Taking her early love for electronic music Imogen Heap, early Ellie Golding, her practice in learning drums and her fascination with production having studied Audio Engineering after high school, Yohanna Bright crafts vibrant electro-pop power anthems under the sobriquet, LASHES.
Stemming from her highly-commented upon physical attribute – distinctively long eyelashes – and combining it with a feisty attitude, Bright brings the contrast of the dual-meaning to her sound.
“It shows both the masculine and feminine personalities to myself and my art. You’ve got the darker brooding soundscape head with a sweeter vocal – it’s really the embodiment of both sides of me,” Bright explains.
Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.
The latter half of the wordplay is perhaps the reason for LASHES career to date. LASHES broke into the music scene right on the cusp of lockdown laws overtaking Victoria in early 2020 – a tumultuous time for the music industry.
“The worst time. It was around March last year so I think we were going into a lockdown – it was right when it hit. It’s kind of a little bit ironic because I had been writing and planning for so long that the song I was going to release [‘Treason’] in March, I had recorded in 2018 and was getting everything cohesive and set up to release and go out with a bang and come out really strong and then the lockdown hit and it hasn’t really stopped. I’ve just been releasing songs throughout the lockdowns which wasn’t the plan to begin with but it’s just how it is.”
With four tracks out in her Spotify catalogue, starting with ‘Treason’ and tracking to the latest lockdown listener ‘Heavenly’, LASHES music has only ever existed in the digital realm. Bright is itching to take her swirling soundscapes to the live setting.
“It would have been nice to follow them up with some shows but I haven’t really had that option yet.”
Until now – LASHES makes her debut live performance in her hometown for Ballarat’s culmination of music, art and place, Be_Hear/Now.
“It is kind of exciting for my first ever LASHES show to have been recorded and been on this kind of a scale and for it to happen here in Ballarat is nice for me. It feels like it has come full circle that it’s happening in my hometown as opposed to Melbourne where I do go to do most of my music now,” she explains.
The festival series is known for breathing life into unique and historic venues and spaces in the regional centre, having last year showcased at the George Farmers Building, Mid City Motel Inn and Oz Tenpin Bowling for the inaugural event. This year the Royal Tennis Club in Ballarat gets the backdrop setting treatment for LASHES live video recording.
“It was so cool and quirky and really kind of old school with funky muted colours. We got a smoke machine in and a light machine and it was a really good show set up! It felt really nice because the last two years I haven’t had any live experiences so it feels real now. I’ve been releasing song after song in the comfort of my own home and as much as that is a nice freeing feeling putting myself out into the world it’s almost bittersweet because that’s almost where it starts and ends in a sense. It’s validating.”
Finally bringing ‘Heavenly’ to a semi live setting, Bright wanted to give the track the presence it deserves, accompanied by keys, a backing track and a huge popstar energy.
“‘Heavenly’ is my most current song so I wanted to perform something that is fresh but, with the pastel colours and the smoke, it fitted with the daydreaming sense that the song brings,” she says. “I was running around with a wireless microphone and it was fun!”
Visit the Be_Hear / Now website for all the performances and information.