As our Artist of the Month for Nov – we caught up with Liam about everything from New York to his mam. Plus how the beast of a new album came to be…
Firstly, a really interesting album name. What inspired it?
When I was living in Sneinton I was watching some community TV or whatever was on, this is back in the day. About 2003. And there was a show about a Nigerian mother, she came over with this little yout, and his name was Ekundayo. It just struck a chord, it was sick. Yeah he was a dude. And then I named my band Ekundayo. And then we split up. That was like 15 years ago but I’ve always loved the word. And then when Leon (the album’s producer) pressed me for the name of the album during the lockdown, you know it just came back. So, I just thought right that’s it then.
Your last release was in 2015, how long has this been in the making?
I go to New York for say, 2 weeks. We go studio for like 8 days. You do your thing, you’re chilling. And then you know, you come back, live life a bit. I think I went over there like 4 times. So it was kind of a process. My EP came out in like 2018, so, I’d say the past 2 years I’ve been nipping over there and getting it done.
Did you find a lot of inspiration from being over there?
Yeah, I mean, its vibey because of how it is up there. Go on @elmichelsaffair on Instagram and you’ll see pictures of his studio, you’ll catch the vibe there. Its like, look how me dreads are fucking all over the place. I ain’t combed me hair, tits up, you know what I mean. That’s how it is in the studio.
We do it on tape, it’s all old school. We just wanna make something interesting, that’s what I wanted to do anyway. Because I naturally write melodic, I’ve got a naturally smooth voice, I hate to say it but that’s what it is. Working with Leon we always get music that sounds cool. And I’m just buzzing at the minute cause it’s all going down really well. You wake up and you’re getting all these compliments. It’s not being in the real world you know?
How did you find working with Leon?
Known him for time. So it’s always bless with me and Leon. Very natural. I don’t want to curse it, you know it’s always the vibes. You know, it’s not rocket science. And it’s lovely just chilling up where he lives upstate New York. Upstate New York’s like all country, so its their version of the countryside innit. You got the Hudson Valley, you got the mountains and that. It’s a bit like Scotland. It’s just cotch. It’s so lovely and you’re out in the morning, next to the big Hudson river there, and then there were some weeks we’d be in Queens, New York. White light was mostly done in Queens.
Paper Tigers is an incredible track. So different to the rest of the album. The album is just changing constantly, but it flows so well. Was that intentional, did you mean to make so many genres?
Yeah, I know! I can’t believe it, because it’s not like we sat there and went ‘oh’. I was saying don’t put Paper Tiger on, innit. I was saying look, we won’t allow it. And then Danny and Leon was like, no, what you on about that’s gotta go on it’s sick. So I was like oh, but I don’t know where it can go on the tracklisting. Then I’m looking, and I thought that it would be a bit mad if you ended with it. And then luckily we’ve already gone to that kind of world in ‘Don’t Blame NY’ earlier on in the record. But I didn’t realise, I wasn’t thinking of it like that you see. And then Leon just went for a walk with it, you know a couple days later he was like that’s the vibe. In my experience if you try and plan things like that, you can’t.
One of my favourites on the album is definitely Vixit, it’s really different to the rest of the album. What was the inspiration for the track, did you write it to be that raw?
Yeah you know how that happened. So, I’ve been playing spanish guitar. Now, you know I’ve not been trying to do the fucking, all the carry on, I can’t do that, but anyway I’ve been vibing with it. So he just sat at his desk and we were in the room next to each other and I was just playing that picking thing. And just started singing it, like a kind of melody, humming it along and Leons like ‘oi thats sick you know’. And I was like ‘oh alright then’. So then he’s gotta go and do something, he’s got kids innit. So I wrote that and then he came back about forty five minutes, pressed record and we did it in that one take. I’ve been writing those types of songs all my life but I’ve never really put them out. On the last album (track) ‘Battle Hymn of Central London’, that’s acoustic as well. It’s all the time I spent in Matlock acoustic nights at the fish pond. That song, you ask anyone that’s known me for years and they’ll tell you that I’ve probably heard that in the Fish Pond somewhere in like 2001, when I used to go to Muse sessions on a Sunday night.
What have you been up to over lockdown?
Literally just at home and just doing different creative things. Writing different ways and that. More computer, trying to do beats and all that carry on. And then I had these drum and bass projects as well this year that have been coming out. Done a drum and bass project with Dogger and Mindstate and another one with Alix Perez. Then I wrote a song with Brookes Brothers that ended up being this crazy nextness. So lockdown’s been quite surreal. There’s been loads of excitement. But then ups and downs like everyone really I think. You know, it’s not nice when you talk to your mum and she can’t see anyone, you know what it’s like grandmas and all of that.
What’s coming next?
It’s a good time you know. You’d be surprised because loads of producers are sat at home wanting to do stuff. So, I’m gonna carry on. I’ve done a couple bits and bobs with different people and then I don’t know what to plan for because I don’t know when we are gonna be able to gig. All I know is I’m gonna be carrying on writing during the lockdown and hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get back into the studio and we can play a live show now the vaccines here. After this lockdown, right now, I will take the vaccine bruv. I don’t give a fuck yeah. If it means we could have some normality back, Jesus Christ. Just the threat of taking away Christmas. My mums literally on the phone, she’s just not happy. Everyone’s mums are just fucking shook. Like all those students I feel sorry for. My brother can’t come back, he’s living in Amsterdam with his mrs so we’ll be zooming. That’ll literally be like the Royal Family, that show. That’ll be what we’ll be like zooming, my mum is literally insane, anyway. Big up.
Yours in Love of New Music,
Katie Lyle x