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May 20, 2013 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

An Interview with Luckless

It’s already common knowledge among my flatmates that I giggle like a three-year-old watching Finding Nemo when I’m around cool people that I want to be friends with. It was thus no surprise to them that my interview with Ivy Rossiter, a.k.a. Luckless, consisted mainly of me being a dweeb and emerging from the process with a massive girl-crush on one of the most dedicated songwriters I’ve ever had the pleasure of embarrassing myself in front of.

Luckless is currently traversing the country for her Ballads and Badlands tour, which she is co-headlining with Nadia Reid. The name of the tour reveals much about the music you can expect to hear from the artists. “We both write and will be performing relatively mellow sets this time around. Ballads can be not necessarily sad songs, but the slower, more reflective side of writing,” says Ivy. And as for ‘Badlands’? “There’s that feeling you get sometimes when you’re on tour and you’re driving through these vast expanses of countryside… When you’re driving through the Desert Road or you’re driving across the Lindis Pass there’s this sense of emptiness and openness and space. And besides, it just sounded really good with ‘Ballads’.”

By my own estimations, the name of the tour is a pertinent summation of Luckless’ music. The melancholy of her songs sometimes begs the question “Who made Ivy so sad and where do they live so I can say mean things to them?!” Fortunately, Miss Rossiter reassured me that her songs aren’t necessarily based on factual events: “Some of them are autobiographical, but not all of them. When I say ‘autobiographical’, I mean they start from one idea that’s come out of something recent that’s happened and then I build the song around it… and then there are others which have absolutely nothing to do with my life and are from a completely different scenario. There’s one on my record called ‘Fermina Daza’ which is entirely about a character in a book by Gabriel García Márquez called Love in the Time of Cholera.”

Considering some of my own experiences (Rockquest 2010 hollaaa), I was intrigued to find out how Luckless handles the challenges of performing such personal material in what are often very intimate settings. It seems she has managed to successfully internalise the 2012 mantra of Keep Calm and Carry On, reasoning that “It’s much better in an intimate setting. It’s really difficult if you’re in a bar full of people who want to party and have a good time and drink, and I’m just really not what they’re interested in at all… We’ve got some really cool venues, including The Moorings in Wellington which is one of the best spaces because everyone’s so in awe of the room itself; they’re automatically more inclined to be quiet and be listening. I hate the idea of demanding that an audience just sits there and listens, so I try at the same time to do my very best to give them something that they might actually want to listen to.” Wise, wise words.

On that note, I wanted to know one great reason why us Wellingtonians should check out the Ballads and Badlands tour. Ivy’s response was that “We’ve got a really strong show overall.”

But to be honest, she didn’t need to convince me in the first place. The depth of thought and passion that goes into crafting her music is what the majority of artists hope to impart to their listeners, and it is entirely salient with Luckless.


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