Psych-Folk Singer-Songwriter Globelamp Strives to Turn Her Struggles Into Art
“I have vinyl, stickers, tapes, controversy, a restraining order. Be careful — I may turn into a werewolf,” singer-songwriter Elizabeth le Fey jokes from the stage of the Hi Hat in Highland Park.
Le Fey writes and plays music as Globelamp. Though the audience is small in size, her songs are greeted with enthusiasm. She’s 27 with a look that’s both feminine and punkish — a black flowered dress and combat boots. Her hair is dyed shades of pink and purple and her eye makeup shimmers.
The restraining-order quip is an allusion to the aftermath of her time as a touring member with indie psych-rockers Foxygen and her involvement with their singer, Sam France. She says their relationship lasted about a year and ended abruptly in October 2013. The following January, a court granted France a five-year restraining order against le Fey, based on threatening and verbally abusive online messages she sent to him, as well as allegations that she had attempted to enter France's house without permission and physically threatened members of his family.
Through Foxygen's publicist, France declined to comment for this story, instead giving a statement that read, in part, “For the past three years, [le Fey] has made false statements on the internet about Sam's actions and character, which have been deeply traumatic for Sam and his family.”
Le Fey attended the restraining-order hearing unrepresented. “I had no idea that it was gonna go over,” she admits. “I was naive.”
She says she’s trying to find some good in the situation. “I wish it hadn’t happened, but maybe I wouldn’t have written The Orange Glow the way I did,” she muses, referring to her second album, released last June on her dream label, Wichita Recordings.
Born Elizabeth Gomez, le Fey grew up around Los Angeles and Orange counties. Her mother was a rocker chick who appeared as an extra in Guns N' Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” video. Le Fey likes a lot of music that doesn’t sound like Globelamp, including GNR. “I feel like they’re powerful and have cool transitions,” she says, eating a vegan doughnut from Donut Friend before her Hi Hat gig. “They were wild as hell, and it makes me feel like I’m really tame.”
Her mother had multiple romantic partners, so she’s not certain who her father is. The likeliest candidate was a Puerto Rican guitar player and illustrator, whose cross-hatching, black-and-white line drawing style resembles her own visual art. She’s not interested in “you’re my dad, be my dad.” She just wants to know her lineage. “Shit like [that], I think it’s interesting.”
A dreamy psych-folk musician, le Fey has a voice that’s raw, natural and at times almost childlike. In Meowtain, her earlier band, she belted out songs heavily influenced by the riot grrrl movement. Now her music is spookier and more psychedelic. Under her video for “The Negative” on YouTube, a comment asks, “r u Syd Barrett's daughter??”
Le Fey worked on The Orange Glow with local producer (and angel-voiced musician in his own right) Joel Jerome, who helped her bring it to Wichita, a London-based label whose other artists include Girlpool, Cloud Nothings and local psych-rockers Froth. The album was originally slated to be the very first release on Jerome’s own label. “I know it’s cute; it’s sweet,” she says.
But after Jerome played Desert Daze, a festival she protested due to Foxygen’s presence on the bill, she lashed out at him repeatedly on social media, calling him a “dick” for playing Desert Daze and accusing him of trying to take credit for songs she says she had written. “Just bc you recorded it doesnt mean its your songs,” she tweeted. (In an Oct. 18 Facebook post, Jerome wrote that le Fey “used me and my good will only to completely turn on me and fling insults about me and my character.” He declined to comment for this article.)
Le Fey says the estrangement she's already felt in the L.A. music scene has been magnified by the restraining order. “It makes me feel really alone because it’s such an unusual experience,” she says.
She has of late found some joy stepping out of the scene in Los Angeles. In November, she went to Germany to reunite with a Kurdish refugee family she met while touring Europe. She says her uncle and aunt took in the family of six, with four children ages 2 to 11.
The singer says she has a special bond with the children — the youngest girl brought a Polaroid of le Fey in her pocket to school. They speak Arabic and German and she loves conversing with them in her “sloppy German.”
In a demo she wrote for them, she sings, “We don’t speak the same language so we make up our own/Please consider this place your home.”
Globelamp plays the Redwood Bar & Grill with Winter on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and with The May Company on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
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