Smack dab in the middle of Flavorpill’s Manhattan office, right in front of the mural painted by Swoon, sat Natasha Khan, better known as Bat For Lashes.
The British singer was preparing herself to sing in front of the intimate crowd of 40 or so people who had won a chance to see her perform as part of Flavorpill Sessions, an in-office acoustic concert series that is broadcast live on Livestream.com.
With 15 minutes until show time, Khan was deciding last minute details like whether or not she should keep her earpiece in or out during the show (she chose to take it out) and exactly where her mic would go when she moved from her keyboard to the harpsichord on her lefthand side.
As Khan sat, picking at her bright coral nail polish she talked about the terribleness of waiting, the anticipation of playing live that often made her feel sick. But with a silent countdown of 4,3,2,1, Khan was more than ready for the show.
The hour-long broadcast featured four songs from the singer’s latest album, The Haunted Man.
Kicking things off with “All Your Gold,” the normally dancey percussion-driven song was turned into a bare bones anthem that highlighted the struggle of a woman trying to get over the man who had taken everything from her.
She treated fans to “Lumen,” a B-side that hadn’t earned a spot on her third album. With her one man-backing band playing the keyboard and a portable sample machine in her hand, she introduced the haunting lullaby to fans who wish she would have include the scrapped song on the album.
Khan moved to the harpsichord for “Lilies,” the first song she wrote for the album.
She explained that she wrote the song in 20 minutes while watching the 1970 movie, Ryan’s Daughter, on mute.
The song was inspired by one particular scene in the film, which was directed by David Lean and loosely based on Madame Bovary, where the main character runs through a field of lilies after she sees the man she loves in the distance
Though music was played, the majority of the show was dedicated to getting to know the Fur And Gold singer a little better through questions her fans had submitted.
By the end of the night she had revealed a wide range of tidbits from what her favorite kind of pie is (apple blackberry with sweet cream) to what she likes doing in her free time (buying linens for her new home) to what she does on her tour bus (drinking tea and watching Breaking Bad, of course.) She also revealed the inspiration for “Daniel” off of her 2009 album, Two Suns.
Though the song was about her boyfriend at the time, she didn’t want to use his name so instead she decided to shout out her childhood crush, Ralph Macchio, by using his character's name in The Karate Kid. In an interview, Khan said, Macchio actually said he was flattered by the nod.
The night ended with “Laura,” a song Khan is okay with you thinking is about Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer.
The singer, who admitted her first video for “What’s A Girl To Do” off her 2006 debut was an ode to David Lynch, is flattered by the comparison to the director’s offbeat character, but says the real influence of the story is much more personal. She chose to keep that one to herself, simply saying there's a lot of Lauras out there that the song could be about.
Standing by the side of keyboardist, Khan went for theatrical, acting out the lyrics of the bittersweet ballad. With each wave of her arm or arch of her back she made every word count and the mysterious aging beauty of the song come to life.
Check out the webcast in its entirety here.
Photos by Nadia Chaudhury