Artist of the Week: LELO

This week, LELO was victorious in a hard fought artist of the week battle with three other artists. With a huge single review on it’s way from Chris, we took the time to catch up with LELO to talk the new track, and what’s to come from him in 2018 and beyond.

Every song you seem to put out has a slightly different sound, is that intentional?

I think that’s the aim really… for me anyway. I don’t think anyone really invests in an artist to hear the same song over and over with all the same sounds, structure etc but with different lyrics and maybe a new chord sequence thrown in, but, at the same time, I don’t think the typical music fan wants to be really really tested with every new release, so slight progression and variation keeps everyone happy- especially me!

So how would you describe your sound?

The best way I could describe my sound would be indie dream-pop, which is a combo of words that seems to be thrown about a lot at the moment, so perhaps doesn’t do the sound justice. It’s often dark, reverb-y, and synth laden soundscapes with lyrics which really mean something to me over the top.

What’s the latest track about?

I LOOKED AT THE SUN, surprisingly, is about the sun! It’s about the effect it has on us all, and that yearning we all have for it- trying to rekindle the childhood naivety and innocence we all felt during the six week holidays, staying out till it was dark. The video really focusses in on that idea and sees the character reliving its childhood by setting up a suburban garden with all his toys from growing up and spending a day playing within it.  It was all shot in my Nana’s glorious back garden on my mates 50 year old camera on super 8 film. I love the vibe of it.

What’s else is coming up this year music wise for you?

I’ve got a show on the 22nd of June, supporting my mate Declan Vink at Northern Guitars, where I’ll be rolling out all my toys to perform solo. I run samples, loops and track through all sorts of gear to replicate a full band sound, on my own.
It’s a really fun way to reimagine the tracks that I often play with my live band.
Im also playing at Glass Mountain stunning all-dayer ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’, on the 19th of August. It’s their second year running it, and the line up is silly good! They have all sorts of cool surprises planned. Plus, homemade curry!!
Other than that, I’m focusing on writing. The music is all coming together and is taking a slightly new direction which is really exciting. I’m just rolling with it, and I can’t wait to release some of it.

What’s the best thing about being in the music industry and in particular the Leeds scene?

Creating. Imagining something and then actually doing it. Then sometimes some people like it (!!!) and it feels the very best. Being inspired by other people that push you on creatively is really important, and for me, there’s no shortage of that in Leeds. I’m constantly baffled by the quality of music coming out of our great city. Whether it’s a new band that comes from nowhere with a really great track, or one of the bigger dogs continue to refuse to let you down by releasing another gem.

All the friendships as well. There’s nothing better than going to a bar or the pub and seeing a music pal and chatting away for ages about what you’ve both been up to, brainstorming or dreaming up plans… All over a beer or three of course.

If we were having this conversation in a year what would you like to have happened?

I’ve got loads of goals for the next year, a lot of them behind the scenes stuff that’s probably a bit boring to talk about in an interview, but I’ll be plugging away at them nevertheless.
I basically just wanna reach more people who I think will love and connect with LELO and it’s music. Then I wanna play to them.
Connection is really important and I’d never want to sacrifice or swap that emotional engagement with one fan for 10 disinterested listeners, so it’s all about striking that balance.
There will have been plenty more releases by this time next year, more gigs- hopefully performing to some fans further afield.

What’s the highlight and lowlight so far of performing as LELO?

Live at Leeds was special. We opened The Lending Rooms stage at the very to of town on what was a gloriously sunny day to a really lovely crowd which was a pleasant surprise! I also performed a live solo session on BBC Introducing that night as part of their Live At Leeds special which went brilliantly. All in all it was a really great day, the only downside was that I didn’t manage to catch many bands!

Honestly I couldn’t tell you a lowlight, everything’s going really great!

Can you pick one artist you’d like to see nominated for our artist of the week?

I really can’t pick just one, so here are few pals and local bands that I love, and think everyone should check out!

Glass Mountain
Celestial Green
Talkboy
The Golden Age of TV

Last one, what would you change about the industry if you had the power?

Equality. There simply needs to be true equality. The fact as an industry we are putting on shows and events etc. to campaign specifically for different groups of people to receive the attention they deserve is truly great, and a very necessary action we have to take to eventually ensure this equality exists, but the fact we even have to put these events on is actually a great shame. Why isn’t equality just a thing that already is?
Mental health is a real biggie in the industry. But I think it’s finally getting acknowledged and receiving more of the attention it deserves. I saw a tweet from Hookworms recently which I think touched upon a really great point; ‘ppl ask ‘why is there a mental health epidemic in music’ while still accepting a fridge of alcohol is an appropriate payment for a nights work’.
At the end of the day, we’re artists, and that level of passion for creating is bound to bring heaps of emotion to the surface. I think we just have to educate better across the board and offer more support and understanding to artist, whether that’s as a fan or as a fellow performer.

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