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Ladyhawke talks Time Flies, mental health and The Last Of Us II

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Bursting onto the scene in 2008 with the release of her self-titled debut album, New Zealand-based Pip Brown has been making waves as Ladyhawke for 13 years now. Its lead single, My Delirium, was an instant hit, reaching the top 50 in the UK charts, selling over 70,000 copies in Australia and peaking at number nine in the New Zealand charts. Her latest album, Time Flies, arrives on Friday 19 November, marking the beginning of a fresh yet distinctly familiar era of dreamy pop.

Openly out as gay, Pip has long been championing LGBTQI representation in pop music. But when Pip first started performing solo, she was advised to keep her sexuality a secret. Married to actor, director, comedian and musician Madeleine Sami since 2015, it’s no longer hush hush. “My management and label told me not to tell anyone because they told me it would ruin my career. I remember saying, ‘What do you mean? I’ve been out for years’. It was a horrible feeling. I downward spiralled, and I was so angry. Over the year of touring when this was happening, I wasn’t able to talk about it. Where I am now is a completely different place, and a lot has changed since I made my first record,” she says.

Things haven’t always been easy for Pip. For much of her musical career, she’s navigated intense battles with her mental health. Her sophomore album, Anxiety, closely narrated these experiences. “That whole album was riddled with depression and anxiety. Every song was something to do with my struggle with it. This record, this time around, has been very different. I’m seven years sober, and I’ve been on a long journey of trying to get my mental health in order.”

When she first burst onto the scene, she needed an ally. Feeling as though she didn’t fit in, she was quickly inspired by the likes of Peaches. They quickly became close friends, with their bond doing much for the development of a newfound openness for Pip. “She was a massive inspiration in queer culture for me. She helped me figure myself out, and then I got to know her through my Ladyhawke stuff. Meeting her and having her influence in my life was really important. She was like an oracle. I didn’t feel that anyone knew what to do with me. I didn’t fit, and she told me, ‘You’re just yourself. That’s why people like you’.”


Keeping with the times, Pip is embracing the internet to reach out to her fans. A big fan of gaming, she’s been streaming on Twitch and using the LGBTQIA+ hashtag on Discord to connect with her queer fans, creating a safe space for discussion and gaming alike. “I’d say three-quarters of those in the Discord are LGBTQIA+. It’s been incredible. There are a lot of people that come and chat and tell me, ‘I saw you play Manchester in 2012’. It’s so cool to have this instant interaction with them – it’s brought me closer to my fans than ever before.”

It was cult game, The Last Of Us II, that began Pip’s gaming journey: she became inspired by how inclusive the game was, featuring both a trans and gay character. “I am really inspired by video games. At the end of the original The Last Of Us, you learn that Ellie is gay and that she has a girlfriend. I have never been so blown away by a game – the central character is this amazing, strong, queer woman who has so many flaws. You just love her and you’re so angry at her at the same time.”

In many ways, the release of Time Flies is a full-circle moment for Pip. “I think it’s my favourite record so far. It’s definitely standalone. It’s fun and upbeat with some more reflective moments, but I’d say it’s probably more in line with my first record than anything else. It’s got a slightly different sound – it’s very nostalgic and retro-sounding,” she says. “Nostalgia was a huge part of this. The record was split between LA and New Zealand because of Covid – one half is dreamy and reflective, and the other half is quite cheeky and mischievous. They mix really well together, and the whole record tells a story.” 


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