With Laura Wilfer, a.k.a. Lowilf,
Interviewed by Moriah Hope
Humans live in multiple worlds simultaneously: the physical reality, the mental sea of thoughts, the emotional pool of memories… what else? I believe music is a dimension of its own, a time-traveling vibrational phenomenon that carries us through a journey across all timelines. Science shows us how music and memory are intimately connected, and there is a plethora of current studies out there to illustrate this point.
Ultimately, measuring and calculating something as mysterious as music and how it affects us can only paint a small part of the picture. Music records the history of our lives. It is a deeply personal experience for each individual, and just as certain smells can transport us back to old memories, music does the same. Have you ever gone back and listened to old CD’s you burned or old playlists you put together? It’s as if the music retells the story of what was going on in your life at the time.
Lately I have been listening to music from significant times in my past with the intention of observing my body’s physical response and noting what memories seem to pop out of the ether. I’ve found that each song of relevance is like a ‘past-life regression’ within this lifetime. There are secrets of the soul waiting to be discovered through the lyrics that resonate with us.
My friend Laura Wilfer, also known by her artist name Lowilf, is another musical comrade on the path of experimentation with word and sound. She speaks and sings in linguistic mosaics that are totally raw, hilarious, poetic, and unique to her. Her use of words is a symbolic expression of her character and you won’t find a dry word in her vocabulary. I sat down with her to talk music, lyric, and how sound speaks directly to the body, mind, and soul.
The Shakti Journal (Moriah Hope): What is one of your earliest memories of music and how it affected you?
Laura Wilfer, a.k.a. Lowilf:
Wow, definitely swimming through a sea of musical memories here. I would have to say my earliest memory is when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade in the car with my dad driving into the grocery store parking lot listening to The Beatles. I can remember this all-encompassing sort of sensation. I completely tuned everything out and kind of just sunk into the passenger seat while the speakers hot boxed the vehicle with the chorus of ‘Hey Jude’. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. But that memory still brings me warmth, and I get a similar feeling when I’m driving alone. The aftermath of that experience has been that I can never shake how potent music continuously sinks into the fibers of my being.
SJ: Mathematical, musical, and philosophical luminary Pythagoras was said to perform what he called “Soul Adjustments”, which utilized various musical intervals and harmonic ratios as a medicine for dis-eases of the body & soul. Describe for us a memorable show or a significant song that has been medicine for you.
Laura: The most memorable and significant show that pops up is undoubtedly a Cage the Elephant show I went to at Firefly Music Festival in 2015. That has been the most medicinal show I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere in the crowd was thick with this potent vibration. I felt high off of the crowd, perhaps more than from the performance itself, but that’s a tough call to make because holy moly – Matt Shultz is one of the most captivating artists out there. His energy on stage translated to the audience more than I’ve ever seen. Drenched entirely in his exuberance, I lost sense of time. That feels almost too cheesy to write, but I’ll say this: any artist/producer/band that allows you to tune out your thoughts is healing.
SJ: I presume we both agree that words and how we use them are powerful. I like to think of them as codes that germinate consciousness and unlock doors to revelation. As an MC/songstress, lyrics are an important focal point in your music. Tell us a little about about your relationship with words.
Laura: My immediate thought is verbal vomit. Truthfully, I have a lot of difficulty describing my relationship with words. My brain feels like a pool of velcro that passerby words fling themselves on and stick to for however long they so choose. Words are sticky. Words are delicate. They have the consistency of honey, but are sometimes like sandpaper in your throat when you can’t seem to spit them out. In writing this, I wish my answer was more eloquent. I find comfort in vibrant descriptions and have a constant thirst for rhymes.
SJ: Can you share with us a favorite verse you’ve written and what it means to you?
Laura: Whoa, talk about digging into my mental hard drive. I end up in a gallery of paper scraps with lyrics living not quite on the lines and verses in the cracks of the floorboards. There isn’t a favorite thing I’ve ever written. I’ll have a favorite for a week or a few days, maybe even a month. However long, it’s still temporary. That’s the dope part about being human – we are in a chronic regeneration. I’m forever evolving, and for me, I only stay attached to the verses for as long as they benefit my growth.
My most recent favorite is from 3 months ago, and it’s actually still in the writing process:
“I was baptized by the ocean waves,
In the Holy Water now there’s sea salt in my veins.”
Every time I enter the ocean I’m stripped of all these stupid worries & stresses, and realize how much tension they store in my body. It’s an instant rebirth, a fresh slate, and perspective is restored in my spirit. The ocean is my ultimate healer.
SJ: What about a favorite line/verse from any other musician?
Laura: Another question that I cannot complete with one answer… All of my favorite lines come from a Minnesota artist, Eyedea. His word play is raw and endless:
“So here you are, and now you understand. You always were here, that’s why you always ran.”
“Eyes wide shut, I promise not to fall awake.”
“The universe is not something separate from yourself, I know you feel alone but that’s why I’m here to help.”
The list of his verses that have impacted me are never ending. So I’ll just leave these three here.
SJ: Who are some MC’s that have influenced you the most?
Laura: Dessa, another Minnesota artist who taught me that I can let the spaces in between words sometimes do more of the talking for me than the piece itself. Her delivery and presence on stage is everything I aspire towards. She performs with confidence, gentleness, powerful female badassery, and her poetry sinks into my pores.
Also Lily Fangz. Y’all know who I’m talking about. This chica rips apart the microphone, but without ego. She baffles and inspires me. Her limitless word bank gives me goosebumps. She’s a warrior of love and damned if that’s not something that I strive to be.
SJ: Do you have any performances, plans or album releases coming up that you can share with us?
Laura: I have an EP that I’m working on called “Self Help Kit” coming out in early 2018.
I will also be performing at Serenity Gathering in California at the end of April 2018.
Super stoked about em’. Cant wait to share!
SJ: How can our readers stay in touch with you and your creations?
Laura: You can find me on Soundcloud, my name is Lowilf. I share a bunch on the Instagram world too, under the same name, @lowilf.