Preparing for my chat with indie pop star Ladyhawke, I’m struck by a thought: by what name do I greet her? Ladyhawke sounds a bit formal. Perhaps Hawkey? The Hawkester? Thankfully, she’s happy to do away with the moniker in interviews.
You can just call me Pup! That’s Pip, not Pup -” charming as Pip Brown’s broad Kiwi accent is. The stage name, in case you were wondering, comes from the film of the same title. For those with a limited knowledge of ’80s cult fantasy flicks, Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer play cursed lovers who transform into animals on a daily basis, but never at the same time -” hence they can never be together, unless they want to get up to some freaky-ass bestiality shit.
Interestingly, the movie cost $20m to make, but only made $18m at the box office. Did Brown considering naming herself after a more commercially viable film -” perhaps Star Wars or Titanic?
Or Labyrinth! she laughs. I just thought the name sounded right for me. I liked the idea of the double life -“ that -˜one thing at night, another during the day’ idea suited me.
With Ladyhawke as her night persona, Brown has released a couple of the year’s best singles, both heavily influenced by the classic songwriting of the ’70s and ’80s. Indeed, first single Back Of The Van sounds like it belongs on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours -” yep, it’s that good. Brown admits she’s something of a devotee of the band.
I just love the whole Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks story, she sighs.
How they asked Lindsay to join the band, and he said, -˜Only if my girlfriend Stevie comes.’ I think that’s awesome!
The stories that you hear about Fleetwood Mac, all the crazy stuff -¦ you hear stories about how Stevie Nicks hired a person to blow cocaine up her arse with a straw -¦
You mean to tell me there’s no one on the Ladyhawke rider to blow cocaine up your bum?
God no! I think my rider contains beers and vodka -¦ maybe juice if I’m lucky.
Brown’s own pastimes are far removed from the rock star cliche.
Judging by the artwork on the Ladyhawke CD sleeves -” beautifully ragged sketches of felines in various poses -” it would appear that cats are one of her main interests.
I was always a dog person, she explains. I grew up with a wonderful dog, but my cat was this bastard shitty cat that used to scratch me on the face all the time.
But then I started meeting all these really amazing cats -¦ she sighs dreamily.
At this point, I feel it’s my duty to warn her that she’s beginning to sound a bit like the Crazy Cat Lady on The Simpsons.
Everyone jokes that that’s who I’m gonna turn into!
What with the women she’s been compared to -” among them Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar -” it’s only natural that Ladyhawke would develop something of a gay following.
I have noticed that, she says.
I had this big show in London, and my friend noted that the majority of the audience was really cute gay indie boys. Really cute ones, too! Funnily enough, I get real meathead jocks too. It’s really surprised me, cos I think, -˜How did I manage to branch over into that zone of human being?’
It would appear that the Ladyhawke sound is attracting quite a wide variety of admirers.
I had my first headline show recently, and the crowd was so diverse, it was such a mixed bag. There were even a couple of little kids in the audience.
Were there any cats?
There were no cats. I was a bit disappointed.
info: Ladyhawke will play the Greenwood Hotel in North Sydney on 24 August. Details: www.ladyhawkemusic.com.