Doing that Dark Dance: A Conversation With Little Scream
While driving up the west coast on her latest tour, Little Scream’s Laurel Sprengelmeyer took some time to talk to The Minimal Beat. En route from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the Grapevine had other plans for our call. Fortunately, I was able to ask a number of great questions before reception was lost and I was definitely able to tell that Laurel is just as awesome as her music.
TMB: How’s the tour going?
LS: LA was great, but we were crazy jet lagged as we came in the night before from Portugal. People were good, we had a really great night despite being insanely jet lagged and I kinda felt like I was in a dream. It’s kinda awesome.
TMB: How was Europe?
LS: It was awesome, we did so many different types of shows in Europe, it was a really cool adventure. We started off playing at this cool placed called the Michelberger Hotel in Germany. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, I would say. It’s so homey and the people that run it are lovely. So we did a show there in their courtyard and that was a really awesome way of starting it (the tour) out. And then we did a couple of club shows and then opened for Arcade Fire in Barcelona and played Portugal and another big festival. The weirdest thing that happened on that tour was I got invited to sing the US National Anthem and play a song at the US Embassy in London for their 4th of July party for 5,000 people which was crazy. It was a really weird, crazy tour going from a club one night to an embassy the next. I have to say all the people in my band right now are such amazing troopers for the schedule we’ve endured.
TMB: This whole tour is in support of your new album, Cult Following which was just released in May 2016. How have your fans received the album and what do you think of the album?
LS: I worked really hard on the record. I feel like in this day in age when people are moving further and further away from albums as a medium, I just feel like if I’m going to make an album I want to make it a journey and an experience and a great deliberate piece of art in a very sincere way because I respect people’s time and if I want them to listen to something, I want it to be worthy of that time. It’s a crazy layered piece of a record. It feels really good to have it out there as I worked really hard on it.
TMB: What is it like to have something you’ve worked years for and to see it out there and be done?
LS: There’s a great sense of relief because I think it’s hard to stop working on something, especially when you start getting involved in the process. It’s kind of like that thing, sometimes you don’t need more time, you need a deadline. I was literally working on stuff until the last day we were mastering. It’s a mode you can get into sometimes that’s not necessarily good but you just don’t know when or how to stop. So I felt this great feeling of relief once this record was mastered and once it finally came together as a solid piece. And then once it’s in the world, you feel liberated from it. Tonight I’ll be playing some new songs, a bunch of new stuff I’ve been working on so it’s kind of like on to the new thing I guess in a way as we’re creatively liberated from that process.
TMB: I read that you learned how to use the recording software on your own. That’s always really interesting. How was that compared to your last album where you may not have worked on as much of the software on it?
LS: I think it’s really liberating to have that control and I suggest that to anyone who’s working on something like this to learn as much as you can about this side of things. I made more work for myself in that I didn’t have anything holding me back from trying lots of things and getting really expansive with it. That’s also why I’m excited to start working on the next album because I have all this experience.
TMB: What kind of software did you use?
LS: I have a Macbook and I used three different programs which was a little bit of a hell-ride. (Laughs). I started out doing a lot of things in Ableton and then once I started bringing in other engineers we were working in ProTools and then we did a lot of initial recording on a system called Radar which is its own high quality digital recording system but it kind of functions like old school analog in that there’s not a computer screen that you’re looking at at all. You just use your ears and listen and it functions in an old school way. I spent more time than I want to even think about transferring files and doing file formats. It was really insane.
TMB: I feel like it really worked though. The album is a really beautiful thing to listen to.
LS: Awesome. I’m glad to hear that. I mean, that’s what I was hoping for and why I took it really seriously. I just want to say to myself ‘what’s the best I can do right now, you know? How can I make this thing sound how I’m imagining it.’
TMB: Your new album is called Cult Following. I read you’re a fan of David Lynch. What’s your favorite work of his?
LS: Oh God! I mean i really love them all! Twin Peaks, clearly, is very informative and influential. We were actually just talking about Mulholland Drive as we were just passing that and I think that’s definitely one of my favorite films of his. Particularly that it implies the consciousness that you have after you die and your brain is functioning. His work is awesome and I always like to say that I think it’s more true to life in terms of how we experience consciousness than a lot of other films. He creates such a compelling world and you just want to live in it and you kind of can live it in your day to day life. He explores worlds and includes all the dark edges that are around us whether we see them or not.
TMB: Are you excited for the Twin Peaks reboot?
LS: Oh God yes! I’m committed to loving it no matter what. I actually watched Twin Peaks for the first time on my first West Coast tour in 2011.
(About her newest video “Dark Dance” which was just released the day I conducted this interview July 12, 2016):
We finished it right before I left (for Europe) and is directed by Lee Skinner. He’s done some really interesting work that I really liked. A lot of it had this DIY quality that I thought was interesting and I kinda thought he might take that tack for this video but he wanted to get more clean and cinematic with this video.
*The Grapevine dropped the call at this point*
For more information on Little Scream and their tour, go HERE.
Check out the video for dark dance below.