eGigs talks to Laura Bettinson aka Dimbleby & Capper

influences, producers, production, remixing, playing live, and Glastonbury on Friday 30 April 2010

Dimbleby & Capper is the solo project of the 22 year old Laura Bettinson from London. eGigs got a chance to speak to Laura about her music.

Your songs have a real electronic edge to them, reminding me a lot of the minimal stuff that acts such as The Knife produce, what influences have you taken into your music?
Everything and anything along the way. I was brought up on a lot of Motown and soul and then later fell into Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo, Pixies, The Crocketts, but when I reached Goldsmiths at 18, I fell back to Bjork, Laurie Anderson, Silver Apples, The Knife, Little Dragon, Camille. It's all in there somewhere.

Your song 'Structure', I think is a really fantastic piece, and listening to the lyrics, they come across as very personal. Do you find your music has become an outlet for your personal life?
It's like taking a glass vase, throwing it in the air and shooting it with a rifle. It makes lots of noise and shatters into a tiny pieces. There's usually a personal experience buried in there somewhere but usually the song and characters take on such a life of their own I sometimes forget what it was that started it.

You've worked with both Nigel Godrich and Liam Howe recently, how did you find that? Were both involved in the production of 'Slick Maturity', your new single?
Both very different and both very wonderful men. Liam is easy going and works quickly, Nigel is a challenge, he pushes very hard and harder until he gets the results he wants, usually by that point I'm a crumpled heap on the floor... or drunk.

Neither Liam or Nigel were involved in the production of "Slick Maturity", I produced the single myself from home, however if I had not been working with these two chaps alongside D&C, I have no doubt that the single would sound very different. All aspects of my life bleed in to my music, collaborative experiences like these provide me with a different perspective on my own work.

Your music has both a stylized and rough, organic sound. When producing your music, what do you set out to achieve?
I just set out to record it, usually badly! I have no formal training in studio work or recording- this usually raises a fair few eyebrows when it comes to the mixing stage. It's basically because, technically- I don't have a clue what I'm doing, but on the flip side, I feel I have a very strong sense of identity and signature 'sound' which is ever present in my music. I work under restrictions, I don't have 1001 instruments to choose from in a posh studio. I have a bashed up bass, a stolen floor tom, two Stylophones and a knack with electronic loops. Being limited like this lets me produce my work quickly, and lends more emphasis on the strength of the songwriting rather than the production. It's not shiny and It never will be... unless I go and do a music tech course.

At a time when solo, female singers, producing electronic music seems to be very popular, how do you feel you stand out amongst these acts such as Ellie Goulding and Marina & the Diamonds; what do you think makes you different?
Well I see Dimbleby & Capper as a much bigger project, with me being the glue that brings it together. I like the flexibility in it, I can still do solo shows where you see the bare bones on the project, where it all started from, but when joined live by the masked and hooded men, the whole thing takes on a different persona and we become very much a tribe on stage- I'll be the voodoo queen if you like. "The babe with the power, the power of voodoo, who do? You do..." and so on...

I'm also doing a bit of remixing for other bands, most recently Band of Skulls, and a bit of costume design for Goldsmiths bands. So you see, D&C is very much an umbrella under which I can carry out all the things I want to achieve and hopefully, earn a living from it. As for Ellie and Marina, well I'm just a bit more RAW. Unfettered by the hands of capitalism, jangling on the end of a free chain. For now...

How did this musical project come about? Where did it start for you?
It all stared when I came to Goldsmiths, before then I had been gigging under my own name around the Midlands with a piano. On reaching London I needed a way of packing my solo set into a suitcase, that's where the loopstation came in and so then was born Dimbleby & Capper. Me and him. Him and me. It was at that point when I introduced technology that I started to play with electronics and taking producing a bit more seriously. On finishing my degree June 2009, I literally took my degree show on tour, playing The Great Escape, Glastonbury, Latitude and in amongst that recorded a Maida Vale session for Huw Stephens at Radio 1. I couldn't have asked for more. Perfect.

How do you find playing live? Do you every worry about playing your music live, taking it to new people, or do you relish the opportunity?
I don't ever worry about playing live but some times I do get into the wrong head-space before a gig- usually when there's a big fuss being made about someone 'important' being in the crowd. I'm not bothered about that, I'm performing for the people who didn't expect to see us, I enjoy the challenge of reeling in new fans and keeping them hooked and putting on a good show for the others who have travelled specifically to get an ear and an eyeful.

Finally, you performed on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury last year. Watching the videos, you looked and sounded incredible. How was the experience for you? What are your festival plans for this summer?
It was amazing yet so very surreal. Not in my wildest dreams had I expected to play any festivals last year and then there we were at Glasto. I'd never been to Glastonbury either so to be playing it on the first time I went is pretty insane. This year we're hoping to play some of the smaller festivals, I'm currently doing a lot of writing and recording and so we may lie low this summer and actually attend some of the festivals as punters instead!

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article by: Anthony Hetherington

published: 30/04/2010 13:50

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