Sydney musician Le Pie’s upcoming sophomore EP ‘Sad Girl Theory’ is inspired by American visual artist, Audrey Wollen’s work. A theory that celebrates female sadness and see’s it as uniting and empowering women rather than an experience that we should be ashamed of.
We’re premiering ‘White Walls & Promises,’ the first music video off the EP directed by Hannah Dougherty. Hannah and Le Pie sat down to interview each other about the collaboration, dreams and childhood.
Hannah: Have you ever written a song based on a dream?
Le Pie: No, not directly, but I have definitely woken up in the middle of the night with lyrics in my head-super inconvenient for someone already suffering from insomnia!
Hannah: Do you have a dream that has stuck with you from childhood?
Le Pie: Yes, I grew up on a farm in Mullumbimby and we had this amazing Jacaranda tree at the back of our house on top of a hill. I once dreamt about running off the edge of that hill and into full flight, it was an amazing dream that I’ve never forgotten!
Hannah: Have you ever had a reoccurring dream?
Le Pie: Yes, I had one throughout my whole childhood of a confrontation with a witch on a pathway to my house. Who knows what kind of messed up metaphor that is!? Actually the lighting in the dream was very similar to the lighting in the clip we just made!
Hannah: Did you have any nightmares about Tel’s character, ‘the suited man’ from the film clip?
Le Pie: Haha, no I didn’t, but that’s probably because he freaked me out enough on set!
Hannah: Was it always your dream to be a musician?
Le Pie: No, it actually never occurred to me. I went through a stage of thinking I would grow up to be a Care Bear hah. From a super young age I said I would grow up to be a visual artist, which is what I ended up studying at uni, but music has been something I’ve done forever without any formal training or thought really so maybe its natural I ended up falling into it?
Hannah: Is there a singer that has always inspired you?
Le Pie: I absolutely love Joni Mitchell, not so much for her production style, but the way she can use her words to form an image in the mind of the listener.
Hannah: How did you feel when you first read the treatment of the video?
Le Pie: To be totally honest, I cried! Which is kind of fitting for the track. It was so beautiful and I felt so much gratitude to be working alongside someone that was so serious about their craft and in turn saw the value in my craft also.
Hannah: What was the hardest part of the shoot for you?
Le Pie: Definitely the end scene, having to tap into such a traumatic time in my life was really difficult – I’m not an actor, so once I opened that wound it stayed open for a few days afterwards.
Hannah: What was your favourite part of the shoot?
Le Pie: Getting to work on a creative project with my son, Noah. He’s an extremely talented kid in many areas so it was really great for us to both be working on the same project at the same time, especially when the story is so personal to both of us.
Hannah: If you could perform on any stage, what would it be?
Le Pie: It’s very close to home, but it’s always been a dream of mine to perform at the Sydney Opera House. It’s such an iconic building and I’ve seen so many amazing bands and performances there.
Le Pie: The treatment you wrote for the, White Walls and Promises, clip is based on a dream sequence, is it similar to any dreams you have had?
Hannah: A lot of the video is based on dream tropes so aspects of it are quite similar to some dreams that I’ve had. I did have a dream in which I lost all my teeth, my dad was there and he told me to pick them all up and he was pretty annoyed about it. But my dad is very nice, I think in real life he would have taken me to the hospital.
Le Pie: Do you have a dream from childhood that has remained with you?
Hannah: I had a great dream in which I was a Super Mario character, not sure why that one has stuck with me.
Le Pie: Have you ever had a reoccurring dream?
Hannah: I’ve had a few dreams about Ewan McGregor, sometimes he helps me out with things like taxes but a lot of the time he’s just there standing around while Angelina Jolie talks on and on about her dad’s new car.
Le Pie: Name one childhood dream you feel you’ve already fulfilled
Hannah: I had three goals when I was a child, one was to be a cat, the other was to be a fairy and the third was to be a bus driver. I have not fulfilled any of them.
Le Pie: Who has been the biggest influence on your style?
Hannah: That’s a hard one, I do a lot of animation as well which is very different to my live action work and each project is influenced by different people. The style of this particular video was inspired mostly by David Lynch.
Le Pie: If you had an unlimited budget, time frame and cast, what would be the ultimate film you would shoot?
Hannah: This changes every day, but at the moment it’s a reverse X-Files live action feature in which an alien detective in a faraway galaxy searches for the truth about humans after spotting a rocket ship and in the process he discovers the magic of dance. The film ends with an astronaut landing in the street closely followed by a choreographed dance routine involving aliens dressed as the Village People.
Le Pie: What was your reaction when you first heard the track, White Walls and Promises?
Hannah: I thought that the song was beautiful and I could imagine you singing it in a moody bar.
Le Pie: Is how the film clip turned out, what you had envisioned for it from the start?
Hannah: Yes I think so, I worked with the things I already had at my disposal and I was very lucky to have Bree Umbers (the production designer) who is very motivated and hard working and just generally a genius to help me bring it all to life as well as an amazing cast and crew who managed to create exactly what I was imagining. They are a truly talented group of people.
Le Pie: What was your favourite part of shooting the clip?
Hannah: I had to choreograph a dance for Tel and Madeleine and it was pretty great watching them perform it on the stage (it was very basic choreography on my part, I’m not much of a dancer, they are definitely the ones who made it work).
Le Pie: What was the hardest/most stressful part of shooting the clip?
Hannah: The most stressful part would definitely be at the end of the second night of shooting when we found out that the camera had glitched and wiped all of the footage from that shoot (half the video) and then waiting for a few weeks to see if the data could be retrieved which thankfully it was. That was a bit of a nightmare.
Le Pie: What’s your most recent dream (daydream or sleeping dream) that you feel may influence your next project?
Hannah: I’m daydreaming 80% of the time (I stopped to stare off into the distance at least 5 times just while answering this question) and I think most of my projects come from daydreams, that’s probably why I have so many projects that are logistically very difficult. I daydream about space a lot and I think that will influence a few future films.