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Sample the Sky: In conversation with Laura Misch

Epigram speaks to Laura Misch about her debut album (out now) ahead of this month's Bristol live date.

By Sean LawrensonSecond Year English

When speaking on the phone with Laura Misch ahead of her upcoming headline UK tour, she is travelling to Stockholm, when I ask her how the tour has been so far she states ‘Amazing. Exhausting, but amazing. We’re in Stockholm now and it’s on the verge of snowing.’ Misch has been in the middle of the European leg of her tour, travelling from Germany to the Netherlands and ending in northern Europe. 

When asked about Bristol, a city Misch was in just six weeks ago for an album release gig at Rough trade, she says how she ‘Would definitely like to come down and spend a couple days looking around’. The London based artists debut album Sample the Sky, charts an outdoor, almost ethereal experience. When asked about the challenges of field recordings Misch said ‘isolating sound can be tough. Because in London you always have planes coming through and trying to get through that with the microscope can be difficult.’ She refers to her microphone as a microsope ‘I just get really geeky about it’ she remarks. ‘There’s a selection, of what we notice around us.’ Misch’s latest album draws from this and puts it together through a mix of field recordings, combining this record with her newly established live band for the gigs.

‘I think it translates well (to the live shows). You can see the evolution of the album and it’s a little bit more stripped back I think. I play some of the samples (of the field recordings) on stage as well.’

Laura Misch | Ella Pavlides

She has gone on to play some remarkable venues as well, from the Royal Albert Hall to the meadows in the mountains festival in Bulgaria. ‘My manager is from Bulgaria and I absolutely loved it. The wild flowers and the atmosphere. Everyone was just feeling really good.’ When asked if there is a ‘dream venue’ she is yet to play, she responds ‘I’d love to play the Minack Theatre, it’s like this really big amphitheatreis Cornwall.’ The idea of being close to nature even in performance seems incredibly important to her. Misch seemingly loves to explore the surroundings, both when at home in London, and when travelling to perform. It is so clearly exemplified in her new album (her first two, critically acclaimed, EP’s were both recorded predominantly in her bedroom).

Misch has also been collaborating with a whole host of different creatives. Having read that she had composed an outdoor installation with Matthew Rosier and NYX, a collective of female, trans and non-binary singers, I asked if there was any other people she would like to collaborate with in the future. ‘I think Jenny O’fill would be amazing. I like a lot of her novels and just her sort of perception of things, I would definitely like to do something, whether that be some form of sound installation I don’t know.’

The conversation moves back to Sample in the Sky, and asking which track from the album she would recommend to anyone who was unfamiliar with her work beforehand. ‘Probably Light years, the production on it is a bit more similar to the earlier stuff, and the saxophone is a key part of it. It’s sort of a big, galactic, welcoming track for people.’

Laura Misch | Ella Pavlides

As a writer for a student led newspaper, I thought it right to ask her about her own experience at university. Misch studied Biomedical Science at the University of Newcastle before dropping out and transferring to Media. ‘God, it was ten years ago now, time is a spiral, I did Biomedical Sciences for a while, and it’s an incredible degree, but I realised I didn’t really want to work in a laboratory. I really missed the humanities. It was also the last year of lower fees so I thought of transferring. She even went on to study for a year in Sweden ‘I pretended to be an economics student!’ she jokes, continuing ‘I tried to play the system a bit. A lot of people go to uni not knowing what they want to do, and I didn’t really know until I was 23/24. I think following your passion is so important, you know, life is random and uni gives people the chance to kind of go with the flow. I wasn’t really playing music at the start of uni. I remember I tried auditioning for the university’s jazz band, but I couldn’t read sheet music so they wouldn’t have me.’ She went on to explain how she’d played there a few years ago and the society had come down to watch the performance. Misch is an example of only finding what you really want to do (your calling some may say) in post-unilife. This is where our interview concluded, and I for one am extremely looking forward to her seeing her performance at Strange Brew on the 7th December.

Featured Image: Ella Pavlides

Sample the Sky is out now.