Some folks try to hide their geeky obsessions. But New Zealander Pip Brown — who performs 1980s funky synth-pop as Ladyhawke — is up front about hers.
She’s mad about felines, so they’re depicted on her CD artwork by her painter friend Sarah Larnach. Her nickname? “The Crazy Cat Lady, like the one from ‘The Simpsons!’” Brown says.
“Give me 10 years and I’ll be there. And I’m also really into the paranormal, UFOs, pyramids and dinosaurs. I’ve even tried to move my pencil with a Jedi mind trick. I’d stare at it for hours, but I was no Luke Skywalker, apparently,” she says.
But Brown’s strangest fascinations remain musical.
As key influences for her eponymous debut — and addictive danceable ditties like “Magic” and “My Delirium” — she claims obscure albums like Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango in the Night” and ELO’s “Time.”
“That’s my ELO record, that’s the one for me,” says the singer, who headlines the Perez Hilton Presents tour in The City on Wednesday.
“There was a moment there where I couldn’t go a day without listening to that album,” Brown says. “It was such a good record, it blew my mind. And one thing I hate is when people ask me to name my heroes. I’ll say [Fleetwood Mac Svengali] Lindsey Buckingham, and they’ll go, ‘Who’s she?’ I get a little pain in my heart when they say that.”
Now 30, Brown bounded through a slew of Down Under rock outfits — teaching herself drums, bass and guitar along the way — before she finally stumbled upon keyboards and her do-it-yourself alias Ladyhawke.
“Synth for me was this incredible instrument, this thing that could create all these noises,” she says. So with “Time” and “Tango,” Brown says, “finding out what synth they used for each song was really important to me because I really wanted to know how every sound was created. And I’m not a trained pianist; I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
But if Brown can hear a note, Ladyhawke can play it. The one-woman band — who adds backing musicians live — eventually settled in London, where she started logging chart hits like “Paris Is Burning.”
Blogger Perez Hilton became such a huge fan, he booked her for his South By Southwest showcase this year and now a U.S. tour (he’ll be on hand to introduce her).
Brown is pleased Hilton heard something in her. “But I wonder what that was?” she says, deadpan. “My ELO obsession, maybe?”
IF YOU GO
Featuring Ladyhawke and Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 30