On The Rise: Globelamp
Elizabeth Le Fey is the folky fairy angel of your dreams. She’s toured as a member of Foxygen, opened for one of her musical idols, Laura Jane Grace, is in the middle of getting a college degree, and now, while fronting Globelamp, Le Fey is ready to take the industry by storm. 2014’s Stardust has been receiving rave reviews and is available through Bandcamp. If you’re lucky enough, you can catch this lo-fi indie goddess in a city near you soon. We had the opportunity to chat with the rising songstress about her influences, touring and who her ideal duet would be with; take a look.
How old were you when you began playing the guitar and writing songs?
I was around 13/14 when I began playing guitar and about 18 when I began writing poems. I began playing piano when I was 4 and had been writing poems since I was 13, it just never really clicked in my brain that my poems could be used as songs.
Did you always want to be in the music industry?
Hm… it’s not something that I consciously thought about as a kid, “the music industry,” that is… I did want to be a singer though and was taught piano at a young age, around 4. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by rock music because my mom was an ’80s rocker, so loud/alternative music was just a part of the way I grew up. I was definitely encouraged by my mom to pursue music and art to the point where she viewed that as more important than going to college. As a teenager I went to a lot of shows and took photos of live bands. This developed into another passion of mine: photography. I always aimed to surround myself with as much music as possible, whether that was being a photo journalist or a musician. The music industry is a symptom of the cause, music.
For anyone who hasn’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound/genre?
I would tell them that I am pretty bad at describing my own sound… and would they decide for me? Something along introspection through music, dreamy imagery, emotional, powerful vocals, psychedelic witchy folk… freak folk… song writing, stories.
I hear a lot of Lana Del Ray in your sound; is she a big influence? Who else is a major influence to you?
When I recorded Stardust I hadn’t listened to Lana Del Ray yet. She is more of an inspiration now than when I was making the album. Her album Ultraviolence has a sarcastic dark twist that I appreciate. It’s hard for me to pick a major influence because I am inspired by everything… the way a tree moves with the breeze to the way someone says something. I am constantly soaking in influence and inspiration. I think that sometimes subconsciously my music influences comes out without me realizing it. Musically I have been influenced by singers who have a unique/powerful/commanding voice or an ability to weave a story through song. I also like pop and stuff that is catchy. I like to feel things listening to music. I want to be moved and touched. Major influences on me are The Beatles, Syd Barrett, Nico, Fiona Apple, Stevie Nicks, Elliott Smith, Joanna Newsom, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Jefferson Airplane, David Bowie, Donovan, Bright Eyes, Kurt Cobain, Neutral Milk Hotel, Joni Mitchell, Cat Power, Bob Dylan, Jenny Lewis, King Crimson, Belly, Nina Simone, Buddy Holly, The Zombies, Hole, Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, Fleetfoxes, Against Me!, Modest Mouse.
I saw you open for Laura Jane Grace on her Killing Me Loudly tour; how was that experience? Did you learn a lot from your time with her?
It was a great experience. Along with opening for Laura Jane Grace in LA and NY, I also got to open for Against Me! in Amsterdam, which was a dream come true of mine. Laura has had a lot of experience in the music industry and has been the leader of her band for over ten years, which requires a great amount of strength and longevity. She has an unreal amount of energy that is inspiring to be around. She helped me realize that I am not alone in some of the problems I have faced in the music world. She is pretty much the most punk person I have ever met.
Did you begin touring for the first time after Stardust was released in 2014? Did tour life take some getting used to, or did you feel comfortable right away?
I began touring for the first time with my old punk band Meowtain in 2012. Everyone told us we would lose money and come back broke on our mini tour down to California, so I had little expectations in financial ambitions for us on tour. We actually ended up profiting from our first tour, and it made me realize how fun tour can be and how it can surpass what you even imagine it to be. I’ve also been in other bands and toured and had completely different experiences. I have toured alone once too (this year), meaning with not even a friend traveling with me. It’s always exciting to play in front of new audiences, but unless the chemistry is right among band members/crew things can turn dramatic quickly. Playing in other bands has helped me gain experience and has taught me to be flexible with band mates. I feel that I would be a better bandleader now in Globelamp after touring as a member in Foxygen and Meowtain. I’m extremely grateful for the places I’ve been able to see and the people I have met through music. I can’t wait to continue doing it.
Do you plan on hitting the festival circuit next summer? What would be your ideal festival to play?
Yes I hope so. I would like to play Treefort fest, SXSW, any of them… especially Primavera festival in Barcelona. I would like there to be another music festival in Olympia, Washington like the “International Pop Underground Convention” that happened in the ’90s. It’s hard for me to stay on the ball booking-wise with getting on festival bills. I am a DIY artist who is also a full-time student in college. Only recently have I started having help with my music after four years of Globelamp behind me.
Are you in the process of recording a follow up for Stardust, or are you taking some time before releasing anything new?
I am releasing my second full-length album The Orange Glow on October 27 through Psychedelic ThriftStore Recordings. I have been working on it with Joel Jerome ever since Stardust was released. I am also releasing a limited edition 7-inch with two singles and have started writing the third album.
If you could do a duet with any artist, who would it be and why?
Conor Oberst, because he is one of my favorite songwriters from my generation. He inspired me to start writing songs. Also, Elliott Smith, because I think our voices would sound good together.
What is your dream venue to play and why?
The Burg Eltz castle in Germany, because it would be magical, and there is an insane amount of natural reverb inside the castle walls. You aren’t allowed to film or take photos inside, so I don’t know how I would have a show there but, it’s my dream venue, right? When I went on a guided tour there I saw that the children had little guitars and violins in their rooms. I imagined myself as a little girl running around with an acoustic guitar.