On Friday, December 4, Ley Line released their uniquely personal album We Saw Blue, a spiritual sonic expression influenced by Brazilian culture and the story of Ley Line’s origin. COLLiDE had the pleasure of catching up with the folk-fusion group and chatting about the album.
What has lockdown looked like for you? How has it impacted your music and your plans for 2021?
The loss and uncertainty of the pandemic has forced us to get creative. We were forced to face the question: what is music to you if not a job? But even without shows and as we take on other projects to make it through this difficult time, what do we turn to feel human again? Music, we play it in our homes and it still connects us across distances. You can take away everything but it is our human right to be able to creatively express. This time has been a testament to our connection to each other and to the music because playing together has been so grounding and brought us back to a feeling of harmony and hope. Artists will always adapt to the times and I’m proud that we continue to create during this time. (Kate)
One disguise blessing of the pandemic has been time to finish both the album and the visual album, an 8 minute long audio-visual art piece that takes viewers along with us on our journey through Brazil that inspired the album. We filmed the footage in Brazil and have been working on it for the last few years, trying to find an editor who could help produce the vision we had for the video. When Covid started and our summer tours were cancelled we took on the task ourselves. We worked as a group to complete the visual album which is set for release in February 2021. (Maddy)
We’ve played a handful of socially distanced outdoor shows for live audiences and we plan to continue that as long as it is safe for us and our audiences. We’re hoping to take this album west in the spring on a homegrown tour centered around outdoor venues and house concerts. (Emilie)
How do you feel that your music is unique when compared to most of the popular music coming out right now? How do you combine both new and old influences?
It’s always been hard to pin our music down to a single genre. While that is becoming more common these days I think our multilingual lyrics and eclectic instrumentation really sets us apart the most. Plus the fact that all four of us are songwriters creates a really diverse portfolio of songs. We all have a love and appreciation for folk music and the way it tells stories and passed down history, culture and even values. On We Saw Blue you will hear two traditional songs from the northeast of Brazil that we’ve put our own spin on. Combining new and old is a way that we honor the musicians who have paved the way for where we are today and carry those important messages forward into future generations. (Lydia)
Can you tell us more about We Saw Blue and its Brazilian roots?
“We Saw Blue” is in many ways the origin story of Ley Line. Bandmembers Kate Robberson and Emilie Basez met in Brazil in 2012 and traveled the country playing shows, learning traditional folk songs and writing their own music along the way. When twins Madeleine and Lydia Froncek joined their duo project in 2016, much of the band’s repertoire was influenced by the sounds and experiences Kate and Emilie had gathered during their time in Brazil. In 2017, Ley Line decided to return to where it all began.
We raised money to buy a van and took off for a four month long tour from the south of Brazil to the Northeast. These songs are influenced not only by the Brazilian music we learned along the way but also the people, the natural wonders, the spirituality and ups and downs of the journey. (Maddy)
How do you feel connected to nature in your everyday life?
I connect to nature everyday through practicing awareness and observation. It can be as simple as going for a walk without my phone and looking up at the sky. To notice colors, textures, and the elements around me. Then I move inward. I ask myself how is my body feeling, am I breathing deeply, am I nourshing myself with food and water. Through connecting with the external environment and internal environment, I begin to dissolve the notion that there is separation from nature and realize that we are nature. (Kate)
If you could collaborate with any artist/band, who would it be?
What would you say to an aspiring musician looking for advice during this unprecedented time?
If this time has taught us anything it’s that music is necessary to our existence, whether it pays the bills or not. It’s how we process the world around us and helps others through this collective experience of life. My advice would be to keep creating, even if no one is listening right now it is crucial that you make it. Because you never know who will need to hear it someday. (Lydia)
What are your favorite pastimes aside from making music?
Emilie – long hikes, chocolate and tea
Maddy- mountain biking
Kate- spending time with my dog
Is there anything else you want to talk about?
If you want to support our work right now, the best way is through Patreon.com/LeyLine. This is a platform where members pay a monthly membership for access to all sorts of exclusive content. Sneak peaks of our visual album, a podcast that dives deeper into the stories behind the songs, and unreleased music.
Also stay tuned for the Visual album dropping in February. Set to the music of We Saw Blue and filmed in Brazil, the video takes viewers on an audiovisual journey through Brazil and inspiration behind the music.
Check out the full album on Spotify below, and be sure to pre-order the vinyl version of the album coming in early 2021 HERE!