SXSW interview: WALL

For Lyla Foy - aka WALL - less is more. Her songs leave space for the imagination and allow listeners to fill in the gaps themselves. We spoke to the singer-songwriter and producer about her music and found out what was in store for her at South by South West last week...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 18 Mar 2013
  • min read
Lyla has control over her songwriting, recording and production, which obviously helps her see ideas through to a concise end. She’s been writing collaboratively for a few years but has only just started venturing out on her own, obviously relishing the chance to go her own way.

Her music combines classic folk-based songwriting with a sound that’s very 2013; fuzz and distortion swirl underneath her vocals but never take over. She first emerged last summer with Fiest-influenced debut single Magazine for newly formed BCS Records and quickly found herself championed on blogs around the world.

Last week she made her South by South West debut, so we caught up with her beforehand to find out what was in store for her in Texas.

What are you looking forward to most about SXSW?
I’m psyched about playing in warm weather and meeting some (hopefully) nutty people. I also get to hang out with lots of my favourite people all in one place at one time.

Do you approach showcase gigs like SXSW differently to regular live sets?
No, not at all. I’m hoping there’ll be some regular music fans there. I love playing intimate shows, and I think we have a couple that’ll be pretty cosy.

What do you hope to get out of going this year?
I’ll be meeting a lot of my team in America for the first time, which is very exciting. And perhaps we’ll pick up some new fans along the way as well. I’m putting out an EP in April so we’re playing all those new songs, and I’m sure I’ll get a writing fever coming on from all the inspiring stuff that we’ll get to see.

How important was the British Music Abroad funding to your trip?
Well, without it I wouldn’t have been able to go, so it was absolutely the deciding factor. It’s great that these funding opportunities are available for new artists.

If you could perform with anyone onstage at SXSW, who would it be?

What gigs are you looking forward to catching at SXSW this year?
Foxygen! Their album has been our tour soundtrack and I plan to hunt them down at SXSW and see them hopefully more than once. I’ll probably be too shy to say hello. Or perhaps with enough margheritas I’ll manage... We’re also playing a show at Central Presbyterian Church at SXSW on the same bill as Devendra Banhart who I’m a fan of so I’m looking forward to seeing him very much.

Where can we see you performing back in the UK?
I’m playing Bush Hall on 11 April and I’m very excited to have the amazing 9mary supporting. It’s going to be a great night. There’ll be Great Escape and a few festivals this summer, too.