Lance Ferguson – Lanu Forever

Most people aren’t familiar with the name Lance Ferguson. Those who are are likey to associate him with Melbourne based funk band, The Bamboos. However, today Lance is talking to me about the release of his sophomore solo album, Her Twelve Faces, under the name of Lanu.

Though this album has been mostly finished and awaiting release for a number of months, Lance isn’t shy about his excitement over it and is quick to open up about how this project came to fruition.

“It developed from songs I would just sit and write with my guitar, as opposed to sometimes with the Bamboos, I’d put things together with a much more produced demo. With this record I was literally just sitting there with my guitar and writing the songs. They came from that kind of genesis and I went into producing them up later.”

“It goes through a few different genres but I think the overall mood ties it all together. There are folk kind of tracks there and there’s even a kind of lounge-exotic bossa nova that moves things on.”

Lance is talking to me as if I’m a close confidant who he’s happy to be chatting to about his work. The conversation flows with such ease, I’m starting to question whether or not we’ve spoken before, we feel like old friends catching up. It’s this same sense of relaxed confidence that propels Her Twelve Faces.

“The first record [This is My Home] felt emotionally cold. It was all very clever but it left me feeling a bit cold and I didn’t think any emotion came across with it. With this record, I was thinking I really want the emotion to come across with it, not at the expense of the technical stuff but that wasn’t the focus.

“The focus was the songs and getting the point of the songs across. That meant really stripping it back, going for a… not really minimalistic but just stripping back the stuff that didn’t need to be there. I’m much happier with the result of this album than the first album.”

Noticing Lance repeating himself quite a bit throughout our conversation, I gather this being the cause of a nervous or over rehearsed state of mind. It’s clear Lance is just trying to perfect what he’s trying to say. While speaking exactly what he feels, he is sure to express himself in the most accurate of ways. This too is exemplified in his music.

“There is a cover of a Roxy Music song, called More Than This which is one of their classic songs. It is really just a three or four chord song and I’ve always loved that song. So it is just doing things that can flip it up and make it interesting.”

“For instance, that one I ended up getting this French guy to sing it and made it more of an ambient electronic background or arrangement to it. Essentially, the song started off very basically and acoustically and working with John Castle in the studio, we just tried to be really adventurous I guess.”

The first single, Beautiful Trash, features guest vocals from Megan Washington, who appears on five of the twelve tracks on the album. Having a deep seeded love for Washington and her music, I was curious about her involvement with the project.

“When it came time to work on this record, just because the music went in a direction, that suited her vocal style, I just thought she was perfect [for it]. Luckily, because she is a music head, a songwriter and pure in that way, she was happy to come down and work on the tracks.

“I had some of them in semi-complete form and others I just had the instrumental but no melody. She was just amazing at coming in. When you see Meg live, and she can just get up there with a piano and really captivate an audience, and turn it on and hold people in the palm of her hand in that way. In the studio also, she is amazing in that she can spontaneously create cool melodies and lyrics right on the spot, just in the vocal booth.”

The end of my allotted time is coming up but it seems Lance could keep talking about music for days, not because he has to but because his passion project is growing into something much bigger than he anticipated.

“ It is funny, because I put this album together away from the Bamboos being a live band, being a cool little studio project. I wasn’t even thinking about a live band when I put this stuff down. Now it is kind of funny because my label has asked me to take it live and I’m going to have to figure out a way to do it. It will probably just be a four-piece band or something. “

Whatever it is and whatever it becomes, Lance “Lanu” Ferguson is not mucking about. Her Twelve Faces looks to be an album that will be well known across Australia. The genre bending, radio-friendly (in a good way, if it can be taken as such) experimental styles of Lanu if nothing else, peak the curiosity of a person’s musical potential. Though he isn’t yet the most famous of musicians, I have no qualms in saying that he is one of the most talented.

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