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An Interview With... Lauran Hibberd

Lauran Hibberd posing in front of gig posters in Rough Trade Bristol's cafe

Following the release of her sophomore album, Girlfriend Material, we caught up with the hilarious Lauran Hibberd ahead of her instore show at Rough Trade Bristol. 

Hi Lauran, thank you so much for joining me for a chat! How are you?

I’m doing really well, thank you! How are you?

I’m good, thank you! We’re currently in Bristol ahead of your live and signing event this evening! How are you feeling about that? 

I’m feeling really excited! This is the last one of the week. We haven't had a day off yet which has been fun. But no, it’s been great! I love Bristol - it’s always such a good vibe - so I’m excited to end on this one because I think it’s gonna be really really fun!

So you released your sophomore album, Girlfriend Material, last week! What’s the reception to that been like so far? 

It’s been so nice! I think there’s always been this like nerve wracking anticipation around releasing anything, especially a body of work. And you’re always like ‘Oh, I hope people still like it’, especially when you’ve released an album before. But it’s been really, really great. I’ve had some amazing messages and it’s been so good to see and meet everyone this week; hear about their favourite songs and watch them singing along already!

And how do you feel now that it’s out?

I actually feel relieved. I’m like ‘Oh my God, it’s out! I did it! People like it!’ I’m happy because it was such a big build up. Sometimes that can feel anticlimactic, but this one’s felt really nice. I’ve been riding a very happy ride this week!

Can you tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process of Girlfriend Material please?

I wasn’t really supposed to write an album this fast. I don’t really know how it happened! I think after Garageband Superstar came out, so much happened in my life. And I found myself with all these songs around me and I was writing about it all kind of like a coping mechanism. So it was really good, but I accidentally said to my manager, ‘Oh, I’ve got an album…sorry!’ and they were like, ‘No, let’s hear it!’ and everyone loved it. So then it was like ok, cool, let’s go, like why wait when you have all the songs. You feel brand new!

"I hope you like it, but if you don't, I don't care"

And how did the process of making this album differ from your debut? Did you learn anything whilst making the first album that maybe influenced the way you went about making your follow-up? 

Definitely! I think I over-thought my first album so much because it was my debut. You have your whole life to make your debut record and you’ll go, ‘It’s gotta be like this and this.’ And I definitely, definitely put too much thought into a lot of things which maybe took away the fun element for me. I think my whole thing is I’m making music and I’m doing this because I want to and it’s fun, and I kind of forgot that for a second making the first record. So for this one, it was really nice to be like ‘Oh my God, I’ve written all of these songs because I wanted to.’ I knew what I wanted it to look and sound like and it made it really easy. So this one was definitely way more fun and I had a great time throughout the whole process. That’s definitely shown in the songs as well. 

Personally, how would you say Girlfriend Material differs from Garageband Superstar?

Someone described it recently as Girlfriend Material is Garageband Superstar’s older sister and I love that so much. To me, it feels like Garageband Superstar is very new and fun, a little bit shy, a little bit ‘Oh, can I be this?’, whilst Girlfriend Material comes in and goes, ‘Yes! You are that. Own it and do that thing.’ So for me, it feels like I’m a lot more confident this time around, and I think that shows I’m very much like this is where I am right now. I hope you like it, but if you don’t, I don’t care. And that’s a really nice stand point for it to have. It definitely sounds a lot more mature and obviously that's a natural progression.

So why the title Girlfriend Material? How would you say it ties together the themes of the album and why did you choose that as the overarching title for this project? 

I love the song title! As soon as I wrote the song, Girlfriend Material, I thought, ‘I love that, that’s so funny!’ And I think I just felt it. Like in terms of character, I thought there’s just so much you can do around being ‘girlfriend material’. And I love the idea of someone sitting across from me and saying, ‘I don’t think you’re girlfriend material’ and I really assessed what they meant. The cover of the album is that whole play on a domestic wife being like ‘I’ll hang out your washing’, who doesn’t wear make-up or have earrings and ‘I’ll be the perfect wife’. And that’s just not me at all. I kind of loved to play into that and make this whole album feel like this crazy, weird, white picket fence thing. It was really, really fun. It just made so much sense to me and it really felt like it resonated with everything I wanted to make at the time.

Sonically, the album is maybe your most nostalgic, slacker-pop work yet - what other musicians/music would you say were the main influences behind the sound of your record?

I mean my favourite band of all time is still Weezer, so I think that’s always just underlying in everything I love. I’m a huge Avril Lavigne fan, I love Taylor Swift. I’m a pop girly with the rest of us. So I think those things are all underlying in there and you can hear the influence of that in Antifragile and songs like that. But I think I love rock music and that’s hard for me to shake. So there will always be elements of that, especially in like Better Than I Was Before and songs like that. It’s very hard for me to shake out because it just feels ingrained into me. So yeah, to me it feels like a very rock pop album because I can’t shake those two.

And in general, what were the main influences behind the album? 

We were looking at artists like Liz Fair, we were looking at Weezer, we were looking at what Taylor Swift does and really taking inspiration from loads of different places. My producer, Aaron Gillespie, is in the band Underoath and they’re a heavy metal band. So we were really looking at loads of different things. We were listening to loads of different drum sounds, listening to a lot of Paramore, and just going in on everything that made me feel nostalgic and made me feel like I was 18 again - and that was the vibe for sure!

How did you decide what songs would feature? Was it an easy process or are there some that didn’t make the cut?

There are so many songs that didn’t make the cut! I had a big day with my producer and I remember we sat there and made a list and there were 20 yeses, and I was like ‘I can’t release a 20 track album, let’s start trimming the fat.’ And we kept going and going just by process of elimination. But it was really fun!

Do you think those songs will ever be released?

Maybe you know! I listened to them recently, and I was like, ‘These are good!”

Were all the songs written specifically for this project, or are there songs that you’ve had for a while that are included on the album?

All of these songs were very fresh, very new. I think I even started writing Not The Girl You Hoped, which is the last track on the album, whilst recording the album. So that was a very late addition and we had to swap another song out. It was really fun to be like “let’s put that there because it feels right for now”, and that was kind of my thought process. I was thinking about what felt right to present me because that’s all I can really do. I just go on whatever I feel in the moment and regret it later!

I was listening to some of your earlier songs yesterday in a moment of nostalgia - I first started listening to you in secondary school! How would you say your music and style has evolved since, say, Everything Is Dogs?

That’s crazy. Yeah, I still love that EP. I love it so much. I think I very much started out as a singer songwriter with just an acoustic, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just writing songs. I didn’t know whether they were rock songs, pop songs, folk songs, whatever. So all I know is that I just like to write funny songs and that’s always been my thing! Writing songs called Sugar Daddy and Hoochie and having all these weird little songs and not taking myself too seriously. And I think that’s something I’m starting to do more as I get older and that’s a weird shift for me because I’ve always been that girl that writes stupid stuff. But as you get older, you obviously experience more and more stuff and it’s harder to just let that go. I think when I listened to that EP, it still feels so much like me. I was more indie back then, and it was fun! But again, I think it’s natural progression, yet I feel like I could still play those songs now and it would still make sense. 

You’ve recently moved from the Isle of Wight to London - what influenced you to make that move and how are you finding it? 

I love living in London so far! It’s so expensive, though, they weren’t lying about that! I think for me, I just wanted to do something different. I feel like I never went to uni or anything, but I’ve travelled a lot, and obviously doing this I’ve toured the world, so to be going back to the Isle of Wight felt a little bit wrong. I think I just needed to have a fresh start. I wanted to meet new friends and have a new life. And that was a really fun jump for me - I was like “Oh my God! Look at me go!”

So, you’re from the Isle of Wight - what is the music scene there like and how would you say it has influenced you as an artist, as well as your music?

It’s great. I mean it’s popping off right now! The Isle of Wight has become a new hotspot for it and it’s so good to see! I mean, it’s always been like that - not so much to this scale - I mean, you have bands like Wet Leg who have obviously changed the game for everyone, but I mean like even before that, there were bands that I was watching at the Isle of Wight festival, there were bands that were playing local venues. And I think because there’s not that much to do there, it influences creativity and a lot of people are like,”Let’s start a band, otherwise we;re literally gonna be sitting around in your dad’s house for three weeks. Let’s do something!”

One of the stand-out elements of your music is the almost self-deprecating lyricism, which I’ve always found makes you feel like a really authentic musician. When writing songs, do you ever just write things that make you laugh and end up keeping them in? What does your writing process look like? 

Absolutely! I very much just write whatever falls out of my mouth! I’ll be playing a riff or something and normally, something stupid will fall out. And I’ll be like, “I love that, that’s so funny!’ because it is! Like, I’m very much like that as a person, like I hate myself, so it’s really great to be like “Cool guys, this is me!” and so many people are like that, we just hide it, and we do these funny things online about how great life is. And I just love to be like, “Nah, I don’t feel like that, I feel like this.” So yeah, it’s very funny sometimes when you accidentally say a line and it stays in.

Do you have a favourite lyric on the album? And why?

It’s a lyric from the last track of the album, Not The Girl You Hoped. Famously, I always talk about my irritable bowel syndrome - it’s become a little bit part of my brand! It’s always just been a bit of a joke, and when I started writing that song, I had this line: ‘I always have my best ideas in the bathroom/I spend a lot of time in there/You might want to pull up a chair’ and I loved it so much. And my producer was like, “You’re gonna keep that in there!” and I was like, “Yeah, I am. I need, need someone who’s gonna come in and pull up a chair in the bathroom.” That’s my person. So yeah, that’s my favourite. It’s very honest, very weird!

"I just go on whatever I feel in the moment and regret it later!"

Would you say that your lyrics come from your own personal experiences or do they stem more from fictional characters/things you’ve observed or stories that people around you have told you?

Oh 100%. This album mostly. This album has been the one that’s really about my life. Whereas, before when I was writing songs like Sugar Daddy, of course I meant it! I’d love a sugar daddy - sounds great! But it was very much a smaller matter. And I think now I’m kind of coming into my own and I’m writing songs like I Suck At Grieving and Better Than I Was Before. And you can’t really stimulate that, that’s not a small topic. So I think this album for me is unfortunately my life on tape. 

With your lyrics as well, you often deal with quite difficult subject matter within your music, but you seem to have this way with words in your songs that’s still really quite fun and funny, and that struck me as being at the forefront of this album. How has it felt to write this album, and how have you used the process of making it as a way of self-expression?

I feel like it’s helped me realise a lot of how I feel because sometimes I don’t really know what I feel. And I’ll sit down and write something and I’ll read it back and be like, “Wow! That’s quite profound, do I think that? That’s mental!” It’s like a really weird way of me dissecting my thoughts without having to go to therapy and actually tell someone. I think I learn a lot about myself when I’m writing songs, which is interesting. 

And was it always a conscious/important decision for you to pair these more difficult subjects with fun, happy sonics and vibrant colours? Can you tell me a bit about that and how the two fit together on the album?

It’s very conscious! I think that’s just how I am as a person, I just deal with life with laughter. If something awful happens to me, I’ll be joking about it in two days, and that’s probably not healthy, but it’s unfortunately the way I cope with things, and that runs in my family. That’s how we cope and how I am, so it’s hard for me to not put that in lyrics and songs.

I read an interview with you ages ago, where you said that you write 2 songs a week - is this a habit that you’ve still kept up and have any of these tracks made it to the album track listing? I mean, you must have built up quite the back catalogue!

That is not the case anymore! I don’t have time for that! When I was first starting out, though, I remember my guitar teacher at the time was like “Songs are like anything, if you write so many songs, you’ll get a great one! If you write 25 songs, one of them will be great.” And I got that in my head to the point I decided I was going to write two songs a week, I’m gonna have loads of great songs, I’m gonna be famous! I did that for ages and it was great practice! Not so much now, I’m a bit fussier now, but it was a great exercise for sure. If I carried on, I would be releasing 100 track albums at this point!

You spent a lot of 2023 on the road touring, a lot of time in America, and in particular, on tour with All Time Low, who you’ve cited as big influences. Firstly, how was that experience?

They say never meet your heroes, but I think that’s a lie. I had so much fun. It’s weird to grow up listening to a band and then finding yourself on tour with them and even being friends with them - that was crazy. I basically got to watch my favourite show every night for like 12 weeks. It was absolutely crazy and the most fun I’ve ever had, to be honest! It really reinstalled my faith in everything. 

Do you think that influenced the album in anyway, or even more broadly your music overall and your approach to making music?

Definitely! I felt so nostalgic on that tour because I was my 12 year old self screaming Dear Maria Count Me In every night. And I was playing to their fans and then their fans were becoming my fans and it was just this whole weird cycle. I was just so happy and I think that does show in some of the songs and some of the production on the album for sure.

This feels like a really broad and general question as well, but I’m rolling with it - what have you learned over the past few years and whilst putting this album together?

I think I’ve learned you can’t control anything in life. But the things you can control, make sure you have both hands on your own wheel and you’re driving it because I think it’s very hard. Life is just so weird and things come out of nowhere and I just learned to put my everything into the things that really make me happy and feel like me. I think as an artist, there’s always that thing about comparison. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other people, but I think as long as there’s a small percentage of people that really care about what I make, then I’ll be really happy. I’m living my dream job and I have to remember that.

So back to touring - you’re on the road now for these album instore events, then we’re into festival season. Can we expect to see you touring the new album in larger scale events/your own shows soon?

Yes you can! I’m announcing a tour very soon which I’m really excited about! Normally when an artist releases an album, they have a tour on sale and this and that, which sometimes I feel a bit overwhelming because people don’t know what to do first. So I thought let’s just narrow it down and give people one thing at a time because it’s hard enough out there. Yeah, a tour is coming very soon!

I’ve seen you live before, and you have this incredible stage presence - where did you get the inspiration for how you perform? Were there any specific artists or anything who you looked up to performance wise?

For sure. I think doing support tours from early on in my career really helped me. I remember going on tour with The Regrettes and I remember watching Lydia Night, and every night I was studying her. I was like, “She’s got these people eating out of the palm of her hand, how is she doing that?” and I remember every time I’d go on, I’d pick something up from another front person. And I’ve done that consistently throughout. Like it was the same with All Time Low - I’d watch Alex. Then you’d just find yourself doing it - it’s really amazing what you pick out and you don’t even realise you’re doing it. 

I wanted to talk a little bit about the aesthetics behind the record - the album cover itself and the covers for the singles are all very vibrant, almost surreal images, which also just look so fun and nostalgic! Where do you draw inspiration for the visual elements of your music from and how do you think those visuals tie in with the musical elements of the record? 

I wanted this album to have its own world. And I was loving the use of collage and I met this girl who lives in America, her name is Savannah Ogburn. She does these amazing cut and paste collages where she grabs me and puts me in these weird environments that I’m not actually in. And that’s how it feels writing songs and how it felt to make this record. The album covers is one of my favourite things I’ve ever seen and she did a great job with all the artwork and it was just so much fun. I felt like I was looking through a prom book, like my own Burn Book!

Your style as an artist also really stands out - who or what inspires your style, and why do you think imagery as an artist is so important in music? 

I think it’s important to just have a personality and a brand. I don’t really think about it like that - I like wearing things that don’t make sense. I like to look like I should go out and sing The Tweenies theme tune and shock people straight off the bat! I think that’s fun. Like, yeah I make rock music, and some of it's serious, and some of it's this, but also, I am just 26 and I’m gonna wear stupid things whilst I can and because it’s fun. Dressing up is fun!

I have to bring up your music videos, because they’re always genius and so fun looking. One of your most recent videos is for 2nd Prettiest Girl You Know, and it looks like the ads I used to see on tv as a kid, and has such a fun, colourful element to it, features dream phone - it’s great. Where do you get the ideas for your videos for, and what was it like shooting that video specifically? 

That video shoot was carnage! It was so much fun, though. Throughout this album, I worked with a guy called Jack Lilley and he’s amazing and I always give him a crazy idea and he goes, “Right, that’s gonna cost 25 grand and we don’t have that!” so then we’ll work out how to do it on a budget and bring it back. But I’d just seen the Barbie Movie and I was obsessed and just wanted to make a knock-off video of that to showcase female friendships and how toxic it can be when a boy is first introduced because I feel like that’s something we’ve all been through. And it was just so fun to dress up like I was in Clueless and dance like a cheerleader - took me six weeks to learn that dance! I’m not skilled in that at all! And it was just so much fun! I don’t think there’s any point in making something if you’re not gonna have a laugh doing it.

You’ve also recently put out a video for Mary, and in comparison to the video for 2nd prettiest girl, it feels much more dramatic, and like a noughties coming-of-age movie. Again, what was it like shooting that video?

I shot that one in LA when I was on tour with All Time Low, and we had a day off and I met this girl and she wanted to do this video, and we had so much fun! I literally felt like I was in a movie, it was amazing. It was probably one of my favourite videos from the campaign because everything just felt so right. We had some male actors in it and they were just great at playing that kind of douchebag guy unaware of the situation. It was a bit of a pinch me moment as well because I was just in LA filming a video thinking how have I from the Isle of Wight ended up here? I love the imagery for this album so fun - it feels like we just walked back in time! 

I’ve already mentioned how conversational and vivid the storytelling within your music is, so would you ever consider writing music for a film? 

I’d love to, oh my God! If someone gave me like a film or TV series or there was a new Sex Education, I’d be right there. I’d be on it, I’d love to do that! 

If you could redo the soundtrack of an existing film and write your own songs for it, which would you pick?

I’d do 10 Things I Hate About You, any day of the week! I love that! I’d have so much fun doing that!

And finally, what’s next for Lauran Hibberd? 

We were talking about this this morning! I’m very excited about what’s next because I’m just going to branch out I think. I’m deciding who I’m gonna be next, which is fun! I’m about to get in a new wardrobe and come out as someone else. It’s very fun. 

Lauran Hibberd’s second album, Girlfriend Material, is out now! 

Where to find Lauran: 

Instagram: @lauranhibberd

TikTok: @lauranhibberd

Twitter: @lauranhibberd

FaceBook: Lauran Hibberd



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