LA-based Australian artist/producer Laura Jane Lowther is hands-down one of our absolute favourites. Her artist project as Kučka she’s also a producer, songwriter, singer, sound-designer, top-liner, performer and multi-media artist whose studio skills and writing talents are in high demand. And she’s a trainer in our Liveschool Online courses.
Her collaborations with Grammy-winner Flume, Grammy-nominated Producer Andrei Eremin, A$AP Rocky, Cosmos Midnight and many more have fast earned her a reputation as a go-to collaborator for some of the biggest names in music.
On the eve of her newest release, ‘Contemplation’ (a collaboration with the producer Vegyn), we caught up with Laura to share some insight about collaboration, producing in Ableton Live, and what’s happening next in music…
How are you using Ableton in the Studio?
For the past couple of years I’ve used a pretty minimal set up. I used to be really into analog gear but since I started touring I got used to using soft synths for everything. I even use the built in keyboard on my laptop for most of my midi.
Do you have one hot production trick that you use often that might not be super obvious?
A little bit of distortion on everything.
Is there a native Ableton device that you think is overlooked or that you use constantly?
I use frequency shifter on pretty much every synth track that I make. It’s super subtle but makes all the difference.
You have been part of some amazing collaborations over the last few years. What advice would you give to people looking to work collaboratively?
I would say being open minded is the most important thing. It’s really important to let someone spend a bit of time working on their idea before you jump in or dismiss it. Sometimes you have to work through an awkward period together in order to get to a finished product that is awesome.
How does your mindset change between collaboration and solo work?
With collaborations I’m more open to not liking certain aspects of a track, knowing that everyone’s personal taste is a little bit different, whereas with my own I try and get to a place where I like everything about it (sometimes this is impossible).
You have been based in LA for a while, what influence do you think this has had on your work?
I think being around a lot of insanely talented producers and writers has kept me constantly learning. I feel like my skills have improved a ridiculous amount over the past couple of years.
How do you see the role of music in times of uncertainty and social upheaval?
I love how people can use music for whatever purpose they need. If they want escapism, they can put on an ambient record and zone out, if they need to be uplifted they can put on an upbeat dance track, if they feel angry then maybe something heavy or with political lyrics. Having access to the whole of the internet definitely helps with this too, you can literally search any keyword and someone will have made a playlist for it.
Is there someone else’s work that changed the way you think about music?
I remember SOPHIE saying that she treats music like a sculpture. So first she will think about the material that the track will be made of and then sculpt accordingly. I think of this often when I’m creating sound design in a track.
What’s the best music advice you’ve been given? Or what would you go back and tell yourself as a beginner?
When I was first starting out, I was complaining that I didn’t have any gear and a friend who was a little bit older told me that I should be able to express myself with whatever I have around me and that the most important thing is to work out what I want to say. I always keep that in mind.
Your style is super distinctive, from your artwork to outfits on stage and in promo photos – there’s a very strong aesthetic & personality that ties everything together. Could you speak a little bit about what inspires you visually and the connection between the visual world (fashion, art, photography etc) and music?
I really love thinking about how a natural setting can compliment electronic music. I’m always trying to infuse my visuals with natural textures and I feel like this seeps into my music too.