Hey Ashley (AKA Frizz Laurent), we’ve been blown away hearing your newest surreal and dark musical offering ‘Why Won’t You Leave’. Tell us a bit about yourself and this new project you’re working on?
Hey guys! As you said, my name is Ashley Noel-Hirst, but I’m going by Frizz Laurent for the time being. I just turned 21 and I play guitar, bass and drums as well as sing and produce (and whatever else I can get my hands on). Project wise I’m in a bit of a weird spot at the moment, I’ve kinda hopped between bands and projects for the past 3 or 4 years without finishing anything but now I’m doing solo stuff it’s become a bit more focused. There’s a full-length album of quite eclectically produced stuff (that’s what “Why Won’t You Leave” is on, but there are some more up-tempo tracks on there too) which should be finished by the end of the year. There’s also a low-key EP of stuff mainly on piano, vocals and guitar. I’d also like to do a more out there, improvisational album, but we’ll have to see how that goes.
Your music merges many different elements from the psychedelic all the way to hip hop. Where do you draw all these varied influences from?
Growing up I guess. My parents are into everything so I grew up listening to Hendrix, Tribe and everything in between. I loved finding new music but I never really got into the idea of genre because it always felt too restrictive to be beneficial to the processes of listening to/making music. I feel like that is reflected in my approach to making music as well; it’s just a case of adding stuff as it feels right. If it sounds good then it is good you know?
One thing we’ve been loving on ‘Why Won’t You Leave’ is the unique poetic lyrics. Is this a style you’ve been developing for a while?
I don’t know to be honest. I’ve not got it down to a science yet but it’s a lot of trial and error. I’ve been gigging stuff like this for ages. ‘Why Won’t You Leave’, for example, originally started as a poem but I ended up improvising the chords and melody to it to fill time when I was supporting another local band called Feet two years ago. I got back from the gig and recorded a couple takes in my room and it kind of went from there.
Would you say your music is very experimental?
In the grand scheme of things probably not. I like to experiment and try new stuff when I make music, but I don’t think it’d be fair to other people who are pushing the boundaries to say that I’m experimental – there’s some crazy stuff put there, man. I like to think I’m doing something new though.
What’s the recording process like for you on this project? Are you doing everything yourself. Drums, guitar etc?
Yeah, it’s a bit all over the place but I’m doing everything myself (apart from the sax on Why Won’t You Leave and some lovely Rhodes on the album, all courtesy of the equally lovely Benny Thompson). I write, play, record, mix and master everything myself in my room with some speakers and an audio interface I got off Gumtree. It takes that much longer but it means I’m in control of my music, how it’s made and where it goes. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so I guess being able to do 52 bass takes has its benefits.
How many live gigs have you got under your belt with this solo project? Do you have any coming up we can get excited about?
I’ve got a couple under my belt with this project. I didn’t do as many last year because I was writing and recording but hopefully once I’ve got this music done I’ll have some new stuff to tour with. Still trying to figure out how to get the live sound right as well, I’d like to do that with a band though.
What subjects usually make up the lyrical content of your music?
Hmmmm, see this is why I hate writing lyrics, I always take so long trying to get it right and then it’s all over the place. It’s cathartic for me, it’s how I process stuff. If it troubles me I’ll at least write a poem about it. It’s been relationships, it’s been seeing the environments around me change, but it’s almost always hidden in a couple layers of metaphor (Why Won’t You Leave is probably my bluntest song, and by design). It’s not just love and loss, I promise, but there’s only one way to find out I guess…
And finally, what’s next for you and this solo project moving forward? We can’t wait to see what’s next!
So, there’s the album coming soon. Then more music. Then if the people want it, a tour. Six seasons and a movie. Supply-demand. I’ll always make music and put it out though, so I’m excited to see what’s next too!
Written by Tom Godwin and photographed by Adam Goss.