Photo Credit: Alessandro Alex Fibbi
As the world watched Italy fight the pandemic earlier this year from around the world, LMNL was living it. A few months with just his thoughts and cats wasn’t easy but he came out of it and is now focused on giving the world his latest EP this month. We talked about its lead single “Moonlight Cinema,” big screen sounds (thank you to him – I will be checking out his movie mentions!), and more in this back and forth…
Kendra: When you packed up and went from Oxford to Florence, was the move based on your music career?
LMNL: No, that’s a whole other story! The comedian Henning Wehn says that people move countries for one of two reasons, either they want to broaden their horizons and experience new people and cultures, or they weren’t needed back home. I’m still not sure which category I fall into, although I suspect it’s the latter! Pretty much all I had in my car when I moved were instruments though, which tells you a lot about my priorities.
Kendra: You’ve had much success in music before this year and your August 2020 EP. Do you feel that it is based on your ability to shine in a variety of genres?
LMNL: I guess that has helped but to be honest I just like lots of different types of music and I’m interested in how they are made. Working with dance producers Glowal, I got to see how they approach writing and producing and that had an effect on this record. Also, I think with musical magpies, we get bored pretty easily and as soon as we see something new and shiny then we’re off in a new direction.
Kendra: Speaking of your eponymous EP, you did almost everything on the record. Have you always been the type of person who likes to take on the world with minimal help?
LMNL: I think that’s fair to say. I’ve found that when I try to write in a group there tend to be too many compromises and concessions, and so being able to do everything in my little home studio means that I can write what I want and work on it when I want, and that suits me. I always bring in someone else on the mixing phase though, so that we have a different set of ears in the project.
Kendra: The lead single, “Moonlight Cinema” gave me flashbacks to the wonderful world of video game sounds. Were you influenced at all by the gaming world when constructing the music for this track?
LMNL: It wasn’t intentional but now that you say that, I can hear how the melody on the synth that goes through the song could easily have been a soundtrack on the Gameboy back in the day.
Kendra: Sticking with the cinema, if you had to compare your EP with a movie from the past decade – which would be by and why?
LMNL: Well, I am a proper film bore so I’m very happy you asked this and I will try to keep my answer to a reasonable length! I’m a really big fan of Céline Sciamma, particularly ‘Girlhood’ and ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire,’ which are sensationally good films, but one that had a real influence around that time would have been ‘Eighth Grade’ by Bo Burnham. It’s a coming-of-age film based around a girl’s last week in middle school but the insecurities and doubts that she faces are something that I still feel keenly now, and what it shows is how some of these things don’t get any easier, no matter how much older you get.
Kendra: How do you feel all the events of 2020 have shaped your creativity and drive moving forward?
LMNL: I found the lockdown pretty tough, we had fairly strict controls here in Italy and so really it was just me and the cats for three months, and when you write about your own life then that’s not much in the way of source material. I think that with the virus and (hopefully) the changes that protest movements will bring about around the environment and removing barriers to opportunity for Black people, it’s clear that we’re living through historically significant times and this will inevitably have an influence on what people create as they reassess the world they live in, whether they are aware of it or not. That said, I tend to focus on smaller details in everyday life so maybe not so much in my case. Which is a long way of saying that I don’t know!
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
LMNL: Ah, remember plans! I’ve got a few collaborations with producers that are already done and may or may not be coming out over the next few months, depending on where we are. I think that if you want to try and understand the world as it is now then you can’t go wrong by hearing what people like Killer Mike and Saul Williams have to say about it. If I want to escape it for a while though, “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison never fails to calm me down when I’m stressed or angry. There’s something about the casual and natural rhythm of the guitar in songs like the heavenly Madame George that have the same effect as listening to the lapping of waves, it’s just so soothing. And I think the way that Van sounds so at home in his skin, there’s something reassuring about that.