The last post for 2022 is an interview with the Irish artist LAIR. LAIR is the music project of Laura, who is also an energy & sound healer and yoga teacher. Her music blends ritual, mysticism, sound healing, meditation and energy work. Laura has been curating her self-releases on bandcamp and collaborated with other labels such as EOTRAX, Eomac’s imprint, where she released her debut, self-titled, EP in 2017. Laura has recently created a stunning remix of the track Angels, from the latest Tales of Psychofonia release by Helena Markos.
LAIR’s approach to the music is unique; her ethereal voice and sound have an almost magical ability to bring the listener to meditative and deeply introspective states by engaging all the senses. With this interview, we would like to honour this artist today, one of the last days of this month and year.
Laura, tell us a few things about your current moment. What is present for you?
I am, I think like a lot of people, in a state of transition at the moment. I’ve been reflecting on my past from a new found perspective and am now refining what I want my life to look like. I’ve recently seen where I still find it difficult to put myself first and to look after me before others, especially if it’s someone I care about in need- I think that feeling especially resonates with a lot of women. So I am making more space in my life to just ‘be’ and to prioritise the relationships that matter most to me- putting the one with myself on the top of that list!
Your music transmits compelling emotions, and mystical and almost transcendental qualities characterise it. How would you describe your creative process?
I would describe it as a form of channelling. The starting points for all of my tracks is me singing sounds or notes or words that I feel I need to hear or to express. These initial sounds may not be in the final track and are very often not in any way recognisable as those starting sounds if they are in there. Through releasing those sounds, I feel I go from conscious expression and break through to the other side where I can write whatever ‘comes through’. To me the process is getting me out of the way and moving into flow- I love how Elizabeth Gilbert describes it in her book ‘Big Magic’ “I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment, not entirely human in its origins.” That’s how I feel too. I allow myself to become a bridge between my world and the Otherworld and write what I hear and feel. That part is the fun, creative part. The finessing, final production and releasing tracks is the stage where I have to work and have discipline. Everything prior to that stage is creative and feels like it’s not me ‘doing’, it’s me ‘allowing’ or ‘channelling’ sounds.
Does your experience as a reiki master and a yoga teacher influence you?
I think who I am and how I see the world influences my music. The reason I trained in various energy healing modalities and Yoga is these were the tools that helped me- and continue to help me- learn how to uncover who I am beneath the familial and societal training. I spent many years feeling very lost and like an alien visiting a foreign world when I was younger. These tools helped support me in working out why and how to either get comfortable with or let go of those feelings. I often describe my music as ‘sound with intention’, this is the basis of Sound Healing and when I write music I come from a place of intention too. The intention varies from track to track but that energetic kernel is the same.
In what ways do you feel that your Irish roots influence your music?
I think people can probably hear I am Irish when they hear my music. I feel a deep connection to the land here- the green, the trees, the sea, the rocks, the Atlantic Ocean and the Wild Atlantic Way… they all come through my pieces in various ways. I would dream of the light in Irish skies when I was living away, there’s something special and magical about it that I haven’t witnessed elsewhere and I’ve attempted to channel the twilight of winter evenings and the late, bright summer nights into tracks. I also speak Irish and like to include it in my music- I think this will be more present as time goes on, I’ve been out-lining some ideas for an album I’d like to write next year and it’s looking like the Irish language will feature throughout. The myths and stories I grew up with also influence my artistic expression. And of course, there are a lot of amazing Irish artists who have inspired me- some for their music, some for their lyrics and some for their voices; Clannad, Sinéad O’Connor, Planxty, Phil Lynott, Mary Black, The Saw Doctors, Enya to name a few!
Are there any other projects that you are involved with?
I am in a duo ‘noeverything’ with fellow Irish artist Ian McDonnell (Eomac). We’ve not done anything in a while but both of us have said we’d like to release something together in 2023. I will be doing more Sound Healing and meditation releases on my label Cyclic Self and will be looking for other sound healers who would be a good fit for releases on that. And I am also intending to finally write a song-based album, I guess right now I could describe it as my take on Trad. Irish, in 2023.
What do you feel are the challenges that artists face nowadays?
Well artists are humans and we humans are facing a lot of challenges these days! I think the beauty for artists is that we tend to be people who live outside the mainstream ideas of what is ‘the way to live’ and so a lot of times are more adaptable to changes and chaos within the systems we are all part of. Specific to music, the main challenge we are facing is making a living from music is more than really difficult. We’re in a time when we have technology that makes it really easy for us to sell our own music yet big companies are still the ones getting most of the money by de-valuing our work and pretending to consumers that by paying €10 a month for their accounts, they are paying for our work!
My hope is that we artists come together and find ways to make the new technologies work for us rather than the corporate heads of streaming services and ticketing agencies. And I think it’s possible if we come together and form genuine, supportive, small communities willing to truly listen to one another and encourage one another. And I think that’s the answer for all humans in this chaotic time- we’ve got to realise our own innate power and stop doing things ‘because that’s how you do it’ and rather do things in the way that makes sense to our own idea of how the we want the world to be. As Ghandi said: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change”.LAIR
Any upcoming project that you would like to announce?
Yes, thank you! I created a remix of the track ‘Angels’ on Helena Markos’ debut EP ‘Integration’ which was a really special and truly supportive collaboration. That came out on Friday, 2nd December, and I’m really proud to be part of that release. Also I have just created a release in honour of the winter solstice.