I have a notoriously bad memory. My memory is so bad I recall most of my past show experiences via Google searches of band + venue + date. For the rest – the shows that miraculously stick – there’s always something about the artist performance or spectacle that makes it memorable.
I remember the exact time and place I first heard L.A. Foster. Well almost – it was at La Sala Rossa for either MEG festival or M for Montreal. Lesley was singing backup with Mozart’s Sister. This show was exciting because it was the first time I was seeing Mozart’s Sister perform live, but what ended up being the real highlight for me that night was the phenomenal backup vocals from Lesley.
It’s been quite a few years since that show and a lot has changed. For starters, that backup singer has now taken centerstage as L.A. Foster. Since that show, she’s released two EPs, sits at the helm of a weekly radio show highlighting marginalized voices and on top of all that, a masters program in research and creation at Queens University. We caught up with her for updates ahead of her performance at Diving Bell Social Club this weekend with Taverne Tour.
“I’m in Toronto right now practicing with a new drummer. I’ve always had a rotating door with some musicians and the project. But, I thought it would be cool to integrate something more permanent. Her name is Laura Kelly, she’s actually from Kingston but lives in Toronto now, she’s a DJ as well.”
Are you excited to be back in Montreal?
“Yeah, of course! super excited. I’m very grateful to be on the bill with ICE CREAM, I think they’re fucking awesome. Excited to be coming to Montreal to take advantage of the studio while I’m there. And super excited to do a hot and sweaty middle of winter, everyone’s losing their mind kind of show. That’s what I’m hoping for! “
Maybe you could start off by giving us an update, how are things going with music and your studies?
“I’m at Queens in a program called Research and Creation, which allows me to integrate my artform into research. It’s still taking form since I’m in the first year. It’s super interesting and I’m happy to be involved in this method. I also have a radio show on Queens Radio, it’s called CFRC in Kingston, it’s 3 pm – 4 pm every Friday you can listen online as well. It’s called To the Front – I’m trying to bring marginalized voices of music to the front – it’s an hour of highlighting that and through that I listen to a lot of up and coming artists that don’t necessarily get airplay.”
I read that your program is also tied to gender in the music industry?
“It was, it has kind of changed. I found that studying myself and also working in the industry. I found it to be a little bit too much. It just kind of felt too close to home. I wanted my research to be a little bit outside of myself and also to give my privilege and platform to shine a light on stuff that doesn’t necessarily get the light shined on it, so I’m going to be focusing on stuff in Latin America. And, I’m pretty sure I’ll be in Mexico City all summer working on a fellowship. The work is going to be moving to Latin America”
I read that you have an album in the works for 2020?
“As far as the album goes I’ve already gone into the studio. You know, I work with what I got in a lot of ways. Especially while doing the masters. When I come to Montreal I go into the studio with my producer. In some ways, we’re going track for track. We’re also doing this new 50/50 collab. I’m no longer bringing him all of my material and he’s producing. Instead, it’s a split and so the vibes are different it’s super good. I really like it. I’m making a lot of dance music, more disco dance music. I would like for it to be out in 2020. I’m working with Hot Tramp Management, we’re going to shop it, so depending on however long that takes. It would be good to actually get some label support. And that’s kind of the end goal, that timeline can take however long it takes.”
Could you speak to the difference between creating your first EP and working on this upcoming album?
“I would say the difference is having the ability to take a step back, ie. involve myself in something else kind of alleviates pressure in a lot of ways. It kind of allows me to try things out and be a little bit more free with myself in an experimental way. Because not everything is riding on [my music]. I just feel a bit more free in the studio. I guess that’s also maturity. Having the maturity of feeling out sounds and knowing which direction to take. There’s maturity also with Steven and me, we’ve been working together for 5 or 6 years so there’s an immense amount of trust in between us. It works really fast and it works really efficiently, there’s a chemistry there.”
Artists you feel should be given the spotlight.
Nina del Mar – She’s a performance artist, she makes bedroom reggeaton she’s from Chile but lives in Paris, she’s very interesting and strange and weird, she’s also a model and actress
Isla Panorama – Uruguayan woman who now lives in Chile, she has an amazing vibe, does everything herself shes a wicked musician
Scott Hardware – Just released new music, a wicked artist out of Toronto