She Makes War aka Laura Kidd is fucking great.
There you go, statement. Normally we’re a bit more, you know, impartial, or at least reserved, but here there’s just no point. She Makes War is fucking great, and she’s on tour in Germany right now and you should just go and see her and that’s all there is to it.
Nuance. Detail. Yeah yeah okay.
So: Laura Kidd has been performing under the moniker She Makes War since 2010. Before that she was always massively active anyway, a multi-instrumentalist, producer and visual artist, she’s just finished off her fourth album and has also been recently doing guest vocals for the Levellers – er, that’s just before she set off to Indonesia to take part in a multi-cultural music exchange there….before that she’d racked up tonnes of impressive sounding things like playing bass for Tricky for example…what have other people said?
A combination of musical talent and digital smarts worthy of an English Amanda Palmer
– Tom Robinson, 6 Music
And in fact Amanda Palmer herself said “You’re amazing”, while Midge Ure (Ultravox, children, back in the day) called her “Absolutely Wonderful”.
++Scroll down to the bottom to find out how to see She Makes War in a seriously intimate setting in Berlin at the end of the month…+++
I think I’ve given you enough reasons by now to at least read our interview with She Makes War, and to take a step beyond that and catch her live while she’s in this fair (cough) land.
indieberlin: So Laura: tell us a little bit about your musical background
SMW: I’ve been releasing albums and touring as She Makes War since 2010 but have also played bass and sung in other bands, most notably for Tricky, Viv Albertine and Duncan James from Blue. I played bass on TV for A-Ha a few times and sang along with David Bowie on screen in the TV show “Extras”. I’ve been singing since I was tiny and playing in bands since I was 16.
indieberlin: If your music was a movie, which genre would it be in?
SMW: Melancholy indie, like a Wes Anderson film.
indieberlin: Where do you get your inspiration from?
SMW: All the sad things in life – I try to make something beautiful out of the things that I find difficult, and I find writing about them helps me process them and stay positive. Talking to people who like my music, it seems that others find listening to them helpful too, which is a really magical thing to hear. A lot of people have told me they relate to “Please Don’t” and “Paper Thin” especially (off my last album “Direction Of Travel”) because everyone has fears for the future but I believe we can all find the strength to deal with those fears, or at least find people who can help us get through the bad times. Sad music can be the most uplifting, and it doesn’t have to be depressing to listen to!
I try to make something beautiful out of the things that I find difficult, and I find writing about them helps me process them and stay positive
indieberlin: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?
SMW: I like putting my iPod on shuffle and hearing what gems it throws up, but my favourite thing to listen to on tour is Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. He does really in depth interviews with musicians, actors, comedians and all sorts of interesting people, and I love hearing about other peoples’ creative processes.
indieberlin: What was your biggest stage fuck-up?
SMW: If you’d asked me this last spring I’d have told you about the time I walked into the audience singing into my megaphone and climbed up on a chair without realising it was a cinema-type one, so I caught one leg in the gap at the back and swung quickly down to the floor, with my back lightly resting on the floor and my megaphone facing the ceiling (I turned the siren on and hobbled back to the stage!). I had a massive purple bruise on the back of my leg after that.
The show must go on!
My worst injury though was breaking my foot last summer just after soundchecking to support The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The venue wasn’t very safe and I slipped off the front of a pretty high stage – I was in agony, but somehow managed to get on stage 45 minutes later to play a set with my band. The show must go on! I would have spent the rest of the summer lying on the sofa, complaining, but I had a bunch of great festival slots booked so I bought a knee crutch which meant I could stand up on stage and play, and I got on with it. I am very stubborn, and I don’t like sitting down to perform!
indieberlin: What was the nicest compliment you once got?
SMW: Tanya Donelly (Belly frontwoman and “Paper Thin” guest singer) sent me a message on the weekend saying she and her daughter were dancing around their house to my new record – that means a lot to me!
Widescreen technicolour, baby
indieberlin: How do you feel about covering a song?
SMW: I really enjoy it. I don’t do it live really but I’ve had a go at rearranging some great songs in the studio. I’ve done versions of “I Think We’re Alone Now” (Ritchie Cordell – best performed by Tiffany), “Eyepennies” (Sparklehorse), “Hoist That Rag” (Tom Waits) and “Wake Up” (Alanis Morrissette), and I have a very special new cover that will be unveiled some time soon. Watch out!
indieberlin: Do you prefer to play big festivals / stages or smaller club gigs?
SMW: They’re very different, and both can be really enjoyable. I love being able to properly engage with the audience at my solo shows, but it’s also nice to play a noisy band set in a bigger space. I enjoy playing a mix of both.
indieberlin: In ten years you look back to today and think:
SMW: Wow, what a great time I had touring Germany in September 2017 – and wasn’t that Berlin show the best? 😉
indieberlin: Do you see your songs in colour or in black and white?
SMW: Widescreen technicolour, baby.
indieberlin: Do you want to greet somebody ;-))?
SMW: Hello you!
She Makes War plays an intimate show at Sofa Salon in Berlin – be quick to book – write to berlinsofasalon (at) gmail.com…it’ll cost you between 8-15 Euros and worth every single little penny.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.