Ladyhawke - Magic

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Ladyhawke chose the song Magic as some of her best work.

Magic was released on her self titled album in 2008.

Some Of My Best Work is a podcast hosted by Jane Rocca, music and culture journalist.

Guests nominate one specific work they feel is some of their best.

The text below is a partial transcript from Ladyhawke’s episode of Some of My Best Work. 

It’s been edited for length and clarity.

Magic was one of the very last songs I wrote, for my first record, it might have been the last song.

I think the two last songs I wrote were Morning Dreams and Magic.

Those two songs for me I’m really proud of because the way my whole first record came about was really intense for me. 

I started off doing demos in Sydney and it just sort of spiraled. I ended up in London and was doing writing sessions with people and felt like I was over my head.

I went through writing the record and discovering myself as a writer at the same time.

By the time it came to writing Magic, I had developed a relationship with Pascal Gabriel who’s the producer I worked with on half of that recording and all of my second record, we became really good friends.

I think that relationship developing and me sort of figuring out my confidence as a songwriter.

That’s the point where I wrote Magic

I feel like it was almost was some space that opened up.

It’s just me and Pascal and we know each other and we can have some fun with this. It felt more comfortable. 

2007 I was writing the record and I’m pretty certain I wrote Magic right towards the end of the year, it was almost too late.

I already had enough tracks on the album, but I felt like there was more which I’m glad I did.

Because from memory the three last ones were Another Runaway, Morning Dreams and Magic.

I’ve never really talked about the meaning behind that song. But that’s sort of about a new relationship and the sort of way you get drawn into something.

Then for me all of a sudden I was living overseas.

I’d started a new relationship, but I was living far away and having to figure out how to how to navigate that and put it into song form.

I went through a really awful breakup and a new relationship all around the same time. But it is what it is and it’s sort of spurred on an album and it was hard.

I went through a really hard time writing that album, it was like a mental roller coaster.

Going through all that personal stuff, trying to write an album and also trying to navigate a music industry where I knew nothing about it.

I felt quite on my own, I was in London for the first time. I think all of those factors contributed to the record and especially Magic. 

For me Magic was, I’m not gonna say I’d come out the other side, but it was definitely a little moment of calm for me.

I was sort of finally starting to get used to living in London, I’d made some friends and I was feeling a little bit better about things when I wrote that track.

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Listen to this story on Some of My Best Work, a free weekly podcast hosted by music journalist Jane Rocca.

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

The way me and Pascal wrote that song is the way I still write to this day, it’s a formula. That sounds crazy calling it a formula but it’s a way I love writing that works for me.

Where you mess around with sounds, music and beats you do it till you have something you’d love. I do the beat in the track first then melody and lyrics last. Then I did the guitar but I think I might have done that after I’d put the vocals on.

I definitely know that the way I wrote Magic is a blueprint for me for the way I write every song now.

That’s also why that song is so important to me, because I think it was a big realisation for me in as far as songwriting goes. 

Magic is the opening track when I play live. The intro is quite long, so we draw it out to make it more dramatic live. It’s definitely one of my favourite songs to play, it’s a great way to start.

I love that feeling when you hear a song from your childhood, and a song that you loved when you’re a kid.

For me, that was like listening to tons of different sorts of music. Then as an adult, you hear it in the feeling you get is this wave of nostalgia. I get this butterfly feeling in my stomach and I just get all these memories and this huge nostalgia. I always thought that would be a really cool feeling.

To capture in new music if you can make someone feel nostalgic, but it’s a new song I think that’s a really cool achievement.

That’s like with Magic, it was like, let’s go hard with this 80s arpeggiator.

Once I’ve got the track, I then get a mic and I hum a melody over and over.

I’ll have a bunch of different things, sometimes it will come straight away and that’s how I figure out the melody for the song.

Then I write the lyrics to the melody.

Listen to this story on Some of My Best Work, a free weekly podcast hosted by music journalist Jane Rocca.

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