How We Met: Ladyhawke & Sarah Larnach

'At first I thought she was a bit weird. But then apparently everyone thinks I'm odd at first, too'


Sarah Larnach, 30, is a painter and illustrator best known for her watercolour and ink drawings, which feature on the covers of Ladyhawke's records and in her music videos. She lives in Sydney

I first met Pip [Brown, aka Ladyhawke] at a party in Melbourne in 2004. She had this mopey posture, unlike anything I'd seen on a girl. She carried herself like a young man and it was charming. She seemed really cool and I immediately wanted her to be my friend, but I didn't want to freak her out, so I didn't even talk to her.

A little while after that I accosted her on the street and invited her to another party. We are both originally from New Zealand – she'd just moved to Melbourne and I had been living there for a while, bartending and at art school. Within a couple of days of us meeting, I got her a job at the bar I was working at. I had to explain how to pour a beer while we were walking to her interview, but she was a natural – she's in her element behind a bar.

We started hanging out constantly. For a while it was like, "Where's Sarah?" "Depends – where's Pip?" We lived on the same street and she would turn up at my house as soon as she got up, then we'd be together all day. It was one of those epic summers where you just hang out all the time and occasionally go to work.

Pip's Asperger's was never something I noticed. Maybe it was overridden by her charisma. There would be times when she wouldn't really socialise, but apart from that I can't see it as a detriment at all, because it makes her really focused on the things that she is interested in. In the long run, I think it's a wonderful gift.

Pip has helped me find my direction. I was floundering at art school when I met her, as although art was where I had a bit of talent, I wasn't sure if my heart was in it. When we moved to Sydney together in 2006, neither of us had any money but she bought me a desk and a chair – a whole studio set-up, basically – so I could work.

A year later I was in a really bad place again and she said, "Right, paint my album cover – now!" I don't even know if she had a record deal at the time but it was one of several occasions when she has given me a project and stopped me just sitting around.

As soon as I met Pip I knew she was going to be really significant, not just in my life, but in general, and I knew I'd do anything to help her. Maybe I've helped her a bit, but she has helped me a great deal.

Ladyhawke, 30, is a singer-songwriter best-known for recent singles 'My Delirium' and 'Paris is Burning', both of which come from her eponymous debut album. She lives in London and New Zealand

I first met Sarah at a gig, but I don't really remember, because I was really drunk. I had just moved to Melbourne from New Zealand after the band I was playing in split up and I didn't have anywhere to live; I was basically couch-surfing. One day I was at the internet café when these two girls came in and were hovering around. One of them was Sarah and she came up to me and gave me a flyer for their party.

At first I thought she was a bit weird. But then, I didn't find out until recently, but apparently everyone thinks I'm a bit odd at first, too. She made me curious, though – all her friends were really quirky and cool and seemed like heaps of fun.

I couldn't make the party, but it turned out they were living about three doors down from me and I ended up going round to theirs one day, totally out of character for me, and we've been friends ever since. I had a large of group of friends, but never a best friend, so it was great meeting Sarah.

Straight off the bat I found her hilarious. Sense of humour is key for me – if I find someone completely unwitty, I can't even bluff getting along with them. She is sharp and intelligent and I enjoy every second of conversations with her.

That was probably the most sociable period of my life. I was working in a DVD-distribution factory in the day and a bar at night, but it was so much fun. I had such a drive to go out all the time. Sarah was in art school but she was the worst student. I wasn't at uni, so she'd get jealous and skip classes to get drunk in the park with us.

She is the biggest procrastinator in the world, but I always thought she was an incredible artist – she has a brilliant imagination. When she first plucked up the courage to show me some of her art I was so impressed. I ended up posing for her for heaps of paintings, so I became a bit like a muse, though I wouldn't quite call myself that.

I was just so into what she was doing; the more she did, the more excited I got. When it comes to her painting she needs a bit of a kick up the arse, as she can't see how amazingly talented she is. Sarah's mum is a really brilliant painter, which I think made Sarah a little hesitant and she kind of stifled her own creativity for a long time.

When I moved from Australia to London I felt so lonely and horribly depressed, it was really hard. The cool thing was that because Sarah does the artwork for my records now, I managed to get her over for work a few times. I'm really glad she has been able to come on parts of this crazy ride with me.

Ladyhawke and Sarah Larnach have redesigned labels for Beck's beer bottles as part of beer brand's Music Inspired Art project, available from September. To find out more, visit www.becks.co.uk

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