Designer, artist, musician - all round creative Loui Lvndn has recently upped his game by releasing his debut full length album. This alternative, rock infused piece of work is something most musicians can only dream of calling a debut. His first release came a couple of years ago with an EP called Hikari, a collection of songs which in itself is something quite impressive as well. Marelise Jacobs spoke to Loui to find out more about the man, his music and the album.
You are a graphic designer?
Loui: I studied at AAA School of Advertising and graduated last year. As the top student I received a few awards, one of which came with a trip to any agency in the world but I haven't used it yet.
Where would you like to go?
Loui: Tokyo. I have always wanted to go to Japan. The culture is insane. Everything there is like super real, super hyper.
When did your interest in music start?
Loui: I have been a musician for the longest time, however I think I really came into Loui Lvndn about two years ago when I recorded my first rock song. It was based on an Arctic Monkeys backtrack, I just chopped it up and made a song called Funnily and then I put it up for free download. The reception was great. That was when my sound converged into what it is today.
When I started I used to actually rap. I am very grateful for having done that through my high school years. I was into very cerebral, very conscious, poetic rap. That got me to fiddle with flows and rhythm I feel like it is one of the corner stones of my writing now.
Tell me about your debut album - Your Princess is in another castle?
Loui: I am super happy to finally have gone to this point where I have got a full body of work. I have been working towards it for a while now but it all culminated after Hikari. That EP was more of a diaspora of sound, if you listen to Hikari all the songs are very different. There are huge jumps from song to song but on this album it is one consolidated drive.
“...I very consciously tried not to obscure my experiences to the point that the listener wouldn't understand...” - Loui Lvndn
At the same time I used different sounds as one of the conceptual underlying tones of the album. Its like there is this video game character and each song - from song one to the end - is a story. Its a novel or a game and each song is a stage. After you have listened to one song, you have cleared that stage and then you move onto the next song.
And the final song, is that the win?
Loui: That is actually pretty interesting. When I was thinking about it, I always wanted to make the character end up where he started. I wanted to make the whole process futile but at the end of the album it is actually quite uplifting. The final track is called Lifted, and it does give you the sense of victory. It is a very motivational, aspiration track. So you do win, you actually find your princess.
Is the princess you speak of someone or something specific or is it literally just a play on the game?
Loui: To be completely honest, a lot of the content on the album is driven by the concept of love. Exploring failed relationships, heartbreak, obsession, insecurity, ego and vulnerability. At the same time I explore a carefree, nonchalant, very bravado type of character.
It is interesting how you keep referring to The Character. Is it your alter ego or are you projecting yourself into this character?
Loui: I think it is me... I suppose I can't escape that. But at the same time I very consciously tried not to obscure my experiences to the point that the listener wouldn't understand. I tried to make the situations and the different things that the character goes through relatable.
You have a number of songs featuring Spoek Mathambo, how did that come about?
Loui: We actually met on Twitter a couple of years ago. He shouted out one of my songs, Degrees of Comparison on my Hikari EP. After that he was like we absolutely have to work together, and I was like, obviously! Whenever he is in South Africa, we hook up and record. Worked on a few songs and three of them have made it onto his album which is out now.
He travels frequently?
Loui: That is another interesting thing. Especially here in South Africa, the alternative scene isn't really there yet so many times South African alternative musicians get crazy appreciation overseas. I am actually going on tour with Spoek a little later on this year. I will be joining him on his tour but also be performing some songs from my album. We are starting in Paris, and then a tour through Europe which ends back in South Africa in time for AfroPunk.