Podcast by Laura Marling
Dolly And Emmylou
We have reached the final episode of Reversal Of The Muse Series One, so we’ve been saving an extra special podcast for last. Earlier this year, Laura travelled over to Nashville Tennessee to speak with two legendary musicians, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. While we’re sure they need no introduction, Dolly Parton’s incredible career has spanned nearly five decades, with songs that are ingrained in generations gone by and those still to come. She’s in the elite group of musicians to have received Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar nominations, and in 2011 she was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Emmylou Harris has built a similarly prosperous career; the twelve-time Grammy winner is marvelled at for her beautiful songwriting and sublime voice.
In this broad and enchanting conversation with two of the greatest feminine creators in music, Dolly and Emmylou reminisce on how they started making music together, which has lead to their latest album ‘The Complete Trio Collection’. The album is feminine creativity at its finest, as joined with Lisa Ronstadt, the blend of the three harmonies highlights the unique resonance of the female voice. Dolly’s work has been particularly influential to Laura, as she’s learnt guitar techniques from playing Dolly’s songs. Laura shares that she’s inspired by how Dolly has maintained femininity, whilst being an extremely talented guitar player and songwriter.
Shura (ft Marika Hackman)
For our ninth Reversal Of The Muse episode, Laura is joined by fantastic London-based singer-songwriter and producer Shura. After releasing singles ‘2Shy’, ‘Touch’ and ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’ to a glowing reception, July 2016 brought Shura’s debut album ‘Nothing’s Real’. For the second part of their conversation, Laura and Shura are joined by previous Reversal Of The Muse guest and friend, Marika Hackman.
Laura recorded this podcast just after ’Nothing’s Real’ was released, and Shura explains she made a conscious effort to construct her album cohesively, with the aspiration to create records in the way she consumes them: listening in their entirety from start to finish. However, Laura and Shura share the same difficulty when they’re in the midst of making records and travelling, as they find themselves detached from listening to other music which inspires them. As Marika joins the conversation, the trio discuss how Marika’s early presentation in the media emphasises a problem many female musicians encounter: journalists can focus on everything but the great music they produce.
Karen Elson and Jonathan Wilson
For our eighth instalment of Reversal of the Muse, Laura is joined by singer songwriter Karen Elson and musician/producer Jonathan Wilson. Karen started her career as a successful high-fashion model, and then went on to release her excellent debut album ‘The Ghost Who Walks’ in 2010. Karen’s forthcoming second album was produced by Jonathan, and Laura also features on backing vocals.
Jonathan starts by talking about his experience of working with women in the studio, and if there’s a difference in the male approach. After working with Jonathan, Karen and Laura share how they trust and admire his sensitivity to the creative process, and together wonder if women will become more integrated into the mechanical world of the studio - perhaps it’s already happening. Karen also recalls the struggles she’s faced, especially at the genesis of her music career, through feeling objectified by men in the industry as if she’s a commodity. She highlights the importance of having the right team of people around an artist, whether that be men or women.
In our seventh Reversal of the Muse podcast, Laura is joined by fellow musician and friend Marika Hackman. Marika’s beautiful debut album, ‘We Slept At Last’, was released in 2014. She has since joined sold out tours with alt-J, The 1975 and of course, Laura.
In this episode, Laura and Marika recall their early experiences of being on tour, and how they adapted to the dynamic of male-dominated tour buses. Like Laura, Marika would be intrigued to record in a studio run by women, as it’d be interesting to see whether an artist would feel less pressure to perform and be more inclined to share ideas. Laura and Marika also discuss the contradiction of many female artists today, by the way they’re sexualised by the media but also presented as strong and independent.
For our sixth Reversal of the Muse podcast, Laura is in Nashville talking to Pamela Cole, co-owner of ‘Fanny’s House Of Music’. Pamela and her co-founder Leigh Maples, wanted a guitar shop that was comfortable for everyone, having found that music stores tended to be focused on a male demographic. Therefore Fanny’s unique motto, is to serve those who are typically left out of that experience, and is one of the only guitar shops in the world aimed at female guitarists.
Laura is now a repeat customer of Pamela’s, and together they chat about how they’ve experienced misconceptions and pre-judgement in other guitar shops, as women are often assumed to be beginner guitarists or looking on behalf of a man. Laura and Pamela also think about the process of women learning from other women, and if there’s a difference in the way that women teach. Fanny’s welcomes and inspires both extroverts and introverts, as Pamela and Laura believe it’s important to encourage all female guitarists and nurture their musical talent and expression.
Our fifth episode of Reversal of the Muse is Laura’s conversation with Olga FitzRoy, who was recently crowned Recording Engineer of the Year 2016 at the MPG awards. Following her Music and Sound Recording degree, Olga trained as an engineer and mixer in the renowned AIR Studios in London, where she’s worked on chart-topping records for Coldplay, The Foo Fighters and Muse. She also assisted Sir George Martin on the last ever Beatles recording for the 2006 album, Love, as well as working with top film composers such as Hans Zimmer.
Laura and Olga are both well accustomed to the long working hours of the studio. Together they discuss whether women are able to meet the demands of working in a studio and still have children, or if the two are mutually exclusive which has consequently lead to the male dominated environment. Laura also notes that women scientifically hear differently to men, which sparks the question: Have we been creating records for the male ear, as most of our studio mixers are male? Olga and Laura consider if we’re missing a feminine part to everything behind music and the way it’s created.
After looking for interviews of Laura about Semper Femina, I was very pleasantly surprised to find this whole series exploring femininity in the arts! Very thoughtful and insightful conversations. Thank you
Very Good Listen
I am really enjoying this podcast. It touches upon some very important concepts and asks some interesting qustions about female creativity. It is interesting to hear from the guests and Laura is a delightful interviewer and it is nice to get to know her better in this medium.
Amazing! I want MORE!
Even if I wasn't already a big fan of Laura Marling's music I would still love this podcast. It touches on all the themes I'm interested in: music, feminism, women working in a man's industry, it hits all the notes.
My only critiques would be better mic placement because sometimes it's really difficult to understand what is being said. And make them longer! 40-45 solid minutes would be amazing.
Or include an unedited version similar to 'On Being' by Krista Tippet. She provides a produced version of the interview but also includes the 90 minute not produced, unedited version which is the one I typically listened to because there are always some great moments that didn't make the produced cut.
Regardless, it's so good to happy to have these conversations in the world!