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ICYMI, Sydney’s one-man band LLC has just dropped his latest EP, View of Solitude.
Hysteria was lucky enough to premiere the little slice of alternative acoustic pop goodness, and also had the chance to catch up with the songwriter.
Hysteria: Let’s get you introduced and find out a bit about your musical history
LLC: I’ve been playing music for the better part of twenty years, I taught myself a lot of instruments just by listening and watching, I was very DIY before it was really a thing, dare I say. I was in bands for a bit, one band I was in was Divide & Conquer and we had a very A Day To Remember esque sound. I got tired of playing in bands though, so I decided to go solo.
I still recorded full band music, I did it myself and released an EP in 2012, I recorded it in a proper studio and got it mixed by proper people but I couldn’t do it live because I didn’t have a band, so I decided to go acoustic. My music is still very layered and busy though, that’s the sort of music that I like. I produce music that, every time you listen to it, you get a new feeling or you hear something new.
I’m really hands on because I’ve been in lots of situations where I had to rely on the middle man. I had enough of that so I taught myself how to record music, produce, mix, engineer, manage and publicise. I did a job for eight years where I was promoting, not just other artists, but my own stuff too.
In the last couple of years, I’ve really focused on what I want to do. I’ve recorded all this music and I’ve been releasing a lot more of it. Like any perfectionist, I always found some reason to not share it with the world. I’ve held back on so much stuff I’ve done and it’s been a bit overwhelming lately so in the last year I’ve just made a promise to myself to release a new song every month. Hopefully, that will give my musical creativity a burst. The last couple of years have really just been me trying to build this LLC brand, LLC is also a copyright name though so I’m making it really difficult for myself (laughs).
I’m persevering though and I’m very passionate and positive, but it feels like the harder I try the less of a response I get, especially in Australia. I feel like Australians like music that’s a bit more raw and off the cuff. I’m definitely not one for giving up though so that’s been my message in my music lately- just never give up, find your voice and keep trying.
The experiences you have in life always have more meaning when you do them by yourself. Each song has its own story behind it and I like to think they all tie into each other but I like to leave my music a little broader and more abstract so the listener can make their own interpretation.
[ LLC ]
The EP has a pretty similar title to your previous record View of Solitude and you’ve described it as a sequel, is there any link between the two musically?
Very much so. It was a sequel idea because I had these twelve songs in mind. In this day and age, people aren’t consuming albums as much as they used to, so I thought it was a good idea to split it. Originally, I had planned to split it into four sections but with time restrictions things didn’t go to plan. The songs that were released two and a half years ago were the first part, View from Solitude was the setup. There are some ties between the songs, it’s not so specific with each song but rather it’s the theme of it being from a solitude point of view—one person going into the world and doing what it is they desire. Technically all the songs align to that, even though it may not seem like it. My song Limousine is more about chasing your dreams but it all comes under the theme and umbrella that the experiences you have in life always have more meaning when you do them by yourself. Each song has its own story behind it and I like to think they all tie into each other but I like to leave my music a little broader and more abstract so the listener can make their own interpretation. I thought that a View from Solitude and View of Solitude was a good representation of what I was going for.
Who would say are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
A reason why I picked up a guitar and first decided to do this was Butch Walker. He used to play in bands in the eighties and nineties and that’s what I was getting into when I was growing up. His band and his music didn’t click the way he planned so he started writing for other artists and doing a lot of behind the scenes work, I find a strong connection with that because I feel the same, maybe my songwriting is better suited to someone else. I’ve always followed his story and journey and have been intrigued by him and how he was very versatile but still in the pop/rock kind of sound.
I’m also a fan of Rick Springfield, I love his whole discography and I’ve always loved that big hair, guitar solo, poppy chorus kind of vibe. I try to go for that and blend it with a more modern pop-punk feel. I also really love Bruno Mars, I feel like he’s one of the only ones waving the flag for that kind of genuine songwriting. I also really love Marianas Trench, they’re a Canadian band and they’re very hands on.
LLC is essentially just you. Does it ever get too difficult managing all the musical responsibilities yourself?
That’s the pain of everything and that’s why I’m wanting to go back to having a backing band behind me because that’s how I write my music, I always intended for it to be played by more than one person. I do my best live to do this whole Ed Sheeran thing with all the loop pedals but with my music, it’s hard to convey it in that way.
I’ve done many recordings, I was overseas in Nashville with Will Pugh of Cartel and I did six songs with him. He’s a big idol of mine. That kind of sound was popular ten or 15 years ago when I got into music, generally when you’re 15 years old music tends to stick with you. I can’t seem to shake that sound and vibe so I keep pursuing it, but in the last year, I’ve been trying to step out of my comfort zone so I’ve collaborated with other artists that I’m not used to and different genres. I’ve teamed up with Will again and will be going overseas in a couple of months to try something different and spread my creative wings. I feel like I can only do that overseas.
You’ve got a couple of guest vocal spots on the record, how’d you find that collaboration went?
They’re friends of mine and they’re people I do produce for, I brought them onto the EP to bring this communal vibe to it. I tried to tell a story with that, it’s the same as with the video clips, the guest vocalists are in them too. In track one, In Time, they’re all on that and we all sing together but they also appear on separate tracks. I’m trying to tell this weird story that has more substance than your average feature or guest vocalist. It did take a while to get it all done because I was mixing and recording it from home but I like to think in the end it was all worth the blood, sweat and tears.