The sounds from Montreal’s Laura Krieg could exist nicely in a dim-lit German club, where the drugs are strong, and the music is loud. She describes her sound as “brutalist pop,” a combination if post punk, gothic punk, and synth rock. Her songs are chilling, kind if like being in a hammer horror movie where everyone is dancing and they have no idea why. Live, Laura statres into the eyes of the audience, usually donning an outfit that makes her look like a too cool, modern vampire. You could call her Montreal’s Siouxsie Sioux. We spoke with the young songwriter ahead of her performance at Taverne Tour VI.
PAN M 360: The first time I heard about your music, someone called your style “vampire rock.” What do you think of this classification?
Laura Krieg: I don’t mind, it makes me laugh a little, but at the same time it’s flattering.
PAN M 360: I see that you classify your sound as “brutalist pop,” I can understand that, but where did that come from? What does that mean to you?
Laura Krieg: It was a way to define my vision, to talk about a meeting between pop and more industrial sounds, more “in-your-face,” and colder.
PAN M 360: Is Laura Krieg your real name and you or is it more of a persona for the music?
Laura Krieg: No, it’s not my real name. It’s a kind of “battle” name, a kind of alter ego that allows me to embody myself differently on stage, and in the music.
PAN M 360: What is your songwriting process? Messing around with a synth and then putting lyrics to it?
Laura Krieg: It’s not the same process for every piece. Sometimes it’s the lyrics that come first, or a single phrase, other times it’s a rhythm, and from there the other elements come gradually.
PAN M 360: Are you a fan of Bauhaus? I get that sound a lot from listening to your stuff. Who are some other artists that influence you?
Laura Krieg: Yes, of course, I like Bauhaus a lot. To name a few others: Malaria, Solid Space, Einsturzende Neubaten, The Birthday Party, Saada Bonaire, Molly Nilsson, Paralisis Permanente.
PAN M 360: Where do you find inspiration for your darkened, but poignant lyrics? It’s a messed up world we live in…
Laura Krieg: I take a lot of inspiration from literature, cinema, but also from the ambient depression.
PAN M 360: How do you find Montreal as a scene for this kind of music? I’m sure you would really flourish in a place like Berlin?
Laura Krieg: I feel lucky to live in Montreal, I doubt I would have started making music if I hadn’t come here. I find the underground music scene and the community that exists around it very inspiring. I feel a lot of encouragement and support. Maybe in Berlin it would be different, yeah, I don’t know.
PAN M 360: How important is it to work with Johnny Couteau for your songs? Will he be on the next album as well?
Laura Krieg: Johnny Couteau helps me a lot in the creative process, he always brings something that takes the pieces somewhere else, his input is very important. I used to play electric guitar in his band, and it inspired me a lot, so I started to make music in my solo project.
PAN M 360: Did this project start over the pandemic or is that when you just released your first album?
Laura Krieg: The project I started in 2016-2017, but I released my first album, a cassette, in 2018.
PAN M 360: Do you have plans for more material this year? Will it be on the Detriti Records?
Laura Krieg: Yes, I’m working on a new album right now.
PAN M 360: Is it contuning with the sounds on Vie Magique?
Laura Krieg: There is a continuity with Vie Magique, but it goes in other directions. No, I don’t have the name yet.
PAN M 360:Do you ever get to improvise while playing live or is it pretty close to the record?
Laura Krieg: On some pieces there is more room for improvisation, especially on the vocal level, but on others everything remains quite similar to the recording.
PAN M 360: For someone who has never heard of you and is walking into the Taverne Tour show, what can they expect?
Laura Krieg: A body, a voice, some notes out of tune, and 10g of “vampire rock”.