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The Allure of Lawrence Rothman

Jan 26, 2018

The Allure of Lawrence Rothman


Go See Lawrence Rothman

The multi dimensional artist opens up about their debut album, The Book of Law.

This weekend, your only ambition should be to go see the incredible Lawrence Rothman on Saturday at Highland Park’s Lodge Room. They’ll be playing their debut album, The Book of Law, which is creatively directed by the legendary director Floria Sigismondi, and explores Lawrence’s interior life through nine different personas. Previously, WestwoodWestwood were lucky enough to have Lawrence and Floria in conversation together – we’re fans, obviously, of the intricate and fascinating world Lawrence creates with their work.

The album, which took two years to make, with collaborators including Angel Olsen and Marissa Nadler, is a unique look at gender identity and isolation. Each song is written from the point of view of one of their personas, or ‘Alters’, with a distinctly New Wave sound. “I’ve sort of separated my personality and my songwriting into nine different variations of myself,” says Lawrence. “So the alters are all part of me, and sort of like me wearing my personalities on my sleeve. I’m the vessel that’s holding together these nine different personalities.”

The album in fact stems from a dream Lawrence had, in which they recorded music in a glass box with a bunch of other musicians – an imaginary super group. It was then up to producer Justin Raisen, who’s worked with Carli XCX and Sky Ferreira, to assemble the dream team. When Lawrence already had 9 personas to work with, I guess it seemed somewhat easy to incorporate further people into the mix. “Each one will represent, like, a more masculine side of myself, another [a] more feminine side of myself,” says Lawrence of their many facets. “And another one, a more dangerous side of myself, or a little more crazy side of myself.”

Despite all being vastly different (and with a different style of arrangement for each of their songs), the alters have a lot of concerns in common. A fascination with the underbelly of Hollywood, gender expression, and people on the margins of society are themes throughout the record. Tracks such as Jordan and Geek most directly address identity and the shame that comes with trying to figure it out. If this sounds kind of intense, it’s not – Lawrence’s gorgeous voice and pop-y arrangements make them eminently danceable rather than a drag.

“I feel like a lot of people present all different versions of themselves, and maybe until the advent of social media there hasn’t been an outlet to really experiment and show your individuality,” says Lawrence of their many sides we get to see on the record. “So with the project, and me just going, ‘Here are nine different versions of myself,’ I hope that it inspired other people to be like, ‘You know what, I’ve got many sides of myself, and I’m not going to keep it under the rug, keep it quiet, I’m going to show my friends and the world – all of me.”