Hello! Lola just released her first music video. Enjoy!
Hello! Lola just released her first music video. Enjoy!
It’s 10am on Friday morning, and Lola Kirke rings me from the road. She’s headed out from her eastside home to begin filming in Malibu (which, we both agree isn’t really Los Angeles although we both know that it technically is). It’s a change of pace — not just because of the beachy locale known for its palatial waterfront properties — but also for the fact that the star of Amazon’s Golden Globe winning Mozart in the Jungle and Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America has barely returned home from a mini cross-country tour promoting the release of her self-titled debut EP. The record is a handful of folksy tracks — a dreamy, experimental Americana — to accompany fantasies of settling on a utopian homestead in Joshua Tree. She recorded it at Moon Canyon Sound in Mt. Washington surrounded by beer, pizza, and her closest friends.
As she drives down the Pacific Coast Highway (a journey that can sometimes feel like it takes as long as traversing the country), we talk about the grounding power of anonymity, trusting your instincts, and playing for seven people smack in the middle of nowhere.
You just wrapped shooting your third season as overachieving oboist Hailey Rutledge on Mozart in the Jungle. How has playing that role inspired you to pursue your more musical side?
Not directly, but I’m sure subconsciously. I’ve been really lucky to play a character who is traveling this parallel path to my own. She’s doing this one thing that she’s done her entire life — that she identifies with and has been defined by — which is to play the oboe. And for me that’s being an actor. Then, in this season, my character starts conducting and, in doing so, assumes a role of leadership and control. For me, expanding my identity — being like “No, I’m also going to be a musician” — is a similar gesture. As a musician, I get to express the things that I want to express, not the things that someone else has put on a page. I love doing that as well, but this is more of a direct expression, and it’s something that I get to make mostly by myself or with people that I choose, as opposed to on a film set where I still just feel lucky to be there.
Also, the experience this last season of learning how to conduct showed me to trust myself, and that I know what’s best with my own music, because as a musician I still feel a bit like an amateur sometimes. Especially when I’m in a room with people who have identified as a musician their whole lives the way that I’ve identified as an actor. Hailey and her kind of “fake it ’til you make it” mentality, and the confidence that she has to employ as a conductor, is something that I have had to employ as a musician. The last thing I’ll say is that classical music has never been something that I’ve been particularly passionate or knowledgeable about. I’ve always had to substitute a genre of music that I do love — and I think stepping into the role of a musician more this year has made it so that in future seasons I’ll have better access into what that love that Hailey has looks like.
You describe stepping into the role of musician as a way of asserting control, rather than relinquishing it. How does pursuing music make you feel more in control?
Being an actor, you achieve a level of control, perhaps, at a certain point in your career. But for the most part you’re at the whim of the director, writer, editor, makeup, hair, basically everyone. It’s a collaborative effort, and more often than not that collaboration can bleed into something a little less democratic. As a musician, at the level that I’m at, I don’t have a big record label lording over me telling me what they want. I don’t even have a big fan base to please. So there’s something really freeing about the expression of music for me right now. I don’t know what that would look like if people starting writing negative reviews about me, and if I was aiming to please or trying to maintain an image. But right now it feels like I get to do what I want, and that feels great.
Full interview: i-d.vice.com
Late last month, Lola Kirke took the stage at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, New York, to celebrate the release of her debut, self-titled EP. Flanked by five other musicians (including her boyfriend, Wyndham Boylan, who also produced the record), she played bleeding-heart, country-dusted rock, marking her official foray into a professional music career. In that world, Kirke is still a relative unknown. For the tour she just completed—an 8-stop jaunt between New York and Los Angeles—she traveled in a small van with friends and collaborators, playing at intimate clubs along the way. And yet two weeks prior to the show at Baby’s All Right, the 26-year-old performer found herself on the cover of The Village Voice. That’s because, in Lola Kirke’s other life, she happens to be an actress on the cusp of stardom.
Kirke, who grew up in New York City to artistic parents (her father is the former drummer for the rock bands Free and Bad Company; her mother owned a popular clothing boutique in Manhattan’s West Village), wanted to act since she was young. But when she left the city to study at Bard College in New York’s Hudson Valley, other artistic pursuits began to take hold. While majoring in film theory, Kirke took up music, guitar, and singing with friends, and eventually formed an alt-country band, She Rose. But when Kirke returned to the city after graduation, with her sister Jemima a star thanks to her role on HBO’s Girls, the acting bug took over, and Kirke quickly found work, first in a small but pivotal role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl, and then as one of two leads in Noah Baumbach’s well-received indie, Mistress America.
Now, Kirke sits at the top of casting lists across Hollywood and is one audition away from the role that will launch her to rarified movie stardom. But until that happens, Kirke is thrilled to follow her artistic muse wherever it leads her. She just wrapped her third season as the ambitious oboist Hailey on Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, and will next star opposite Jemima in writer Emma Forrest’s directorial debut, Untogether. We recently spoke with Kirke, who splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, about why she felt the need to start her music career now, how her college experience changed her life, and what she’s learned about Hollywood.
Full interview: nylon.com
“I definitely feel like I’m more creative when I’m a little bit down,” explains Lola Kirke over the phone. “I’m so uncomfortable when I’m a little bit down, I just have to do something about it. I’m happy that doing something translates into something constructive rather than destructive.”
Born in London and raised in Brooklyn, Kirke is a well-regarded actor-on-the-rise. Over the last three-odd years, she has worked with powerhouse directors such as David Fincher (Gone Girl) and starred in indie movies like 2014’s coming-of-age screwball comedy Mistress America. As aspiring oboist Hailey Rutledge, she is the poster-woman for Mozart in the Jungle, Amazon’s most successful original series to-date. Earlier this year, she wrapped American Made, Doug Liman’s new thriller starring Tom Cruise. Though she is the youngest child in a family of creatives, she seems to have quickly escaped the shadow of her siblings’ and parents’ achievements. For her next project, she will act opposite her real-life sister Jemima Kirke in Emma Forrest’s directorial debut Untogether.
But Kirke isn’t one to let success make her complacent. Tomorrow, the 26-year-old will release her debut EP as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist via Spirit House. “It’s been this amazing re-entry into being a struggling artist,” she says with a laugh. Simply titled EP, the four-track record is a dreamy blend of folk, country, and rock. “Gene Clark is one of my all-time favorite musicians. He’s a founding member of the Byrds and he coined this new genre called ‘cosmic American,'” she explains. “It was that moment in the ’70s where great rock ‘n’ roll musicians started making country music and got rejected by the country fans and the rock ‘n’ roll fans,” she continues. “I hope to become part of the cosmic American tradition.”
EMMA BROWN: I want to talk about your music, but I read that you grew up wanting to be an actor. That was your original goal. Is that true?
LOLA KIRKE: I started playing music when I was 18. My heart was just broken so badly that I decided that I really wanted to start playing music. It felt like the only thing that I could do in response to that. And I’ve been playing ever since.
I had every opportunity to learn an instrument when I was younger, but I was more interested in watching TV and that’s really it. [laughs] I had no kind of work ethic and I always felt that music—especially rock ‘n’ roll—was a more for boys. Growing up with my dad being a musician, it seemed like a male centric world to me. I just didn’t know many girls playing guitar. All my best girlfriends play guitar now, which is kind of a funny world to live in. Perhaps like attracts like, and that’s why I found myself in a circle of women who are so passionate about making music. But beyond that, [music] was just something that I felt that I couldn’t do for whatever reason. It takes a lot of courage to be a performer. And even though I was performing all the time as an actress and I was doing all of these plays as a kid, there’s a vulnerability about being a musician that you don’t get [when] you perform somebody else’s work. You perform the thing that you made, that’s inside of you, and to subject that to any kind of scrutiny is terrifying. It’s still terrifying to me.
BROWN: So you picked up a guitar and started writing songs?
KIRKE: Yeah, I started writing songs. Then I started playing every Monday at the local bar with a group of girls who still remain my best friends. Then I was playing music by myself for a long time, and writing songs, and then my boyfriend [Wyndham Boylan-Garnett]—who actually produced my record—encouraged me to put an EP together. I’m really happy with it.
BROWN: When you picked up the guitar, did you just teach yourself?
KIRKE: I actually started on the ukulele like many hip young ladies in 2008. I ordered all these books on the internet called Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Songbooks. [laughs] They had a country book, or a songs from movies book or a Beach Boys book, so I actually got a lot of my sense of notes and rhythm and how to play an instrument with strings from the ukulele. Then I realized that I really didn’t like the sound of the ukulele so much so I started playing the guitar.
Full interview: interviewmagazine.com
Lola turns 26 today and we at Lola Kirke Web want to wish her the best of birthdays! We wish happiness, health, love!
xoxo Team Lola Kirke Web