After 22 years on the Gold Coast, LA is a far cry from home. Leah Martin-Brown (AKA Lilly Rouge) is taking it in her stride though, with her new EP Welcome Addiction due any day now and a new, more raw project keeping her busy as she finds her feet after being discovered by a US based A&R company. Leah touched base with our editor, Samantha Morris.
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For the past three years she’s spent countless hours in the studio with Brisbane based producer Stuart Stuart, but Leah says this particular record titled Welcome Addicition is the one she’s wanted to do for a long time, and as we speak, Leah had just received artwork and was expecting the EP to be available on iTunes imminently.
“It’s not really something I intentionally set out to record,” she said.
“All of the tracks on this EP are in some way linked to addiction -whether my own or a loved one’s. It’s a subject I have spent a lot of time writing about so I guess you can say that this EP took me three years all up to finally piece together a collection of tracks that suited the mood I was after and were also cohesive as a whole piece.”
“The main lessons I learned when recording these particular songs were all hard ones. I learned that burying your pain in the bottom of a whiskey bottle never ends well, falling in love with a drug addict is also never fun.”
Much to the dismay of her parents, Leah makes her music based on real life experiences. But fans are in for a treat – with Leah promising catchy, heavy riffs and some deeper lyrical content than usual.
“They will definitely be able to bounce along and have a mosh here and there – which is what Lilly Rouge is all about,” Leah said.
If you follow the band on Facebook, you’d know that they let slip with the second single Wicked Ways off their EP a little while ago. Leah says people who’ve listened love the ‘new’ish direction.
“Wicked Ways is a favourite of mine,” she said. “Firstly because of who I wrote it for and, secondly because I feel it’s the best vocal performance I’ve given in a studio environment.”
Lilly Rouge will perform a rare show with Leah flying back into the country next month for Wallapalooza.
“Part of me wants to come running home and tell Lilly Rouge that I’m sorry I’ve betrayed it, but I know that this is where I need to be right now,” she said from LA.
“We have a strong, loyal following here on the GC. Our fans here have always gone over and above to show us they care and some have actually become very close friends of mine because of this.”
“I am so unbelievably excited to be playing on Australian soil,” she said. “You can expect a ridiculous amount of energy, our bassist will probably take his shirt off and (if I think I won’t die) I’ll probably end up crowd surfing.”
She’s been doing Lilly Rouge since she was 15 and believes the music has matured as she has. This trip to USA has been the first time she’s deviated.
“Evol Walks is my new project that I launched at the Musexpo Rock Summit over here in April,” Leah said.
“It is more stripped back and raw than Lilly Rouge and really focuses on the roots of rock ‘n’ roll – which has always been my thing. We’ve released three songs and a music video and planning some shows for later in the year.”
I’m curious as to whether Leah has settled well into LA lifestyle with so many similarities between Gold Coast and the star-studded city.
“Some of the attitudes about health, fitness and image over here are the same and the weather is pretty similar but otherwise I find them to be two completely different places,” she said.
“The Gold Coast is much more relaxed and much more beautiful. I love LA but there’s no beach, trees or nature going on here.”
And if things go to plan, Leah will be in the USA for a while to come, with her A&R company thinking they can help her break in to that market.
“At the moment I’m just going through the trials and tribulations of Visa acquisition but if all goes to plan it is looking to be a permanent move.”
I miss my friends and family- first and foremost. I also miss the way the air smells when you go and sit on the point at Burleigh either early morning or late afternoon… the way the salty air clings to your skin and makes you feel all clammy and grainy but warm and safe at the same time.
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Catch Leah with her band Lilly Rouge at Wallapalooza at the Wallaby Hotel Mudgeeraba, Sunday 8 June.
Keep an ear to the ground for new EP Welcome Addiction available just about now on iTunes.