INTERVIEW: Bat For Lashes releases new album 'Lost Girls'
The new album from Bat For Lashes (born Natasha Khan) Lost Girls is out now and it is a glorious romp through the 1980s across ten tracks. Inspired by Khan’s new hometown of Los Angeles, her favourite 1980s movies (The Lost Boys, Repo Man, Wild at Heart) plus some of the decade’s best soundtrack songs (think Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough’) it is a incredibly faithful reproduction of the synth heavy music of the 80s while still remaining completely contemporary. It is an absolute highlight of 2019 and we recently spoke to Natasha to find out more about the creation of the album.
Interview: Jett Tattersall
Congratulations on Lost Girls, I think it’s my favourite album to date. How are things in your world these days?
They’re pretty good to be honest. I think coming off my major label deal was like a really liberating end of a very particular cycle in my life. Then moving to LA, I got my rescue dog and I fell in love and I was going out in the sunshine it’s a very liberating sort of feeling. So things feel good!
You recorded the album in LA, which absolutely sets the scene for these dark, heavy yet neon strip lit tunes that flow effortlessly through the whole album. Was that sort of immersive recording the intention from the beginning? Talk me through your inspiration for this one.
I think the experience of living in LA, driving around at night and going to the desert and doing paintings and you know being by the ocean and just being outdoors a lot in downtown LA where there’s lots of Mexican families and music and sort of barbeques and hot nights. All those things were just constantly seeping into this very long process of layering up and building up the record. It’s a very immersive place to live and the album kind of got saturated with that multi-dimensional colourful sort of filmic feeling that you get living there.
I love the first single ‘Kids In The Dark’, everyone loves a slow dance and it’s got this spiked punch disco ball rotation feel, likewise with ‘Mountains’ with this hopeful building in your chest like a desert fire. They’re all heavenly nostalgic, However, I can’t quite get past ‘Jasmine’ with its gorgeous melody coupled with these lyrics like ‘a body bag on eucalyptus hills’. Can you give me an insight into that song?
It’s sort of a homage to LA. When you drive around at night, it has a very dark underbelly and I’m sure there’s, you know, all the serial killers, all the cults, all the weird mystical freaks that come out at night. ‘Jasmine’ is this made up idea of what it would be like to be a serial killer. It was inspired by going out at night, there’s a lot of jasmine blooming, especially in the spring, which to me is very feminine and alluring like the scene of something really sexual.
As far as your creative process, what do you do for inspiration when you want to get stuck into the song writing?
I re-watch a lot of 80s genre films that I really love to get me in the mood. And I listen to 80s sexy, kind of dry soundtrack-y, slow disco and electronica music. And some John Williams, like the E.T. film soundtrack. A lot of those things get me in the headspace to travel into places in my mind. They give me goose bumps and get me inspired.
We spoke about how nostalgically delicious this whole album is and ‘Kids In The Dark’ was the ultimate slow dance. But what is your all time favourite slow dance track?
It’s probably ‘Crazy For You’ by Madonna. I just love those sorts of songs. When I was younger, I used to cry listening to make out pop songs. When I was little ‘Crazy For You’ was one of those songs that just made me swoon.
I just visualised you on the dancefloor at the school formal pulling at your sleeves just looking at the cutest guy in the world, while ‘Crazy For You’ plays, waiting for him to march over like a John Hughes moment.
That did actually happen to me when I was like 12 years old! We went to some really shit disco and the hottest boy in my area walked over to me and just snogged my face off out of nowhere and I almost fainted! It was like a John Hughes film. I probably didn’t cope with it as well as I should’ve done because I had to go and sit down, but yeah it was great. All my friends jaws sort of dropped to the ground.