Ladyhawke Faces Days Gone On “Time Flies”
A whiff of nostalgia hit Pip Brown, returning to Los Angeles, a place she had called home for many years. The New Zealand artist, better known as Ladyhawke, had returned to work on a new album, her first in nearly a decade, and homesickness of a place she once called her home the led directly to the title track of her fourth album. “Time Flies” planted the remaining 10 tracks, set around reflections of love and nostalgia, lows and lighter days.
Recalling times past and present day, Time Flies dances around the memories, struggles, and all the intermediaries in Brown’s life since the release of Wild Things in 2016. Brown gave birth to daughter Billie Jean with the actress , New Zealand actress and director Madeleine Sami, in 2017, while dealing with mental health issues and a fear of cancer.
Cascading ’80s pop and new wave orchestrations and respectful Brown lyrics, “My Love” is a retro-pop ode to rejection, lighting the necessary fire within. Adapt to the more old-school tome of Time passes, Ladyhawke even released a video game available to play on the now-discontinued Nintendo Gameboy system, leading players through each track.
Time passes encapsulates the times spent on the more toasted synth of “Time Flies” –I don’t know how time flies / Straight to the sky / Take us home / Where we belong—and lovelorn disco-dive from “Think About You” and the bass-heavy “Mixed emotions“, the latter track written with Jono Sloan and Nick Littlemore during a writing session in LA.” The song is about all the things you can feel with one person, sometimes in one day, “says Brown, “[the] ups and downs, confusion, ups and downs, and everything in between.
Brown adds, “I love that people can bring their own experiences to a song and relate it to them in some way. I try to do songs like that. I don’t like to be too specific when writing a story. I like to leave it a little vague so that people can do it as they wish. “
New Zealand sibling duo BROODS join electrified ‘Guilty Love’ anthem —ythis is my new religion and i will never give up on you-like Time passes slips through more serious notes on “Take It Easy Mama”, a song dedicated to Brown’s hard-working mother. “When I left on my second trip to the United States, she got sick and it really scared me,” says Brown. “I just remember saying, ‘you just have to relax. It got me thinking about myself as a mom, but it’s a song about our moms.
The moment Brown began to write Time passes, and began traveling back and forth to Los Angeles in mid-2019 to work with producer Tommy English, who also worked on his 2016 release. Wild things, she already had a new sense of freedom and gratitude for being alive and making music again.
“When I first started writing, I was so excited that I could even make music,” says Brown. “I’m grateful because I had gone through a few difficult years of postpartum depression after having my daughter, and was diagnosed with melanoma in 2008, so I was in this whole new state of mind of ‘I’m so glad to have “I’m here and I feel really good, so it started like this.
Following demos throughout 2019, Brown was scheduled to return to LA in April 2020 but remained in New Zealand once COVID struck and continued to work on the album on Zoom, writing four more tracks with Josh Fountain, London (Pascal Gabriel) and Jeremy Toy.
“It was kind of all in pieces, but I loved the way it came together,” Brown said. “It’s a real reflection on the current state of the world. Some people just can’t write on Zoom, and that was a bit of a challenge. I like being in a room with the person I’m writing with, but I also like to sit alone and craft.
In 2008, Ladyhawke, which spawned her first hit “My Delirium,” was a cleaner slate, Brown says. “I was not completely unknown,” she says. “I didn’t know anything. I hadn’t been burnt by the industry yet, and my mind hadn’t been crushed yet. This record almost felt like a little musical renaissance, going right back to my other side, the dance-y, synth and funkier stuff, leaning a bit with the retro sounds and grainy vibes that I love. I know grain is a visual thing, but imagine it in a sound.
For brown, Time passes is the clearest reflection of the music she loves the most. “I have very broad musical tastes,” she says. “I love everything, and I feel like everything about this record brings me back to where I was when I made my first record for different reasons.”
Now, 14 years ago LadyhawkeBrown is still working through her struggles, but music and motherhood are her empowerment.
“Your whole world is changing,” Brown says of being a mother. “I don’t focus on myself anymore. You are no longer selfish. I used to be wrapped up in my own bs, kind of really egotistical kind of thing. Having a child, everything changes completely and you worry if she is well or if she is hungry. The stress never stops. My mom told me “you will be worried about her now for the rest of your life”.
Photo by Lula Cucchiara