Lola Kirke interview: 'I’m my own biggest hater, but I'm trying to ignore the doubts'

Lola Kirke is staring at her Greek salad.

"I never eat things this healthy," the actor and singer says apologetically, spearing a lettuce leaf with her fork. "This is what rock and roll looks like now, by the way. It’s so depressing."

The London-born New Yorker knows a thing or two about the rock lifestyle. Though best known for major film roles opposite Greta Gerwig in Mistress America and in Gone Girl, Kirke is rapidly growing new wings as a musician.

She released her debut album, Heart Head West, last summer and is looking forward to a 'homecoming' show at Omeara, by Borough Market, on May 18. She also happens to be the daughter of one-time hellraiser Simon Kirke, drummer of Free and supergroup Bad Company. Her circle of musicians seem quieter than her father's.

"I was backstage at a concert and I was like 'you guys are worse than actors'. Everyone was drinking tea and talking quietly. I was like: 'what the f*** is wrong you?'

"We did a tribute concert recently to one of my favourite bands, The Band. I know the majority of those people are dead, but I guess part of me held out that there would some kind of community of people who were still living life in that destructive-but-fun way."

Kirke isn’t indulging any rock fantasies when we meet. As well as the salad, the 28-year-old forgoes alcohol for ginger tea.

"Me and two of my band mates were on our way to a concert last night. We were all meditating in the taxi. I felt particularly ‘Los Angeles’ in a way that I really don’t like about Los Angeles. It’s embarrassing."

Kirke will soon be seen appearing alongside her sister (and Girls star) Jemima, in the Emma Forrest-directed drama Untogether. Yet despite her Hollywood success, Kirke remains sufficiently unknown that she needn't worry about being rumbled by a London cabbie: "I feel completely anonymous in a lot of places. It’s really nice."

Her musical journey began with a four-track EP released in 2016, followed by last year’s debut, produced by frequent collaborator and boyfriend Wyndham Boylan-Garnett.

"It's a really personal record about basically everything I thought about in 2017: time, family, loss, social injustice, sex, drinking, longing – essentially everything I'd talk about with a close friend for 40 minutes," the accompanying press release says.

Kirke is refreshingly honest about the insecurities she has battled making and sharing the record, though its melding of Americana, country and folk has been largely warmly received by critics.

"I’m very proud of it," she says, "It feels very weird that it’s happened. I’m also my own biggest hater, so there’s a lot of doubt that surrounds my abilities. But I’m also trying to make a choice not to entertain those doubts anymore, just because what’s the f****** point? I think I’ve always dealt with that by anticipating awfulness. I’m guess I’m trying to practice not doing that."

She says there were some "really cool aspects" of growing up with a famous rock star father, though it clearly wasn't the easiest gig.

"He’d have a home studio and I’d be able to record things. But you get to see other sides of fame; the ego of being an artist, which can be really unsettling.

"I’ve seen that a lot in famous men, famous people. It’s a good reminder being grateful of the gift of recognition for your work, but also not being a dick."

She adds: "A lot of my life has been deeply affected by drug addiction and alcoholism.

"It’s always been a big thing with my dad being a musician. He was in an environment where it was very much part of the lifestyle. It was always around."

Kirke's associations of London growing up don't stretch much beyond the tree that Marc Bolan crashed into in Barnes in 1977 ("around the corner from my house"), a dead fox in the driveway, and Madame Tussauds ("I thought was it really cool").

Still, there’s no doubt she’s loving being back in the city of her birth: "It’s so cliched but I feel like f****** Mary Poppins will descend down on me at any moment and pick me up and take me somewhere magical. I particularly like this neighbourhood. I also really like the chocolate. It’s so much better than the American chocolate.

"I’m liking English accents more than I ever have before."

There's no Mary Poppins yet, but Lola is off to watch the football.

"I’m going to see Chelsea for the first time. It’s really exciting. My dad gave me the middle name Chelsea as he’s a big fan."

I offer her a chip before she goes. "What's this?" she says, pointing to the little bowl of mayonnaise before taking a taste. "Hmmm. I’m embarrassed by my like of mayonnaise."

Lola Kirke plays Omeara, SE1, on May 18,