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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

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In Music

Lyla Foy has come out from behind her stage name of WALL and arrives in Milwaukee this week. (PHOTO: Veanne Tsui)

Foy comes out from behind WALL


London musician Lyla Foy got her start playing bass and guitar in bands, but it was her solo recordings, released under the name WALL, that first drew attention to the 25-year-old.

Now, signed to Sub Pop worldwide, Foy has ditched the stage name – ironically at the same time as she's entered a more collaborative phase with her band members – and issued her full-length debut.

Pitchfork perfectly summed up "Mirrors The Sky," saying:

The result might be best described as a digital pastoral: Sequences and synthesizers blending with live instruments to create the kind of introverted, outdoorsy reverie most commonly associated with acoustic folk. Foy's songs are both lush and low-key, intimate and surprisingly intricate.

Foy opens for Wake Owl at Turner Hall Ballroom on Friday, April 18. The show is the first of her U.S. tour. We talked to her from London about the record and the tour...

OnMilwaukee.com: Your Sub Pop bio puts some weight on a day in early 2012 that you canceled your plans and stayed home to work on music. Can you tell us a bit about the sorts of projects you'd done up to that point?

Lyla Foy: I played bass and guitar in a few bands. All sorts of different stuff. I've backed up other singers and fronted bands too.

OMC: Going back to that evening, was that a moment of inspiration when you said, "this is what I need to be doing" or was it less dramatic, maybe more a moment that turned out in retrospect to be important to your career?

LF: Yeah it wasn't too dramatic at the time, but I did get a moment of clarity, and I had this sound bouncing around in my head for a few weeks. It was like a niggling feeling, like when you have a song that you want to write and you haven't got round to putting it down yet. I felt like that.

But it changed things for me cause when I put the track up online, folks were asking me to hear more and some people were interested in releasing my music. So I had to pretend I had more tunes, and finished another five or six songs over the space of about a week. It was fun.

OMC: Does this record sort of mark a similar moment, in that you've stopped using the name WALL and are now using your own name?

LF: Yes sort of, but the last two years I've felt like I've been riding the same wave, really. There's been an evolution with our show, though, definitely, and that colored the album.

OMC: Maybe, too, because you involved the band more in the sessions for the record?

LF: Exactly! It's nice doing things in the studio that you can see working live! That speeds up the whole process. With my "Shoestring" EP, I recorded it and then thought, "What am I going to do with all these sounds?" I had sampled broken keyboards and layered up loads of bass lines so it wasn't the easiest to figure out on the stage.

OMC: Did that lead to a more collaborative approach to recording? If so, was it hard for you to cede some of the control to the others?

LF: It's great to collaborate on songs, but I had to keep focused and we made sure we never recorded anything just for the sake of it. We tried not to get too carried away, as well. I hate over cluttering tracks.

OMC: Is the result a record that's more like what we can expect to hear at a Lyla Foy gig?

LF: Yes, the record is pretty close to the live show now. Closer than it has been.

OMC: Has she told you anything about Milwaukee? Do you have any expectations of the city?

LF: I'm so excited to visit Milwaukee, and I have no expectations, except it better be awesome! It's the first show of the tour, so we're going to be fresh and not at all jet-lagged!


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