Track By Track: Lara Jones – Fig
London-based experimental saxophonist, composer and producer Lara Jones recently released “Fig” fusing synths, voices, sax and field recordings, she constructs intricate structures and queer narratives in her music.
London-based experimental saxophonist, composer and producer Lara Jones recently released “Fig”. Fusing saxophone, synths, voice, and field recordings, Lara constructs intricate structures and queer narratives in her music. “Fig” is an intimate exploration of Lara’s own queer identity and experiences and follows last year’s EP “Flow” With a focus on live performance and improvisation, Lara’s music emanates a progressive movement and vibrant energy. Powerful and intimate with queer energy weaving through each track.
We asked her to talk through the EP Track by Track
Setting to listen: Shower / dance floor /
This song was inspired by a conversation that I had in the shower with my wife, you can hear this conversation sampled in the beginning of the track. Essentially we were talking about my new music and what I wanted to say with it, I knew I wanted to be bolder with this EP and I knew I wanted to use my voice more audibly and I wanted to connect with my queer community. The opening track starts with a vocal that says ‘what else? Well, I think there’s not enough songs about queer love’. And that’s kinda the whole point of the song, it’s just leaving that line out there to linger and sets up for what’s to come for the rest of the EP.
Setting to listen: Bed / listen in the car / running or gym /
I come from a jazz background and with this tune I wanted to open it out into some kind of solo – initially I had recorded a saxophone solo on it but I didn’t like the way timbre of the sax sounded with the rest of the tune so I decided to put it on synth. I love to record solos first time and what you get is what you get. Sometimes I try and re-record just in case I think I can get something better but the first take is always the best, there’s something about the energy that I think you can loose if you record it over and over again.
The lyrics in this one are simple – I love a minimalist lyric (as you can probably guess from the EP) but with this tune I really wanted it to just be two words ‘touch’ ‘repeat’ and find different ways of using these words and placing them in moments of the track to mirror the music.
Season: every season
Setting to listen: shopping – listen on headphones walking somewhere / getting ready to go out / dance floor / radio / morning listening
This is hands down my favourite track on the EP. Again this came from a conversation I was having with my wife about the artwork for the EP. She’s a photographer and we love to work together on the artwork and images for my music. We went charity shop shopping to see if we could get some inspiration and we found the red dress (that can be seen in all the images for the EP) and we knew instantly that it was the one. It’s a very classic, bright cocktail dress with immediate romantic, sexual connotations. It’s the kind of dress the heroine of a 90’s romcom would wear on her first date. We knew we could play with it to challenge the ‘red dress effect’ and open up a conversation about gender, stereotypes and queer fashion. It’s considered bold for a cisgendered male artist to wear a dress, but can the same be said for gender non-conforming, trans masculine, non binary or tomboy artists? Our inspiration was mostly that time Shane was made to wear a dress in an episode of The L Word – if you know you know haha! Growing up I always felt uncomfortable wearing dresses, and still do, but it felt liberating to have reached a place with my body and identity that I could wear something so outside of my usual expression of my gendered self. It was interesting to see how putting the dress on changed my physicality, and to find how differently I was perceived when I walked about the city streets wearing it. Redcar (Christine and the Queens’) put it perfectly when he said “We don’t even deconstruct why the dress is specified as feminine!” We read this on the tube a few months later and both screamed ‘yes!’
Setting: Festival or dancefloor
So this track is definitely the most private and personal on the EP and comes with both an explicit and non-explicit version. It aims to capture the euphoria of queer intimacy by me and my wife. For me this one is about celebrating queer sex and representing ways it could sound through music. It’s getting better but when I was growing up, there was such little representation of queer sex in TV, movies, music and even sex education, it was something that just wasn’t spoken about. I wanted to make something that is proud to celebrate intimate moments of queer love, these moments that often aren’t discussed and probably should be if we wanna give the next generation a better chance! It’s really so fun to play this tune live, I always find myself smiling when playing it because I know it’s so cheeky. It’s sex positive and it celebrates the LGBTQIA community I love to be a part of. ,
Musically I of course am inspired by White Noise’s 1969 album An Electric Storm – and I guess ‘My Game Of Loving’ notorious for its bizarre use of orgasmic sexual sounds almost gave me a permission to use the samples I’d recorded.
Colour: Light pink then orange
Setting to listen: Festival / sometime when you’re feeling some big emotions
‘Absence’ was based on a time my Dad didn’t show up to my wedding. It’s not a sad tune though; there’s emotion in it but ultimately it’s gritty and powerful with some chaos. It’s a reminder that even in absence, we must focus on what we have in our presence in that moment. I remember after the wedding day people kept asking how I felt about the fact he didn’t come and I just kinda felt like why don’t instead we celebrate and put our energy into all the people that were there and that did come.
There was catharsis in writing this tune though, I allowed myself to process something potentially hurtful but ultimately wanted a tangible reminder that I love the people I’m surrounded by and I’m having fun making what I make and living the life I live. It didn’t always feel as easy and enjoyable as it does and now. I’m in this place, I’m not letting my vibe be knocked for nothing – so let’s dance!
Fig is out now. Check Bandcamp