Polished, concise and ambitiously experimental. LUCIANBLOMKAMP or better still, Lucian Blomkamp (for those on a need to know basis) makes considered electronic music, pushed to inventive limits of possibility. Following on from the release of his first studio album, Post-Nature, Blomkamp has diversified, progressing into unfamiliar territory with relative ease. With a newfound focus on vocal exploration, his latest single, ‘From Afar’ carries emotive undertones.
Before returning to the stage for his captivating, all encompassing live shows, we caught up with Lucian to talk about his sophomore release, Bad Faith, the limitless possibilities of electronic music and the making of his new clip.
I saw the ‘From Afar’ clip has surfaced over the last couple of days, which is exciting. How’s the response been?
Yeah, it’s very exciting. The response has been really nice. We put the whole thing together pretty fast. It’s kind of amazing to see how well it’s been going. For a stage it was looking really stressful. Like we might not have a clip.
And now, it literally couldn’t have gone any better.
Good to hear! Now you worked with Melbourne director, Tess Huston, how involved were you with the process? Did you sort of hand her the reigns or were you very much an active part of the decision making?
Well, it’s hard to say. We kind of spoke about the whole thing together… I’d probably say 50/50. The video was pretty heavily linked to the meaning of the song. It wasn’t really one of those videos where it’s just pretty to look at and that’s as far as it goes. I mean, the song revolves around a sense of disconnection and we wanted to illustrate that in an interesting way. There were originally a bunch of other ideas that we came to Tess with. We eventually just got to this idea (laughs).
Yeah, to me it felt very isolating. Was that part of the narrative that you were trying to achieve?
Yeah, definitely. It turned out incredible. Tess was fantastic. She clearly got the vision of the song and the aesthetic immediately. From the word go, she understood what I wanted. In short, Tess was just a lifesaver, for a while it looked like we weren’t going to have a video and she pulled it together perfectly.
I’m glad it all came together! Bad Faith is due out early 2016, what can we expect from your sophomore album?
I think the sound is a lot more concise. I think that’s probably the biggest change compared to Post-Nature. There’s a lot more of me singing. It’s a lot more based around vocal content, compared to instrumental ideas, which I suppose is a win/lose situation depending on how you look at it (laughs). I’ve been working on it for a long time. I think it’s a solid step forward compared to Post-Nature. It’s nice to look back and see that I’ve grown as a musician a bit.
Do you think that was an active decision in which you made those changes or was it more of a natural progression for you to go in that direction?
It was surprising natural. It’s strange because I really don’t consider myself a singer at all. Like, if somebody asked me if I was a singer, I would say no, 100 per cent, no (laughs). I’m just kind of a producer and an instrumentalist. So, it’s quite strange that it did come so naturally to be singing on more than half of the album. It’s turned out much better than I thought it would actually (laughs)! Maybe this might become more of a common occurrence.
Maybe! Can you tell me a little bit about how extensive your musical background is? Do you source sounds or is much of what you do self-manufactured?
It’s all just me really. Guitar, violin, piano. They’re all just sounds that I record and heavily, heavily alter to the point that you can’t really tell what it is. I’m really not a big fan of samples and loops and those kinds of things. It’s not any disrespect. It’s more just in the way that I work. I find it easiest to rely on myself.
What led you down that path where you were more inclined to manipulate sounds and lean more toward electronic music?
Simply, because you can do whatever you want. It’s completely limitless, what you can achieve with electronic music. I mean with Ableton and other technologies, you have to be a bit of a fool to turn it down to be completely honest (laughs). You can manipulate things to the absolute point of no return where you can make a full sound out of one click or one bang. It’s hard to put into words. Endless possibilities, you might say.
You’re also hitting the road for a tour in conjunction with the release of ‘From Afar’. What are a couple of important aspects to your live show?
I think when you listen to [my] music, you don’t really get a sense of the live instrumentation. At least that’s from my perspective. Whereas I think in the live show, it’s the obvious centerpiece of the whole performance, the changing between the live instruments. Hopefully it’s a fresh experience for the audience to see songs that they’ve heard before performed in a different way.
Yeah, totally. Do you think that the live setting enables people to see the extent of your live instrumentation and in turn, how much work you actually put into your music?
Hopefully. I mean, there’s been quite a few times…. oh, it sounds kind of vein, but there have been a few times when people have asked me where I got a sample or where’s that sound from, but it’s just me. So I think, for me, it’s nice to kind of showcase that… without sounding too pretentious.
No, that doesn’t sound pretentious at all! People are getting to see how much work goes into your music behind the scenes. In that live atmosphere it’s like, holy shit, this guy can do so much I am kind of intimidated right now.
(Laughs) Well I don’t want people to be intimidated! (Laughs) That’s flattering though, thanks.
In terms of the rest of Melbourne’s music scene, I am ever impressed by this sort of integrated community that seems to feed back into itself. Is there anyone that stands out to you?
Well if this was around a month ago, I would’ve recommended I’lls, but that’s over and done with, so I can’t recommend them anymore (laughs).
Ahhhh, rest in paradise my friends, rest in paradise.
I’m not sure, it’s kind of a weird fun fact about me, I don’t really go to many gigs. I really love the Melbourne music scene. Everything’s kind of in a grey area, there’s no very distinct themes, it’s all sort of bunched together, which kind of makes it harder to think of solid recommendations.
So do you not really listen to a lot of music then?
Not really. I listen to a lot of music, but I’m stupidly selective about the people I listen to. But, I’ve been listening to them for years and years and years. So I have lots of solid favourites. When I’m at home, I find myself making music and not actually listening to any music.
Fair enough, I can imagine it would take up a fair bit of your time (laughs).
(Laughs) Yeah, I suppose it does.
What do the next 12 months hold for LUCIANBLOMKAMP? What are you looking forward to?
Well, obviously the release of the album. It’s already been done for quite a while now. So, we’re at the stage of slowly releasing all the material. It’s outrageously exciting, to just keep giving little tastes of the album. Hopefully people continue to enjoy it! Other than that, just tours. It’s been a while since I’ve been playing shows on a regular basis so it’s really exciting to have this tour and Melbourne Music Week coming up.
That’s awesome, getting back into it!
LUCIANBLOMKAMP ‘FROM AFAR’ NATIONAL TOUR
Friday October 23rd – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (w Planète & Wabz)
Thursday October 29th – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane (w Walrii & Ümbra)
Friday October 30th – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney (w Anatole & Jack Grace)