When you really open your self up and you really let your ideas come out and you let your emotions kind of come out of it shell, it’s vulnerable. So you have to be very relaxed and comfortable in your environment for that to happen. I think that if you let that happen, your going to come out with your best work, for me at least.
F. Carl : Did your process changed trough time ?
Laura : Sure, outside circumstances affect everything, your surroundings affect everything, your environment affects everything, where you’re living, the town you’re living in, all these outside factors affects what you are doing when you’re creating. Certainly it changed over the years. I’ve honed in on with what I’m comfortable with over the years and how to compose music or art. I’ve gotten better at it, over time. You just learn over time, you learn what works for you and how you’re going to produce your best work. It is always a learning process, what we do is just an on going art project in my mind. It is constantly learning and refining, learning from mistakes, learning from what works. It’s all about process.
F. Carl : Why create?
Laura : Because I have to, it’s in my blood. It is a primal need for me. It’s a deep need with in my soul somewhere that I have to do this. It’s not practical by any means ; it’s not practical but it’s something that I need to do. I can’t really tell you why, I just know in my heart, I have to in order for me to find true happiness. I have to be creative.
F. Carl : For me, art is a counter to a nihilistic view towards life.
Laura : It as a lot to do with it, I would agree. This desire to have a purpose, a desire to have meaning, to have a role in this world, it is a big thing for me. I wouldn’t be happy just being a pawn in chess game, that role is not for me. It is perfectly fine for a lot of people but it’s not for me. I have visions, strong visions that I try to fulfill. It is an urge, a carnal need.
F. Carl : Is it a way to cheat death ?
Laura : I do know that life is short, and you have to live to the fullest while you can. But at the same time, life can linger and you don’t want to sell yourself short and fuck up and burn yourself out. It is about a balance and it’s tricky. It’s a big fucking chess game, and I’m still trying to figure it out. Ah!
F. Carl : Please tell me about the road as an aspect of your life.
Laura : It is a huge aspect of my life right now. I don’t think that it will always be, but right now and for the past several years, it has been a big aspect of my life. It’s been rewarding. I love traveling. I love meeting new people. I am nomadic in nature ; I left home when I was 16. Not that I was on my own per se, but I wasn’t in a home environment. Yeah, the road is important. There are ups and down to it of course but I do like the freedom of it. The road is a catch-22, but when I’m home for too long, I get restless and bummed out. I want to get on the road and be playing live. I like the live setting. It’s a totally different than recording a record.
F. Carl : Do you draw influences from the road also ?
Laura : Of course, things come to me on the road that wouldn’t necessarily come to me otherwise. There is a lot of time to sit around and think… about stuff, when I daydream. It’s good, it’s frustrating, it’s great, it’s terrible, and it’s all these things wrapped up into one.
F. Carl : It’s life.
Laura : It’s life, yeah !