Lost In Los Angeles – LiLA are an alt dream pop band from, you guessed it, Los Angeles, with influences as diverse as David Bowie’s spangly catsuit collection but a sound as succinct and insightful as a pocket collection of Oscar Wilde-isms, or Louise Brooks’ iconic bob (I couldn’t decide which simile was worse, so I opted to include both for any particularly fussy readers out there.)
At once surreal and esoteric, and positively chart worthy, Lost In Los Angeles are likely to appeal to anyone with a pair of functioning ears. We (or rather, I – I am only one person) chatted to them about the benefits of staying independent, the success of their most recent video, their plans for the future, and the sentient being that is songwriting. Oh, and there are some damn fine tips for marketing your music so, if you’re not a marketing genius (unlikely), I’d strongly recommend you take five minutes to learn a little from three guys who know wtf they’re talking about.
Could you tell me a bit about your influences? A little bird told me they were pretty diverse. I’m hearing some serious new-wave nous.
Yeah we’re pretty much all over the charts. From classical impressionistic piano, to 70’s r&b and rock, to 80’s new wave, to all kinds of modern bands and electronic artists. Air, The Naked & Famous, Kaskade, M83, Deftones, Radiohead, Flock of Seagulls, Led Zeppelin, Isley Brothers, Elton John and Debussy to name a few.
You’ve got a new single out – “Because Of You” – which, as I understand it, is a re-release – how did that come about?
We initially released “Because of You” on “The Hovering EP” just before our US summer tour – it was great to have that out there for fans to take home. When we got back, our radio team suggested we go with “Because of You” for our next single. After performing the song live in about 28 cities in 33 days we wanted to add some new production elements for the Radio Edit. Through that process we did a couple remix/b-side instrumentals as well. It was a lot of fun and people seem to be liking it.
I’m digging the video – and think I understand most of the arty symbolism, but for anyone without any eye for such things, could you tell us what’s going on, and what the inspiration behind it was? Also, the rain – please explain the rain.
Thank you! The video is all about what it takes to transform daily life, which may sometimes be a surrender, into your wildest dreams. What would you do if you decided to ditch what you were “supposed” to do and trade that in for pure passion? The rain and running are part of those dream sequences – the escape…
Take a symbolism IQ test by watching the clip here:
And speaking of the video, it’s got 120K views – firstly, congratulations! Secondly, as an independent outfit, how do you get that kind of attention?
Yes, we are so overwhelmed by the video love. NYLONGuys picked up the exclusive debut and it really connected with people. It’s cool being independent because we have nobody to answer to but us and our fans. So our music (and this video) come straight from the heart with no creative limitations. When you come from the heart people seem to really feel it.
While independently releasing music can present its own challenges – such as having to adopt skills that don’t necessarily come naturally, or having to spend time on things other than your music – I feel like there’s a strongly held cultural assumption that most independent acts are only in that position because they have no choice. It’s an assumption I think to be mistaken and I think the benefits of remaining independent aren’t well documented at all, even though plenty of mega artists are taking things like their own marketing into their own hands with things like social media etc. Could I get an insider’s perspective on this – do you think there are compelling reasons to remain independent?
There’s probably no absolute right or wrong answer – there are a lot of great labels out there who really cater to their artists and nurture their creative flow. Perhaps the best reason to go independent is to make sure that pure creative flow is happening. As far as independently releasing, it’s so easy now. We use Tunecore.com, which allows us to get all of our music up on pretty much every digital platform available worldwide. They are a great team and they really help artists with distribution, which used to be an almost impossible feat for an indie artist. Luckily for us, we have our own studio and some really good production, mixing and mastering chops between the three of us, so we’re able to handle that part too. We’ve amassed some pretty good recording gear, but even if we had to resort to just a lap top we could get it done – and that’s the magic behind a lot of indie artists getting their music out there today. On the social media front, it’s all about staying current and connecting with your fans. They are the heart and soul of any band!
With the magical internet, and digital media, and free media and everything else getting creatives panicking over the last decade, do you think its harder to make money from music these days, especially as an independent outfit? I’m kind of of the opinion that people exchange their freedom for money, so the more freedom you have, the less money you should make. (I am a writer, so am no stranger to this phenomenon.) But I’d like to hear your thoughts, given that you’re living it, man. Do you think the internet is stopping music from being the steady full-time job it once, supposedly, was?
It actually seems like the internet and digital media have opened up a lot more doors for artists. Distribution is not a problem – it’s no longer blocked by the big labels. It all comes down to the music anyway, and if you are making music that connects with people, they will embrace it. Now it seems like there are endless avenues to reach fans.
Sorry about that – back to the music now. I’m intrigued – your songwriting seems, on reflection, to be very personal, in its own way. How do you go about the songwriting process – for those of us who’ve never given it a go ourselves. If I’m right in saying its personal, do you write about shared experiences together? Or do particular songs have specific significance for one or a few of you?
All three of us are melody and song writers, and Danny writes the lyrics. So it’s a constant swirl of energies and emotions from within the whole group. A song can start from a guitar line, bass line or vocal idea, and then the song kind of takes its own path. Some songs happen in a few minutes, others a few months. Either way, yes, the songs are very personal – stemming from our relationships, hopes, dreams, everything around us really.
Any plans for a new album?
Yes, it looks like we will a full-length album out by Spring 2014.
You’ve just come off a 28-city tour this summer, which sounds exhausting. Is that the biggest tour you’ve done yet? Any highlights? How was it? How do you cope with being on the road – what is it actually, really like?
Yes that was the biggest tour so far. Obviously nothing can prepare you for tour life, but because we are doing what we love it’s not exhausting, it’s exhilarating. It allowed us as a band to get a lot closer, with our friendships, our writing, and our performance on stage. And the best part by far about touring is the fans. To have somebody in the deep south walk up to you and start talking about a lyric in one of our songs is such a gift. That happened a lot, and connecting with new fans, new cities, new sights and new sounds is indescribably rewarding.
What does the future hold for LiLA? What are you up to next?
For 2014 we are excited to get our new album out, get down to Austin in the Spring, tour a lot and hit some festivals. We can’t/won’t/don’t stop writing, and it feels like we’ve only just begun.
One fun question for good measure now: If you could pick one historically-significant music act to collaborate with (dead or alive), who would it be and why? You can pick one band/artist each, unless you all have identical taste in music, in which case, I guess one is fine.
Danny: Hmmm… How about the Cars during “The Cars” album era!
Eddie: I’d collaborate with John Lennon – he’s one of the greatest songwriters of
Clark: I think it would have to be Trent Reznor. Because he always aims to do
something with a new edge, at every turn.
You can follow Lost In Los Angeles on Twitter and Facebook. And check out their website for tour news, and album updates here. Or, if you just happen to have an eye for nice web design. It’s one fine looking website.