Looking for a contemporary Bowie-esque chameleon to throw your musical admiration towards? Look no further than LA native, Lawrence Rothman, a shape-shifting visionary with nine alter egos and a distinct vocal sound mired in soulful reflection.
Rothman’s new single, the brooding Ain’t Afraid of Dying, features a video directed by Floria Sigismondi (David Bowie, Björk, Marilyn Manson, Justin Timberlake, The Handmaids Tale). It’s the latest track from his soon to be released debut album, The Book of Law, which is out on October 13 and features guest slots from Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), and Dennis Hamm (Thundercat), amongst others.
We spoke to Rothman about the new video (watch above) and his forthcoming album.
This – you – are like nothing we’ve seen before: so inventive, creative, steeped in the best of 80s pop, but heartbreakingly melancholic at the same time. It seems like you view each new release as an opportunity to unleash your wildest creative visions. Tell us about the ideas and inspirations that inspired both the recording of Ain’t Afraid of Dying and the video that accompanies it.
Ain’t Afraid of Dying for my album, I went to East West studios in Los Angeles with a band Justin Raisen (the producer) and I put together – one musician being Carla Azar, the drummer of Autolux.
“The rest of my record was recorded in my home studio but on this one song the session ended with a blow-out fist fight between two of the musicians on the recording.
“The take we used on the final recording was the one where you can hear them starting to fight. Literally, when the take ended they threw punches. We got kicked out of the studio and it was a completely fucked up experience.”
It’s an all-star cast that you assembled for the recording and the video. Yet, apparently, you knew none of the musicians beforehand. Was there any trepidation approaching your wish list of session players and how did those conversations go down?
“I had this crazy dream in late 2014 before I started my album of recording a session that was inside a space shuttle. It was a bizarre dream. Many of the musicians I ended up collaborating with were in this dream. So I put together my ‘dream’ of list of musicians I wanted to collaborate with. Being a solo artist, I don’t have a ‘band’ and I like to record the basic tracks with a band playing.
“My producer Justin Raisen literally cold-called musicians and made it happen. Many of them have since become friends. I am honored to have so many talented people that I highly respect play on my album.”
There’s a Bowie-esque chameleon feel to your persona/s. It’s magnificent! How do the various alters manifest within you and when/how frequently are they each presented to the outside world?
“I have always worn my different personalities on my sleeve. Since I can remember, 10 maybe, I am constantly changing. I’m totally yin and yang, changing my mind, mood, and ideas everyday.
“My inner family have always sort of gone along and understood this about me. I never show up to dinner looking the same way twice.”
Tell us about 3 artists and/or photographers that are blowing your mind right now?
Tell us about 3 bands or producers/musicians that we’ve probably never heard of but should?