Behind the Music: Sixteen Records Interview Series: Interview with LELO

‘I don’t remember the moment I said to myself ‘Right, you’re doing music!’ 

Photo credit: Mickey Dale

Describe your music style in no more than 5 words: Occasionally Dark, Indie Dream-Pop.

How old are you and where are you from?  I’m 20 year’s old and from Leeds, UK.

Which instruments do you play? I started out as a drummer in a Leeds band for about 3 years, but as that came to an end, I began writing my own songs, using my awful electric guitar and singing into rubbish microphones. I then fleshed the ideas out with synths etc. and eventually took my first batch of songs into my mates studio where I performed all the instrumentation you hear on the record.

Where is your go-to place for writing new tracks? Sat in front of my computer with my keyboard, guitar, pedal board etc. Locked door, no distractions and coffee.  I think the most important ‘place’ is the headspace, or mentality I have to be in. Focused but reasonably relaxed, thinking deeply but not worrying about things, you know? otherwise the whole day of writing could be wasted.

Do you have any releases and/or performances coming up soon? My new single just came out. It’s called ‘I Looked at the Sun’ and it’s my favourite release yet! It’s all about yearning for those summers as a kid when there was nothing to worry about. We recorded a video entirely on Super 8 film in my Nan’s garden and had it hand processed. I think the production of the song married with the video captures exactly as I envisioned for the song- I think that can be a pretty rare thing as an artist!

I Looked at the Sun is also featuring on Sixteen Records Volume 1 compilation album. It’s actually a slightly different version to the one I just released- Marsicans sang backing vocals on the self released, whereas on Sixteen Records it’s more raw. I think that it’s pretty cool there will be two versions floating around!  To launch the album there are loads of great artists performing at Hyde Park Book Club on the 23rd, which should be really fun.

What has it been like getting signed to Sixteen Records? It’s cool. I think it’s a very different label, and therefore a different experience compared to your usual ‘label’. With it being new, and DIY, I think there’s just as much onus on us artists to work for it as well. It feels like a showcase opportunity, to be alongside a load of other great artists and hopefully share our fans, promote one another, etc.

Which other artists on the Sixteen Records roster do you know/have you worked with before? I haven’t work with any of the artists before actually! I’ve know a good few as well as hearing of others within the local scene. A couple of months ago Imi supported me at my single launch which was at Hyde Park Book Club as well. She was crazy good. I’ll definitely be watching her set- you should do the same! 

‘It’s super inspiring when you hear a track that really impresses and the artist lives down the street.’

How do you think being signed to a label will help you develop as an artist? I’m hoping that we will all just be able to pool our existing fan bases and spread the love. I have self released everything I’ve ever done and had great results, so it’ll be interesting to see how being on Sixteen Records for this release impacts the results, and the differences compared to being a DIY artist. Its new territory, so who knows!

Who else is involved in your music? LELO started out as a very personal, behind-closed-doors type project. I was never sure what was going to come of the songs or the project until one day a friend heard it and said I had to go record it. Once songs are as complete in my head as they can be, I take them to my mate Mickey Dales studio where we pick apart the tracks and make them what they are on record. In a live capacity I’m often joined by a band of amazing musicians; Brandon Hill, Aaron Knowlden and Tom Ansell, who always bring their best.

Photo credit: Al South

As well as that, there are lots of important people working behind the scenes, giving feedback, opinions, support and so on.  Al South, my photographer always deserves a special mention here!

Do you prefer performing live or recording in a studio? I’m definitely more at home in a studio. I don’t think there is as much pressure, or certainly not as much immediate pressure when you’re recording. I love creating sounds, and layers upon layers that work with each other (or sometimes purposely don’t!), thats the part that excites me. Performing live is great too, and I would never solely be a studio artist. When it comes to live, I do my upmost to recreate all the work I put into the song in the studio, which is great fun also.

Why did you become involved in music? It’s one of those cliches I’m afraid. I just had to be. It wasn’t even a conscious effort- I don’t remember the moment I said to myself ‘Right, you’re doing music’. My lifelong best mate and I would write ‘songs‘ way back when we were in year 4 at primary school. Then as we grew up we were just in bands with each other right up until I stopped playing drums. I think that friendship is a huge reason why I became involved in such a way.

What has music enabled you to do? Music has already offered me 5 years of waking up and perusing a passion everyday. It’s given me friendships, celebrations and happiness. It’s also given me sleepless nights of overthinking and nervousness! It’s not all a walk in the park but that’s why we do it I think. It’s enabled me to progress as a musician, an artist and as a person.

What is the most recent performance you did? Live at Leeds was our most recent show and it was great. We opened the Lending Rooms stage, and it was pretty busy, especially to say it was so early and at the top of town on a glorious sunny day! I think it was our best set to date as well in terms of performance. Then pretty much as soon as I’d packed down, I was loading in to the BBC introducing office to perform a stripped back live session. A good days work!

Who was the first musician/band you saw live? I’d love to say someone really cool, but honestly I don’t remember! Probably the best gig I’ve ever been to was Slowdive at Leeds Town Hall. The sounds was phenomenal, and the crowd all stood silently and gently nodded and swayed. It’s shows that do something to really stand out that resonate with me as opposed to sentimental ones!

‘Music has already given me friendships, celebrations and sleepless nights of overthinking!’

Who are your inspirations? So, so many. It ranges from greats like Bowie and Queen, to the indie boy in me loving Arctic Monkeys now and then. I also love modern American dream pop / soft shoe gaze such as Day Wave or DIIV. The local music scene also really inspires me. It’s great when you hear a track that really impresses and it turns out they live down the street. Thats super inspiring.

Any other creative talents and if so do they influence your music in any way? I love visual art- paintings, drawings, photography and video etc. and I’m also really passionate about the marketing and branding of an artist, be that LELO or someone else. I think having that interest really helps when making the whole ‘package’ tie in together and makes for a more consistent image. I think a lot of bands sadly focus on one thing too much and don’t believe in doing the rest. They might make astonishing music but neglect their image for example. It’s all about spinning plates I think. I guess thats a talent. *I can’t actually spin plates, just metaphorically. I can juggle though!

Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share? So it turns out that LELO is also the name of a brand that manufacture sex toys! Interesting stuff- eh?

Follow LELO on: Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.
Listen to LELO on: iTunes and Spotify
Find out more about LELO’s music at: Album Review: Sixteen Records: Volume One

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