Five years since the release of her 2016 album ‘Wild Things,’ Pip Brown, better known internationally by her stage moniker Ladyhawke, has returned with Guilty Love, the lead single from an upcoming fourth studio album. Featuring Georgia Nott of Broods, and with writing contributions from both artists, Guilty Love combines Ladyhawke’s signature synth-pop with a punk rock edge and lyrics about defying convention. The result is an effervescent and anthemic track. Nur Lajunen-Tal met up with Pip for NZM.
“I love collaborating,” says Brown, her tone serious and full of conviction. “When we were writing Guilty Love it was like we were just having a massive yarn, and talking and talking and talking. We discovered we had similar upbringings, and we were sharing all the ways it affected us and stuff… The song definitely related hugely to both of us, for slightly different reasons.”
From Brown’s perspective, the single is about her experiences growing up as a queer person in a Christian household and school.
“To me, it’s a way of saying, ‘Look, this was my experience.’ You were taught certain things in religious education and it sort of bent my mind a little bit, made me feel like I was gonna go to hell… The song is about how that affected me and how I broke out of it and had to basically find myself on my own, really.”
She adds that a major theme of her teenage years is reflected in the song.
“Feeling like you’re different and you don’t belong and you’re being judged for it, and just wanting to disappear, and wanting to be free from it all, and run away… I would sometimes wish that I would just fit in. I remember just looking up and being like, ‘Help me, someone! I need some kind of glimmer of hope.’”
She hopes that Guilty Love will bring comfort to other members of the LGBTQIA community.
“As a teenager, I didn’t know any queer people or anyone in the LGBTQIA community… I didn’t have anyone saying to me, ‘Hey, I’m like you! Don’t worry, you’re not alone…’ and I know a lot of queer people don’t have that, so I think that’s what inspired me to talk about it.”
There are also strong feminist themes in the song and although there’s been a lot of positive change in recent times, Guilty Love reminds us to keep addressing such issues.
“One of the themes was this whole thing of being told and shown in society how a woman should be… Georgia and I we’re both like, from a young age, against that… We were like, ‘This feels wrong.’
“It’s still like that to this day,” she continues “You know, you think it’s changed – it hasn’t. They’re still around. Things are moving crazy, but the more stuff that starts happening for the positive, the more negative shit rises to the surface as well, to fight the positive shit, you know?”
The song’s music video, directed by Lula Cucchiara, follows two young girls through school and church, as they develop feelings for each other and eventually find the confidence to defy the system. Brown describes Cucchiara as being fully in tune with the message she and Nott wanted to convey.
“I didn’t say anything, didn’t give her any back story, and she came up with that idea – like she was in my head! She just listened to it, and she knew. Within hours of me sending the song through, she’d sent the treatment back. She said she just saw it all in front of her and put it down.”
And after that five-year lull, her fans can expect plenty of new music from Ladyhawke in the near future.
“I’ll have another single coming out soon,” she confides. “I’ll probably do the classic thing of three singles and then the record. It’s that culture now of just pump out as many singles as you can, and no record. But I’m an album artist, so I focus on the record as a whole piece of art.”
Made with the support of NZ On Air.