To celebrate the winners of this year’s Seed Award, we caught up with all the selected artists and composers for a quick chat.
Here, we speak to Laurie Mompelat.
Can you tell us about your musical influences?
Growing up between Guadeloupe and Martinique, I’ve been influenced by Caribbean sounds a lot. From gwo ka and bêlé – traditional drum, singing and dance styles born on slavery plantations – to biguine, which is a sort of French Caribbean jazz, I got cradled from the youngest age with deeply graphic, poetic, spicy, earthy texts and melodies. Today, after living as an adult across Paris, Johannesburg and London, I would say that I’ve been mostly inspired by soul, hip-hop and indie music from all these different places. Some of the artists that have influenced me most are Moses Sumney, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Nai Palm but also Franco-Rwandese rapper and composer Gaël Faye or Irish and Zambian rap legend Denise Chaila.
What are you working on at the moment?
Aside from being an environmental campaigner and researcher at Platform London, I am currently working on my first self-recording and release project: Portals of Return.
‘Portals of Return’ is a trilingual trilogy of EPs: Sound capsule for Grieving, Sound Capsule for Loving & Sound Capsule for the Revolution. Using a mixture of French, Creole and English, I think of these three ‘sound capsules’ as a triangle that opens a portal towards the healing we need, as communities, to face the challenges of our ‘climate changing’ world. I released the first one – ‘Sound Capsule for Grieving’ – in March this 2021 across all streaming platforms. One of the soundscapes on the project (‘Ma dépression’ in duo with poet Clara Lorenzo) caught the eye of a group of professional animation illustrators – who I’m now working with to turn the track into a short animation film. I am also working on a ‘soundletter’ which I use to keep my small fan-base up to date with my creative process by sending out a regular assortment of exclusive songs, poems and soundscapes, following a chosen theme.
Overall, I am also working on finessing and improving my sound-recording practice so that I can start taking sound-production commissions from others. I’m especially interested in creating sound settings to hold and magnify other people’s spoken voice, may it be for intimate or deeply political messages, from educational soundscapes to sound documentaries.