Laurel Halo’s last album, ‘Quarantine’, was a one of most distinctive releases of 2012, with hallmarks of propulsively strange melodies, strident vocals locked in skin-tight harmony and burbling blissful synths that led you somewhere between Björk and Aphex Twin.
Throw in obliquely coruscating lyrics about loss and paranoia and it was the kind of delicious record that kept on offering up surprises, paradoxes and intense excitement.
Had he not, there’s a good chance that he would never have written ‘Why Are You Crying?’, ‘Caramel’’s 6-minute drunken waltz that features sobbing where words should be. “And that’s real crying,” he says.
“It started as fake crying but became real crying.” I tell him that the track creeps me out a bit. He looks at me perplexed.
He says that he misses New Zealand and the very thing that most young people strive to get away from – the isolation of the place.
“It’s quite closed off to a lot of stuff,” he says. “Even with the Internet it takes a long time for things to reach there.
It’s just so far away, which is also good, because you feel completely isolated there, so I can go home and it’s like a retreat for me now.
“People always go New Zealand and go to Christchurch and Auckland, but they’re the worst two places. They’re the two biggest places, but you wouldn’t go to New Zealand to go to a city – that’s not what’s good about it.”
Then hair metal reached New Zealand television and Connan liked what he saw, if not what he Halo heard.
The long hair, the leggings, the sleeveless shirts, the Star Spangled bicycle shorts – his eyes had been opened to the dress up of pop.
“I didn’t particularly like the music, but I wanted to do that!” he says.
“Then Michael Jackson came along and I loved him like every kid did.Halo ”
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