Laura Imbruglia resurfaces with Scared of You

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Laura Imbruglia resurfaces with Scared of You

Well-loved musician Laura Imbruglia has released a unique new album that’s guaranteed to enrapture you. After a five-year hiatus, she is back with fresh tunes and important messages. We spoke with the alt-rock star about life since her last album and what’s new in her latest album, Scared of You.

Hey Laura. Let’s start off with a little bit about yourself. How’d you get started as a singer, and how long have you been producing music?
Well, I started playing music in high school. When I was around 14 I started learning guitar and I’ve been playing shows since I was 18.

Your new album Scared of You comes after a five-year break. What drove you to have a break and what sparked you to produce a new album?
The five years I was away, I was working on a web series called Amateur Hour. When I started making that web series, I just wasn’t feeling like playing music. I just wanted to step away from it for a little while. So I made a season of Amateur Hour – which I’ve never done before, so it took quite a long time and a lot of energy to learn that stuff on the fly. Then I produced a second season since there was a lot of interest in it. So after I made another season I thought okay I’m ready for music again. I was waiting to feel excited about it.

How do you think you have changed in the past five years?
I think everyone changes as a person, but the music is pretty different on this album compared to the last one. I’ve had a different line-up in my band for every album I’ve put out. But the last album I had a pedal steel player, and it is quite country, whereas this album is more hard rock and punk.

Your style is known to many as mainly indie-rock, but from listening to your music there are many other styles present. How would you describe your music?
My style is pretty versatile. It changes from song to song – even on this album. So it’s difficult to pick one style. But I guess it’s lyric-based, melodic rock. There’s always rock. But for me, the constant is the lyrics. That’s the focus.

Many of your songs like ‘Give Boys Pink Toys’ touch on social issues like gender roles. Others are more about self-reflection. What goes through your mind when creating music? What do you hope to achieve through your songs?
Well, most of my writing is kind of about personal relationships with people. Or kind of soul-searching, introspective stuff. But there are some songs on the album like Give Boys Pink Toys and Shame that are kind of political and that’s the first time I’ve done that. So that’s new for me as well. I’m not really great at talking about it beyond what’s in the song. But yeah, I was a bit late as far as being aware of how power imbalance between genders and things like that. Some of the songs are just expressing frustration. But I would hope that it provokes some thought in people, at least. I spent a long time agonising over the lyrics of Give boys pink toys – rewriting and modifying how I should say what I was trying to say, right up until the point I recorded it, which is pretty rare for me. Usually, I lock down the lyrics and don’t play with it too much. But the original lyrics were a little bit jokey and I had a heated discussion with my producer about it because he wanted me to keep the jokey version. But I thought, what I’m singing about has got to do with male privilege and how toxic and violent it is. It’s not really a laughing matter. I often inject humour into my lyrics, but that wasn’t a song that I wanted to do that with.

Have you always wanted to be a singer? What would you be doing now otherwise?
Well, music is more of a hobby for me so I’m still doing all the other things I would’ve been doing if I hadn’t pursued it. But whatever job I’m doing has a creative element to it, even if it’s not music. The older you get the more you realise that unless you’re playing massive theatres which is like not many musicians, then your goal is just to keep yourself happy. I’ve kind of given up on living off music. I just want to have fun with it and hope people come to the shows and enjoy the music.

You’re going on a nation-wide tour next month, stopping in places like Collingwood, Ballarat, Adelaide and Sydney. What should fans expect to see and these gigs?
I’m actually doing some more regional Victoria shows as well. I’m playing Major Tom’s in Kyneton and The Bridge in Castlemaine. You can expect to see a really fun time. We’ve booked great support. For Kyneton and Castlemaine we’ve got Loose Tooth who I’m really looking forward to playing with. I love their album. And we’re bringing Porpoise Spit from Melbourne with us to Ballarat. And I’ve booked a yacht rock (classic 70s pop) tribute band for the Collingwood show. We’re just really excited. The hometown shows always feel like a birthday party because all your friends come an everyone’s excited for you.

When & Where:
Major Tom’s, Kyneton – May 3
Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine – May 4
Gasometer, Collingwood – May 9
The Eastern, Ballarat – May 16

Written by Naseem Radmehr
Photo by Kira Puru