“You know when you’re lining up for PE and you’re the last to get picked to play netball because you suck at everything? When no one wants you to play anything so you have to be goalkeeper for the yellow team?” Lauran Hibberd asks over Zoom. “That’s this album for me.”
It may seem like a fairly self-deprecating way to describe her much-hyped debut ‘Garageband Superstar’, but summing things up with a hilarious put-down is what Lauran was born to do.
Delivering effortlessly witty lyrics while influenced musically by her twin loves of Weezer and Green Day, the record arrives as a follow-up to last year’s ‘Goober’ EP: a riot of songs about sending nudes and skater boys with “skinny arms” that immediately showcased Lauran’s characterful perspective to the world.
Created during lockdown, she found being stuck at home with no outside distractions the perfect setting to fully immerse herself in forming the album. “I know artists take a year out and sit somewhere down in Cornwall and write an album and that’s sick, but I know they’re on Instagram like, ‘Ah, I wish I was at Reading & Leeds’,” she jokes. “Having that totally gone was oddly cathartic. I managed to get so deep into my own head and write this record, and it would not have been as good as it is had I not had that time.”
Using the time on her own to streamline her vision, she created her own little ‘Garageband Superstar’ universe in her mind, describing the internal world she made as “very Wayne’s World meets Michael Cera in Juno”. “You know that whole main character syndrome that people always talk about?” she smiles. “In lockdown, I was so on my own but I wasn’t lonely because I was forever just romanticising life in my head. The whole album definitely encapsulates that - how self-centered we are.
“We are all our own main characters because the only voice we hear is ours and the only feelings that we have are ours,” she continues. “Obviously everything we do is so high in our bodies, and I think this album just really pulls on that and how naive we all are, thinking our problems are bigger than everyone else’s. But they are for us!”
“I definitely have learned to laugh at a lot of stuff you probably talk to your therapist about…”
Charting her life over the last few years, ‘Garageband Superstar’ follows Lauran as she plays out her own IRL coming-of-age story. Accompanied by a bunch of different supporting characters, from the new addition to the family in the ferocious ‘Step Mom’ to the man taking pictures of his car and putting them on Instagram in ‘Average Joe’, the singer welcomes the listener into the bold and bright world she’s created.
However, while all of the tracks shine with her inherent vibrancy, many of the record’s offerings point to something a little deeper under the surface. “A lot of the songs are dressed up as these funny little rock songs, but normally at the core of all of them there’s something quite serious,” she explains. “That’s the sort of person I am; I cover everything in humour because that’s just how I survive, and I think that just pours out of me in songwriting as well.”
Take the infectious ‘I’m Insecure’ which explores Lauran feeling “stuck in her own head” and uncertain of her place in the music industry, or closing track ‘Last Song Ever’ which she describes as “a long, sad build up of emotions and sitting in an airport with a coffee you can’t pronounce”. One of the most vulnerable moments on the album, meanwhile, comes in the form of ‘Slimming Down’, which Lauran says was written while she was at her lowest “but also feeling like, ‘Oh well, I’m losing weight. That’s a perk!’”
“It’s obviously so fucked up!” she laughs. “But that’s the world we live in. I definitely have learned to laugh at a lot of stuff you probably talk to your therapist about…”
‘Garageband Superstar’ fizzes with the pop-punk and rock licks Lauran has become known for, as well as pulling inspiration from hip hop after she became obsessed with Kanye West while binge-watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians during lockdown. “As soon as you start going, ‘Oh I’m a rock artist’, you shut yourself off to certain things,” she notes. “This album was just written from me listening to loads of my favourite bands, and there’s loads of different influences. So yeah, it is what it is and I don’t think you can really pinpoint it into one genre. I’ll just wait to see what Spotify calls it!”
Some of those favourite bands even make an appearance on the album, with Limp Bizkit’s DJ Lethal featuring on ‘Still Running’ and Wheatus’ Brendan B. Brown jumping on the title track. “Tears were shed,” Lauran recalls. “I was just like, ’Let’s [reach out and] see what happens!’ I’ve always been pretty lucky with an Instagram DM. I sent the demos with a really cringy message and for them to listen to the tracks and be like, ‘I love it, let’s do it’, it’s just the sickest feeling ever. Obviously there’s people I messaged who didn’t reply to me… I messaged Charli XCX and she left me on read… But fair play. You do you, Charli. I still love you!”
Getting the feels out and keeping a smile while she does it, ‘Garageband Superstar’ finds Lauran presenting the emotional rollercoaster of growing up with tongue-in-cheek precision, breaking her leg one minute and creating fictional romances with “hot boys” in her head the next. “When I’m listening to an album, I want to feel like I can take my bra off and unbutton my jeans and sit there with my true self,” she smiles. “This is what the album kind of makes me feel like I can do. It makes me feel like I can unbutton my jeans at dinner and whip my bra off and just live my actual life.”
‘Garageband Superstar’ is out 19th August via Virgin Music.
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