Lucy Gaffney Shares New Single “Make Me Smile”

August 18, 2023 BY Jason Currell

Lucy Gaffney is today sharing new single ‘Make Me Smile’, the latest to be taken from her forthcoming EP Daydream In Tokyo, out 29th September. ‘Make Me Smile’ arrives on the heels of the hard-earned optimism of ‘Just Friends‘ and the pure-cut indie-pop of recently released EP title track ‘Daydream In Tokyo‘.

The inner conflict that stems from wanting two distinct things at once runs like a thread through much of Lucy Gaffney’s songwriting. The impossibly earworming ‘Make Me Smile’ is a textbook case in point.  Here, dreams of living in an old, empty house without a care in the world contrast with a competing desire for someone to share it with.

I’m really into architecture and the space where you live and dreaming where you could live,” says Gaffney. “This song is about wanting to belong and to escape at the same time. It’s about the darker side of yourself when you feel lost but it’s also about wanting someone to connect with.”

True to her knack for blending different elements of unfinished songs, ‘Make Me Smile’ is a feat of forging quiet with loud and heavy with soft. “A lot of my songwriting will start soft because it’s often easier to write melodies like that,” says Gaffney. “My brother Thom and I were messing around at the time with big guitar sounds and really wanted to make a song that would make people dance.  I had a melody from another track and it just transformed it.”

Just as there are many sides to everybody, this song feels like a representation of Lucy Gaffney’s grittier element – like PJ Harvey’s ‘Down By The Water’ or ‘Song 2’ by Blur.  Ultimately this track is all about letting loose.

Hear ‘Make Me Smile’ on streaming services here:

Lucy Gaffney will be supporting labelmate Billy Raffoul in North America in November (dates from 1st to 18th Nov). Full list of tour dates HERE.

More about Lucy Gaffney:

“There’s a side of me that really likes writing in a darker way,” says Gaffney. “but there’s also a side to me that absolutely loves pop music and that feeling of elation when you are having a moment where you’re really up for a dance, and really rocking out to a tune. I was so heavily into the Cure and the Smiths, where every song is catastrophizing your own life, so that’s definitely worked its way into some of my writing. At the same time, making it pop is so much fun. It’s always been the big track that has turned me onto bands and got me hooked. It’s the lesser-known tracks that I fall in love with. The sad stuff is what you’ll give time to once you’re hooked on the tracks that make you feel elated. ‘Daydream In Tokyo’ is a song I want people to hear, then they can dig deeper.”

To record ‘Daydream In Tokyo,’ Gaffney flew to the Isle Of Lewis in The Hebrides, Scotland to record a bunch of her new tracks at Black Bay Studios with her brother Thom Southern and London-based producer Duncan Mills. “We had a lot of fun working on this track in particular and I think we captured a lot of that energy from the studio in the final mix,” she says. “I usually tend to construct songs with three tracks, meshing melodies and hooks together. Like on this song, I can usually just hear it in my head. I love deconstructing a track and blending things together, almost like a DJ would.”

Alongside Duncan Mills and Thom Southern, Gaffney tapped into the simple yet powerful majesty of the moment when she holed up in the secluded Black Bay recording studio on the Isle of Lewis last year. For two weeks, the trio worked around the clock to realise her vision for widescreen indie-pop that makes space for big hooks every bit as sonic points of reference such as Pixies and Pavement.

“The studio looked out onto the Atlantic ocean and hills of heather,” says Gaffney. “It was that kind of wild beauty you can’t really capture on your phone camera but you know you don’t want to forget. We’d wake up in the morning and record until 3 or 4 am some nights, so we quickly became a well-oiled machine where everyone had a part to play. Sure enough, we were like zombies by the end of it but I was always obsessed with that Exile on Main Street documentary as a kid so I was there for it. It was the best experience I’ve ever had in a studio, we all felt totally detached from society out there, no shops, no people, just the odd sheep or fisherman passing by. It was the “back of beyond.”

“My life this last decade has been so weird,” she says. “I’ve had really random experiences travelling with my music, like going to play in South Korea and stuff, I never thought I’d do that. I don’t know if my life will ever be as crazy as the last ten years but I love that it’s brought me to the point where I can finally understand more about myself. I’ve always sort of known the genres of music I’ve wanted to make from day one and I’m at the point where I can properly ask myself, ‘What can you physically do yourself and where can you go sonically?’”

“For me, the answer is telling yourself you actually need to embrace curiosity and do it now because there’s no better time than the present. As David Bowie once said: ‘If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting. I think I’m finally ready to embrace that.”

Lucy Gaffney – Daydream In Tokyo EP tracklisting:
1. Daydream In Tokyo
2. Just Friends
3. Make Me Smile
4. Boy Go
5. In A Sense