If you’re living in the colourful world of indie rock, you’ll hopefully be familiar with Lauran Hibberd. The angel in Dr. Martens rocking the stage, and your world, with tongue-in-cheek tunes. The girl from the Isle of Wight with the twisted imagination. Fresh off the back of her ‘Everything is Dogs’ EP release and smack in the middle of a headline UK tour, we caught up with her to get the inside scoop on why Everything is Dogs.
You put a sneaky bonus track on the ‘Everything is Dogs’ vinyl, how come?
I think I wanted something a bit different on the vinyl just because I felt it would mean something to the people who had gone out of their way to buy the record. I’m a bit of a collector myself, and I know what I feel like when I discover something a little bit new, or you feel like you own something a little bit different. I didn’t think the track suited Spotify or streaming platforms, but I didn’t want it to go to waste either. So, putting it on the vinyl as a bonus track was a happy medium.
On tour, you’ve been playing a song called ‘Everything is Dogs’, but it’s nowhere to be found on the EP. What’s that all about?
I wanted to name the EP ‘Everything is Dogs’ because it’s a favourite saying of mine, I say it all the time. Everyone kept asking ‘What does that even mean?’ and I was like ‘I don’t know. Just everything is dogs, you know, everything sucks.’ I wanted to call the EP that because I felt like it summarised the happy-go-lucky, carefree kind of songs that are on there. But then afterwards, everyone made such a big deal of the title which I wasn’t expecting. Everyone was laughing at it and commenting on it, so I thought ‘I gotta rinse this now, I gotta definitely write a song about it’. I think I’ll probably leave it and put it on the album as a nod back to the EP, but it will be out. It will have its day.
It’s no secret that some of your songs like ‘Frankie’s Girlfriend’ are based on funny dreams you’ve had. Have you always had such a vivid imagination?
Growing up, I always had a mad imagination. I had imaginary friends until I was 14. My mum said they got quite weird at some point. I’ve always played very much in my mind; even as a kid, I loved playing by myself because I had no other people to play with. So, I’ve always been a little bit up in my own head, I think, which is good but yeah, I still have weird dreams all the time. I wake up and write stuff down thinking ‘that would be a great song’. Just having been in a car crash or something. They’re not all horrible some are quite fun, but I always write them down in case there’s something in there.
Does that imagination of yours help with merch designs? Are they all you?
I wish they were all mine. They do use some of my ideas, but I have a friend on the Isle of Wight called Hugo, who builds it. He’s a designer, he has his own Cartoon, and I always send him a really bad sketch of what I would like and then he makes it good. I’ll tell him ‘Oh I would like a dog sitting on a toilet’ and send him a really bad dog sitting on a poorly drawn toilet and he’ll make it better. So, the idea stems from me, but all the illustration credit goes to Hugo. But I do come up with the concepts for the videos. As soon as I write a song, I think about the video. The second it’s finished, and I can listen back to it, I can see it in my brain, what it would look like. So, I’m forever meeting with the guys who film it in a Weatherspoons explaining what I want to do, and they’ll always be like ‘Oh really? Do we have to do that?’ People tend to tell me they want to live in my head for a day but believe me: you really don’t.
Looking at the EP, ‘Shark Week’ stands out because it’s very different from the rest, was that a conscious decision to change things up?
Funnily enough, my background in songwriting is songs like ‘Shark Week’. When I started writing I was very much a folk artist, I loved a really sad song, so I suppose I’ve always written songs like that. It comes more naturally to me. Then I got a bit older and started playing with overdrive pedals, and eventually, I wanted to make indie rock, then I wanted to make slacker pop, and now, it’s this amalgamation of all of it. I love jumping around on stage and doing that. But there’s nothing, I don’t think, in a set that’s nicer than when a band that hits and hits and hits plays something really slow and really gets you in because the rest of the set isn’t like that at all. I wanted ‘Shark Week’ to be my ode to the sad song, and I love it. I’m really happy with it.
What influenced that change of mind wanting to get more into rocky tunes?
Definitely Weezer. As soon as I heard the Blue album, I was like ‘Cool. What is this? Is it grunge? Is it rock? Is it pop? Cause I wanna do it, whatever it is.’ And then I discovered artists like Courtney Barnett. Lyrically, she’s amazing. It’s funny, off-the-cuff, but she’s got all these jangly, bouncy guitars. You can dance to it and laugh at it. Those two, in particular, gave me a bit of a nod to where I wanted to be. But more recently, artists like Phoebe Bridgers, she’s the Queen of the sad song. She’s a big inspiration of mine as well as bands like the Smashing Pumpkins. And Avril Lavigne. Shoutout to her for my childhood dreams. I grew up on her, I think every teenage girl needs an Avril in her life.
You have a new song coming out, ‘Sweat Patch’. Can you tell us a little about the concept behind it?
It’s sort of about drugs but not about drugs. It’s a song about drugs, but it’s not me taking drugs because I’m very nervous about anything that’s not prescribed to me by my doctor. Just the way I’ve been raised. I’m from the Isle of White, there’s not a lot of scary stuff like that. The whole song is about me being introduced to it and all of my friends getting involved in it and me watching them take drugs. There was a guy I kinda liked who was very into that kind of stuff, and it scared me a bit, but I didn’t want to leave him alone. It was a weird little time in my life, but it just made me analyse the whole thing. It’s quite fascinating to watch as a bystander, I think.
How did you manage not to get peer pressured into that culture if all your friends were heavily involved?
I’ve always dug my heels in with stuff like that. Everyone always says it’s harmless and I’m not one to judge, I want everyone to go do what they want to do, but for me, I’ve always been so afraid of it and I just never had any sort of desire to try it out, and that still remains. I think it’s hard in this day and age because kids at 13/14 are going out doing whatever but when I was 14, I was sat at home trying to write a song. I think I was very much the stay inside kind of child playing with my own imagination, so I got to the ripe age of 22 and still can’t wrap my head around that sort of thing.
I was a bit reserved to release this song because I didn’t want people to think I was talking down at them, but it’s literally just me analysing, telling people what it’s like to be not high but watching other people take all sorts of stuff and being in that environment. A little drug awareness there for everyone.
You’ve had quite a busy year so far. Do you have a favourite moment of 2019?
It has to be Glastonbury, playing the BBC Introducing Stage. It was a dream come true. I think I just couldn’t believe I was there; I was so in awe because it’s a real bucket list thing. Actually, probably the day I was told I would be playing Glastonbury was the best day of my live. I just remember running around in my house so excited. I would love to play again.
What are your plans for 2020?
We have a headline tour planned in February, which should be really fun. We do have lots more stuff in the pipeline, but I’m not sure as to what level I can say out loud.
Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Dork. Lauran Hibberd plays The Social in London on Wednesday, 11th December.
Words: Laura Freyaldenhoven