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The View rocker Kyle Falconer and partner Laura open up about postnatal depression and seeing ‘raw’ emotions played out on stage

The couple wrote new gig theatre show, No Love Songs, based on their own experiences.

Kyle Falconer and Laura Wilde at a workshop session for No Love Songs. Image: Alastair More
Kyle Falconer and partner Laura Wilde are getting set for the Dundee Rep premiere of their new show, No Love Songs. Image: Alastair More.

“Come on and level with me, Laura,” begs The View rocker Kyle Falconer.

“I know you’re dealing with the trauma,” he goes on, vowing, “but I can never leave this, Laura.”

The Dundee musician isn’t speaking of course, but singing; the plaintive lyrics making up the chorus of title track Laura from his sophomore solo album, No Love Songs For Laura.

And the Laura in question is Laura Wilde, Kyle’s long-term partner and the mother of their three children, Wylde, Winnie and wee baby Jet – who is happily covered in Coco Pops and sitting on his dad’s knee when we chat via video call.

Laura, 28, plonks down next to them flustered and grinning, with hair still wet from the shower. Through the screen, it’s a glimpse of total domestic normality: mum, dad, and baby.

Only dad’s a rockstar, mum’s a writer, and this isn’t their Dundee home – the little household is on the go, as they so often are.

“We’ve got a pretty crazy life,” admits Kyle, 35, laughing. “We’re in Spain all the time and we’re constantly travelling about.”

For a young, talented couple, their life sounds like a dream. But throw in three little ones, and no grandparents around to help, and the glamour fades fast.

Kyle Falconer and Laura Wilde with daughters Wylde and Winnie. Image: Mary McGowne, Overgate.

“It sounds like a jolly, getting to go away [on tour],” acknowledges former wild child Kyle. “But when you’ve got kids and that… I mean nobody wants to be away from their kids.”

As well as the strain of distance and Kyle being absent, Laura was one of the 1 in 10 UK women suffering from postnatal depression after giving birth to her two eldest kids.

And it was navigating that difficult period with his partner which inspired much of Kyle’s songwriting on the cleverly-named No Love Songs For Laura.

The title comes from an in-joke between the pair, after Laura took to ribbing her fiance over having written love songs for other girls, but none for her.

But now she’s got a whole album, and in turn she’s more than levelled with him.

Kyle Falconer on stage with The View in 2022. Image: Duncan Bryceland/Shutterstock.

In fact, she’s gone from muse to artist herself, having co-written the script for a striking new piece of gig theatre based on the album and the couple’s story, called simply No Love Songs.

Set for a premiere at the Rep next month, the show follows two characters, Lana and Jesse, as they meet, fall in love and navigate postnatal depression.

Ahead of the show, Kyle and Laura opening up about their journey with postnatal depression in a world of gigs, tours and transatlantic flitting.

No Love Songs: Not your average jukebox musical

“I’m a bit nervous, but I’m excited,” Laura says shyly, as rehearsals get under way for the Dundee Rep premiere of No Love Songs.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never really been involved in these creative processes before but I’m a bit like, ‘Aaah! It’s only a month away, I’ve not done everything’.

“And they’re all telling me, ‘No, it’s OK, that’s what happens’.”

Written with input from River City’s Johnny McKnight, No Love Songs is a darker take on the jukebox musical.

Johnny McKnight co-wrote the script with Laura for No Love Songs
Johnny McKnight co-wrote the script with Laura for No Love Songs. Image: Dundee Rep.

Described by Kyle and Laura as “quite stripped back” and “raw”, the two-hander performance is punctuated by songs from Kyle’s album.

But despite the View frontman’s well-documented “obsession with musicals” (Jesus Christ Superstar is a favourite, he reveals), there’s no jazz hands or impromptu dancing in this new project.

“I think the inspiration from musicals in general did come from Kyle, because he grew up on musicals. I mean, I like a musical,” she chuckles, “but it was definitely him – he’s obsessed with them!

“He knew I want to write, though. And because my writing style is quite deep and dark and thought-provoking, I was like ‘Oh this is good, I can write about postnatal depression because it’s really raw and real and personal’.”

Laura Wilde takes in the workshop performance of No Love Songs ahead of Dundee Rep run. Image: Alastair More.

In fact, for Laura, the excitement of the show comes from its darkness.

“Basically, me and Kyle sat down and came up with the story together based off of Kyle’s album and came up with he narrative,” she explains.

“And when it started going towards the main point, the postnatal stuff, we thought ‘that’s quite exciting’ because we hadn’t seen anything like that. Nobody’s really done it in this way before.”

And though she has a penchant for the grim – her dream is to write screenplays for horror movies like A24’s Hereditary or Midsommar – she insists that No Love Songs really isn’t all doom and gloom.

“I was like ‘can we make it a bit more depressing?’ and they were all like ‘no we need some happiness in this, Laura!’” she jokes.

“That’s why we have Johnny, he brings the joy.”

Writing process helped Kyle and Laura see each other’s points of view

Indeed, since the story is based on Laura and Kyle’s own, they found they needed to distance themselves emotionally from what was a very close-to-home production experience.

“I was visibly upset a few times throughout development, because it’s hard to lay out all your emotion like that,” reflects Laura. “It felt quite vulnerable.

“I guess I felt a bit naïve too, because I thought ‘Oh, I’ll be fine’ and then when I actually heard it out in a room, it was quite raw.”

For Laura especially, putting her own emotions under a public spotlight was a new experience.

And with a BBC documentary tipped for the summer being filmed about the production of No Love Songs, she’s certainly diving in at the deep end.

But even seasoned confessional songwriter Kyle was more affected by watching the actors running through the play than by his most soul-baring musical performances.

Kyle Falconer admitted he had to leave the room at times during the emotional workshop performances of No Love Songs. Image: Alastair More.

“Some of it’s really hard-hitting,” he admits. “There’s bits in it from when we went to America for like a month at a time, when we’d just had babies. It’s quite hard.

“And then having to actually sit through it, I had to leave at some points.”

“At one point the director Andrew (Panton) got up during a scene and Kyle thought he was getting emotional too,” interjects Laura mischievously. “But he was just going to the toilet!”

However, the production process held huge positives for the couple as well, as watching their own story play out helped them see one another’s point of view in a way they hadn’t before.

“When it’s all out in the open, that’s a good thing,” says Kyle. “And even though this is mainly about Laura going through it, it does show you both sides.”

Indeed, although it’s commonly thought of as a mother’s burden, the NHS advises that fathers can be affected by postnatal depression too, something the couple found out through experience.

“It felt a bit like a therapy session for both of us,” Laura adds. “I mean, we’d talked about the postnatal depression and we’d been through it and all that stuff.

“But we hadn’t really taken one side and the other side and put them together, showing what we were both going through at that time.”

Kyle Falconer at the Dundee launch of his album, No Love Songs For Laura, at Assai Records in 2021.
Kyle Falconer at the Dundee launch of his album, No Love Songs For Laura, at Assai Records in 2021. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

And as well as helping them on their journey, they found that the show organically prompted conversations about others’ experiences of postnatal depression.

“We did have a discussion and we decided we’d base it off our experience, but to lessen how raw it felt, we’d add stuff in,” explains Laura, who emphasises that although the show is based on her life with Kyle, they won’t be appearing on stage themselves.

“We all started sharing stuff in the room. Johnny’s sister had been through it, Tashi (Gore) the co-director, she’d been through it, and we all started telling all these different stories.

“Because we want everyone to feel like they can relate to it or at least understand it, and that it’s not just specific to us.”

Falconer family taking a walk on the Wilde side

It’s a noble goal, to raise awareness, provide comfort and share an all too common pain. But it seems that for Laura, writing about her experience of postnatal depression has also been key to moving through it.

After being ‘mum’ only for a large portion of her life, stepping towards her writing dreams has given her a new sense of identity and purpose.

“I’ve just been being a mum for ages,” she says candidly.

“I moved to Dundee with my friend years ago, to try and figure out what I was doing. Then I met Kyle, and then just kind of took a detour!” she laughs, looking fondly past the camera to where the older kids are playing.

After ascertaining that everyone still has their limbs, she continues: “I always wanted to get into writing but I just never knew how to do it.

“So I think Kyle was noticing a skip in my step during this process because I like, ‘Whoo, I’m going to work today! I’ve got meaning!’”

Kyle Falconer and Laura Wilde back before their second child was born.
Kyle Falconer and Laura Wilde back before their second child was born. Image: DC Thomson.

And though for some couples, working together would be a romantic nightmare, it seems to have come naturally to the thick-as-thieves pair – so much so that they anticipate repeating the experience in future.

“Creatively, we work well together,” she smiles, and Kyle nods in agreement. “I respect Kyle and I’ve always seen his process.

“I don’t see why we wouldn’t do more stuff together – we’re always together, I’m sure we’ll come up with something!”

Especially now that her daughters are getting older, it’s important to Laura that “they see that mums can be both” in terms of building a career and raising a family. But, she adds, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“It has been quite difficult, finding the time to be able to write,” she admits.

“The kids aren’t used to me doing stuff unless it’s with them. So we’re trying to show them that like, ‘Mum’s needing a minute to do this’.

“But it’s good for them to see that.”

And despite his once-questionable reputation, indie rock’s reformed rascal Kyle has stepped up to the plate, supporting Laura to pursue her own ambitions by embracing fatherhood with both arms.

“Kyle’s been amazing as well, he takes the kids out and does loads with them so I can get some time,” Laura explains.

“It’s about balancing, I think. I don’t have my parents here, and Kyle’s lost his parents, so we do juggle a lot.

“But it’s worth it.”

No Love Songs has a week-long preview run at Dundee Rep this May, ahead of the World Premiere and further dates this summer which will be announced next week. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the theatre’s website.