Cross sections of identity with the emphatically talented songwriter...

As Gen Z kids finally come of age, bedroom artists born of the Soundcloud and Bandcamp era are starting to dominate modern popular music. Their worlds are crafted carefully, crouching over the fire of their creativity, summoning sounds from the past and the future via the internet to make something entirely their own.

Lauren Auder is one such artist, born out of teenage bedroom sessions where they learnt to meld their love of hip-hop, electronica, and the celestial strings of Scott Walker into something raw and dark and reverent.

And it was during these confusing times growing up, shut away from the world in their bedroom that Auder began to make sense of all the layers of songwriting, including lyricism.

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“I think I was lucky in the sense that I was brought up in a place from the age of seven where I didn’t speak the language,” Auder tells me over the phone, as we speak about their childhood in Albi, France, “as I had to inherently learn that passion [for words].” This view of language as a way of navigating discomfort has definitely informed Auder’s lyrical style on their work so far. EP ‘Who Carry’s You’ and new release ‘two caves in’ see Auder create worlds full of gothic religious imagery and ethereal mysticism as a way of making sense of the uncertainty of coming of age and finding one’s self.

“In a lot of ways,” says Auder when speaking about the topics explored on ‘two caves in’, “it reads like a diary of where I was at that particular time in my life, eighteen turning nineteen, so not exactly as symbolic as it could have been if I was only turning eighteen…but I was just coming through my first year of moving to London. It was very much that time in my life where I was making decisions of who I wanted to be and how I wanted to get there and it made sense to just make a record about that.”

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Inspired by Romantic poets such as William Blake, Auder says that they were interested in using Gothic and Romantic imagery not just for poetry’s sake but to demonstrate the high emotional plane on which these encounters take place. The English Romantic poets’ manifesto rings true for Auder: exploring the common man’s troubles through sublime symbolism.

“These first two records were about how in a lot of art and media, those experiences that you have as a younger person are sometimes shown as simply stepping stones towards something bigger, that you’ll look back on as something insignificant in the future, but it doesn’t feel like that at the time!” insists Lauren. “They feel like these cataclysmic and biblical events in your life, coming to terms with who you are, and your heart breaks and your first disappointments in your self and in others. I always wanted to talk about the emotions that are [explored] in fanfics but with the respect and grandiosity that you get from epic poems.”

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This is particularly true of ‘june 15’ - the evocative opening track on ‘two caves in’ - which sees typical teenage actions, such as driving in cars all night and talking for hours on the phone, juxtaposed against images of birth and death, showing how first love can make you or kill you. The track’s undulating celestial strings, both delicate and euphoric, capture the feverish excitement of it all, their unsteadiness reminding us of the pain that waits beneath the beauty. Those going through the transition of teenager to adult, and experiencing love for the first time, will no doubt see their extreme emotions mirrored in the song.

“I definitely wanted the EP to be of company for listeners,” says Auder, ‘through those experiences and that transition.” It is an earnest sensibility that Auder shares with emo acts of the early 2000s – namely My Chemical Romance - who allowed so many misunderstood teens to feel seen, the high drama of their songs validating their fans’ extreme depths of feelings.

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Clash asks Auder if this influence is something they were aware of when writing: “There was a sincerity to those emo artists, in how it talked to listeners on a real level and took their emotions seriously which is something that I see as really important and beautiful. It’s definitely something that I want to convey in my work, so there’s certainly a similarity there if we’re talking about the emotional aspect of it…but these things come with so much baggage that I would be reluctant to put a label on it.”

Labels and genre are a redundant way of describing an artist who deals first and foremost in raw, unbridled emotion, the music and style of their work only there to capture a mood. However, Lauren Auder admits that this way of working, where their personal experiences are at the forefront of their work, can be an uncomfortable experience, leaving them to be stripped bare in front of the listener.

“It is extremely vulnerable to discuss personal struggles [through songwriting] as you open yourself up to feeling weak and nude in a very true sense but it has to be that way - all the art I have ever loved is like that. I approach a lot of the music I make from the perspective of a big music fan, someone who wants to give back what they have gotten out of it.”

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Lauren Auder's new EP 'Two Caves In' is out now.

Words: Eleanor Philpot
Photography: John P Heyes
Fashion: Matt King

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