Music / Features
They Made Me Do It -
Talking Influences with Lorelei
Words by James Lynch
Wednesday July 8th, 2020
Off the back of the release of their new single today, we caught up with Sydney duo Lorelei to dive into the inspiration behind ‘Pale’, their latest dose of immersive and intoxicating dream-pop.
While Lorelei’s first two singles were propelled by upbeat grooves and inviting hooks, embedding an instantly joyous feel into their signature dream-pop sound, ‘Pale’ finds the duo exploring their more stormy tendencies. Although the swirling soundscape is as ethereal as ever, the atmosphere manages to feel just as turbulent, making the entire track a disorientating and darkly compelling listen.

Lush with gleaming synthesisers and textural guitar chords, ‘Pale’ opens into a muggy wall of sound over a steady slowgaze groove, suddenly dripping with nostalgia. As the layers swirl and tangle, vocalist Claudia Schmidt emerges from the haze, her voice elusively rich as she weaves a languorous melody through the fluctuating instrumentation. Anchored by a vintage pop backbone, the track expands at the chorus as Claudia’s vocals soar, her brooding melodies turning uplifting and poignant.

Heavy with emotion, ‘Pale’ somehow feels subtle and delicate yet undeniably powerful at once, these contradicting temperaments complementing the track’s themes. As the band explain, “‘Pale’ traces a lingering obsession with memory following the demise of a relationship - it’s about how a longing for what we can no longer reach can be both terrible and beautiful.” Naturally so, as the weight of the song washes over us as its conclusion, we’re left in a slightly dazed state, completely engrossed by the mixture of light and darkness that Lorelei have so masterfully conjured.

To dig a little deeper into ‘Pale’, we had the band talk us through some of the key influences on their sound.

Cocteau Twins
‘Pale’ is a strange song to talk about where it came from in so far as, ‘Pale’, more than the rest of our songs, wears its influences directly on its sleeve. Just as we drew our band name from a Cocteau Twins song, 'Pale' sounds to us most like a it could be a Cocteau Twins song. We owe so much to that band, to say we love them is an understatement.

The end. (Kidding. But it could totally end here).

Roy Harper - 'Another Day'
Lyrically, ‘Pale’ was inspired by a 1970 song by Roy Harper called ‘Another Day’. The song describes a regret-filled encounter between two past lovers who meet again in the future. I was inspired by the beauty and tragedy of the idea that at times we are compelled to leave behind things we love. “I loved you a long time ago/Where the winds own forget-me-nots blow/But I just couldn’t let myself go/Not knowing what on earth there was to know.” In a way, ‘Pale’ is that same story, told from the moment of first leaving. The narrator, forever turning their head back at the gate, is already in proleptic mourning. Uncoincidentally ‘Another Day’ was covered by This Mortal Coil in 1984 with Elizabeth Frazer from the Cocteau Twins on vocals. It was also covered by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel in 1979.

Rainer Maria Rilke

At the time of writing ‘Pale’ I was also reading Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke. In the book’s introduction there is a line about the gates of solitude. The image really stuck with me. I think somehow that gate found its way into lyrics of ‘Pale’ and came to represent that moment of leaving.

David Lynch
Though it wasn’t a conscious influence at the time of writing ‘Pale’, it is an enduring influence in general. David Lynch - sonically, visually, and emotionally. The songs he and Angelo Badementi wrote for Julee Cruise, as well as the for his films and shows, have always been hugely influential. People often say ‘Pale’ sounds like it could be from Twin Peaks.

Dive Bell
At the time of writing ‘Pale’, we would regularly go and see fellow Sydney band Dive Bell playing shows. We always felt so inspired to do our own music after watching them play, so you could say there is a bit of that influence in ‘Pale’. Fast forward a year, and we ended up having two members of Dive Bell in our band and one playing on the record.

The Cure
Particularly Disintegration-era Cure, songs like ‘Plainsong’ had an influence. So much so that I bought a 6 string bass. You can hear it on ‘Pale' during the outro.

Volume Pedal

Also, it wouldn’t have sounded the same without my volume pedal. It brings the swirls.
Lose yourself amidst 'Pale' above, and keep up to date with Lorelei by following them below.