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The Derbyshire festival has a more remote approach this year, but keeps the spirit alive. We speak to musician Lauran Hibberd about the change.
Published: 23/07/2020   Author: Keylee Paz, Eleanor Osada
Photo: Composite image, courtesy of YNOT and Carolina Faruolo.
COVID has brought life to a grand halt on all fronts, with very little exception. Music hasn’t been spared from its unforgiving grasp, with both teams and artists left picking up the pieces as the thick fog of uncertainty clouds the path for future plans. Forward thinkers have transitioned (what once was) physical into the digital realm, making for a horde of streamed performances and exclusive content - all accessible by way of phone and sofa.

It’s proving to be a popular movement - and a decent substitute - as fans across the world hunger to fill the live music shaped void. Y Not Festival would’ve been celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, in ordinary circumstances, and has instead decided to run a completely online celebration instead — Y Not At Home. Since 2005 when it began life as an over spilling house party in the deepest, darkest Derbyshire; Y Not has stayed homegrown and true to its roots. With panoramic countryside views, a fully stocked bar of local ales, a mouth-watering selection of food and more live music than you can shake a stick at, all you need to bring is yourself, some wellies and a killer fancy dress outfit. From 6pm on Friday and 3pm on Saturday, you’ll be treated to exclusive performances, fitness classes, skits, artist takeovers, hilarious quizzes, book reads and much more.

Y Not have been encouraging fans to get into the festival spirit from home and watch in real time - just as you would for our usual festival. The virtual event will be live streamed for free on Y Not Festival’s Facebook Live page. Visit Y Not Festival's FacebookTwitter & the Y Not website for full Y Not At Home schedule updates.

Some of Y Not’s finest former acts take to the virtual stage this weekend - including punky legends Ash, indie lads The Sherlocks, and UK pop-rockers The Amazons. More live music will also be available to stream, including Lauren Hibberd, King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, The Hara, Jaws, Patawawa, Beans on Toast, PABST and Wild Front. Also appearing will be the workout legend Mr Motivator, who will have fans moving at home during his unmissable online fitness class - just as he does for their usual weekend in the Peak District.
Photo: Courtesy of Line of Best Fit.

Ahead of this weekend’s festivities, we spoke with Lauran Hibberd: one of the UK’s best up-and-coming artists. Her music contains unique pop-punk stylings and beautiful vocals that result in her songs embodying her enthusiastic personality. After releasing many singles, she released her first EP, ‘Everything is Dogs’, in 2019. Following the release, she has toured across Europe opening up for bands like Hippo Campus and the Regrettes. With everything shutting down, she has made sure to make use of her time with writing new songs and making sure her EP release date stays on track. She chatted with us about her creative process, being a part of the Y Not Music Festival virtual shows, and life before COVID-19.

How have you been holding up? What kind of quarantine activities have you done while being at home?

I’ve been okay. At the start, I was super sad because I kept thinking about how everything is cancelled. I had such a busy year lined up for 2020 with live music, so i definitely took that as a bit of a hit. Then, I sunk my teeth into writing and I even managed to write a song a day! I ended up with like a million songs, and now I'm so ready to get to the studio and record. I've also put myself into exercising, which I never normally do because I am not a fit person at all. I'm just trying to do things that help me stay positive with everything that is going on. I have come to terms with the new normal now, as i'm trying to stay productive, and I'm happy with that.

I know times are really weird right now, with the Coronavirus and quarantine. Before COVID-19 broke out, what were your plans like for 2020?

Before the lockdown, I was in the studio working on my 2nd EP, which was due out this summer. That was put on hold as I couldn't get to the studio, and I began to do remote recordings with a producer out in Los Angeles. Luckily, the EP is now with a different producer and I've written many songs during lockdown, so it does end on a positive note. We also had loads of festivals lined up this summer like SXSW in Austin and Radio One Sessions. It sucks because it puts a stop on all the fun gigs and me getting out to the States. I'm hoping it will come back around after all of this.

You were able to finish your headlining tour across the UK right before everything went down the drain. Did you see it coming and did you ever imagine shows becoming virtual?

I was really naive at the time. Lots of people were talking to me about it, but I kept thinking that something like this has never happened before, the country has never been shut down. So I was under the impression that it won't happen! It wasn't until two weeks before SXSW that I started seeing things on Twitter about things being cancelled and I thought to myself “…Here we go”. The week before SXSW, I had a lot of messages on my phone stating “I'm so sorry” and “You must be so sad”, and I didn't know why. Then I see the news and I see that it's been cancelled. Little did I realise it was a sign of things yet to come. Since things seemed normal during my February tour, I had no idea everything in the future would get cancelled.

Everything is moving solely online, including concerts, obviously. How does it feel to be a part of a top notch virtual music festival like Y Not?

It feels really good, especially since i've been trying to take all these online opportunities because you know there is nothing else to do! I love Y Not Festival, I've gone there for the past few years and I couldn't wait to play this year. I'm still happy I can play, even if it is virtually. I've also gotten used to the no audience thing now! Not hearing a clap at the end of the song is such a really weird thing to get your head around, it's kind of like talking to yourself in a way? Regardless, I'm really excited to be doing Y Not.

Transitioning into your work, a lot of media outlets describe your sound as Indie Rock. Who and what are your inspirations?

I have had a lot of labels like Slacker-Pop or even Pop-Punk, but Indie Rock is definitely what I would call it. I feel like I've been really influenced by the 90s US Rock like Green Day and Weezer. So I think anything within that category falls in one for me. I also love pop music, I listen to a lot of Katy Perry and her crazy melodies. What I love about Green Day and Weezer is that they manage to get all of these pop melodies on top of all these overdriven guitars, and their outcome always makes me feel at home. I feel safe in that zone, so I always strive to channel that kind of genre.

You mentioned earlier that you have written plenty of songs during quarantine. What was your songwriting process?

At the start, it came really easily because I felt like I had a lot to say. As weeks went on, nothing was happening in my life and it felt hard to get inspiration. For example, I couldn't write a song about a cup of coffee I drank in the morning. I kept trying really hard to think of different things. It has also been really good because I've never had this much time to just concentrate on writing. I've actually managed to create the best music and songs that I think i've ever created. This process has been really exciting for me, as I can understand now why artists do an album and then take a year off to write. Touring is already a lot to handle, so writing and touring at the same can be too much to juggle. With this time, I'm trying my best to create the best debut album that I can. The new songs i've written also fit in within the categories of Indie Rock, they even push the boundaries a bit. Most of the songs i've written were intentionally written the way they are rather than me stumbling on them as an ‘accident’. I have 20 tracks that are accumulated together and that promote what i've been trying to say all this time.

You released a new song called ‘Old Nudes’ back in April. What is the message behind the song and what made you release it during quarantine?

The song was always planned to be released in April. I didn't want to stop it from coming out. I haven't done a music video, I filmed the ‘Old Nudes’ video using my laptop webcam at home because people were doing that kind of thing. The song was intended to oddly empower women. The concept of a girl sending a nude photograph to someone else was always frowned upon and people made them feel bad about it. There's always that element of boys having the upper-hand in that situation. I just wanted to have my girl fans to feel able to own themselves and be proud of who they are.

Are you planning to release more singles just like you did with ‘Old Nudes’?

Yes! I have a couple of tracks coming out soon. I'm also trying to finish the second EP, which I'm aiming for it to be released this year. My next release is looking to be late-August, and I'm really excited to get another track out there. It feels like it has been a while because of everything that is going on.

Before we go, what's next for Lauran Hibberd in the future when everything returns to normal?

I just want 2020 to leave. I'm waiting to put up my Christmas tree and get 2020 done with! The next thing for me is definitely the debut album. I'm looking forward to recording and releasing my first album, loads more touring, festivals galore! I totally feel ready for it now.

Listen to Lauran’s music and find her on Instagram and Twitter right now.

Y Not organisers say, “We were devastated not to go ahead with Y Not Festival this summer, but we hope to bring you all a wonderful weekend of festival vibes straight to your door for Y Not At Home. Have fun and party safe! Thank you to all the amazing artists and acts involved, and thanks to you at home for all your support and enthusiasm over the past few months. We can’t wait to bring everyone together with Y Not Festival 2021, for what could be the most memorable summer ever…”

Y Not Festival will return in full force next year 29th July - 2nd August 2021. Tickets available here.

(Y Not Festival would like to remind everyone to stay safe, stay alert, practice safe social distancing and follow Government safety guidelines)



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