Rosegarden Funeral Party’s Newest Album Is A Guide To Understanding How To Survive The Darkest, Most Chaotic Times Of Your Life.
Leah Lane wears her heart on her sleeve.
Since forming Rosegarden Funeral Party in 2018, Lane’s dark vocals have resonated among goth fans across the country with her songs about the beauty in pain and heartbreak. Goth fan or not, her electrifying live performances alone will leave a long-lasting mark on anyone who’s had the pleasure of witnessing her stage presence.
She has perfectly coined herself the indigo child of Peter Murphy and Siouxise Sioux — if they ever had one. Her voice, image and style are straight out of the ’80s English goth, post-punk eras that could remind anyone of acts such as The Cure, Bauhaus and Morrissey. Yet, her heart and soul will forever belong and represent Dallas — the city responsible for everything she’d had to offer.
Those classic, nostalgic styles are almost expected of Lane but don’t be fooled. She’s capable of more than anyone could imagine and she’s proven that now more than ever. Through everything, she’s fearless and unstoppable — not even a pandemic could come in between Lane’s eagerness to share her music with the world.
Rosegarden Funeral Party, which got its name from The Cure’s “Funeral Party” and John Cale’s “Rosegarden Funeral of Sores,” has had a busy year. After the Erin Devany-directed Take Cover series, the band released its second full-length album In the Wake of Fire that followed a massive release show at Granada Theatre Dec. 8. The band and performed both albums in their entirety and featured every musician — such as Scott White, Poppy Xander and Lorelei K — who had a part in the Take Cover.
These two projects aren’t like anything else Lane has sunk her teeth in. All 13 tracks in In the Wake of Fire will leave fans feeling reborn, much like Lane.
This year she abandons her martyr sentiments and adorns herself in strength, kindness and passion. She used her Take Cover series to expand the band’s musical tool chest, which includes new techniques, such as massive vocal harmonies and 10 times the amount of rhythms, patterns and progression, that the band had never used in previous releases.
This year was different. This year she emerged from the darkest times in her life.
This is Lane – like you’ve never seen her before.
For those who missed your release show, do you mind giving them a recap of what went down?
So, we did both albums. We did the whole Take Cover album, you know, our year long series of covers that we did. This cover album that we did features musicians from all over the world, but mainly the DFW music scene. Everybody that’s part of it that lives in Dallas performed with us. We did all 13 covers, and we had the music videos playing on the side screens. I had outfit changes between every single one, which was insane. Then we had a brief intermission and then we did the whole In the Wake of Fire set. It was such a big undertaking. And I’m so overwhelmed by the dedication of all the other artists involved. It was the most incredible display of the camaraderie, and the talent of the Dallas music scene I’ve ever witnessed. There’s so much love in our scene. And there’s so much support and kindness, and so much incredible skill and talent. It’s just it’s so cool. We’re so blessed to be where we are.
You mentioned the Take Cover series and that’s actually something that I wanted to ask you about. You recorded 13 covers and filmed music videos for each one. How did that idea sort of come up?
In 2020, when the world shut down, Rosegarden was primarily a touring act. We just toured all the time. And when all our tours got canceled, and we couldn’t play shows, we had to figure out what to do with our time, because we’d go into rehearsals, and we all kind of felt like ‘what are we rehearsing for?’ We had some songs that we’d written on the road, and we immediately went into the studio and recorded them. And that was the EP that we released last year called At the Stake. After At the Stake was over and released, we were, again, kind of left in the same position of ‘what do we do with our time?’ and ‘how do we bring our music to people when we can’t tour.’ I came up with the idea for bringing back the nostalgia, which was a retrospective series of all of our records that we’ve released at that point. We did our EP, THE CHOPPING BLOCK, we did Martyr, and we did At the Stake. They were live [filmed] performances with professional audio. When we finished that series, I wasn’t ready to write a new record. I felt like if I jumped right into writing a new record, it would sound just like everything else and I felt that we all, as a band, kind of needed to expand our horizons musically, and get some new tools in our tool chest.
We did one cover of the song called “Death II” by Pulp for an anti-racist goth festival called Light It Black. It was like an online thing. We just needed to submit a live performance video of one song. As we had just released all of these live performance videos of every single song we’ve ever recorded, I was like, ‘Well, it has to be a cover’ because we already have all these other live videos. We actually did that cover with Scott White [of Deep Red] and we all learned so much from [the cover]. I thought, ‘What if we make a next year long endeavor,’ and we release a cover every single month with a corresponding music video, and it will tie together at the end of the year. So, it just kind of grew into this really big project. It was a product of us constantly looking towards the next thing.
How did you decide what tracks to cover?
There were three goals [with the Take Cover series]. One I kind of touched on, which was to expand Rosegarden’s tool chest — to not only learn from the artists that we were covering and learn their songs, but also learn from the incredible featured musicians that we involved in every Take Cover. Another goal was to introduce our fans — that don’t live in Dallas — to the incredible musicians that we’re friends with and live in Dallas. I wanted to showcase the talent of this beautiful scene because I am so connected and so in love with the Dallas-Fort Worth scene. I think that that our area, our community, should be worldly recognized as a music capital of the world. I’ve had the honor of touring all over the country and I’ve never seen a scene like Dallas. It’s not just the talent, it’s the love and support in this community. Then the third goal was to introduce our fans to music that they might not have ever listened to before. When we were starting to choose covers, I told the boys, the only rule is that we absolutely cannot record a single goth cover. I want it to all be tracks that people would never expect Rosegarden to do. I really think that there’s so much beautiful music in the world that’s completely overlooked., I’m very into obscure music from the late 70s and early 80s, primarily. That’s kind of what we stuck to even the bigger acts that we covered like Roxy Music and David Bowie. We didn’t do hits by Roxy Music or David Bowie — we did, kind of, stranger songs by them.
When did you start working on In the Wake of Fire?
We went to New York to play Murder of Crows Festival on September 7th, we flew back into town and we were in the studio the next morning. We were in the studio for about two straight weeks working on the record. It was a lot of late nights. We all work day jobs, obviously. Our incredible producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer master Michael Briggs at Civil Audio [Recording Studio] was incredibly willing to work with us. And we did these sessions for the album that started at 6:30 at night and ended at three in the morning. We worked all day and then we go to the studio all night, and then we come home and sleep like four hours. All that while you we were also finishing up the Take Cover album and doing all those videos for it. It was recorded very quickly but it was recorded with a lot of care and a lot of consideration and a lot of fun and love. I started writing songs for the record probably about a year before it was born.
In the opening track, you call yourself “the warrior that Heaven made” and it’s such a passionate song. Like, this is who you are and who you were born to be. I get that energy from the entire album, but we also get to see a little bit of your vulnerable side and the struggles you’ve dealt with. What would you say are the themes of the album and what were you going through during the writing process?
I wrote [the title track] towards the end of the development of the record. I called myself a martyr for so long. I felt like I had been in so many situations where I had poured my heart and soul into somebody and given every bit of myself to somebody, and they had taken advantage of it or abused it. I made the choice so many times to never harden my heart and never close off because every person is a new experience. I never wanted to become jaded. Through growth, through healing and through starting to understand some of the trauma I’ve been through, I realized that a “martyr” didn’t fit my description anymore because I wasn’t going to die for anything. Being a “warrior that Heaven made” it’s like, I’m a warrior, that believes in kindness, love and empathy. That’s kind of what that sentiment in that song means. I am no longer dying for this. I’m fighting for this. I no longer feel that I will die by my kind spirit. I feel like I can change people for the better just by being a good person. In the Wake of is a lot about showcasing the beauty that is found in the chaotic moments of your life. Because as [Charles] Bukowski he said, “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” The most difficult times of your life are the times when your character comes through, and you show who you are. It’s a song about understanding that the dark times in your life are an opportunity for growth, for change and for development. It’s just about knowing yourself, finding your strength, being a loyal and kind person — understanding that kindness does not mean weakness.
So, you’re a warrior with a deep love for Dallas. I think we can say you have an army behind you. You have so many people in Dallas who support you and have seen you grow as a musician since your days in the psychedelic trio Moon Waves. Now that you have this new record, which is sort of like a new shield, where do you go from here?
We’re gonna keep working — we just have to find the next entertaining thing to do. I’m going to have to get real creative in 2022. I’m going to have to find something else that I think is super cool to do. I can promise you this: We will never ever, ever stop working. David Bowie said it best when he said, “I’m not sure where I’m going from here. But I promise it won’t be boring.” So, I’ll just steal his quote for that. I know that next year we’ve got two tours planned. I pray that they happen. We’ve got one tour on the east coast with Tyler King from the Bay Area who’s in a project called Vio\ator. And then we were going on tour with Ringo Death Starr on the West Coast. And we are an official SXSW artist next year. Then we’ll come home from all those tours. We’ll be done with them by June. And then we will start work on the next Rosegarden Funeral Party record having toured, which as history would prove it, nothing prepares us for recording a record better than touring. So, I think that will just be full of songs by summer of next year. I’m ready to get in there and do it all again.
Cover photo by Erin Devany.