It might seem that shining a light over one of the co-creators of Cat On The Wall is a little self-indulgent but then again there’s a saying in French that goes “if you want something done it’s better to do it yourself.” So here we are, one half of Cat On The Wall talking to the other about Laurence Made Me Cry, the musically creative endeavour of one Jo Whitby.
CB Lux finds out what this project is all about, why Jo Whitby decided to bring it to the forefront and what is to be expected of LMMC in the future. Welcome to the other side of Cat On The Wall.
Cat On The Wall: Who or what is Laurence Made Me Cry?
Jo Whitby: Laurence Made Me Cry is a project so at the moment it consists of myself and any friends who want to get involved on live performances. The songs on the EP were recorded on an 8 track in my living room when I lived in Bristol and still had room for a drum kit. I will be doing a mixture of home recording and studio for the album and definitely want to get more people involved. It’s also a visual project and includes my photography and artwork. In the future I’d like to have a go at animation and possibly some performance art.
I guess you could say Laurence Made Me Cry was born in 2001 when I first saw the name after reading a newspaper article. A poor woman was sobbing after Laurence Llewelyn Bowen had been a bit too over enthusiastic in one of the Changing Rooms episodes and the headline was LAURENCE MADE ME CRY. I think it was in the Daily Mirror or a similar rag in the staffroom of Virgin Megastore. I knew then that I wanted to use it for a band or music project. It sounds a bit cheesy thinking about it now but that’s how it happened.
COTW: How did the idea of the project come about?
JW: The music of LMMC has been around for quite some time and performing it under my own name didn’t feel right. It felt too personal and in all honesty I felt my name was a bit dull. I think there’s a fear element about using my own name too. Suddenly everything is mine, the attention is on me and I couldn’t think of anything worse especially as I am ridiculously shy. I decided to finally use the name LMMC and do a Nine Inch Nails kind of thing in that the project was always ultimately me and my music but I could have other musicians come and go.
I didn’t just want to focus on the music either. I’m also passionate about art and storytelling so I thought “why not incorporate everything I love into one project”. It sounds a bit selfish I guess. I don’t know. I’m very conscious that I might be beating my own drum a bit too much. I’m far from being in the position of the likes of Damon Albarn so to come out with such a grandiose project might evoke a “who does she think she is” reaction from people. I’m going to have to just take a deep breath and do it. I have big plans.
COTW: What is the purpose/meaning behind the storytelling/artwork?
JW: It’s still somewhat in the development stages. When I first decided to really get LMMC off the ground I sat down with a sketch book and put to paper what I felt about the music. So out came this little character in a hoodie looking a little bit worse for wear. I remembered I’d taken some photos near my parents’ house in Bristol a few years ago that reminded me of how the character was feeling and I think how I was feeling at the time too. I also picked out a photo I’d taken of Sully Island with the tide out. The desolation and cracked surface of the rocks really reflected the mood of the music. I then superimposed the character onto the photos.
The character needed a story. This is still in the works but it’s almost finalised in my head. I don’t want to say too much about it at this stage but it will definitely have a Samuel Beckett feel about it. In the future I hope to display the artworks in a gallery along with an installation.
COTW: Will there be any LMMC g-strings available for sale at some point in the future?
JW: Seriously? I remember Franz Ferdinand had some knickers. Perhaps some of their fans were incontinent. I’d quite like to have a kite as part of the merch.
COTW: Who is “Me”?
JW: “Me” is the character you can see in all the LMMC artwork. “Me” can be whoever you want it to be.
COTW: What are you hoping to achieve with LMMC?
JW: I don’t know really. I’d like the art project to come to fruition and that includes recording a short film/animation. I have a huge idea of getting friends and fans across the world to record a section of a music video using the character “Me”. I’m in the process of recording a video for the track The Rain Song which will see a good friend of mine walking around Troopers Hill in Bristol with a mask of “Me” and a black hoodie on. The mask can then be recreated by fans and they can video themselves walking. I think “Me” needs to do a lot of walking.
Obviously I’d like to finish the album and take it on tour. I might even do a small tour before the album is finished funds willing. I’m already over the moon to have people I don’t know listening to my music and liking it. That’s such an achievement for me already.
COTW: Can I have a hug?
JW: Of course!
You can catch Laurence Made Me Cry live in Cardiff supporting Erin Lang & The Foundlings at 10 Feet Tall on the 13th September 2011! For more info click here!