On the day of the first show of his East Coast headline tour, Melbourne electronic wunderkind LUCIANBLOMKAMP is excitable and nervous (as is to be expected when you’re about to headline the Northcote Social Club). He has just released one of the best film clips and singles of the year in this writer’s opinion, and is just a few months out from releasing his sophomore album, Bad Faith.
The single in question is a stunning, brooding, melancholic track titled From Afar, and it’s really no wonder he is about to embark on three headline shows in support of it. It’s the first taste of new music since the release of his debut album Post-Nature, and shows a rapidly maturing musician pushing himself further and further, delicately destroying boundaries and limitations with his electronic prowess and keen know-how on what makes a bloody good track. He’s amped up the emotion a few levels, and he sounds all the better for it. From Afar is one of those songs that immediately resonated deep within me, so it was an absolute privilege to chat to the man behind the track. There are just two shows remaining on his tour, so Brisbane and Sydney readers heed my word: don’t miss this show.
Your first show of the tour is tonight! Hometown show – are you getting excited?
Yeah, excited and nervous simultaneously. It’s a mixture of emotions.
I’m sure the crowd will be pretty friendly there in Melbourne!
Oh yeah, it’s just the first headline show I’ve played in a while so that immediately makes the nerves a bit more intense. It’ll also be the first show with the live band, so there are a few new aspects as well to think about. I’m sure it will go well though.
Nerves are healthy.
As you said, you’ll be playing with a live band tonight. What do you think that will bring to the show that fans might not have seen or heard from you before?
I suppose there has always been a sense of trying to make the shows more and more engaging for the audience. I think, especially in an electronic setting, being one person on stage can only go so far for me. I think the music kind of lends itself to a live band setting based on the instrumentation a lot of the time, so it was just kind of an organic step that was bound to happen at some stage. It just made so much sense so now it’s actually happening.
Has it been difficult or strange to let go of the control a bit and let someone else take the reigns on certain parts?
I think it may have been more strange for the other member who haven’t done as much electronic music, but all in all I have a lot of faith in them. They’re amazing musicians, I’m very impressed at the work that they’ve put in!
At least you have your faith in them that they can keep up with you –
Oh definitely, and take it beyond there too to the point where they can improvise.
Well, I wanted to actually thank you for releasing From Afar a few weeks ago. It came at a time in my life where I was feeling really similar emotions to what was happening in the song, so thank you very much for that!
Oh, don’t say thank you! That’s awesome, thank YOU!
It’s just a really beautiful song, and the film clip is even more stunning.
Yeah, the video turned out amazing. I’m so happy to hear you like it so much!
Is it strange to release songs with such intimate lyrics in them? Do you ever feel exposed or even protective of your songs?
I do. It’s funny because I don’t really realise it’s even partially exposing until I have to show it to somebody else. It always seems pretty natural and organic, and I’ll listen to it and say, “Oh yeah, that sounds good.” But, a month later when I have to play it to someone, it’s like, “Oh jeez…”
“This is actually really personal”
*laughs* “Should I have done this?” But I mean, I guess people always like a sense of honesty. It’s a lot easier to connect with.
I think being so honest makes it more relatable. Perfect example being how much I related to From Afar…
I think these new songs have a much more personal aspect as far as the lyrics go. They’re all a lot more honest, some even more honest than From Afar.
Do you think that was intentional?
I think the funny thing about the whole process of making this new album is that I actually made it in a pretty backwards way *laughs* I actually made the entire album with instrumentals first. Then, not for every single song but for some of them, it was part of the process to add the lyrics in later. For a lot of the songs, I wrote them all in a very short space of time – like a month. They all kind of have a very similar feel, which I think is actually a good thing; I think it ties them all together really well. It was good though. I think the fact that I did write them all at the same time makes them feel way more organic, in a strange way. It’s strange that that’s the easier way for me. *laughs*
Whatever works, right?! I think that what’s interesting this time around is that most of these new songs do indeed feature singing and lyrics. What prompted you to include them more this time around?
I didn’t even want to. Going into it, I actually wanted to have nothing. I think still in the back of my mind, I think lyrics can often be a disservice to a good song – and especially my songs *laughs*. It was bizarre how naturally it happened though. It kind of just made sense. I would have ideas for lyrics that would be floating around in my head when I’d be making the instrumental, but it just seemed like the way I had written everything almost lead to a more “vocal” approach. Just having more of a lyrical aspect to it, in some kind of weird evolution of my music which isn’t a direction I thought it would take, but it just seems right now.
Do you think the new material will work well with your other songs in regards to future shows? Will it be a bit more involved?
I suppose. The one great thing about these songs is that they’re all on the same page – instrumentally, lyrically, everything about them compared to Post-Nature and the other releases. It wasn’t an intentional move, but on Post-Nature the styles and even the way I would just go about making a song was diverse to the point where it was silly. It was good because I didn’t really have to knuckle down to try and find a particular sound, it all just goes together really nicely. I think to a certain extent it makes sense of the previous songs, but I guess the previous songs didn’t really make sense of each other in the first place. So yes, and no.
I feel like a lot of the changes you’re describing just come from more experience and it’s really just a natural progression. Did it feel that way for you?
I think that’s the great thing about it. I didn’t have to stop myself and say, “Okay, now I’m making this sound and these are the sounds I want to focus on.” It wasn’t an intentional decision, it just all fell into place.
The name of the album is one that really intrigued me. Why “Bad Faith”?
There were a fair few names floating around. Back to how I was saying about how all the lyrical content flowed through the same ideas, so I guess it’s pretty much about lying to yourself to make yourself believe you can’t achieve more in life. I sometimes convince myself that I AM a musician and this is what I am on this world to do, but by doing that I am kind of limiting my own possibilities in life.
To do things outside of music?
Yeah, but I guess that is the beauty and the torment of making music where it’s something I love to do but at the same time it puts me in a bad space a lot of the time. It’s a vicious cycle where the passion of doing it can put me in such a bad place, and having a negative outlet of doing something positive is what makes me grow as a musician. It’s very hard to put into words.
It would be so hard then because it clearly is such a cathartic process for you. It’s just one big cycle, as you said.
Yeah, and I think that’s what keeps it going. That’s essentially what the whole album is about – again completely unintentionally. I think it was just came naturally. By no means am I saying I dislike doing music. When you commit your life to anything intentionally you have to kind of disconnect yourself from a lot of other opportunities which doesn’t mean they’re good or bad, but you’ve put limitations on yourself. It sounds very pessimistic but at the same time I enjoy it. Obviously I love music and through this process I get better at making it.
Do you think because it’s so personal and reflective and intimate, when the album is released – will you find it liberating? Or is it scary?
It’s kind of a relief already just to know that it exists. While I was making it, I didn’t realise there was a theme to the songs or the album. I thought it was on the same page as Post-Nature where it’s all over the place. It was only recently that I had the realisation that it was enormously tied together *laughs*. The realisation was a bit awakening and validating at the same time. I feel a lot better about it now.
From Afar tour dates:
Thurs, 29 Oct – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Fri, 30 Oct – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney