Russian Red interview

The Spanish singer-songwriter on her changing music style and recording her latest album, ‘Agent Cooper’, in LA

Lourdes Hernández took her stage name from the lipstick colour, Russian Red – but these days she’s more of a Lady Danger. She talks to us about her changing music style and what it was like to record her latest album, ‘Agent Cooper’, in LA.

In your latest album, the style has deviated from acoustic folk to the edgier sound of indie rock. Was there a specific moment, person or influence that sparked that transition?

I think the main difference was that when I was doing 'Fuerteventura', the album before this one ['Agent Cooper'], I changed the format and I grabbed my electric guitar. So ever since then, I have been composing songs on the electric guitar and digging those kinds of sounds. It's not so much about the type of music that I incorporate, I just like trying out the vibe and seeing what comes out of it.

Your stage name, Russian Red, was taken from your favourite lipstick colour, but you're more of a Lady Danger now. Is the change in colour preference a reflection of the change in your music style? Or is it the other way round?
I think it definitely goes hand in hand. There are some kinds of development that happen when you're writing a song and that you're not aware of till later. So I'd say music creation or any other kind of artistic creation is maybe something intuitive.

You mentioned that you are an artist in transition. What are you transitioning towards?
I think I would like to get closer and closer to the essence of not really have so many processes in between the songs being released and the songs being created. I would like to shortcut that process and make it more vibrant and direct. Music production means a lot to me these days.

What's your song-writing process like?
When I really need to write a song, I just write it - it comes out of me and I just cannot avoid that. When I wanna write a song that I don't have any inspiration for, it's gonna be a really shitty one.

Have you ever left a song unwritten or began writing and abandoned it halfway?
Yes, of course. Sometimes you don't finish a song, sometimes you finish a song in five minutes.

Have there been any songs that you left aside while working on your earlier albums, and then later went back to finish?
Well, there were some songs that were really old, so I changed them around. They haven't been included in this album but they'll be included in a special edition.

Do you perform drafts of your songs to anyone before recording a demo?
Sure. I perform them to many people, mostly my friends.

Does their feedback change the songs?
No, not really.

How does the recording and production process of your third album in LA differ from that of your previous albums in Scotland and Spain?
Every recording experience is different. Recording this album in LA with my band was probably more productive and challenging compared to the previous albums.

What's been your favourite experience while recording this new album?
Probably when we were recording the vocals.

All of the tracks on Agent Cooper are names of men. Who are they?
People who have been in my life, who have been inspirational.

For those who have never heard your music, which song would you recommend?
I think 'Neruda'.

Russian Red's third studio album 'Agent Cooper' is out now in stores.