Remix Meets Lawrence Arabia

Lawrence Arabia's new album The Sparrow is due to be released this Friday, and his album tour is kicking off soon after. Sophie Donovan had a quick catch up with Lawrence Arabia a.k.a James Milne, about his latest musical project... How would you describe the new album? Roomy and moody and atmospheric. An after dinner album. The album is less upbeat than what we usually hear from Lawrence Arabia, was this intentional? Why do you think this is? Slightly an accident of writing on the piano, which seemed to produce more melodramatic chords. I think some of the angst of approaching my 30th birthday might have leaked in there a bit too. What was the most enjoyable part and the most challenging part of working on 'The Sparrow'? Definitely the most enjoyable part was the recording of the initial basic band takes with Elroy Finn and Connan Mockasin, and the engineers Joe Gubay and Nick Abbott. We were holed up in this beautiful house in Surrey, recording all day, eating late night pasta and drinking red wine. Hearing these rough little ideas coming out sounding magnificent was pretty exciting. The most challenging part – probably just facing up to writing all the string parts, coping with my doubt about approaching a task that I'd never done before. What is your favourite lyric from the album? What's it all about and why is it your favourite? Right now, probably some of The Listening Times – "Like pasture, they're growing thick, green, and on the ground. Everyone looks down at a person gnawing at their shoelace. Tonight, we'll set sail for the Tropic of Capricorn, the kebab shop at the horn is open till the sun comes up." It's about the descent into animality of the drunken wee hours, and I like the way the sub-conscious threw up what seemed initially to be poetic nonsense but turned out to be a bit clever and actually somewhat sense-making. You've worked on a lot of musical projects from Barb, touring with the Brunettes, producing music for Eagle vs. Shark and touring with Crowded House, Do you think that working on multiple projects helped inform your work on the album? If so, in which ways? Definitely. I think every project I've taken on has informed other work. Inevitably you react to it, either learning lessons from the different processes and wanting to include them in your work, or equally wanting to avoid them. With Barb for example, I learnt certain things about capturing performances early on while musicians are still learning and finding their approach to a song. They are more instinctive and exciting. You've done a lot of international touring and have an album tour coming up in July, what are your favourite things about touring? Eating food and meeting people. It's a heightened travel experience in the sense that you have a great excuse to talk to people. What's the last album you bought and how was it? Opossom, "Electric Hawaii." It was very impressive.     lawrence arabia