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Baker's Dozen

Zoning Out: Meemo Comma's Favourite Albums
Manu Ekanayake , November 6th, 2019 14:33

From Pan Daijing and Destiny's Child to Kate Bush and Venetian Snares, Lara Rix-Martin, AKA Meemo Comma, discusses 13 of her favourite albums, as well as her new album on Planet Mu, 'Sleepmoss'

Summing up Meemo Comma’s meanderings is as hard as summing up her new album, Sleepmoss, but it is tQ’s duty to try. So when we sit down for what ends up being a two-and-a-half-hour chat over Skype, we found we had a lot to talk about. From memes to MTV2 and from her Jewish identity to the wonders and worries of parenthood, we covered it all. Almost as an aside, we also spoke about a selection of her favourite albums, which covered a pleasingly wide list of genres (Destiny’s Child and Pan Daijing? We’ve got ‘em) and some epic digressions too.

We’d connected to speak about Meemo Comma, AKA Lara Rix-Martin’s, new album on Planet Mu, which is an abstract and visceral take on the British Woodlands and what they contain that also expands on our idea about what the ‘pastoral’ can mean in wider terms too. In there are mediations on mental health, death and endings in general. This rather esoteric theme occurred to Rix-Martin while she was walking her whippet on the South Downs, an area she’s known since her youth.

This combination of the sublime and the surreal that will not surprise anyone familiar with her earlier album, Ghost On The Stairs, her work as Lux E Tenebris or indeed her social media output, which always includes a strong dose of humour (and her beloved memes) along with her rage at the torrid political times in which we live. She is “a bit of a showman” in her own words, admitting “I like to joke and I find it very hard to control that impulse.” It certainly comes with its pitfalls though, she admits. “There are no grey areas anymore. It's like on 'Limmy's Show', the guy who says 'Just say yes or noooo'. There's no nuance or room for discussion… And if you tell a joke or if you're quite direct, like me, who says things without thinking, it can make things difficult.”

Rix-Martin puts her directness down to her background in horse-riding, which she did from “being old enough to sit up on a horse, like two or something.” This and having to pay for riding lessons and later the upkeep of a horse from an early age, which she did by working in a stable from the age of ten, left her with a work-ethic that she maintains today: by working part-time in an office and doing volunteer work with the bereaved as well as running her label, Objects Ltd, and assisting her partner, Mike Paradinas, with the running of Planet Mu, where she helps with the PR and more recently the A&R side of things. Plus the two raise their young family of a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son, so life is clearly busy, but that’s how she likes it. ‘I started Objects when my youngest was six months old, but I wanted to do it six months earlier. Like, ’you’re done now, you’re a baby', but I’m one of these people who couldn’t not have a job. Since I was working from 6am to 8pm at the age of 10, I always think, ‘You’re doing nothing!’, but I’ve actually got three jobs on the go.”

Her background as a biologist (with a degree in Animal Behaviour) also comes up as we discuss her Sleepmoss track ‘Amethyst Deceiver’. Smiling, she expounds on the track’s inspiration: fungus. “Well the thing about fungus is that it's such a weird life-form. It's not a plant, it's not an animal. It's something that is primordial but also alien, which I wanted to get across. It's a kind of connective root system that binds trees, some plants and some animals too. They're really magical at this time of year because it’s the right conditions, i.e it's wet. With global warming, some mushrooms are doing even better in the warmer wet climates. Some fungus is growing at a phenomenal rate – some bad, I mean they're not all good fungus, but it's really interesting anyway. Mike and I went off on a walk, a mushroom hunt, which became something I really wanted to record. But otherwise I just wanted it to be weird.” Mission accomplished!

Sleepmoss is out now via Planet Mu and can be purchased here

Click on the image below to begin reading through Meemo Comma's Baker's Dozen selections