Interview with designer LS528 on The Analog Girl's new music video, 'More Than You Know'
If you've been keeping up with the local music scene calendar, you'd have known by now that The Analog Girl has made her return. Not that she's disappeared entirely — she's performed at Esplanade's Mosaic Music Weekend and with TOMGIRL and Jasmine Sokko in the past year — but it's been five years since her last studio album, Tonight Your Love. Golden Sugar Crystals, her fourth album, was released on 17 February, recalling our love for laptop rock, as her genre's affectionately known.
Mei Wong (her real name) takes it to the next level in her release, where she singlehandedly wrote, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered 11 out of 12 tracks. While most of them were written during what she's called "darker times than normal", it's the first album of hers that sought "light, beauty, truth and hope".
You can hear it in 'More Than You Know', an electronic wonder that'll make you dance in an otherworldly fashion. A song about love's unexpectedness and vulnerability, the freshly dropped music video employs animations from British designer and 3D visualiser Laura Shepherd, known in design circles by her moniker, LS528. After the duo met at photographer Nick Knight's SHOWstudio in London in 2007, Wong became one of Shepherd's clients at her style start-up, Glovedup Gloves. Other clients of the designer's unique creations have included the likes of Dita Von Teese, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga, who wore them in her 'Paparazzi' music video.
Based in West London, I caught up with Shepherd over email, just before she's due to present a sustainable fashion show and a virtual fashion creative concept this month. As a designer, she's created brand experiences and installations for fashion, art and lifestyle clients such as Maison Margiela MM6, COS Stores, Serpentine Gallery, Magnum and Perrier Jouet. For 'More Than You Know', Wong tapped into Shepherd's archive of animations and brought together a bevy of characters, including a striped figure from Marc Jacobs AW16.
What's behind the name LS528?
I was commissioned to create a fetish totem for a Barbican sponsored art project. Using fine strings of white plastic crochet, my 2.5 metre high totem was designed to spin and emit waves of love, so every stitch was tuned to the love frequency 528hz. Later, on the social networks, prefixing my initials made for a short and sweet username.
It's your first time working on a music video. How is it different from what you've done before in terms of your creative process?
I've been experimenting with 3D animations for a while and normally after each piece I search my music archive to find the right soundtrack. This year I started making my own music using the Garage Band app on my phone. So now it works both ways — music for the concept or concept for the music.
You first met The Analog Girl after watching her performance at Nick Knight's SHOWstudio in 2007. What were your first impressions of her music?
I photographed Mei's performance, which not only sounded great but looked beautiful. I remember deep electric blues and reds — oriental tech. I found her later to give her my photo prints and chatter about fashion and music. I'm a big fan of electronic music and I loved her show.
What do you like about 'More Than You Know'?
I love the '80s electronic vibe to her song. I'd like to hear an extended dance mix and as soon as the video goes live I'm going to suggest that to some Ibiza-based music producers I know.
Could you tell us more about the garments seen in the video? How did they play a role?
There are a few concepts I've been developing lately; how would flowers wear designer fashion? Marc Jacobs and Fendi AW16 inspired the textures and forms of some of the movies. Another idea is about visualizing the impossible so you see dresses catwalking without models, made from glass and carbon fibre mesh. I'm also obsessed with making flowers dance, and currently bringing all my ideas together to create concepts for Laura's Fantasy Flower Show.
What are some of your favourite animated music videos?
Music is my medicine and mostly one-dimensional through my ears, because I'm using my eyes for other things. It's years since I had a TV so I don't see many videos these days. Here are a few of my recent faves:
'Sphynx' by La Femme
'Allumette' by Samyel
'Virtual Actors in Chinese Opera' by Tobias Gremmler
What do you wish to see more of in music videos?
Fun. I recently discovered this old gem. I find it absolutely charming.
What do you look forward to as fashion embraces the digital age? You see it in brands employing various elements like avatars or holograms. What's next?
Yes this excites me a lot. Fashion creates so much surplus excess so the more landfill we can substitute with digital the better. As far as I'm concerned, avatars, holograms and virtual should replace as much as possible, to max out the creative, and minimise the mindless waste.
Lastly, are you more analog or digital?
I'm flexible and work with what I've got. If there's no connection I'm more than happy to switch off. When it comes to creating; digital is quite definitely my favourite medium. It's environmentally and sustainably clean, infinitely editable and takes up no space. I'm a minimalist and like to travel, so storing my prolific creative endeavours in the cloud or on disc suits me well; zero baggage.