Lonelady @ Sensoria Festival 2015

Having released her first album on Sheffield’s Warp Records and touring with the likes of Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder later this month, Julie Campbell AKA Lonelady is no stranger to our city’s music scene. Joshua Hackett caught up with Julie ahead of her Sensoria Festival gig to chat about new album Hinterland, her Tramlines main stage appearance and the attraction of derelict buildings…

How was playing the main stage at Tramlines?
I’m not normally at ease at festivals, but I was really looking forward to that one. I’m not really an outdoorsy person – I prefer to play and listen to music indoors, but the idea of an inner city festival, along with the dance and soul focus, really appealed to me.
It was a tough slot, between Sugar Hill Gang and Martha Reeves. I wasn’t sure if the audience were really having us, but every gig’s different! It’s always hard to tell how festival gigs like that have gone down.

You’re playing at the Abbeydale Picture House, which is quite fitting for your music.
I’m delighted to be playing such a brilliant space; I saw Wrangler and Chris & Cosy there last year. It’s a perfect environment for the music I make, flaking paint and all. I love Sheffield and its steel obsession, I think it’s really cool. Perhaps I romanticise it a bit too much?


Sheffield has no shortage of disused spaces like Theatre Delicatessen, Castle House, Park Hill, which have been used for art at various points. What’s your feeling on artists reclaiming these spaces?
I think we should treasure it. It is a necessity in some ways; artists find these places because they’re cheap, first and foremost. I’ve inhabited these spaces all my adult life, and it’s conditioned me.
If I ever get to the point where I could afford a luxurious studio space, I probably wouldn’t want it. For whatever reason, they facilitate the right kind of headspace for creative activity. It’s almost like another time zone.

What do you think it is about these spaces that capture the imagination?
Grainy photos of bands that I love from the 70s and 80s always seem to be posed in these crumbling mills or dark spaces. For me, that fed into a general mythology that still holds a lot of magic. Whenever I look for a space to work or rehearse in, I’m always drawn to these spaces. I feel a strange connection with the past. These semi-ruined, derelict spaces are really useful for artists to disconnect from business of everyday life.

You can find the full interview with Lonelady in Exposed’s October issue.

Catch Lonelady at Abbeydale Picture House on October 2. Tickets are £12.50/£15 advance and are available here.

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