Audiofemme first encountered the otherworldly “doom pop” of Death Hags back in 2018, when we interviewed the project’s mastermind Lola G. in anticipation of her debut LP. Since then, the Los Angeles-based artist has been chipping away on her prolific Big Grey Sun series, self-released on her own imprint of the same name. 2020 saw installments #1 and #2, and Big Grey Sun #3 drops on May 13. Today we premiere single “Future Now,” off a limited edition Bandcamp-only lathe-cut 7-inch that’s available for pre-order this Friday, May 7.
Lola describes the Big Grey Sun series as “an ongoing experience, a sort of quest or underworld journey.” Initially she intended the third installment to espouse a more hopeful, spring-like energy to follow #2, which she described as “nocturnal, like the darkest moment before dawn or the Balsamic moon,” but the pandemic threw a wrench in that vision. While she says she works well in isolation, the pandemic forced her to reevaluate all her work-in-progress tracks to make sense of what the third volume should be in light of our new context. The result was far more existential.
“In the end it coalesced around the idea of a sense of place, the land, belonging,” Lola explains. “We’re living in a time of great technological change with new space exploration, the metaverse, synthetic biology, and yet we have a powerful longing for a simpler world, with everyone baking sourdough bread or nerding out on cottagecore. There’s something fundamental going on. If we do colonize the moon or Mars, at some point people will be indigenous to that land – but will they feel that they belong there? And once we successfully create synthetic beings, will they have a sense of place? That’s what #3 is about.”
While she intended to include “Future Now” on Big Grey Sun #3, she ultimately felt it didn’t align with her new vision of the release. “I’ve had the bass line forever and the lyrics came together last summer, when it felt like we had finally entered the 21st century,” she says. “People are ready to create a new future and they want it now. I have a lot of affection for this track and I think it will probably be on Big Grey Sun #5 or #6, but I didn’t want to wait to release it – it felt like a 2021 track.” And besides, who knows what our world will look like by the time we make it to volumes 5 and 6?
On the track, Lola’s characteristically haunting, layered vocals float above grungy, almost psychedelic riffs. As she soars into the chorus, the tempo picks up in such a way that we feel as though we’re zooming into the new normal at supersonic speed. She writes and records nearly everything on her own except for drums, which she outsources to a friend. “I’ve toured by myself and also with a band,” she says. “The last tour I did was a hybrid, part band, part solo electronic set. I think that might have been too weird for most people.”
The weirdness is crucial for Death Hags, however, as Lola remains true to her unique vision and commitment to a DIY ethos. With the exception of one single released on Burger Records, she’s put out everything herself. “The DIY process is important to me. I need to be in control,” she explains. “I think labels can be wonderful but I haven’t felt the need to look for one yet.” The one downside, she notes, is the lack of access to physical distribution in record stores, but says that “Self-release is a very empowering thing to do for an artist. I saw a funny tweet the other day that read ‘you don’t need to get signed to Warp records bro, you need to drink more water.’”
If anything has changed in the last year – and a lot has – it’s that many consumers have begun to shop more consciously, to intentionally seek out and support independent artists, artisans, and creators. So do yourself, Death Hags, and DIY culture in general a favor and cop a pre-order of this new 7-inch on Friday, in anticipation of the Big Grey Sun #3 later this month. With your help, we might just make it to a better future. Or, at the very least, Big Grey Sun #5 and #6.
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