With the recent ‘Goober’ EP finally unleashed alongside a brand new stage persona, Lauran Hibberd is taking everything in her stride.
Words: Finlay Holden.Photos: Jamie MacMillan.
The Isle of Wight’s favourite slacker-popster Lauran Hibberd recently spoke to us through Zoom to give the low-down on her new six-track release ‘Goober’, but now the virtual barrier has finally been smashed into smithereens… what has she been up to? “Gigs, lots of gigs! They’ve been really fun,” she gushes. “We’ve played loads of festivals and obviously we’re now here at Reading which is just the best, I’m having such a good time.”
Having played not one, not two, but in fact three festivals in one weekend after a string of other shows, the Dork favourite is certainly feeling the exhaustion. “It is like a fitness test, I haven’t moved this much and eaten this much pizza in a long time,” Lauran says.
18 months on the sofa has instilled Lauran with a new sense of urgency, and her performances are all the better for it. Describing her post-lockdown transition in one word, she answers: Mental. I feel like I’ve left lockdown a different person. I think if I was to see myself on stage right now pre-lockdown, I’d be like: what happened to her? I’ve gone mental, I’ve fully lost it. I skip out on stage, I dance now? I tell people to jump… who am I? I don’t recognise myself honestly.”
The character development is strong here as Lauran desperately riles up every last drop of energy she can muster for each and every stage-dominating show, a vibe she’s struggled to adopt in the past. “I would totally have been too embarrassed before but now I’ve sat inside for a year and a half and I’m not embarrassed anymore,” she explains. “We have to embrace anything we can get.”
Another noticeable improvement to the already great act is the addition of Jess Baker, the bands new bassist who also provides some subtle but elegant harmonies in the shadow of Lauran’s raging vocal lead. “I really wanted another girl in the band, just selfishly; I wanted a friend to hang out with. Someone not to smell in the van,” Hibberd jests. “Jess is a great bass player and also a great singer, so she was just a great fit for us.”
One of many new pals acquired as of late, Lauran is an expert at finding companionship in the most regular of places. Having bonded with Linda, the “cute post office lady”, in lockdown, the circle of friendship is only expanded further now that national travel is a possibility. “I know the guy at the petrol station that I fill the band van up at because I always go to that specific petrol station, it’s the only one I feel comfortable driving that big van into. He’s always like, ‘where you off on tour today, Lauran?’ I love these little friends that you pick up throughout just mundane activities.”
Making friends at Reading festival could be an interesting opportunity, with the southern fields infected by a swarm of battle-ready sixteen-year-olds finally attending their first music festival. As it turns out, though, Lauran is an expert at dealing with the new generation of trendsetters. “I have a sixteen-year-old cousin and on his 16th birthday he invited everyone round and he made everybody wear armbands,” she reveals. “I got involved but I was like… why? He said ‘it’s just something we do now’ – is it? Armbands? Is that a new a trend? It’ll probably be on TikTok soon. It makes me feel old at 23, which is a bad sign.”
With lots of wet towels and sweat selfies spread around post-show, the outlandish singer-songwriter clearly hasn’t spent too much time hiding away in the van this weekend, and in fact is impressed it has survived her abuse thus far. “It’s an old highway van so it’s kind of a funny one but we’ve decorated it up, there’s stickers everywhere, it kind of smells but it works so that’s always cool.” Lauran also tells us that – as a keen snacker – food is a songwriting and touring essential, especially after a big boogie through new thrashers like ‘Boy Bye’. “My favourite snack has got to be just a spoonful of peanut butter. I literally love anything like – Nutella, any kind of spread, just anything in a jar really.” Some exclusive content for you here, readers.
Speaking of thrashers, the band actually debuted a brand spanking new track on the BBC Introducing Stage, a song called ‘Charlie’s Car’. Although she’s unable to share much detail (hush hush, now), it is rumoured to be a fresh snippet of the upcoming debut album which is being gradually carved out. “We’re at the point of choosing tracks and chatting about what I’m going to do about the album. It’s all very exciting!” she exclaims.
Having recently featured The Regrettes’ Lydia Night on big-swing-and-big-hit ‘How Am I Still Alive?’, Lauran is keen to continue spreading the musical love. “I definitely want to get some people on my album, yes. I’ve got some sights set but I cannot reveal them,” she teases. “I think collaborating is such a big part of being a musician now and you may as well share the wealth. People often feel that they’re in competition if they’re in similar genres, maybe just as girls playing guitar, and I think it’d just be so much easier if people just got on the same team.”
Opting to grow with rather than against her peers, a keen eye for collaboration is enhancing the Hibberd discography and looks to continue to do so. With a frustratingly exciting tone, she spills some further gossip regarding upcoming features: “I’m trying to work on one right now which would basically change my life, so we’ll see if that ends up happening.”
While we all wait for the details on a highly anticipated first full-length record from the experienced rocker, there’s plenty to look forward to in the meantime; namely, a national headline tour and a support tour with The Vamps. As Lauran concludes herself – “buzzing.”
Taken from the October 2021 edition of Dork, out now.