Having come a long way since the rugged, grungey rock of their early singles, Glasgow’s Lucia & The Best Boys are about to release their debut LP, a record of moody, tempestuous synth-pop by the name of Burning Castles. Hot on the heels of releasing the music video for its title track, Lucia Fairfull chatted to SNACK about music industry misogyny, being championed by Elton John, and finding solace in Scottish nature.
As we’re speaking, you just released the music video for the single ‘Burning Castles’. It’s a beautiful video, with some acrobatics! Was it fun to film?
Yeah, it was a super different process than usual and it was definitely quite intense. I spent a few months training with aerial silks specifically for the music video. I’m not a professional at all; I had professionals with me, obviously, but it was a really testing music video. And it’s funny: the majority of the time I have the idea for a music video within hours of beginning the writing process for the song. And this was actually the first song where I didn’t necessarily have that, which was quite interesting. I think the process of making that video speaks volumes about the song and what it’s about, for me as well.
Your sound has changed quite significantly over the years. Was it a conscious decision to aim for something different?
To be honest, I started Lucia and the Best Boys when I was about 19. And I think that at that age, you’re still kind of getting to know yourself and coming into your own skin and figuring out who you are as a person. And I think that music very much moves with you as a person and evolves with you. As well, the kind of music that you listen to depends on the emotions that you’re having and everything’s very linked in that sense. And so it’s been a very natural progression. It was never like: I’m gonna start making really poppy music. I think there was almost always an element of pop in the music that I’ve written, it’s just sounded different depending on where I’m at in my life.
You recently got to speak to Elton John on his Rocket Hour podcast. What was that like?
It was honestly such a humbling experience. He is such a lovely person and it’s like, he is Elton John, he could literally choose to champion and support anyone and bring anyone onto these interviews, but he chooses to lift up smaller, up-and-coming artists that he genuinely enjoys listening to. He’s been following my music since lockdown and has played multiple releases since then. You can’t deny it: it’s such a crazy thing to have one of the most incredible songwriters of all time compliment your art.
Some of the songs on the album tackle the experience of being a woman in the music industry and the misogyny that comes with that. Do you think this is something we are seeing progress with? Or has progress somewhat stagnated?
I think it’s a really tricky question, because obviously people are talking about it and being more open about it, but I also feel like the fact that it still has to be a conversation kind of proves that it’s stagnated. Because otherwise I wouldn’t be writing songs on this topic, and women still wouldn’t be feeling the way that they do within the music industry. Which is, I guess, belittled and patronised a lot of the time. I’ve just seen so many women go through that, in every industry really, but for me, growing up in this industry, I think it is one of the most brutal ones.
It’s definitely still something that people need to keep talking about, but I think there are also boundaries within it. I find it hard, for instance, when I’m doing an interview and a man asks me, ‘what’s it like to be a woman in music?’ Do you know what I mean? Everybody’s still learning and it’s a bit of a process.
Which song on the album are you most looking forward to people hearing?
I would say ‘Burning Castles’ for sure, which has just come out. That definitely felt like a big weight off my shoulders – in a positive way, not that it was a negative experience. I’ve been living with these songs for a long time now so it does start to feel like you’re just carrying them around everywhere. I was just excited for people to hear it, purely because I’m very proud of it. But apart from that, there are definitely a couple of songs on the album that I feel still quite attached to more than others, one of them being the opening song on the album, which I won’t give away because it’s a surprise.
I think it was one of the first times that I actually wrote a song about happy emotions, which is a bit of a turning point for me because I always struggled with that.
The album cover is a picture of you at Loch Lomond wearing a kilt. What role do you think Scotland plays in your music?
Within this job I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve not got to spend as much time at home over the years, and so the little things become novelties. Over the last few years, I’ve kind of fallen more in love with my culture. I grew up in the countryside, but I always wanted to be in the city. And between all this hecticness that comes with being a creative, I found a lot of escapism being in the Scottish countryside. And the only other form of escapism I ever really found was songwriting, so they just very naturally came together.
You’ve drawn comparisons to the likes of Cher and Annie Lennox. Were there any conscious influences behind the album?
No, to be honest. This is the first time I think that I’ve been able to say no, which actually is a positive thing for me. I’m still trying to figure out myself what kind of bracket this album falls under, but I really don’t think it needs to. It’s living in a world of its own to me, which is really cool and something that I’ve always wanted to have.
When we recorded it, we were very isolated and really had all our focus going into what we were doing in the studio. We just threw ourselves into so much and forgot about what everyone else was doing and making in the world. It was a really therapeutic experience. But I would say, vocally and lyrically, one of my all-time favourite artists is Stevie Nicks. But not Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks – although obviously that’s still amazing – but Stevie Nicks solo. And a lot of big, iconic, female 80s artists I listen to a lot.
Burning Castles is out now via Communion. Lucia & The Best Boys play SWG3, Glasgow on Thursday 23rd November. Tickets here.