Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
E For Echo – La Force, ‘La Force’ (2018)
This letter comes to you from E for Echo, our Sydney based band made up of Zana, Jenna, James and Marc. Although this letter is directed to La Force, we want to preface it by telling you that we listened to and loved you on Broken Social Scene’s 2017 LP, Hug of Thunder. In fact, we loved it so much so that the album gave Zana and James their wedding song (yes, we marry within our band too). It played out like: “I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss your bride” with the kiss to the tune of ‘Stay Happy’ which was dropped very loud at the 0.53-second mark right when the drums and bass kick in, champagne flutes were raised and a raging party ensued. But as we said, we’re not here to talk about that.
When you graced us with the presence of your solo project La Force, and its debut self-titled album, we had recently transitioned from a five-piece, with two guitars, to a four-piece, with one guitar. Jenna was still the co-lead singer, but now also the sole guitarist, which was a step for us to take that felt quite large. I guess you could say that we were trying to refine and capture a version of our sound that we hadn’t quite figured out yet. Enter La Force’s droning synths that flutter into soundscapes, your textural flickering guitars that layer and layer, and the way that your voice, by using repetition and space, assembles rhythms and rich, evocative visual imagery. All of this was all heard by us at what seemed to be, exactly the right time.
There’s a deep power in the beautiful, driven, unapologetic genre-less-ness of La Force that not only inspired us but was a comfort. We’re not sure if it’s the same in Canada but here in Australia, as women in our 30s, we are often made to feel no longer ‘relevant’, which really is ludicrous because, as you know, music-making can only get better with age. And your album shook our shoulders, reminding us to stay true to our project’s vision, and to refrain from focusing on that sort of industry drivel.
Jenna went to Portugal not long after it came out, while Zana stayed home, leaving her to her own creative devices. Late one night, in the throes of drinking wine and incessantly listening to ‘You Amaze Me’, the first single off the album, she arranged it for piano and voice and uploaded it to the band’s Instagram page – a creative outcry of sorts. The next morning, you – Ariel, had watched and listened to it, writing, “You are the first to ever post a cover of La Force. It’s so beautiful. Thank you. My heart just melted.”
Disillusionment comes easy in artistic pursuits, and your mind is so often its breeding ground. The sweet and simple appreciation from someone outside of it, or better still, from someone whose work you deeply admire, carries the weight of gold. To say you have melted our hearts would be an understatement – through your work and your thoughtful gesture of recognition, you filled our hearts right up.