ABOVE: LAWRENCE ROTHMAN
If you’ve seen Lawrence Rothman’s video for “Montauk Fling” [below], you know that Rothman knows how to have a good time. His L.A. experiences have fed into his art, both visually and sonically. Rothman’s sound draws similarities to late ’80s pop music and Hercules & Love Affair. He’s only released two tracks, but has already created a buzz with his deep baritone voice and haunting lyrics. His unique music caught the attention of artist and filmmaker Floria Sigismondi, who signed Rothman to her label Mamaroma (and directed the music video for “Montauk Fling”). She also created the concept behind the video for the B-side to “Montauk Fling,” called “#1 All Time Low.” These two songs are a tantalizing appetite-whetter; listeners can look forward to more this fall when Rothman’s EP is released.
We spoke with Lawrence Rothman about working with Floria Sigismondi, wearing prosthetics, and becoming Elizabeth Taylor.
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA
WORLD TRAVELER: I’m in Florence, Italy right now. I think I ate too much pasta right now, so I’m feeling a little bit like Humpty Dumpty. I was doing some recording in Paris, and a friend of mine was like, “Let’s hop on a train and go to Florence.” I have five days off.
PUTTING THE WEIRD IN “MONTAUK FLING”: I wrote the song in a stream of consciousness and recorded it in a two-day period back in March. A friend of mine had a nasty love triangle thing go down. I was inspired by the phone call when she told me about it. Then I wrote the song and recorded it. It was just a demo, but then I just got used to the way it sounded. It played into the video because you see these people and you don’t really know what’s going on. It was pretty much us playing around one day at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. I was obsessed with trying to disconnect from the topical reality and the grossness of L.A. I really loved Cindy Sherman a lot and I liked the idea of disassociating yourself from yourself. We drank a bunch of wine and did it all spur-of-the-moment. We were trying to find the darker elements of L.A.
THE CITY OF ANGELS’ DEMONS: I’ll save that for a book. It’s a dark place. It’s dark with drugs and sex. Pretty much all of the stereotypical clichés define the L.A. life: on the east side of Hollywood and the west side of Hollywood.
FLORIA FAWNING: Basically I’ve always just appreciated Floria’s work. It’s mind-blowing. Floria heard the song and was inspired to do this video. My music fit well in her crazy, beautiful madness that she creates visually. She was looking to collaborate with music that felt a little cinematic but still talked. It was a good match.
FONDUE: My influences are from all over the place. The bands I like are a genre-less iPod melting pot. A lot of influences I have are visual, like Cindy Sherman or Charles Bukowski. Musically, Boards of Canada and also R. Kelly. Even Tupac Shakur and Leonard Cohen. Usually what inspires me musically is more in the visual world and less in the musical world.
TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET: “Montauk Fling” is just the beginning. I just finished my second music video, for “#1 All Time Low,” which was released today. It’s the B-side to “Montauk Fling.” Basically I’m in heavy prosthetics on my face. Lots of prosthetics. I have an EP coming out in November and I’ve been recording my full-length. I’m wrapping that up right now. It’ll be out in 2014.
RENAISSANCE MAN: For me, I’ve always felt that the arts are all one in the same. I’ve always dabbled in music, film, photography, and writing. I’m just always trying to find what my perfect balance is. I kind of figured that out a year ago: this is what gets me excited. For my musical project, it’s all about the visual and the music.
DRESSING UP LIKE ELIZABETH TAYLOR: Well, I watched a lot of movies and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? before the shoot. I normally wear contacts or glasses, and I decided I wasn’t going to wear anything. I just felt completely disoriented. I was outside of my comfort zone because I was pretty blind. In Chateau Marmont, we filmed in the room she stayed in a lot, so it was very haunting.
ON THE SUCCESS OF “MONTAUK FLING”: It was surprising because, like I said, I recorded it and wrote it in a 48-hour period. For me, it was something I liked, but I didn’t know if anyone else would. I acted on my own intuition, and for me it was really surprising when I was showing it to friends.
LAWRENCE ROTHMAN IS PLAYING AT GLASSLANDS IN BROOKLYN ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 AND AT MERCURY LOUNGE IN NEW YORK ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 8. FOR MORE ON ROTHMAN, VISIT HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.