“It feels like I’m starting as a new artist again”.
With her EP Ghostworld out now, British artist Lauren Aquilina isn’t digging up the past; she’s carving out a musical legacy.
Opening with the punchy lyric ‘I planned my boyfriends’ death, I decided that it’s best we die together’, the seven-track collection is a sonic (and spiritual) journey of complexity and refracted sentiment that lays dormant within the artists’ mind no longer. The demons are clawing their way out, and they’re going to leave marks.
From the dampened raincloud of Fuckedupminddd, and the grief of Latest Ghost to the insatiably catchy Psycho (which is essentially a giant red flag in sonic form), Aquilina encounters phantoms of her past head-on, summoning past relationships and friendships gone sour into an immensely mature and cathartic body of work.
“I try to avoid the whole ‘working with the boyfriend thing’,” says Lauren, as we chat a few days prior to Ghostworld’s release. “He’s a great producer. And we were also working with my roommate in L.A., Caroline, who’s an amazing songwriter. We’d never written as the three of us. We started doing that every day in lockdown and just having the most fun… and writing the favourite songs I’ve ever written”.
Conceived fully as a reality in June, Lauren admits that this project is the first time she feels like an artist since she was seventeen years old. “It’s a really magical feeling to like wake up thinking about it, be thinking about it before I went to sleep and be in full-on artist mode”.
“Of course I fucking miss you, I really thought we were sisters” she sings on Best Friend, a macabre love letter to somebody who has failed immensely with their duties as a source of life-support. The knife is spun and twisted inwards on Swap Places, a millennial anthem to spiritual discomfort; apt for the year that has transpired.
With Psycho, a previously-released track and a lighter, jokier take on a finality of a romantic relationship, Lauren allows herself to be fully unleashed and hit that red button into full toxicity.
“It was about a month after we [her & ex-boyfriend] broke up and I’d been doing alright up until that point, and then for some reason on this one night I cracked, and broke down. The next thing I knew I was in an Uber on the way to his house like… ‘what the fuck am I doing’. I sat outside on his front step crying until he found me out there”.
“It wasn’t until a few months later when I had some distance from it, that I was able to write about it in a funny way. I love that song, and it’s so fun to play live. I’m channelling it into some of the new music I’m writing now”.
Ghostworld heralds the beginning of a new path for Lauren, as she reveals she plans to reveal new music more consistently than ever before. Already working on new music with bigger production, more guitar-influences, and a ‘band-y, grungy vibe’, there may be no crystal ball that can predict days to come, but they shine bright for the artist to even the dimmest of observers.
“There was a little bitchy, angry song called Leave Her that almost made the EP” says Lauren, as we flit in between track-by-track analysis and more abstract points of discussion, such as her obsession with looking into the past to the point of romantic-fixation. And then, we observe the cultural and personal impacts of Ghostworld, a truly haunting body of work that will leave you icy, and give you nightmares, but which you’ll find yourself daydreaming of in days to come.
“It’s very different to any project I’ve put out so far, which is very exciting. I think that this EP is my most honest work to date. It feels like just the beginning of finding my sound… being at an age where I have the confidence and experience under my belt to do that comfortably”.
As much as Ghostworld is a new step for music, Lauren has teamed with partner Georgie to launch Girl & Repertoire, a collective hub of support for girls & women in the music industry. Aiming to become a pillar of support for aspiring artists and songwriters, the pair intend to launch G&R and build a community of creatives that will hark a new dawn, one of strength, and unity.
With personal mentorship (“If you’re a young singer-songwriter and you get paired with me, then once a month I’ll facetime you, and talk with you about how music is going, you can ask any questions, you can ask about publishing deals, managers, and I can advise”) along with online resources, you can expect a wealth of success.
Keep your eyes peeled over on Instagram here, and grab your sage for your post-Ghostworld exorcism.