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Lawrence Arabia

Lawrence Arabia

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Thursday 21st July, 2016 1:32PM

Award-winning balladeer James Milne aka Lawrence Arabia has just unveiled his fourth studio album Absolute Truth - a record that had Mike Fabulous on board as co-producer and was tracked entirely at plastic moulding factory in the Hutt Valley during the middle of the night - allowing the artists involved to snatch hours when the suburb was deserted so they could let loose to conjure up indie-pop gems sprung from Milne's mind.

To celebrate the release of this fantastic collection of songs, Milne will be making tracks around the country for seven shows, starting in Oamaru on Wednesday and winding up at the decrepitly charming Crystal Palace in Auckland at the end of the month. In anticipation we caught up with Milne to ask a few suitably esoteric questions and take a peek behind the curtains of Arabia. Listen to Absolute Truth while you read the interview below...

UTR: Hi there Mr Milne. It’s been a long time since we did an interview with you, 2011 I believe! How’s life been treating you in that time?

JM: Ups and downs, peaks and troughs. I've had a child. Some people died. I wrote some songs!

Can you tell us a little bit about the new album, any themes or ideas that tie it together as a collection of songs?

Looking back at all the lyrics it seems to be something of a personal memoir. It definitely has the feeling of reviewing things up until this point, taking stock etc.

What’s the story behind the title Absolute Truth?

It's a lyric from the song 'O Heathcote' that just jumped out at me as being a bold and audacious statement when used in isolation.

Speaking of titles, we’ve taken the titles of your songs and turned them in to questions to learn a little bit more about what makes Lawrence Arabia tick….

At the side of A LAKE is a great spot to relax, what’s your favourite place to kick back and chill with loved ones?

Sneaking out to Auckland's Hamilton Beach on a hot summer's day, midweek, is always pretty life affirming.

There’s a certain SWEET DISSATISFACTION in complaining about a pet peeve. Tell us about your biggest bugbear?

I'm becoming increasingly neurotic about the sound of other people eating.

What’s your favourite tune to spin to get people moving on THE OLD DANCEFLOOR??

Ike and Tina Turner's 'I Can't Believe What You Say'.

I WASTE MY TIME everyday by mucking around on my cellphone. What’s your worst procrastination crime??

Well just the same as most people really – squandering huge swathes of time depressing myself with injustice and ignorance online.

I also like to do crosswords to keep the old thinker active, do you have a favourite BRAIN GYM activity?

Reading – a paper book with no capability of connection to the brain destroying internet.

O HEATHCOTE, I’m guessing is a reference to the Christchurch suburb. What’s your connection to the place?

It's the river rather than the suburb. My in-laws live in Opawa so I often take a walk around a track that follows the river in Hansen Park. On one of these walks I sketched out the lyrics for the second verse of this song and thus it took its name.

How do you envision the world to look in ANOTHER CENTURY?

It makes me sick and sad to consider it.

Whenever I go to the beach I feel like I am THE PALEST OF THEM ALL. Are you a sun worshipper or a shade slinker?

Definitely a shade slinker.

Your MASK OF MATURITY… are you more inclined to wear it, or misplace it?

I try and wear it, but it's slipping off constantly.

WHAT BECAME OF THAT ANGRY YOUNG MAN, sounds like the title of a familiar parable. Are there any fables from your childhood that have stuck with you?

Not really sure if it counts as a fable, but Roald Dahl's The Witches lingers in my memory for the disgusting images of the witches taking off their wigs and shoes, revealing their itchy bald scalps and square toeless feet.

Lawrence Arabia ~ Absolute Truth Album Release Tour

Wednesday 13th July, Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru
Thursday 14th July, Sherwood, Queenstown
Friday 15th July, Maori Hill Coronation Hall, Dunedin
Saturday 16th July, Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Friday 22th July, Cabana, Napier
Saturday 23th July, San Fran, Wellington
Friday 29th July, Crystal Palace, Auckland

Tickets are available HERE at UTR

UnderTheRadar have a Lawrence Arabia 'Absolute Truth' prize pack to give away, head over here to enter the draw.


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